Le Drian’s Mission in Lebanon Stumbles at Reservations over Dialogue 

Former MP Walid Jumblatt receives Le Drian at his Beirut residence on Wednesday. (AFP)
Former MP Walid Jumblatt receives Le Drian at his Beirut residence on Wednesday. (AFP)
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Le Drian’s Mission in Lebanon Stumbles at Reservations over Dialogue 

Former MP Walid Jumblatt receives Le Drian at his Beirut residence on Wednesday. (AFP)
Former MP Walid Jumblatt receives Le Drian at his Beirut residence on Wednesday. (AFP)

France’s special presidential envoy to Lebanon Jean-Yves Le Drian continued his third tour of the country, attempting to persuade political powers of the need to join dialogue to help them overcome the impasse over the presidential elections.

He stressed during his meetings with Lebanese officials on Wednesday that dialogue was the only way to end the crisis.

Not everyone was on board with his plan, with opposition MPs sticking to their demand for parliament to hold successive elections until a president is elected.

On Wednesday, Le Drian met with head of the Loyalty to the Resistance (Hezbollah) bloc MP Mohammed Raad to discuss the “French initiative aimed at holding dialogue between the Lebanese parties over the presidency.”

Le Drian said parliament Speaker Nabih Berri’s call for dialogue is in line with the initiative, according to a statement from Hezbollah’s media relations office.

For his part, Raad underlined the importance of dialogue and communication between the Lebanese because it is the only way to end the crisis over the presidency.

Le Drian met in Beirut with former MP Walid Jumblatt and his son, head of the Progressive Socialist Party and MP Taymur Jumblatt.

After the talks, Walid voiced his support for Berri and Le Drian’s calls for dialogue.

Asked by reporters if he had discussed with the French official potential presidential candidates, he replied: “We did not delve into names. Don’t make me get involved in this.”

At the French ambassador’s Snoubar residence, Le Drian welcomed a delegation of Change MPs. MP Yassine Yassine told Asharq Al-Awsat that “there is no clarity to the envoy’s dialogue plan.”

“We have our reservations and fears over the dialogue because it is unclear what it will be based upon, what will be discussed, who will be invited to take part and who will lead the talks,” he added, while also raising questions about the legality of the dialogue.

“We want to know what we will be talking about: the name of the president? The crises that have led to the erosion of the state? Does the other team want to build the state?”

“We want the election of a president who can carry out reforms and handle the crises. We want the constitution to be implemented,” he urged.

“We don’t want the election of a president who is part of the political system that was in power after the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon,” Yassine said, noting that one such prominent candidate is under American sanctions.

“We want a president who can steer the transitional period that was created after the October 17, 2019, protests,” he continued, revealing that Le Drian “agreed with our position, but he is trying to bridge the divide between parties to help end the presidential vacuum.”

Le Drian later met with Renewal bloc MPs Michel Mouawad and Fuad Makhzoumi. He then met with Kataeb party leader MP Sami Gemayel, who said: “We informed him of our position on the crisis. Our main message is that we believe that the state institutions and democratic system are being held hostage by [Hezbollah’s] force of arms.”

Elections and other state affairs will continue to be undermined as long as this situation persists, he warned.

Hezbollah, he said, continues to use its weapons to make threats, intimidate others and turn against state institutions, the country and democracy.

“This is why we are appealing to friendly countries to realize this situation and help Lebanon free itself,” he urged, while saying the victim and the executioner should not be lumped together.

“Surrendering to Hezbollah must not be the price to pay for the election of a president. This will never happen, not now, not tomorrow and never in a hundred years,” he declared.

Le Drian had kicked off his latest tour in Lebanon on Tuesday by meeting Berri, caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati, head of the Free Patriotic Movement MP Gebran Bassil, Marada Movement leader and presidential candidate MP Suleiman Franjieh and army commander Joseph Aoun.

The envoy will conclude his visit on Friday, said spokesperson for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs Anne-Claire Legendre.

“We hope the Lebanese leaders realize that it has become urgent for them to take action,” she stressed, revealing that Le Drian was “coordinating” with partners in the region.



Arman to Asharq Al-Awsat: Terminating UNITAMS Mission May Lead to War Escalation

 The leader of the Forces of Freedom and Change, Yasser Saeed Arman.
The leader of the Forces of Freedom and Change, Yasser Saeed Arman.
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Arman to Asharq Al-Awsat: Terminating UNITAMS Mission May Lead to War Escalation

 The leader of the Forces of Freedom and Change, Yasser Saeed Arman.
The leader of the Forces of Freedom and Change, Yasser Saeed Arman.

The leader of the Forces of Freedom and Change, Yasser Saeed Arman, said that ending the tasks of the UN Integrated Transitional Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS) would not support the endeavors to end the war in the country.

The UN Security Council on Friday decided to terminate the mandate of the UN political mission in Sudan as of this Monday, after Khartoum called for its immediate withdrawal last month.

In statements to Asharq Al-Awsat, Arman said that the UN Security Council should not have ended the mission’s tasks, stressing that the international community would not abandon the issue of war in Sudan due to its internal and external repercussions on civilians.

The prominent Sudanese politician also warned that the decision to end the mission of UNITAMS would bring about “negative results to those who called for the termination.”

“Despite the current divisions in the Security Council, all of these measures encourage the escalation of the war instead of working to end it as quickly as possible, because they constitute a danger to the Sudanese state and herald its collapse...” He stated.

In mid-November, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres received a request from Khartoum to immediately end the mandate of the UN mission, and decided to appoint the Algerian diplomat, Ramtane Lamamra, as his personal envoy to Sudan.

Asked about the priorities and goals that the Sudanese political forces must seek to achieve in the coming period, Arman stressed that those should include securing access to humanitarian aid, protecting the civilians, and ending hostilities.

He added that the Sudanese components should work to “stop the war and build a new state, new army, and institutions that give the opportunity to establish a national project that achieves democracy and stability in the country.”

Since the announcement of the termination of the UNITAMS, questions were raised about whether Sudan would fall under the provisions of Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter, which includes mechanisms for actions taken in cases of threat to peace.

According to Arman, falling under this chapter “depends on the developments of the war, and the extent to which it poses a major challenge for civilians, which forces the international community to resort to that path that entails large and extensive costs.”


Israeli Forces Kill 2 Palestinians in West Bank Raid

Israeli soldiers patrol near the West Bank city of Tulkarm where two Palestinians were reportedly killed during clashes with Israeli forces on October 5, 2023. (Photo by Zain JAAFAR / AFP)
Israeli soldiers patrol near the West Bank city of Tulkarm where two Palestinians were reportedly killed during clashes with Israeli forces on October 5, 2023. (Photo by Zain JAAFAR / AFP)
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Israeli Forces Kill 2 Palestinians in West Bank Raid

Israeli soldiers patrol near the West Bank city of Tulkarm where two Palestinians were reportedly killed during clashes with Israeli forces on October 5, 2023. (Photo by Zain JAAFAR / AFP)
Israeli soldiers patrol near the West Bank city of Tulkarm where two Palestinians were reportedly killed during clashes with Israeli forces on October 5, 2023. (Photo by Zain JAAFAR / AFP)

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians in a car and detained two others during a raid in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported, without immediately providing further details.

Asked about the overnight incident in Qalqilya, an Israeli military spokesperson said "there was counter-terrorism activity there" and that further details would be published later, Reuters reported.

The West Bank has seen surging violence in parallel to Israel's eight-week-old war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, another territory where Palestinians seek statehood.


Netanyahu Calls on Ministers, Lawmakers Not to Criticize Security Forces During War

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (dpa)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (dpa)
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Netanyahu Calls on Ministers, Lawmakers Not to Criticize Security Forces During War

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (dpa)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (dpa)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Likud ministers and lawmakers on Sunday to avoid getting into personal arguments, including criticizing security forces.

“Be careful with your words, in particular during a time of war.”

According to the Times of Israel, the prime minister said that the war cabinet is acting “quickly but not recklessly” in its decisions about fighting and added that the focus remains on both the southern and northern fronts.

Netanyahu discussed ongoing efforts to secure the release of hostages in Gaza through military operations.

“We are continuing now to speak with our enemy about continuing to free hostages — speaking with fire,” he added.

Israel resumed its shelling on the Gaza Strip on Friday following a 7-day humanitarian truce that witnessed an exchange of captives and detainees held by Hamas.


3 Commercial Ships Hit by Missiles in Houthi Attack in Red Sea, US Warship Downs 3 Drones

The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney transits the Suez Canal, Egypt October 18, 2023. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/Handout via REUTERS.
The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney transits the Suez Canal, Egypt October 18, 2023. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/Handout via REUTERS.
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3 Commercial Ships Hit by Missiles in Houthi Attack in Red Sea, US Warship Downs 3 Drones

The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney transits the Suez Canal, Egypt October 18, 2023. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/Handout via REUTERS.
The US Navy Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Carney transits the Suez Canal, Egypt October 18, 2023. US Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Aaron Lau/Handout via REUTERS.

Ballistic missiles fired by Yemen's Houthi militias struck three commercial ships Sunday in the Red Sea, while a US warship shot down three drones in self-defense during the hourslong assault, the U.S. military said.

“These attacks represent a direct threat to international commerce and maritime security,” the US military's Central Command said in a statement. “They have jeopardized the lives of international crews representing multiple countries around the world.”

It added: “We also have every reason to believe that these attacks, while launched by the Houthis in Yemen, are fully enabled by Iran.”

The attack began around 9:15 a.m. local time (0615 GMT) in Houthi-controlled Sanaa, Central Command said.

The USS Carney, a Navy destroyer, detected a ballistic missile fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen at the Bahamas-flagged bulk carrier Unity Explorer. The missile hit near the ship, the US said. Shortly afterward, the Carney shot down a drone headed its way, although it's not clear if the destroyer was the target, Central Command said.

About 30 minutes later, the Unity Explorer was hit by a missile. While responding to its distress call, the Carney shot down another incoming drone. Central Command said the Unity Explorer sustained minor damage from the missile.

Two other commercial ships, the Panamanian-flagged bulk carriers Number 9 and Sophie II, were both struck by missiles. The Number 9 reported some damage but no casualties, and the Sophie II reported no significant damage, Central Command said.

While sailing to assist the Sophie II around 4:30 p.m. local time (1330 GMT), the Carney shot down another drone heading in its direction. The drones did no damage.

The Carney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, has shot down multiple rockets the Houthis have fired toward Israel during the war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. It hasn't been damaged in any of the incidents and no injuries have been reported on board. The Defense Department initially described the assault as simply an attack on the Carney before providing more details.

Houthi military spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Saree claimed two of Sunday's attacks, saying the first vessel was hit by a missile and the second by a drone while in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.


Sudan’s Commander-in-Chief Threatens to 'Crush' Rapid Support Forces

Army Commander and Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during a visit to Wad Madani (Sovereign Council media)
Army Commander and Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during a visit to Wad Madani (Sovereign Council media)
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Sudan’s Commander-in-Chief Threatens to 'Crush' Rapid Support Forces

Army Commander and Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during a visit to Wad Madani (Sovereign Council media)
Army Commander and Chairman of the Sudanese Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burhan during a visit to Wad Madani (Sovereign Council media)

Sudan’s Sovereign Council Chairman and Sudanese Army Commander-in-Chief Abdel Fattah al-Burhan reiterated his unwavering commitment to eradicate the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) and its supporters.

Burhan was speaking at the First Infantry Division in Wad Madani. He said the “battle of dignity” will continue until “Sudan is cleaned,” asserting that the Council and its supporters who believe in the unity of Sudan will “crush the enemy” and destroy its followers.

Since last April, the Army and the RSF have been fighting, and the battles have spread to large parts of the country, inflicting heavy losses.

Estimates indicate the number of civilian deaths was about 9,000, including women, children, and the elderly. Over six million persons have been displaced because of the clashes.

Burhan strongly condemned the civil opposition, asserting that solutions would not come from abroad and couldn’t be imposed on the country.

“The solution lies with the Sudanese people at home.”

The commander asserted that power can’t be achieved through war, adding that if any entity is wrong it thought it could rule the country after plundering its resources and killing its people.

Burhan addressed the “supporters of the Rapid Support,” namely politicians, saying the people will reject them, just as they did with the insurgents.

Referring to the Jeddah negotiations sponsored by Saudi Arabia and the US, Burhan reiterated that the RSF must exit the “combat zones,” stating that they headed to the talks with “open hearts” aiming to achieve peace in the country.

However, he noted that negotiations that do not meet the desire of the Sudanese people will not be acceptable, and talks that do not include the exit of forces from the combat zones will never be good.

Burhan welcomed the UN Security Council resolution to end the United Nations Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), warning the new Envoy of the UN Secretary-General, Ramtane Lamamra, of facing “the same fate as his predecessors” if he aligns with a party to the conflict.

“We do not refuse to work with the UN, but we require a neutral mission to help us restore security and stability in Sudan,” asserted Burhan, welcoming the new Envoy.


Pope Deplores End to Gaza Truce, Urges New Ceasefire

Pope Francis holds a weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican, April 28, 2021. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS
Pope Francis holds a weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican, April 28, 2021. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS
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Pope Deplores End to Gaza Truce, Urges New Ceasefire

Pope Francis holds a weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican, April 28, 2021. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS
Pope Francis holds a weekly general audience in the library of the Apostolic Palace at the Vatican, April 28, 2021. Vatican Media/Handout via REUTERS

Pope Francis said Sunday that he was saddened the truce in the Gaza Strip had been broken and urged those involved in the conflict to reach a new ceasefire deal as soon as possible.

"There is so much suffering in Gaza," the pontiff said in comments from his private residence, which were read by an aide and broadcast on giant screens in Saint Peter's Square, AFP reported.

The 86-year-old is suffering from a lung infection that has caused breathing difficulties, and forced him to cancel a trip to Dubai to attend the international COP28 climate summit.

"Still today, I cannot read this all. I'm doing better, but my voice...," Francis said, before the aide took over.

In the comments, Francis said the end of the ceasefire meant "death, destruction, misery", stressing that the besieged Palestinian territory lacked even essential supplies.

He said the situation in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories was "serious". "Many hostages have been freed but so many others are still in Gaza," he said.


Damascus 'Rejects' Watchdog Vote Curbing Chemical Exports to Syria

General photo of Syria's Bab al-Salam crossing  (Photo by Bakr ALKASEM / AFP)
General photo of Syria's Bab al-Salam crossing (Photo by Bakr ALKASEM / AFP)
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Damascus 'Rejects' Watchdog Vote Curbing Chemical Exports to Syria

General photo of Syria's Bab al-Salam crossing  (Photo by Bakr ALKASEM / AFP)
General photo of Syria's Bab al-Salam crossing (Photo by Bakr ALKASEM / AFP)

Syria's foreign ministry on Sunday lambasted a decision by the world's chemical weapons watchdog to limit chemical exports to the war-torn country.

"Syria rejects the resolution that was adopted" at the annual meeting Thursday of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a ministry statement said.

It slammed Western nations that put forward the resolution, saying the vote "reflects Western hatred towards developing countries".

On Thursday, a majority of OPCW member countries voted for "collective measures" to stop the transfer of certain chemicals and chemical-making technology to Syria.

It cited Syria's "continued possession and use of chemical weapons" and "its failures to submit an accurate and complete declaration and to destroy all its undeclared chemical weapons and production facilities".

Syria agreed in 2013 to join the world's chemicals watchdog following after an alleged chemical gas attack killed more than 1,400 people near Damascus.

But the OPCW, based in The Hague, has since accused the Damascus of carrying out a series of chemical attacks during the civil war.

The Syrian government has denied the allegations.

Syria's OPCW voting rights were suspended in 2021, an unprecedented rebuke, following poison gas attacks on civilians in 2017.

Damascus has also denied the accusations.

The Syrian civil war broke out in 2011 with the brutal repression of anti-government protests, escalating into a deadly armed conflict involving foreign powers and global jihadist groups.

The war has killed more than half a million people and displaced half of the country's pre-war population.


Israel Orders Evacuations as It Widens Offensive but Palestinians Are Running Out of Places to Go

A Palestinian man mourns at al-Najjar hospital near the shrouded bodies of relatives killed in Israeli bombing on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
A Palestinian man mourns at al-Najjar hospital near the shrouded bodies of relatives killed in Israeli bombing on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
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Israel Orders Evacuations as It Widens Offensive but Palestinians Are Running Out of Places to Go

A Palestinian man mourns at al-Najjar hospital near the shrouded bodies of relatives killed in Israeli bombing on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)
A Palestinian man mourns at al-Najjar hospital near the shrouded bodies of relatives killed in Israeli bombing on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 3, 2023, amid continuing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas. (Photo by MOHAMMED ABED / AFP)

Israel renewed calls Monday for mass evacuations from the southern town of Khan Younis, where tens of thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge in recent weeks, as the military widened its ground offensive and bombarded targets across the Gaza Strip.

The expanded assault posed a deadly choice for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians — either stay in the path of Israeli forces or flee to squeeze into progressively tinier slivers of the Gaza Strip, with no guarantee of safety. Aid workers warned that the mass movement would worsen the already dire humanitarian catastrophe in the territory.

“Another wave of displacement is underway, and the humanitarian situation worsens by the hour,” the Gaza chief of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Thomas White, said in a post on X.

Israel has vowed to eliminate Gaza’s Hamas rulers, whose Oct. 7 attack into Israel triggered the deadliest Israeli-Palestinian violence in decades. The war has already killed thousands of Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of the territory’s population of 2.3 million people.

Already under mounting pressure from its top ally, the United States, Israel appears to be racing to strike a death blow against Hamas — if that’s possible, given the group’s deep roots in Palestinian society — before any new ceasefire. But the mounting toll, which Palestinian health officials say has killed several hundred civilians since a weeklong truce ended Friday, is likely to further increase international pressure to return to the negotiating table.

It could also render even larger parts of the isolated territory uninhabitable.

Airstrikes and the ground offensive have transformed much of the north, including large areas in Gaza City, into a rubble-filled wasteland.

Hundreds of thousands of residents fled south during the assault. Now around 2 million people — most of the territory’s population — are crowded into the 230 square kilometers (90 square miles) that make up south and central Gaza, where Israel's ground offensive is expanding. Their only escape is to other parts of that area, as both Israel and neighboring Egypt have refused to accept any refugees.

FIGHTING IN CENTRAL GAZA Residents said Monday they heard airstrikes and explosions in and around Khan Younis overnight after the military dropped leaflets warning people to relocate farther south toward the border with Egypt.

The UN said Israel has ordered an area constituting about a fifth of Khan Younis to evacuate, an area that was home to some 117,000 people before the war and now hosts tens of thousands displaced from elsewhere. It said 21 shelters housing 50,000 people — the vast majority from northern Gaza — were in the evacuation zone. Large areas east of Khan Younis were also ordered to flee.

The military warned civilians Monday to avoid the main north-south highway between Khan Younis and the central town of Deir al-Balah, saying the road had become a “battlefield.” That indicated Israeli troops were approaching Khan Younis from the northeast, possibly with plans to cut central Gaza off from the south.

Al Jazeera television aired footage of medics rescuing people wounded by what appeared to have been a strike on a car on that stretch of highway. An Israeli tank could be seen just up the road.

Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the Israeli military spokesman, said the army is pursuing Hamas with “maximum force” in the north and south while trying to minimize harm to civilians.

He pointed to a map that divides southern Gaza into dozens of blocks in order to give “precise instructions” to residents on where to evacuate.

Some Palestinians have ignored past evacuation orders, saying they do not feel any safer in the areas where they are told to seek refuge — which have also been repeatedly bombed. Many also fear they will never be allowed back to their homes. The military has barred those who fled the north from returning, even during the ceasefire.

“The level of human suffering is intolerable,” Mirjana Spoljaric, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said during a rare visit to Gaza. She also called for the immediate release of scores of hostages captured by Palestinian militants during the Oct. 7 attack.

“It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible.”

RISING TOLL The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory since Oct. 7 has surpassed 15,890 people – 70% of them women and children — with more than 42,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths.

Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qidra said hundreds have been killed or wounded since the ceasefire's end early Friday, with many still trapped under rubble.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah received 32 bodies overnight after Israeli strikes across central Gaza, said Omar al-Darawi, an administrative employee. Associated Press footage showed women in tears, kneeling over the bodies of loved ones and kissing them.

The military said aircraft struck some 200 Hamas targets overnight, with ground troops operating “in parallel,” without elaborating. It said troops in northern Gaza uncovered a militant hideout in a school after coming under attack. Inside, they found two tunnel shafts, one of which had been booby-trapped, as well as explosives and weapons, the military said.

It is not possible to independently confirm battlefield reports from either side.

Israel says it targets Hamas operatives, not civilians, and blames civilian casualties on the militants, accusing them of operating in residential neighborhoods. Still, it does not provide accounting for its targets in individual strikes.

In addition to leaflets dropped over Gaza, the military has used phone calls and radio and TV broadcasts to urge people to leave specific areas.

Israel claims to have killed thousands of militants, without providing evidence. Israel says at least 81 of its soldiers have been killed.

US PRESSURE The US is pressing Israel to avoid more mass displacements and civilian deaths, a message underscored by Vice President Kamala Harris during a visit to the region. She also said the US would not allow the forced relocation of Palestinians out of Gaza or the occupied West Bank, or the redrawing of Gaza’s borders.

But it’s unclear how far the Biden administration is willing or able to go in pressing Israel to rein in the offensive, even as the White House faces growing pressure from its allies in Congress.

The US has pledged unwavering support to Israel since the Oct. 7 attack, which killed over 1,200 people, mostly civilians, including rushing munitions and other aid to Israel.

Israel has rejected US suggestions that control over postwar Gaza be handed over to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority as part of a renewed effort to resolve the overall conflict by establishing a Palestinian state.

Hopes for another temporary truce faded after Israel called its negotiators home over the weekend. Hamas said talks on releasing any more of the scores of hostages seized by Palestinian militants on Oct. 7 must be tied to a permanent ceasefire.

The earlier truce facilitated the release of 105 of the roughly 240 Israeli and foreign hostages taken to Gaza during the Oct. 7 attack, and the release of 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel. Most of those released by both sides were women and children.


UN Report Projects that Climate Change Will Kill 121,000 People in Yemen by 2060

With no action, it is projected that climate change will be responsible for over 121,000 deaths in Yemen by 2060. Reuters
With no action, it is projected that climate change will be responsible for over 121,000 deaths in Yemen by 2060. Reuters
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UN Report Projects that Climate Change Will Kill 121,000 People in Yemen by 2060

With no action, it is projected that climate change will be responsible for over 121,000 deaths in Yemen by 2060. Reuters
With no action, it is projected that climate change will be responsible for over 121,000 deaths in Yemen by 2060. Reuters

A UN report projects an increase in malnutrition and poverty in Yemen if climate action to build resilience is not undertaken.

“With climate change, by 2060, it is projected that a cumulative $93 billion would be lost in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 3.8 million more people would suffer from malnutrition in Yemen,” said the report released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on Sunday.

“Today, climate change is not theoretical; we are already witnessing changing weather patterns in Yemen, and the worse is yet to come. With no action, it is projected that climate change will be responsible for over 121,000 deaths in Yemen by 2060,” said UNDP Yemen Resident Representative Zena Ali Ahmad.

“UNDP’s new report outlines how a strategy to build resilience can help to mitigate the projected impacts of climate change in Yemen, to secure a decent future for the next generation in an already fragile context,” he added.


Israel, Hezbollah Trade Fire Across Border

This picture taken from southern Lebanon shows smoke rising after an Israeli strike between the villages of Qaouzah and Ramia near the border with Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
This picture taken from southern Lebanon shows smoke rising after an Israeli strike between the villages of Qaouzah and Ramia near the border with Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
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Israel, Hezbollah Trade Fire Across Border

This picture taken from southern Lebanon shows smoke rising after an Israeli strike between the villages of Qaouzah and Ramia near the border with Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by AFP)
This picture taken from southern Lebanon shows smoke rising after an Israeli strike between the villages of Qaouzah and Ramia near the border with Israel on December 3, 2023. (Photo by AFP)

Israeli forces and Hezbollah traded fire across the Israel-Lebanon border on Sunday for the third consecutive day and Israel said several of its soldiers were hurt.

The Israeli military said its soldiers were "lightly injured" when an anti-tank missile fired from Lebanon hit a vehicle in the Beit Hillel area of northern Israel.

Eleven people — eight soldiers and three civilians — were wounded by Hezbollah fire in the area of Beit Hillel, army radio reported.

Israeli forces fired artillery in return, the military's statement read.

It also said its fighter jets struck other Hezbollah targets.

Hezbollah said it had targeted a number of Israeli positions with what it called "appropriate weapons.”

Following the eruption of the Hamas-Israel war on Oct. 7, Hezbollah mounted near-daily rocket attacks on Israeli positions at the frontier while Israel launched air and artillery strikes in south Lebanon. But the border was largely calm during a week-long truce in Gaza that collapsed on Friday.

Just over 100 people in Lebanon have been reported killed during the hostilities, 83 of them Hezbollah fighters. Tens of thousands of people have fled both sides of the border.