Patients trapped as hospitals besieged

  • World Health Organization says northern Gaza’s last two functioning hospitals, al-Awda and Kamal Adwan, besieged by Israeli forces, with more than 200 patients trapped inside.
  • Ireland, Spain and Norway say they will recognise Palestine as a state, call other countries to follow suit.

    Gallant expands law that allows evicted Israeli settlers to return

    Israeli newspaper Haaretz reports that Defense Minister Gallant has announced he will expand the law to allow Israeli settlers, who were evicted during a 2005 disengagement plan, to return to settlements in the occupied West Bank.

    Haaretz reported that the expanded law includes areas where the settlements of Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim were located.

    Settlers are Israeli citizens who live illegally on private Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem. The vast majority of the settlements have been built either entirely or partially on private Palestinian land.

    Hamas official says European recognition is a ‘turning point on Palestinian issue’

    Bassem Naim, a senior member of Hamas’s political bureau, says it was the “brave resistance” of the Palestinian people that spurred Norway, Ireland and Spain to announce that they will recognise Palestine as a state.

    “These successive recognitions are the direct result of this brave resistance and the legendary steadfastness of the Palestinian people,” he told AFP.

    “We believe this will be a turning point in the international position on the Palestinian issue.”

    Hamas official says European recognition is a ‘turning point on Palestinian issue’

    Bassem Naim, a senior member of Hamas’s political bureau, says it was the “brave resistance” of the Palestinian people that spurred Norway, Ireland and Spain to announce that they will recognise Palestine as a state.

    “These successive recognitions are the direct result of this brave resistance and the legendary steadfastness of the Palestinian people,” he told AFP.

    “We believe this will be a turning point in the international position on the Palestinian issue.”

    ‘It is past time for Palestine to take its place amongst nations of the world’

    In a video shared on social media, Irish foreign minister Micheal Martin says his country has laid out its “unambiguous support for the equal right to security, dignity, and self-determination for the Palestinian and Israeli peoples”.

    Netanyahu will use Norway, Ireland, Spain’s decisions to push ‘victimhood’ narrative

    Akiva Eldar, a political columnist at Israeli publication Haaretz, has told Al Jazeera that the recognition of the Palestinian state by Norway, Spain and Ireland goes against “Netanyahu and the majority of the Israeli Knesset’s philosophy never to agree to a Palestinian state, especially not unilaterally”.

    “Just a few months ago, the majority of the Knesset passed a very weird resolution against any unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” he said.

    Eldar added that he believes that Netanyahu will frame the recognition “as another demonstration of anti-Semitism, victimhood” and use it in his narrative “that the world is against us”.

    Recognition of Palestine ‘blow’ to Netanyahu’s ‘extreme government’

    Longtime Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti says recognition of the Palestinian state by Ireland, Spain and Norway was a “powerful political and symbolically significant step” that moved the achievement of “freedom and justice” closer for the Palestinian people.

    “It is a very important step in determining the rights of the Palestinian people – our people – for self-determination,” Barghouti told Al Jazeera.

    “Also, it blows away a lot of the de facto effects that Israel has created through settlement building on the ground – by confirming that Palestine today is a state under occupation,” Barghouti said.

    “So, any efforts of the occupying power to change facts on the ground is meaningless and will not have an impact in the long run,” he said.

    “This is also a blow to Netanyahu and his extreme government, and to the fascists in his government … It means the acts of fascism and extremism in the Israeli government has no future,” he added.

    PLO thanks countries recognising Palestinian statehood

    Hussein al-Sheikh, the secretary-general of the executive committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, has expressed gratitude after the announcements by Spain, Ireland and Norway that they will recognise Palestinian statehood.

    “Historical moments in which the free world triumphs for truth and justice after long decades of Palestinian national struggle, suffering, pain, occupation, racism, murder, oppression, abuse and destruction to which the people of Palestine were subjected,” he said on X.

    “We thank the countries of the world that have recognized and will recognize the independent State of Palestine,” al-Sheikh added.

    Ireland will recognise Palestinian state: Irish PM

    Ireland’s Prime Minister Simon Harris says that Ireland, Norway and Spain will recognise the state of Palestine today.

    “Each of us will now undertake whatever national steps are necessary to give effect to that decision,” he told a news conference.

    “I’m confident that further countries will join us in taking this important step in the coming weeks.”

    More from Spain’s Sanchez

    Speaking in the Spanish parliament, Pedro Sanchez has said that his Israeli counterpart, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, is putting the two-state solution in “danger” with his policy of “pain and destruction” in Gaza.

    “Next Tuesday, May 28, Spain’s cabinet will approve the recognition of the Palestinian state,” the Spanish prime minister said.

    Norway recognition of Palestine state a ‘momentous occasion’

    We are expecting this to be followed by Ireland a little bit later. Malta, Slovenia and Spain are also publicly saying that they are going to look at recognising the state of Palestine.

    This is a momentous occasion for the Palestinians.

    It’s perhaps unsurprising that Norway has taken the lead on this because they were behind the Oslo Accords – the agreement in 1993 that really did two things: it recognised the Palestine Liberation Organization, the PLO, as the legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people; and it also put into place the Palestinian Authority (PA), which had limited powers within the occupied West Bank.

    This is going to be a boost for the PA.

    It’s going to come as somewhat of a problem for the Israelis though, because they have already said that they want a moderate force within Gaza for the “day after”. But they are not really looking at the PA.

    ‘Some reflection’ among European countries on whether to recognise Palestine: Norway’s PM

    Gahr Store responded in English to a reporter’s question about whether other countries also plan to recognise Palestine.

    He said he expected several European countries to make announcements today.

    “My impression is that there is reflection going on in some more countries, but I will not go into detail on that. I think they will make their position known when they are ready to do so,” he said.

    “The United States have responded to us that they are not in a position or not ready to make that … recommendation. But they have understood, and they respect the decision we have taken,” he added.

    PM says Spain to recognise Palestine as a state

    Pedro Sanchez, Spain’s prime minister, says the recognition will take place on May 28.

    Israel recalls envoys to Norway, Ireland for ‘urgent consultations’

    Israeli Foreign Minister Israel Katz is recalling his country’s ambassadors to Norway and Ireland over the two governments’ expected moves to formally recognise a Palestinian state.

    “Today, I am sending a sharp message to Ireland and Norway: Israel will not go over this in silence,” Katz said in a statement.

    “I have just ordered the return of the Israeli ambassadors from Dublin and Oslo to Israel for further consultations in Jerusalem,” he added.

    Only 30-35% of Hamas fighters killed since October 7: Report

    US government intelligence indicates that only 30-35 percent of Hamas fighters have been killed in Israel’s assault on Gaza since October 7, while 65 percent of the group’s tunnels remain intact, news outlet Politico reports.

    Citing a person familiar with US intelligence, the outlet says Biden officials have also expressed concern that Hamas has been able to recruit thousands of new fighters over the last several months.

    Last week, US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said Joe Biden’s administration does not believe that Israel’s stated strategy of pursuing “total victory” over Hamas in Gaza is feasible.

    More from Norway’s prime minister

    Gahr Store, speaking in Norwegian, explained his government’s reasons for recognising Palestine as a state.

    He said:

    • We must keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike – two states, living side by side in peace and security.
    • Recognition of Palestine can strengthen the moderate forces in Palestine, those working for a two-state solution. It can also strengthen moderate forces on the Israeli side and it can provide hope for the future for the Palestinians.
    • This also sends a strong message to other countries to follow the example of Norway and a number of other European countries and recognise the state of Palestine.
    • The ongoing war in Gaza has made it abundantly clear that achieving peace and stability must be predicated on resolving the Palestinian question.
    • The goal is to achieve a Palestinian state that is politically cohesive and that derives from the Palestinian Authority.
    • We believe the two-state solution is in Israel’s best interests.

      Attacks continue across Gaza as Israel presses offensive

      Over the past 24 hours, the Israeli military has been pressing on with its military offensive across multiple areas, including az-Zawayda, just 3km from our location in Deir el-Balah.

      It is a town in the middle of Gaza where Palestinians have been told to seek refuge. In the latest attack on a gathering of residents, at least 10 Palestinians have been reported killed, including a pregnant woman.

      Attacks have continued in other parts of the Gaza Strip, including the north of the territory in the Jabalia refugee camp where six Palestinians have been reported killed.

      It’s worth remembering that the military operation in Jabalia is still ongoing with emergency rescue teams struggling to recover victims from under the remnants of the shattered buildings in that camp.

      At least 300 houses have been destroyed in the ongoing military bombardment of that densely populated area.

      Norway will recognise Palestinian statehood on May 28

      More from the Norwegian prime minister.

      Gahr Store, speaking in Oslo, said Norway’s recognition of Palestine as a state will take place on May 28. “There cannot be peace in the Middle East if there is no recognition,” he said.

      Israeli military says it has killed ‘significant’ Hamas operative

      The Israeli military says it “struck and eliminated” a Hamas antitank missile operative in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis city.

      It identified the fighter as Ahmed Yasser Alkara, describing him as a “significant” Hamas member who participated in the October 7 attacks on southern Israel and carried out attacks on Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

      Also killed in the strike targeting Alkara were Hamas fighter Saib Raed Abu Riba and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s Ans Muhammad Abu Ragila, according to the Israeli military.

      The military also said it carried out an air strike killing five Hamas fighters sheltering in a school in Gaza City.

      How many countries recognise an independent Palestinian state?

      We have been reporting that, according to media reports, Norway is likely to recognise Palestine as an independent state today.

      Ireland and Spain are also likely to announce plans for the recognition of a Palestinian state.

      So far, 143 of the 193 UN member states have recognised Palestine.

      Currently, just eight of the 27 EU members – Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Sweden, and Cyprus – recognise Palestine as a state. Of those, only Sweden recognised Palestine as a sovereign state in 2014.

      The EU does not recognise Palestine as a state despite multiple diplomatic efforts within the bloc.

      All African states – excluding Cameroon and Eritrea – recognise Palestine as a state.

      In mid-April, the US blocked a resolution at the UN Security Council that would have paved the way for full Palestinian membership of the world body.

      Casualties mount as Israeli jets, artillery, quadcopter drones attack Gaza overnight

      The Gaza Strip was hit by another night of Israeli air strikes, artillery fire and drone attacks that resulted in casualties from Jabalia in the north to Rafah city in the south, according to the Palestinian state news agency Wafa.

      We reported earlier on the overnight attack that killed 10 people, including a pregnant woman and her unborn child, in the al-Zawayda area near to the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

      Wafa reports that six people were also killed in a missile strike on the home of the Abu Zaida family in the Faluga area of Jabalia, in northern Gaza, while Israeli shelling injured several people in the Tal al-Hawa neighbourhood of Gaza city.

      Israeli warplanes also attacked the Zeitoun neighbourhood in Gaza City, killing at least two people and leaving an unknown number injured.

      In southern Rafah city, several people were injured in an Israel artillery strike on the home of the Farhat family in the Tal as-Sultan neighbourhood, while jet fighters and quadcopter drones attacked the centre of the city.

      More than 1,400 Israeli academics sign petition calling for end to Gaza war

      Academics and administrators from higher education institutions across Israel have signed a petition calling on the Israeli government to end its war on Gaza and secure the return of captives held in the Palestinian enclave.

      The petition, titled “A Call on the Israeli Government to End the War and Ensure the Return of the Hostages”, states that the end of the war and the return of captives are “moral imperatives that align with Israel’s interests”.

      The signatories add that while it supports Israel’s right to self-defence, “this initial purpose has been exhausted” and the government does not have the right to “wage a war without a realistic end or one aimed at the political survival of the leadership”.

      Hamas’s Haniyeh attends Raisi’s funeral in Tehran

      Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has paid tribute to the late Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi at his funeral at the Tehran University.

      “I come in the name of the Palestinian people, in the name of the resistance factions of Gaza … to express our condolences,” Haniyeh told those gathered.

      He recounted meeting Raisi in Tehran during Ramadan, the holy Muslim fasting month, and heard the president say the Palestinian issue remains the key one of the Muslim world.

      The Muslim world “must fulfil their obligations to the Palestinians to liberate their land”, Haniyeh said, recounting Raisi’s words. He also described Raisi calling Hamas’s October 7 attack in southern Israel an “earthquake in the heart of the Zionist entity”.

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