Russia, China veto US resolution on Gaza

  • Russia and China veto a UN Security Council draft resolution on Gaza proposed by the United States.
  • The US draft was “an effective green light for Israel to mount a military operation in Rafah“, says the Russian envoy to the UN.

    Hamas lauds rejection of ‘biased’ US resolution at UNSC

    Hamas welcomed the resounding rejection of the US draft resolution at the UN Security Council calling for a Gaza ceasefire.

    The group that governs the strip says the resolution would enable Israel to continue its military operations and “gave it cover and legitimacy for the war of extermination” against Palestinians.

    “The resolution did not include an explicit demand for an immediate cessation of the Zionist aggression against Gaza,” it said.

    Hamas also thanked Russia, China, and Algeria for voting against the “biased” resolution and said the humanitarian situation in Gaza demands an urgent ceasefire.

    The group accused the US government of providing military and political backing for Israel’s war, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 32,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children.

    ‘Millions’ pour into Yemeni streets in weekly pro-Palestinian marches

    A sea of people took to the streets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen in the latest march to oppose Israel’s war on Gaza and express solidarity with Palestinians.

    The footage below shows the al-Sabeen Square in the capital Sanaa, which has been the main gathering place for demonstrators since the start of the war – and US and UK attacks on Yemen since January to stop Houthi attacks in the Red Sea.

    Nasreddin Amer, deputy head of the media authority of the Houthis, says “millions” joined the marches on the second Friday of Ramadan as with previous weeks.

    Will Blinken’s Middle East visit impact the war on Gaza?

    The US secretary of state is on his sixth visit to the Middle East since Israel started its war on Gaza last October.

    So what has Antony Blinken got to offer this time? And can Washington pressure Israel’s government to change disastrous direction?

    US must suspend arms transfers to Israel ‘to stop genocide’

    Democratic politician Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez told the US House of Representatives the American government must temporarily stop giving weapons to Israel in light of its “genocidal acts” in Gaza.

    “If you want to know what an unfolding genocide looks like, open your eyes,” she said in a speech.

    “It looks like the forced famine of 1.1 million innocents. It looks like thousands of children eating grass as their bodies consume themselves while trucks of food are slowed and halted just miles away. It looks like good and decent people who do nothing, or too little, too late.

    “The time is now to force compliance with US law and the standards of humanity, and fulfill our obligations to the American people to suspend the transfer of US weapons to the Israeli government in order to stop and prevent further atrocities.”

    White House to discuss ‘alternatives’ to ground operation in Rafah

    “There’s a million and a half people there,” White House spokesperson John Kirby told a regular news briefing. “We believe a major ground offensive is a mistake.”

    Calling the threatened Rafah invasion “a disaster”, Kirby said US officials would share possible options with the Israelis when they visit Washington next week.

    More details on the visit will be released in the coming days, he added.

    Israel’s Rafah operation a ‘red line’; must be in UN resolution: France

    France’s ambassador to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, says the language on the US draft resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza was “not strong enough”.

    “If you make the ceasefire dependent on the release of hostages, you take the risk of having thousands and thousands of more killings in the Gaza Strip in the weeks and months to come,” de Riviere told Al Jazeera.

    “So you need the immediate and unconditional release of hostages – but you need a ceasefire right now. It has to stop. What’s happening right now is totally contrary to the Geneva Conventions.”

    The French envoy said the draft’s language on Israel’s plan to attack Rafah was “weak as well”.

    “You have to explain to Israel an operation on Rafah is off limits. It’s a red line and this has been said by many leaders as well. This should be in the resolution.”

    Israeli military attacks Hezbollah buildings with air raids

    The Israeli military released aerial footage it says shows massive air raids on structures used by Hezbollah.

    The attacks targeted buildings in southern Lebanon’s Khiam, Aita al-Shaab, and Taybeh, it said.

    Deadly skirmishes on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon have raised the prospect of a broader conflict in the Middle East after Israel attacked the Gaza Strip last October.

    Iran’s FM Amirabdolahian holds phone calls with Hamas, PIJ leaders

    Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian has discussed Israel’s war on Gaza in separate phone calls with the political leaders of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).

    Amir-Abdollahian told Hamas politburo chief Ismail Haniyeh that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “has reached the end of the line and is just struggling for his own survival”.

    He added the UN Security Council must take action to “end the suffering of Palestinians”.

    Haniyeh was quoted as telling Amir-Abdollahian by the Iranian foreign ministry that “resistance fighters have high spirits and capability to stand up to the Zionist killing machine”, and the two discussed continuing negotiations with Israel.

    Amir-Abdollahian also addressed “field and political developments” in the Gaza Strip with PIJ Secretary-General Ziyad al-Nakhalah.

    Israel football match cancelled over ‘current security situation’: UEFA

    The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) has cancelled a friendly football match between Israel and Bosnia-Herzegovina “in light of the current security situation”.

    The two teams were eliminated on Thursday in qualifying playoffs for the European Championship tournament and were scheduled for a UEFA-organised match on March 26 in the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo.

    The football body said in a short statement the two have agreed to cancel the match “following the elimination of their respective teams from UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying and in light of the current security situation”, without elaborating.

    Judicial review demanded of UK government’s arming of Israel

    The Global Legal Action Network (GLAN) and Al-Haq rights groups have been allowed by the UK government to participate in hearings that seek a judicial review of London’s refusal to stop arming Israel during its war on Gaza.

    David Lammy, the shadow foreign minister, urged Foreign Secretary David Cameron to publish formal legal advice on whether Israel is violating international law.

    “Speaking about intent in the context of international humanitarian law is quite misleading. If a state fails to distinguish military and civilian objects, or to take reasonable precautions or to make a proper proportionality assessment, that amounts to a violation and it’s immaterial whether or not they intended to cause such harm,” Charlotte Andrews-Brisco, a lawyer with GLAN, told the Guardian newspaper.

    “This is a textbook case of the war crime of starvation of individuals as a method of warfare.”

    Blinken says Russia, China ‘cynically vetoed’ Gaza resolution

    US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused Russia and China of “cynically” using their vetoes to block a US-backed draft resolution at the UN Security Council on a Gaza ceasefire.

    “On the resolution, which got very strong support, but then was cynically vetoed by Russia and China, I think we were trying to show the international community a sense of urgency about getting a ceasefire,” Blinken told reporters in Israel.

    Hezbollah launches new strikes on Israeli positions near Lebanon

    The armed Lebanese group claimed four attacks on Israeli positions, the latest an Israeli-occupied area in southern Lebanon’s Kfarchouba.

    Hezbollah said it hit a deployment of Israeli soldiers with artillery strikes in Jal al-Alam, killing at least one soldier and wounding another.

    It also claimed an attack on the Metulla military site that hit a tank, and said it targeted soldiers in the vicinity of Zarit barracks with artillery fire.

    UN aid chief: ‘We need Israel to lift all impediments to Gaza aid’

    Martin Griffiths, the UN’s chief emergency relief coordinator, in a rare move directly names Israel as responsible for “blocking” Gaza aid.

    He adds Israel needs to “lift all impediments to aid” and to agree to an immediate ceasefire.

    “Limits to aid distribution within Gaza are set by those who block the movements of convoys meant to feed tens of thousands of critically hungry people,” he writes on X.

    “They are set by those who denied the access of every fifth humanitarian mission to northern Gaza in the first half of March. They are set by those who block entry of life-saving supplies for hospitals and water purification.”

    Euro-Med Monitor: Israel ‘systematically killing’ Palestinian tech experts

    The Geneva-based Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor says the Israeli army has systematically assassinated dozens of programmers, information technology experts, and computer engineering analysts in the Gaza Strip.

    The rights group compiled a list of the hundreds of tech professionals killed by the Israeli military in the past few months It included programmer Haitham al-Nabahin, who was killed with his wife in a house they fled to in Bureji refugee camp.

    In addition to killing the experts, the Israeli army has also been destroying the headquarters of communication companies and other technology infrastructure, the organisation reports.

    “These crimes appear to be part of Israel’s public policies aimed at making the Gaza Strip uninhabitable by destroying fundamental life structures and eliminating talent. This will certainly lead to a paralysed society incapable of quickly recovering from the disastrous fallout from Israel’s serious crimes committed during that period.”

    West Bank land seizure largest since Oslo accords: Watchdog

    Earlier, the Israeli government announced it’s confiscating 800 hectares (1,980 acres) of land in the occupied West Bank.

    Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said the seizure is the single largest since the 1993 Oslo Accords, and “2024 marks a peak in the extent of declarations of state land”.

    Peace Now called the timing of the announcement a “provocation” as it came during a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has been critical of settlement expansion by the hard-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Maersk continues to avoid Red Sea route despite EU security operation

    The shipping giant says it’s aware other transportation companies have continued sailing through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, or announced plans to resume sailing, but it won’t follow suit.

    “We continue with our own assessment that the current situation does not allow us to make a similar decision,” Maersk said in a statement on its website.

    “We still believe sailing via the Cape of Good Hope and around Africa is the most reasonable solution at the moment, and the one that currently allows the best supply-chain stability,”

    Maersk, one of the world’s biggest container shipping companies, suspended Red Sea traffic on January 5 and has since redirected ships via the Cape of Good Hope.

    The EU’s naval mission in the southern Red Sea was launched in February to help protect the key maritime trade route from drone and missile attacks by Yemen’s Houthi group.

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