Israel-Hamas war live: aid trucks enter Gaza as Rafah crossing on border with Egypt opens | Israel-Hamas war
The Rafah crossing point between Egypt and Gaza has finally opened to allow 20 Egyptian trucks carrying medical supplies across, after a week of intense negotiations involving the US, Israel, Egypt and UN.
Under the agreement, only 20 trucks will be allowed today, all deliveries from the Egyptian Red Crescent to the Palestinian Red Crescent organisation. A UN official said that the next convoy might not be allowed to cross until Monday.
The Israeli government has demanded to see proof that the aid deliveries are not seized or diverted by Hamas, before authorising further deliveries.
“There is no place for Palestinians except their land,” adds the Iraqi prime minister, calling for an immediate ceasefire.
Iraq is calling, he says, for “lifting the siege fully on the Gaza strip” and establishing a fund for the reconstruction of Gaza.
Iraqi prime minister, Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, says the Palestinian people are “facing genocide” and being targeted in hospitals.
“It’s a war crime on full scale,” he says, that started by killing unarmed people and “forcing a siege on the rest of the living”.
“Gaza today is a test, a new test for the new world order that have failed over and over and over in applying what they called for” in justice and freedom.
“Hasn’t the time come yet to put an end to this occupation?”
Giorgia Meloni, prime minister of Italy, says “innocent civilians have left their homes and from our point of view we must respond”.
“We would like to be the starting dialogue point between Mediterranean countries and the European Union.”
It is very important for all leaders present that what is happening in Gaza is “a conflict for civilisation”.
A peaceful dialogue is very important, she says, including the issue of terrorism, which she says has weakened many states, especially Muslim nations.
Hamas “chose terrorism instead of dialogue”, she says.
Two US nationals who were taken captive by Hamas militants during their deadly attack on 7 October have been released in an agreement brokered by Qatar. Natalie Raanan, 17, and her mother, Judith, 59, were transferred through the Rafah crossing into Egypt, where they were met by Israeli security forces.
Our video team put together this report, with reaction from their family members who welcomed their release. Uri Raanan, Natalie’s father and Judith’s ex-husband, said: ‘I spoke with my daughter earlier today. She sounds very good. She looks very good.’ Secretary of state Antony Blinken said the US believes some 200 captives are still held in Gaza, of whom 10 are American.
“There are innocent victims on both sides,” says the Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis. “Collective punishment” must be prohibited, he adds.
“Hamas is a terrorist organisation,” he says, adding that Hamas is “not the Palestinian people”.
Talking to UN officials, the limitations on the humanitarian deliveries we are seeing today are even more stark. As far as they know, there is no relief convoy planned for tomorrow. The next convoy they are aware of is a UN consignment on Monday.
Although the deal was supposed to have been hammered out by Joe Biden on Wednesday, there are a lot of details that are unclear. The UN is still in talks over what verification procedures, to ensure there are no weapons or other contraband in the shipments, will be acceptable to the Israelis.
Also the UN is still trying to get fuel included in the humanitarian relief deliveries, as it is essential for running hospital generators and Gaza’s water desalination and pumping systems.
The Kuwaiti crown prince, Sheikh Meshal al-Ahmad al-Sabah, says the current conflict in Gaza is the result of inaction by the international community and calls for the opening of humanitarian corridors.
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, tells the Cairo peace summit: “We won’t leave, we will remain on our land”.
An excerpt from Guterres’s speech:
Let’s be clear.
The grievances of the Palestinian people are legitimate and long.
We cannot and must not ignore the wider context for these tragic events: the long-standing conflict and 56 years of occupation with no end in sight.
But nothing can justify the reprehensible assault by Hamas that terrorized Israeli civilians.
And those abhorrent attacks can never justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.
International humanitarian law – including the Geneva conventions – must be upheld.
That includes protecting civilians and not attacking hospitals, schools and UN premises that are currently sheltering half a million people.
Our near-term goals must be clear:
Immediate, unrestricted and sustained humanitarian aid for besieged civilians in Gaza.
Immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.
And immediate and dedicated efforts to prevent the spread of violence which is increasing the risk of spillover.
To advance all these efforts, I appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire now.
Our sustained collective efforts and resources have never been needed more.
As we focus on ending the bloodshed, we cannot lose sight of the only realistic foundation for a true peace and stability: a two-State solution.
Israelis must see their legitimate needs for security materialised, and Palestinians must see their legitimate aspirations for an independent State realized, in line with United Nations resolutions, international law and previous agreements.
The time has come for action.
Action to end this godawful nightmare.
Action to build a future worthy of the dreams of the children of Palestine, Israel, the region and our world.
The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has told the Cairo peace summit that the time has come for “action to end this Godawful nightmare” and called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
“I appeal for a humanitarian ceasefire now,” he said.
Yesterday, he said, he saw food trucks lining up at the Rafah border on one side, while there were “empty stomachs on the other”.
He says he is grateful to Egypt for their role in enabling today’s convoy, but that people in Gaza need much more.
“Nothing can justify” the assault by Hamas, he said, but added that these attacks can never justify the “collective punishment” against the Palestinian people.
The Geneva conventions must be upheld, he said, and called for immediate aid for Gaza and immediate unconditional release of hostages.
A two-state solution is the only hope for peace, he said. “The time has come for action. Action to end this Godawful nightmare.”
The Israeli military has said that aid entering Gaza will only go to southern areas and that there is no fuel going in, reports Reuters. 210 people are confirmed as being held hostage in Gaza, they said.
Jordan’s King Abdullah says that forced displacement or internal displacement of Palestinians would constitute a war crime, reports Reuters.
The Egyptian president, Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, tells the Cairo summit that he invited leaders to come to agreement for a roadmap to end the humanitarian disaster in Gaza and revive a path to peace, reports Reuters.
ActionAid communications and advocacy coordinator, Riham Jafari, welcomed today’s aid convoy into Gaza, but said it was “barely a drop in the ocean”.
We welcome this morning’s aid convoy into Gaza, but it’s clear that what’s being delivered today is barely a drop in the ocean. Before this crisis began, around 500 aid trucks would normally cross the border every day providing a vital lifeline to millions of Gazans who were already facing a humanitarian crisis. Aid trucks also did not bring with them the fuel needed to power hospitals, keep ambulances moving, or to pump water from the ground. We’re hearing stories every day of communities coming together to donate whatever fuel they have remaining to keep incubators going for newborns who are in a critical condition. With 2.2 million Gazans facing a humanitarian crisis we’re urgently calling for a ceasefire and for the opening of humanitarian corridors.