The head of American diplomacy Antony Blinken on Sunday urged the Palestinian group Hamas to accept the Israeli plan for a ceasefire in Gaza, where Israel continues its strikes.

“The Secretary of State welcomed Israel's willingness to reach an agreement and affirmed that it is up to Hamas to accept it,” said his spokesperson, Matthew Miller, after a telephone call from Mr. Blinken to Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

The two officials called to discuss “the proposal to achieve a full ceasefire” in the Gaza Strip in exchange for the release of Hamas hostages, according to Mr. Miller.

Deadly Israeli bombings continued to target the Gaza Strip on Sunday, after almost eight months of war.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH), Israel also struck a factory near Aleppo, in northern Syria, during the night from Sunday to Monday, killing “at least twelve pro fighters”. -Iranians of Syrian and foreign nationalities.

Since the start of the civil war in Syria in 2011, Israel has struck the country hundreds of times, targeting the army of Bashar al-Assad's regime and the pro-Iranian groups based there and supporting it.

On April 13, Tehran carried out an unprecedented attack against Israel in response to a strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus which notably killed senior Iranian officers.

In Gaza, despite protests from the international community, the Israeli army continues its offensive in Rafah, a border town with Egypt in the south of the Palestinian territory, intended according to it to destroy the last battalions of the Palestinian movement.

After US President Joe Biden presented an Israeli plan for a ceasefire on Friday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reaffirmed his determination to continue the war until Hamas is eliminated. .

On Sunday, witnesses told AFP they saw Israeli military vehicles in western and central Rafah. They reported explosions, fighting, continuous shooting with drones and Apache helicopters.

The Palestinian Red Crescent said it was receiving calls for help from civilians but added that the bombings were making access to Rafah “very difficult”.

Around a million Palestinians, according to the UN, have already fled the city in the face of advancing Israeli troops.

“We will stay here”

In the north of the territory, three Palestinians were killed, including a child, in a bombing of Gaza City, according to a hospital source. In the center, the sectors of Deir al-Balah, Bureij and Nousseirat were targeted by strikes.

In the devastated landscape of the Jabalia camp in the north, residents searched the ruins, returning after the end of an Israeli ground operation.

“We refuse to stay in schools and shelters. We will clean as much as we can and we will stay here,” one of them, Fares Jabr, told AFP.

The war broke out on October 7 when Hamas commandos infiltrated from the Gaza Strip carried out an unprecedented attack against southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,189 people, mostly civilians, according to a count by the AFP based on official Israeli figures.

Of the 252 people kidnapped during the attack, 121 are still held hostage in Gaza, of whom 37 are dead, according to the Israeli army.

In response, Israel declared war on Hamas, which it considers a terrorist organization along with the United States and the European Union. His army launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip that has left 36,439 dead so far, according to data from Hamas's health ministry.

Qatar, the United States and Egypt, mediators in the conflict, jointly called on Saturday “Hamas and Israel to finalize the ceasefire agreement on the basis of the principles set out by President Joe Biden.”

Netanyahu under pressure

This road map proposed by Israel provides in a first phase, according to Joe Biden, a six-week ceasefire accompanied by an Israeli withdrawal from densely populated areas of Gaza, the release of certain hostages, notably women and sick people, and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The contours of the second phase will be negotiated during the ceasefire, which could become “permanent” if Hamas “respects its commitments”, according to Mr. Biden.

But Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday that the “conditions” for achieving a “permanent ceasefire” had not changed and included the “destruction” of the Islamist movement, in power in Gaza since 2007, as well as the “liberation of all the hostages.

Mr. Netanyahu is under great pressure in his country. His far-right ministers, Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, have threatened to leave the government if it ends the war before ending Hamas, while many Israelis continue to take to the streets to demand an agreement ensuring the release of the hostages.

He nevertheless received the support of the leader of the opposition, Yaïr Lapid, and President Isaac Herzog.

Hamas said it considered “positively” the road map announced by Mr. Biden, after reiterating its demands for a permanent ceasefire and a total Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.

Gallant said on Sunday that Israel, while carrying out its military operations in Gaza, was “preparing an alternative government” to Hamas after the war.

“No milk”

In the territory hit by a major humanitarian disaster, the Rafah crossing point with Egypt, crucial for the delivery of international aid, has been closed since the Israeli army took control of it on May 7 from the side Palestinian.

During a meeting on Sunday in Cairo with American and Israeli representatives, Egypt reiterated its refusal to see the Palestinian side of the border crossing controlled by Israel, according to a senior official cited by Egyptian media.

According to humanitarian organizations, the aid entering the Gaza Strip is insufficient and does not reach the people who need it most.

In a hospital in Deir al-Balah, a 33-year-old woman, Amira al-Taweel, said she could not find milk for her malnourished baby. “Youssef needs milk, in addition to his medical treatment, but there is none in Gaza,” this woman told AFP, holding the little boy on a drip in her arms.

“Children are dying of hunger,” warned World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Margaret Harris on Saturday.

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