The Latest | China calls for Palestine to join UN as international criticism of Gaza war mounts

China reiterated calls to admit Palestine to the U.N. on Thursday, and Norway warned companies against doing business in Israeli settlements, as international criticism of Israel’s war in Gaza mounted.

After nearly five months of war, much of Gaza is in ruins. International pressure is growing for Israel and Hamas to reach a deal that would halt the fighting and release the remaining Israeli hostages held by Hamas.

On Wednesday, South Africa went to the United Nations’ top court seeking additional orders for Israel to let aid into the Gaza Strip, and the British foreign minister said Israel’s allies were losing patience over the humanitarian situation.

South Africa accuses Israel of violating provisional measures imposed by the International Court of Justice on Jan. 26, when judges ordered Israel to do all it could to prevent death, destruction and any acts of genocide in Gaza.

Israel’s near-total blockade of Gaza and the ongoing fighting have made it nearly impossible to deliver supplies in most of Gaza, aid groups say. Many of the estimated 300,000 people still living in northern Gaza have been reduced to eating animal fodder to survive.

Israel launched its offensive after Hamas-led militants stormed across the border on Oct. 7, killing some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducting around 250. Over 100 hostages were released in November in exchange for 240 Palestinians imprisoned by Israel.

The number of Palestinians killed has climbed above 30,700, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. It does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its figures, but says women and children make up around two-thirds of the total casualties. It says over 72,000 people have been wounded.


— Houthi missile attack kills two crew members in Yemen rebels’ first fatal assault on shipping.

— The hostage crisis poses a dilemma for Israel and offers a path to victory for Hamas.

— Few Americans want U.S. more involved in current wars in Ukraine and Gaza, AP-NORC poll finds.

— A Mideast Starbucks franchisee is firing 2,000 workers after being targeted in an Israel-Hamas war boycott.

— Indiana lawmakers in standoff on antisemitism bill as critics of Israel seek changes.

— Find more of AP’s coverage at

Here’s the latest:

CAIRO — Egyptian officials say negotiations over a cease-fire in Gaza have reached an impasse over Hamas’ demand for a phased process culminating in an end to the war.

The U.S., Egypt and Qatar have been trying for weeks to broker an agreement on a six-week cease-fire and the release of 40 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for Palestinians imprisoned in Israel.

The officials said Thursday that Hamas has agreed on the main terms of such an agreement as a first stage, but wants commitments that it will lead to an eventual, more permanent cease-fire.

Hamas has said it will not release all of the remaining hostages without a full Israeli withdrawal from the territory. Palestinian militants are believed to be holding around 100 hostages, and the remains of 30 others, captured during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into Israel that triggered the war.

Hamas is also demanding the release of a large number of prisoners, including top militants serving life sentences, in exchange for the remaining hostages.

Israel has publicly ruled out those demands, saying it intends to resume the offensive after any cease-fire with the goal of destroying Hamas.

The Egyptian officials say Israel wants to confine the negotiations to the more limited agreement. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the negotiations with media.

Both officials said mediators are still pressing the two parties to soften their positions.

The mediators had hoped to reach a deal before the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which is expected to begin Sunday. The month of dawn-to-dusk fasting often sees Israeli-Palestinian tensions rise over access to a major holy site in Jerusalem.


By Associated Press writer Samy Magdy

COPENHAGEN, Denmark – Norway’s government on Thursday urged Norwegian companies to avoid trade and business activities that contribute to maintaining illegal Israeli settlements. Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide said that “for years, Norway has been clear that the settlement policy in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is in violation of international law, including humanitarian law and human rights.”

“Norwegian businesses should be aware that, through economic or financial activity in the Israeli settlements in violation of international law, they risk contributing to violations of international humanitarian law or human rights,” Barth Eide said.

He said that last year “was also the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since the UN began recording. I repeat that the injustice to which the Palestinians are subjected must stop,” he said.

BEIJING — China’s foreign minister is demanding that other members of the U.N. Security Council stop blocking Palestine from becoming a member of the United Nations.

Wang Yi reiterated China’s call for a major international conference to draw up a roadmap and timetable for a two-state solution.

“We support Palestine becoming a full member of the United Nations and call on individual members of the Security Council not to set obstacles for this any more,” he said Thursday at a news conference during the annual meeting of China’s legislature.

Zhang Jun, China’s U.N. ambassador, said in January that his country supports U.N. membership for Palestine as a first step toward the creation of a Palestinian state. The Security Council needs to send a clear and unequivocal signal, reaffirming the urgency of the two-state solution as the sole feasible way out, he was quoted as saying by China’s official state media.

China, one of the five permanent members of the Security Council, backed Palestine becoming a U.N. member in a joint statement issued last June during a state visit to China by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — At least 15 people were killed by three Israeli airstrikes that hit buildings in central Gaza.

The bodies were taken to Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah, where an Associated Press journalist counted the bodies as they arrived. People were reported to be still trapped under the rubble.

Two strikes hit buildings in Deir al-Balah and a third in the Nuseirat refugee camp.

Source link

About The Author

Scroll to Top