Israel-Hamas war: Netanyahu says Israeli forces will push into Rafah despite protests over their assault in Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israeli forces will push into the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah with or without a temporary ceasefire agreement.

“It has to be done,” Netanyahu said on CBS’s Face the Nation on Sunday. “Because total victory is our goal, and total victory is within reach.”

Netanyahu’s comments come amid talks to pause fighting in the war that began on Oct. 7, when Israeli officials say Hamas militants killed 1,200 people and took hundreds of others hostage. Israel’s retaliatory assault on Gaza has left more than 29,000 Palestinians dead, according to the territory’s Hamas-controlled Health Ministry, which estimates that approximately two-thirds of them were women and children.

🇮🇱 Netanyahu says U.S. would be ‘doing a hell of a lot more’ after a terror attack

Israel has come under intense criticism for its bombardment of Gaza, which has also injured tens of thousands and displaced more than half of the 2.3 million living there, the Health Ministry says.

Earlier this month, President Biden said that Israel’s response in Gaza has been “over the top.”

Netanyahu bristled at that assessment Sunday.

“What would America do?” he asked. “Would you not be doing what Israel is doing? You’d be doing a hell of a lot more.”

↘️ U.S. Air Force airman dead after setting himself on fire outside Israeli Embassy

A Secret Service vehicle parked outside of the Israeli Embassy.

A U.S. Secret Service vehicle is seen parked outside of the Israeli Embassy on Monday. (Mark Schiefelbein/AP)

An active-duty member of the U.S. Air Force has died after setting himself on fire outside the Israeli Embassy in Washington, D.C., in an apparent protest over America’s support of Israel’s war in Gaza.

The airman, identified as Aaron Bushnell, 25, of San Antonio, Texas, succumbed to his injuries, the Metropolitan Police Department and U.S. Air Force said Monday.

According to the Associated Press, Bushnell had walked up to the embassy shortly before 1 p.m. on Sunday and began livestreaming on the video streaming platform Twitch, set his phone down, doused himself in accelerant and lit himself ablaze, saying he “will no longer be complicit in genocide.”

🇺🇲 Biden to hold funding talks while activists in Michigan plan primary protest

President Biden speaking at the White House.

President Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House on Friday. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

President Biden is scheduled to sit down with congressional leaders at the White House Tuesday to discuss government funding and a stalled aid package to Ukraine and Israel.

The same day, Muslim and Arab American activists in Michigan are planning a protest vote in Michigan during the state’s Democratic primary over Biden’s support of Israel’s war in Gaza.

The activists are encouraging Michigan Democrats who are against U.S. support of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza to vote “uncommitted” instead of for Biden.

🇵🇸 Palestinian PM resigns over postwar Gaza plans

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh.

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh takes part in a meeting in Ramallah on Monday. (Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh announced his resignation on Monday, Reuters reports:

The move comes amid growing U.S. pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to shake up the Authority as international efforts intensify to stop the fighting in Gaza and begin work on a political structure to govern the enclave after the war.

Shtayyeh’s resignation must still be accepted by Abbas, who may ask him to stay on as caretaker until a permanent replacement is appointed.

The Palestinian Authority, created around 30 years ago as part of the interim Oslo peace accords, has been badly undermined by accusations of ineffectiveness and corruption and the prime minister holds little effective power.

As the AP notes, the move could “open the door to U.S.-backed reforms in the Palestinian Authority, which the U.S. wants to rule postwar Gaza but in a revitalized shape.” The Palestinian Authority is one of two competing Palestinian governing entities, the other being its rival Hamas.

🌍 U.N.’s top court holds last day of hearings on Israel’s occupation

People search for survivors amid the rubble of a collapsed building.

People search for survivors amid the rubble of a collapsed building in Khan Yunis, Gaza, on Monday following an Israeli airstrike. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, the United Nations’ top court heard a final day of arguments on the legality of Israel’s decades-long occupation of Palestinian territories.

The hearings mark the first time the International Court of Justice has been asked to rule on Israel’s decades-long “occupation, settlement and annexation” of the territories, including the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Turkey’s Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz described the occupation as “the real obstacle to peace” and urged the judges at The Hague to rule it illegal.

“The unfolding situation after Oct. 7 proves once again that, without addressing the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there can be no peace in the region,” he said

Israel is not taking part in the hearings, which it says are prejudiced.

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