"Israel Downplays Prospects of Truce Following Hamas Response"


 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the possibility of a ceasefire in Gaza following Hamas's presentation of what it described as a "comprehensive vision" to mediators.


In response to the proposals, Netanyahu's office labeled them as "unrealistic."


Hamas is pushing for a permanent cessation of hostilities and a complete Israeli withdrawal from Gaza.


On Thursday night, Gaza's Hamas-run health ministry reported that 20 people were killed as they waited for aid. Israel denies any involvement and accuses armed Palestinians of firing at the crowds.


The incident occurred at the Kuwaiti roundabout on the southern outskirts of Gaza City, a key drop-off point for limited aid supplies reaching northern Gaza. The UN has warned of malnutrition and the looming threat of famine in the region.


According to the latest update from the health ministry, 155 people were injured in the incident. The wounded were rushed to Shifa hospital in Gaza City, where medical teams struggled to cope with the influx of patients and the severity of their injuries.


The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) stated that it had facilitated the passage of 31 aid trucks to northern Gaza. However, approximately one hour before the convoy's arrival, armed Palestinians allegedly opened fire while civilians were awaiting aid. The IDF reported ongoing gunfire as individuals looted the trucks, resulting in some people being run over.


Despite rejecting Hamas's latest ceasefire proposal, Netanyahu announced that an Israeli delegation would travel to Qatar to discuss Israel's objectives for a potential agreement.


Netanyahu also approved plans for a military operation in Rafah, a city in southern Gaza where over a million displaced Palestinians from other parts of Gaza have sought refuge. The IDF intends to move these displaced individuals to "humanitarian islands" within Gaza, although specifics regarding these islands and their operation remain unclear.


Both the UN and the US have cautioned against a large-scale assault in Rafah, emphasizing the need to protect civilians. However, Israel maintains that targeting Rafah is necessary to address the Hamas threat effectively.


Meanwhile, a ship towing a barge loaded with 200 tonnes of food supplies was seen off the Gaza coast as part of an initiative to establish a maritime route for aid delivery.


The vessel, operated by the Spanish charity Open Arms, transported rice, flour, legumes, canned vegetables, and proteins. While Gaza lacks a functioning port, efforts are underway to build a jetty to unload the cargo.


Australia announced the resumption of funding to UNRWA, the main UN aid agency in Gaza, after a temporary halt. Australia's foreign minister urged Israel to allow more aid into Gaza and emphasized UNRWA's legitimacy.


The conflict began when Hamas militants launched an attack on southern Israel on October 7, resulting in casualties and hostages. Since then, thousands have been killed in Gaza, according to the Hamas-run health ministry.

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