Thursday May 23rd, 2024 1:54AM

The Latest | Officials at Group of Seven meeting call for new sanctions against Iran

By The Associated Press

Israel has vowed to respond to Iran’s unprecedented weekend attack, leaving the region bracing for further escalation after months of fighting in Gaza. Israel’s allies have been urging Israel to hold back on any response to the attack that could spiral.

Officials at a Group of Seven meeting in Italy on Thursday are calling for new sanctions against Iran over the attack.

The Iranian attack on Saturday marked the first time that Tehran has launched a direct military assault on Israel. Israeli authorities said Iran launched more than 300 drones and missiles, 99% of which were intercepted by air defenses in tandem with the U.S., Britain, France and Jordan. The attack took place less than two weeks after a suspected Israeli strike in Syria killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consulate building in Damascus.

Regional tensions have increased since the start of the latest Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7, when Hamas and Islamic Jihad — two militant groups backed by Iran — carried out a cross-border attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped 250 others. Israel responded with an offensive in Gaza that has caused widespread devastation and killed more than 33,900 people, according to local health officials.

The U.N. Security Council is scheduled to vote Thursday afternoon on a resolution that would give a green light for a Palestinian state to join the United Nations as a full member.

Israel says such steps are an attempt to sidestep the negotiating process. The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has promised to veto any resolution endorsing Palestinian membership.

Currently:

— Officials at G7 meeting call for expanded Iran sanctions

— China and Indonesia call for a cease-fire in Gaza.

— Netanyahu brushes off calls for restraint, saying Israel will decide how to respond to Iran’s attack.

— UN agency helping Palestinians in Gaza seeks support against Israel’s demands for its dissolution.

— Lebanon says Israeli agents likely killed Hezbollah-linked currency exchanger near Beirut.

— Israelis grapple with how to celebrate Passover, a holiday about freedom, while many remain captive.

Here is the latest:

PALESTINIAN PROFESSOR WHO SAID ISRAEL IS COMMITTING GENOCIDE IS ARRESTED

JERUSALEM — Israeli police have arrested a Palestinian professor for speech deemed incendiary after she said Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and rallied colleagues and students to support a cease-fire.

Police arrested Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian on Thursday at her home in the Old City of Jerusalem, said Hassan Jabareen, director of Adalah, a legal rights group, and part of a team representing her.

Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a law professor at Hebrew University whose work focuses on gender-based violence. The university suspended her in March after she circulated a petition calling for a cease-fire in Gaza and said in interviews that Israel was committing genocide against Palestinians.

“What she’s said is critical of the Israel government,” said Jabareen. “It does not constitute a crime.”

National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who oversees the national police force, issued a statement praising the police.

“This arrest sends an important message — whoever incites against the state of Israel cannot hide behind this or that position or title,” he said.

US AND ISRAEL ARE DISCUSSING RAFAH

WASHINGTON — U.S. and Israeli officials are holding a virtual meeting to discuss a possible major Israeli military offensive in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and Washington’s opposition to that.

White House national security spokesman John Kirby told reporters aboard Air Force One as President Joe Biden flew to a campaign stop in Philadelphia on Thursday that he didn’t want to comment extensively on a meeting that was still occurring. He said U.S. officials will release a readout after it concludes.

“The main purpose really is to talk about Rafah,” Kirby said “and share our continued concerns over a major ground offensive there.”

GUTERRES REITERATES CALLS FOR DE-ESCALATION OF TENSIONS

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief says “the Middle East is on a precipice” and is urging all countries to work together to prevent any actions that could spark a regionwide conflict.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told a ministerial meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that “this moment of maximum peril must be a time for maximum restraint.”

“One miscalculation, one miscommunication, one mistake, could lead to the unthinkable: a full-scale regional conflict that would be devastating for all involved, and for the rest of the world,” he warned.

Guterres said the international community has a shared responsibility to engage in “comprehensive diplomatic action” to de-escalate violence and tensions in the Mideast, starting with Gaza.

UN SECURITY COUNCIL TO VOTE THURSDAY ON PALESTINIAN MEMBERSHIP

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council scheduled a vote for late Thursday on a resolution that would give a green light for a Palestinian state to join the United Nations as a full member. The U.S. is expected to veto the move, which is opposed by its ally Israel.

Malta, which holds the council presidency this month, announced Thursday morning that the vote will take place at 5 p.m. EDT. It will follow a ministerial meeting focusing on the Palestinians’ bid to raise their status from a non-member observer state to full membership.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas delivered the Palestinian Authority’s application to become the 194th member of the United Nations to then Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sept. 23, 2011. That bid failed because the Palestinians didn’t get the required minimum support of nine of the Security Council’s 15 members.

The United States had promised to veto any council resolution endorsing Palestinian membership. The U.S. says the issue is something that needs to be negotiated between Israel and the Palestinians.

Israeli-Palestinian negotiations have been stalled for years, and Israel’s current right-wing government is dominated by hard-liners who oppose Palestinian statehood.

GAZA HEALTH MINISTRY REPORTS 71 PEOPLE KILLED IN THE LAST 24 HOURS

DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — The Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip says that 71 bodies were taken to hospitals over the past 24 hours.

It said Thursday that a total of at least 33,970 Palestinian have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war erupted more than six months ago. The ministry does not distinguish between civilians and combatants in its tallies but has said women and children make up most of those killed.

Palestinian medical officials say an Israeli airstrike overnight on the southern town of Rafah killed eight members of a family, including four children and three women, who had been displaced from northern Gaza.

More than half of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million have sought refuge in Rafah, on the border with Egypt. Israel has vowed to expand its ground offensive to the city.

The Health Ministry says people in Gaza City and other parts of the north are meanwhile living with no “real” medical services. It says northern Gaza needs field hospitals with 200 beds that also include operation rooms, intensive care units and laboratories.

OFFICIALS AT G7 MEETING CALL FOR NEW SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN

CAPRI, Italy — Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani opened the first working session of the Group of Seven meeting in Italy by calling for new sanctions against Iran for its weekend attack on Israel.

The Israel-Hamas war and Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine were taking center stage at the meeting of foreign ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States. On Wednesday, EU leaders meeting in Brussels vowed to ramp up sanctions on Iran to target its drone and missile deliveries to proxies in Gaza, Yemen and Lebanon.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said at the G7 meeting that the existing EU sanctions regime would be strengthened and expanded to punish Tehran and help prevent future attacks on Israel. At the same time, he said, Israel needed to exercise restraint.

“I don’t want to exaggerate but we are on the edge of a war, a regional war in the Middle East, which will be sending shockwaves to the rest of the world, and in particular to Europe,” he warned. “So stop it.”

FAMILY OF NEPALI MAN HELD BY HAMAS APPEAL FOR HIS RELEASE

KATHMANDU, Nepal — Family members of the Nepali man still being held captive by Hamas militants after the Oct. 7 attack in Israel have called for his release.

Relatives of Bipin Joshi, 23, traveled from their home in western Nepal to the capital, Kathmandu, to make a public appeal on Thursday.

“My life has been devastated since his kidnapping,” his father, Mahananda Joshi, said. “He is my only son without whom I cannot even imagine living my life. I love my son more than my life."

“I beg of you to kindly bring my son back home safe and alive,” he said.

Joshi was abducted in the Oct. 7 attack in which 10 Nepalis were killed. Six other Nepalis survived, but many of them sustained injuries. They have returned to Nepal.

There has been no news of Joshi since the day he was taken captive. Nepal's government has given several assurances to the family that it was working with Israeli authorities to get him freed. But relatives were appealing for more to be done.

CHINA AND INDONESIA CALL FOR A CEASE-FIRE IN GAZA

The Chinese and Indonesian foreign ministers called for an immediate and lasting cease-fire in Gaza after a meeting Thursday in Jakarta, condemning the humanitarian costs of the Israel-Hamas war.

Indonesia's foreign minister, Retno Marsudi, told reporters that the two countries share the same view about the importance of a cease-fire and of resolving the Palestinian problem through a two-state solution.

“I am sure that China would use its influence to prevent escalation,” Marsudi said, adding that China and Indonesia “would also fully support Palestine’s membership in the U.N.”

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi blamed the United States for holding up cease-fire resolutions at the United Nations.

The U.S. vetoed a number of proposed U.N. Security Council resolutions because they didn’t tie a cease-fire directly to the release of Israel hostages, or condemn Hamas’ attacks that prompted the war, before allowing a resolution to a pass with an abstention in late March.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP World News
© Copyright 2024 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.