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Israel-Gaza live updates: UN court to hold hearings over Israel’s Rafah attacks

Written by on May 15, 2024

(NEW YORK) — As the Israel-Hamas war crosses the seven-month mark, renewed negotiations are underway to secure the release of hostages taken by the terrorist organization, as Israeli forces continue to prepare for an apparent invasion of the southern Gazan town of Rafah.

Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern:

May 14, 7:02 PM
US moving forward with $1B in new weapons deals for Israel: Sources

The Biden administration notified Congress on Tuesday that it is moving forward with more than $1 billion in new weapons deals for Israel, according to sources familiar with the matter at the White House and on Capitol Hill.

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters Monday that the United States is continuing to send military assistance to Israel. The only shipment paused involves the 2,000-pound bombs, for fear they’d be used in a major invasion in Rafah, according to a U.S. official.

May 14, 12:52 PM
450,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah, UN says

About 450,000 Palestinians have been displaced from Rafah, fleeing to safety, according to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

“Inland in Rafah is now a ghost town. It’s hard to believe there were over one million people sheltering here just a week ago,” UNRWA spokesperson Louise Wateridge said. “People face constant exhaustion, hunger and fear. Nowhere is safe. An immediate ceasefire is the only hope.”

The development comes as airstrikes continued to hit northern and southern Gaza Tuesday. The Israeli military said it had hit 120 targets in the last 24 hours.

May 14, 12:13 PM
International court to hold hearings over Israel’s Rafah attacks

The International Court of Justice said it will hold hearings over Israel’s attacks on Rafah during the war in Gaza, after South Africa sought new emergency measures as part of its ongoing case accusing Israel of violating the Genocide Convention in its offensive on Gaza.

Hearings will be held on Thursday and Friday in the Hague.

South Africa first brought the case before the ICJ in December alleging Israel violated its obligations in its offensive with regard to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

May 13, 4:16 PM
White House says world should be calling on Hamas to accept hostage proposal

National security adviser Jake Sullivan stressed the U.S. is working “urgently and relentlessly” to get a hostage deal in place, but did not have any major progress to share Monday.

Sullivan noted that he met with the families of American hostages this past Friday, and that “they know how hard the president is working on this.”

On where the hostage negotiations stand currently, Sullivan turned to the architect of the Good Friday agreement in Ireland.

“Sen. [George] Mitchell said quite famously, “‘Negotiations are 1,000 days of failure and one day of success.’ And right now, we’re in the former days rather than the latter day,” he said.

“[T]here could be a cease-fire tomorrow if Hamas simply released women, wounded and elderly hostages, all innocents. Israel put a forward-leaning proposal on the table for a cease-fire and hostage deal. The world should be calling on Hamas to come back to the table and accept a deal,” Sullivan said.

-ABC News’ Molly Nagle

May 13, 4:06 PM
US aware of American doctors trapped in Gaza

The State Department on Monday said it was aware of reports that U.S. doctors were trapped in Gaza, and that it’s been working with Israel to reopen the Rafah gate so U.S. citizens and other foreign nationals can leave.

“I can say that we’re aware of these reports of U.S. citizen doctors and medical professionals currently unable to leave Gaza,” principal deputy spokesman Vedant Patel said. “As I said before, we don’t control this border crossing. And this is a incredibly complex situation that has very serious implications for the safety and security of U.S. citizens. But we’re continuing to work around the clock with the government of Israel, with the government of Egypt, to work on this issue.”

He added, “Rafah is a conduit for the safe departure of foreign nationals, which is why we continue to want to see it get opened as swiftly as possible.”

The State Department said it does not have an estimate of Americans still trapped in Gaza, but that it’s helped 1,800 U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to depart Gaza so far.

“Unfortunately, this is not a border crossing the United States controls but we are continuing to work around the clock with the government of Israel, with the government of Egypt on whatever we can do to make sure that Rafah gets open. … We need to see Rafah open as soon as possible,” Patel said.

-ABC News’ Anne Flaherty

May 13, 2:23 PM
UN worker killed after vehicle struck in Gaza

A United Nations worker was killed and another injured after their vehicle was struck in Gaza on Monday, the organization said.

The staff members of the U.N. Department of Safety and Security were traveling to the European Hospital in Rafah when their U.N. vehicle was struck, the U.N. said.

Details on the incident were not immediately available. The U.N. said it is still gathering information.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has called for a full investigation, his spokesperson said.

“Humanitarian workers must be protected,” Guterres said on X. “I condemn all attacks on U.N. personnel and reiterate my urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire & the release of all hostages.”

More than 190 U.N. staff members have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to Guterres.

Today a @UN vehicle was struck in Gaza, killing one of our colleagues & injuring another.
More than 190 UN staff have been killed in Gaza.
Humanitarian workers must be protected.
I condemn all attacks on UN personnel and reiterate my urgent appeal for an immediate humanitarian…

— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) May 13, 2024

May 13, 3:44 AM
Almost 360,000 people have fled Rafah, UN agency says

Almost 360,000 people have fled from the southern Gazan city of Rafah since Israel issued an evacuation order last week, the United Nations agency operating in Gaza said on Monday.

“There’s nowhere to go,” the U.N. Agency for Palestine Refugees said on social media. “There’s NO safety without a cease-fire.”

The agency had said Sunday that 300,000 people had evacuated the city as Israel weighs a full-scale invasion.

-ABC News’ Kevin Shalvey

May 12, 5:39 PM
IDF say its opened new crossing for humanitarian aid into Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces has announced that it has opened a new crossing to bring humanitarian aid into the famine-stricken Gaza.

The military announced in a Sunday press release the opening of the “Western Erez crossing” between Israel and northern Gaza in coordination with the U.S.

According to the military, the new crossing is located west of the Erez crossing, closer to the seashore. The crossing was constructed by the Israeli military “as part of the effort to increase routes for aid to Gaza, particularly to the North of the strip.”

Earlier Sunday, IDF said it launched a large-scale operation in the area of Jabaliya in the North, while intensifying its military operations in the Eastern portion of Rafah and the Gaza side of the Rafah crossing. It said that it had called on the civilian population to evacuate from Jabaliya to shelters in the west part of Gaza City.

-ABC News’ Dragana Jovanovic

May 12, 2:27 PM
White House National Security Advisor speaks to Israeli counterpart, expresses concern over pending Rafah invasion

In a phone call Sunday with his Israeli counterpart, White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan expressed an “ironclad U.S. commitment” to Israel but also voiced the Biden administration’s concerns about Israel’s major military operations in Gaza, according to the White House.

During the call with Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi, Sullivan reiterated President Joe Biden’s “longstanding concerns over the potential for a major military ground operation into Rafah, where over one million people have taken shelter,” according to a readout of the call that was released by the White House.

“He [Sullivan] discussed alternative courses of action to ensure the defeat of Hamas everywhere in Gaza,” the readout said. “Mr. Hanegbi confirmed that Israel is taking U.S. concerns into account.”

The White House said Sullivan also expressed condolences on Israel’s Memorial Day, the first since Hamas’ surprise Oct. 7 attacks on Israel. The Hamas attack killed 1,200 people, most of them civilians, according to Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office.

Sullivan and Hanegbi also reviewed discussions by officials on both sides of the war about alternatives for a Rafah invasion and agreed to plan an in-person meeting soon, according to the White House.

-ABC News’ Michelle Stoddart

May 12, 6:16 AM
300,000 have fled Rafah, UN agency says

More than 300,000 people have fled Rafah in the week since Israel issued a partial evacuation order, the United Nations agency operating in Gaza said on Sunday.

The U.N. Agency for Palestine Refugees called the evacuation “forced and inhumane.”

“There is nowhere safe to go,” the agency said on social media, repeating the phrase three times for emphasis.

The Israeli military late Saturday called again for civilians to evacuate from much of the eastern part of the city, which is in southern Gaza.

Israel Defense Forces entered Rafah last week, in what they called a “precise” operation ahead of potential invasion.

“Prior to our operations we urge civilians to temporarily move towards humanitarian areas and move away from the crossfire that Hamas puts them in,” the Israel Defense Forces said on a post on Telegram. “Our war is against Hamas, not against the people of Gaza.”

-ABC News’ Dragana Jovanovic and Kevin Shalvey

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