Reports in the Wall Street Journal and other US media claim that the White House is planning to transfer to Israel $320 million worth of equipment for kits that turn unguided bombs into more precise, GPS-guided munitions. The New York Times reports that the order comes on top of an earlier one for the same equipment, that was valued at almost $403 million. It also points out that Israel has been using the kits during its bombing campaign in Gaza. The US newspapers refer to correspondence from the Biden administration to Congress sent last week, notifying it about the transfer of Spice Family Gliding Bomb Assemblies. The transfer comes as several countries have called for a ceasefire in Gaza, as the civilian death toll from Israeli air strikes continues to rise.
Gaza has become “graveyard for children”
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict on Monday, as he alleged that the bombarded Gaza Strip had become a “graveyard for children”. The New York Times quotes him telling reporters at the UN headquarters: “The unfolding catastrophe makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour. The parties to the conflict – and, indeed, the international community – face an immediate and fundamental responsibility: to stop this inhuman collective suffering and dramatically expand humanitarian aid to Gaza.” According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, 10,222 people have died, including more than 4,100 children, in the Gaza Strip since Israel launched its strikes in retaliation.
UN announces $1.2 billion UN humanitarian appeal
Guterres was formally launching a recently-announced $1.2 billion UN humanitarian appeal to help 2.7 million Palestinians over the entire Gaza Strip and parts of the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Aid trucks have been entering into Gaza from Egypt through the Rafah crossing. Seventy trucks crossed Monday, containing medical supplies, food, and water, but no fuel. “Without fuel, newborn babies in incubators and patients on life support will die,” Guterres said. Israel has imposed a blockade of fuel imports into the Strip. “The way forward is clear. A humanitarian ceasefire – now!” Guterres said.
Netanyahu open to ‘tactical’ pauses
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has again ruled out a ceasefire, but said he would be open to the possibility of ‘tactical pauses’ in the Israeli Defense Forces’ ground operations against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. “We’ve had them before. I suppose we’ll check the circumstances in order to enable goods, humanitarian goods, to come in, or our hostages, individual hostages, to leave,” Netanyahu said in an interview with US broadcaster ABC on Monday. “But I don’t think there’s going to be a general ceasefire.” Netanyahu discussed the possibility of such pauses with US President Joe Biden in a phone call on Monday, the White House said.
Von der Leyen proposes five principles for Gaza’s future
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed five “basic principles” to guide the future of the Gaza Strip once the Israel-Hamas war comes to an end. She told the annual conference of EU Ambassadors in Brussels on Monday morning that the principles are anchored in the perspective of a two-State solution, and are as follows: No safe haven for terrorists; No Hamas-led government; No long-term Israeli security presence; No forced displacement of Palestinians; and No sustained blockade. The Commission chief announced a further €25 million in humanitarian aid for Gaza, bringing total funding for this year to €100 million, and said her executive was working on a “maritime corridor” from Cyprus to complement the Rafah crossing, the only route currently available to bring in emergency supplies. Observers noted the speech represented a new tone for von der Leyen, who, together with European Parliament President Roberta Metsoila, was criticised in the first days of the conflict for adopting a position seen as overly one-sided in favour of Israel. Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, was also present at the event and warned: “This is the last chance for the two-State solution. If we don’t succeed, we will be definitely in a spiral of violence and mutual hate for generations.”
Climate change threatens to reverse health gains
A new multi-agency report co-ordinated by the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) has warned that, as the world warms at a faster rate than at any point in recorded history, climate change is threatening to reverse decades of progress towards better health and well-being, particularly in the most vulnerable communities. According to WMO Secretary General Prof. Petteri Taalas, “the onset of El Niño in 2023 will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records further, triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean, and making the challenge even greater, meaming more extreme weather and poor air quality, shifting infectious disease patterns, and food and water insecurity.”
Boris Becker: ‘it was bad’
Boris Becker ended up in prison for eight months after committing financial fraud. “Life in prison is very dangerous,” admits the former top tennis player, according to Sport247 – South Africa. “I had watched some films beforehand, to prepare myself a bit, but I didn’t expect it to be so bad. It’s really scary. It’s a real punishment… It’s meant to be, but it’s an intense punishment.”
Main photo credit: The Wall Street Journal