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Live updates: Israel-Hamas war, Rafah invasion looms as Israel battles Hamas in the north



Live updates: Israel-Hamas war, Rafah invasion looms as Israel battles Hamas in the north

Arab leaders are collectively calling for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping forces on occupied Palestinian territories until a two-state solution is reached.

At the Arab League summit in Bahrain the leaders issued the ‘Manama Declaration,’ which includes a call to set a timeframe to reach a two-state solution, and for the UN Security Council to issue a resolution to establish a Palestinian state.

The UN does not have peacekeeping troops in Israel or the Palestinian territories but has more than 10,000 peacekeepers along Israel’s border regions, like the UNIFIL in Lebanon and the UNDOF in Syria.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah were among the conference attendees who delivered speeches mainly focused on the war in Gaza. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres were also in attendance, and both delivered speeches. 

Guterres echoed a vision for the two-state solution, saying:

“The only permanent way to end the cycle of violence and instability is through a two-state solution, Israel and Palestine living side-by-side in peace and security, with Jerusalem as the capital of both states.”

The US has also called for a two-state solution, with President Joe Biden saying in January that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could ultimately be convinced. “There are a number of types of two-state solutions,” Biden said at the time.

As the war in Gaza rages on, the ‘day after’ question is causing rifts inside Israel and among Arab countries. 

Netanyahu told Phil McGraw, known as Dr. Phil, in an interview last week that he envisions help from wealthy Arab countries, like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, to run Gaza. But the statement triggered a rare condemnation from the UAE’s foreign minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, adding strain onto the relatively new relationship between Israel and the Gulf state. 

“The UAE stresses that the Israeli Prime Minister does not have any legal capacity to take this step, and the state refuses to be drawn into any plan aimed at providing cover for the Israeli presence in the Gaza Strip,” Sheikh Abdullah said on X.   

In the ‘Manama Declaration’, the 22-Arab bloc called for the release of hostages and accused Israel of obstructing ceasefire efforts. 

At the conference, President Sisi of Egypt, a mediating country in the now-stalled negotiations between Hamas and Israel, accused Israel of “evading its responsibility” and “maneuvering around the efforts” for a ceasefire in Gaza.

“Those who think that security and military solutions are able to secure interests or achieve security are delusional,” Al-Sisi said.  

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