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Israel-Hamas war: Hamas rejects any temporary cease-fire

Published December 26, 2023last updated December 27, 2023

The militant Islamist group Hamas has reiterated that it will not negotiate without a complete end to fighting with Israel. Both sides reacted coolly to an Egyptian plan to halt the conflict. DW has the latest.

Scene showing destruction at the border between Israel and Gaza
Ongoing battles between Israel and the militant group Hamas have led to great destruction in GazaImage: Menahem Kahana/AFP
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

  • Hamas says a permanent truce is necessary for it to hold negotiations with Israel
  • Egypt puts forward a plan envisaging a temporary cease-fire and phased return of hostages
  • The UN says displaced Palestinians have few safe places to go
  • Israel says rocket alert sirens have sounded in the south of the country

This live updates article is now closed. For Wednesday's latest, please click here.

Skip next section Dutch deputy prime minister appointed as new humanitarian coordinator for Gaza
December 27, 2023

Dutch deputy prime minister appointed as new humanitarian coordinator for Gaza

Netherlands Deputy Prime Minister Sigrid Kaag will resign from her post to take on a new role as the United Nations' Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza, the UN said in a statement.

Kaag, also the outgoing Dutch finance minister, announced the news on X, formerly Twitter, saying she would begin work from January 8.

The appointment comes after the Security Council passed a resolutionlast week to step-up the "safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale" to residents in Gaza.

"In this role, she will facilitate, coordinate, monitor, and verify humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza," the UN said in a statement.

UN Security Council passes watered-down Gaza resolution

Skip next section Houthi rebels claim responsibility for Red Sea ship attack
December 26, 2023

Houthi rebels claim responsibility for Red Sea ship attack

Yemen's Houthi rebels said they were behind a missile attack on a container ship traveling in the Red Sea.

Houthi military spokesman Yahya Sarea blamed the crew of the vessel, saying it ignored three warnings.

The ship owners, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) confirmed in a statement that its ship, United VIII, was attacked earlier on Tuesday as it headed from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan.

"Currently, all crew are safe with no reported injuries and a thorough assessment of the vessel is being conducted," the firm said.

The Iranian-backed Houthis, who control large parts of Yemen, have attacked several ships since the outbreak of Israel-Hamas conflict.

The rebel militia, who control most of Yemen, are demanding an end to Israel's bombardment of Gaza.

Several shipping lines have suspended operations through the Red Sea in response to the attacks, instead taking the longer journey around Africa.

Skip next section Israeli military chief: Gaza war could continue 'for many months'
December 26, 2023

Israeli military chief: Gaza war could continue 'for many months'

Israel's Chief of the General Staff Herzi Halevi has said the war against the Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza will continue for a long time.

"There are no magic solutions, there are no shortcuts in dismantling a terrorist organization, only determined and persistent fighting," Halevi told reporters at the Gaza border.

"The war will go on for many months and we will employ different methods to maintain our achievements for a long time," the military leader said.

"We will reach Hamas' leadership too, whether it takes a week or if it takes months," Halevi added.

Israel has stepped up its ground offensive in southern Gaza in recent days as it aims to eliminate Hamas, which is designated a terrorist organization by the US, EU and several other states.

Skip next section Blast reported near Israeli embassy in New Delhi
December 26, 2023

Blast reported near Israeli embassy in New Delhi

An explosion occurred near the Israeli embassy in the Indian capital New Delhi on Tuesday, an Israeli embassy spokesman said, adding that all embassy staff were safe.

Israeli embassy spokesman Guy Nir told the Reuters news agency the blast occurred around 5:20 p.m. local time (1150 GMT). He added that local police and security teams were investigating the incident.

"All our workers are safe, all our diplomats are safe," Ohad Nakash Kaynar, deputy Israeli ambassador to India, said in a video posted on social media. "Our security teams are working in full cooperation with the local Delhi security and they will investigate the matter further."

Skip next section Two Palestinians die in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian Health Ministry
December 26, 2023

Two Palestinians die in Israeli West Bank raid: Palestinian Health Ministry

Two Palestinians have been killed during an Israeli army raid on a refugee camp near the city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian authorities.

The two men, aged 17 and 31, were shot dead in the Fawwar refugee camp on Tuesday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said.

The Israeli army has not yet commented on the reported deaths, which have not been independently verified.

Violence in the West Bank has escalated since Israel launched its offensive in the Gaza Strip following a deadly October 7 attack in southern Israel by the Strip's rulers, the militant Islamist group Hamas.

More than 300 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since the Gaza war erupted, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah.

Skip next section Israel hints it has carried out retaliatory strikes in wider region
December 26, 2023

Israel hints it has carried out retaliatory strikes in wider region

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant intimated on Tuesday that his country had retaliated for aggession by some of its regional neighbors amid a widening war between it and the extremist Palestinian Hamas group in the Gaza Strip.

"We are in a multifront war and are coming under attack from seven theaters: Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Judea and Samaria (West Bank), Iraq, Yemen and Iran. We have already responded and taken action in six of these theaters," he told lawmakers.

The Israeli military has also said it had responded to knock-on attacks from Lebanon and Syria following the eruption of the Israel-Hamas war, which began after the Palestinian group carried out a devastating cross-border raid on October 7 in which more than 1,100 Israelis died.

Skip next section Iran threatens Israel over general's death in Syria strike
December 26, 2023

Iran threatens Israel over general's death in Syria strike

Iran has threatened Israel with retaliation after an Iranian general was killed in an alleged Israeli airstrike in Syria.

General Seyed Razi Mousavi, who was killed on Monday in a suburb of the Syrian capital, Damascus, is said by The New York Times to have been involved in the delivery of weapons to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Tehran, has carried out attacks on northern Israel in support of the militant Islamist group Hamas, which is under attack from Israel in the Gaza Strip.   

Iranian Defense Ministry spokesman Reza Talaei-Nik said on Monday that "the Zionists (Israel) must be prepared for the consequences of their crime ... and they will be painful." 

The Israeli military on Monday evening said it would not comment on foreign media reports.

Israel has carried out frequent attacks in Syria in a bid to stop Iran spreading its military influence in the region by means of the militias it backs.

Skip next section Netanyahu says peace depends on destruction of Hamas
December 26, 2023

Netanyahu says peace depends on destruction of Hamas

Benjamin Netanyahu in Gaza
Netanyahu (C) visited troops in the northern Gaza Strip on MondayImage: Avi Ohayon/GPO/Handout via AP/picture alliance

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said the militant Hamas group must be destroyed before there can be peaceful relations between his country and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

"Hamas must be destroyed, Gaza must be demilitarized and Palestinian society must be deradicalized," he said. "These are the three prerequisites for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza."

He said that after the current war ends, Israel will "have to retain overriding security responsibility" for Gaza and to construct a "temporary security zone" at the edge of the territory.

Netanyahu's remarks come as Israeli forces carried out a barrage of aerial attacks overnight, with the army saying that 100 sites were hit, including tunnels and military installations run by Hamas.

Skip next section Israeli air force hits more than 100 targets in Gaza: IDF
December 26, 2023

Israeli air force hits more than 100 targets in Gaza: IDF

 An Israeli F-15I tactical fighter jet takes off for an air show
Israeli fighter jets have carried out numerous strikes in the Gaza Strip overnight, the IDF saysImage: Abir Sultan/dpa/picture alliance

More than 100 targets in the Gaza Strip came under aerial attack by Israeli jets overnight, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Tuesday morning.

The IDF seeks to destroy the militant Hamas group, and said targets included tunnel shafts and military infrastructure used by the organization. 

The Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in Gaza said at least 52 people were killed in the attacks.

The Israeli army has stepped up its offensive against Hamas, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently vowing to "intensify the fight in the coming days."

Israel's offensive in the Palestinian territory comes in response to an attack by Hamas in Israel on October 7 in which over 1,100 people, were killed.

Skip next section What is Egypt's multistage peace plan?
December 26, 2023

What is Egypt's multistage peace plan?

Egypt's proposal for ending the war in the Gaza Strip  would unfold in several phases, various media reports and diplomats say.

The report says the first phase would be a cease-fire of at least 14 days during which 40 Israeli hostages held in Gaza would be swapped for 120 Palestinians in jail in Israel.

This would be followed by dialogue mediated by Egypt, a complete truce with a deal on the exchange of hostages and prisoners and, finally, Israel's withdrawal from the Palestinian territory, according to the report.

The proposal also calls for the administration of the Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank to be taken over by a Palestinian government of technocrats, according to a senior Egyptian official and a European diplomat familiar with the proposal.

Israel has so far said it wants to maintain military control over Gaza after it finishes its offensive.

Hamas has said it will not accept negotiations without a permanent truce rather than a temporary cease-fire.

Neither Israel nor Hamas has rejected the proposal outright.

Skip next section Hamas rejects 'temporary' cease-fire with Israel, calls for permanent truce
December 26, 2023

Hamas rejects 'temporary' cease-fire with Israel, calls for permanent truce

The militant Hamas group has rejected a proposal for a temporary cease-fire with Israel. The group called for a permanent truce instead.

The Hamas statement comes after reports that Egypt had proposed ending the conflict between Israel and Hamas with an ambitious plan to phase out fighting in stages. It included a 14-day ceasefire. 

"We emphasize that there will be no negotiations without a comprehensive end to the aggression," Hamas said.

The statement called for a "complete and not just temporary end to the massacre of our people."

Israel launched an offensive in the Gaza Strip after Hamas attacked southern Israel on October 7, in which over 1,100 people were killed.

The Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza says more than 20,000 people have been killed by the Israeli military since then.

Hamas is designated a terrorist organization by several countries, including the US and Germany.

Skip next section 'Little space left' for displaced Palestinians in Gaza — UN official
December 26, 2023

'Little space left' for displaced Palestinians in Gaza — UN official

Displaced people in the Gaza Strip are struggling to find places to evacuate to, a UN humanitarian team leader Gemma Connell was cited by the Reuters news agency as saying.

Connell said that thousands of people have been displaced many times over and have no guarantees that any destination is safe.

Around 1.9 million of Gaza's over 2.2 million residents have been displaced by fighting and over 40% of Gaza's housing has been destroyed, the UN reported recently. 

"There's so little space left here in Rafah that people just don't know where they will go," she said. "it really feels like people being moved around a human chessboard because there's an evacuation order somewhere."

"People flee that area into another area. But they're not safe there," she said.

In response, an Israeli army spokesperson said that the militant Hamas group prevents people from evacuating. The group denies the accusations.

Gaza residents bury dead after Christmas Day strike

Skip next section Rocket alerts heard in southern Israel
December 26, 2023

Rocket alerts heard in southern Israel

The Israeli military says that rocket alarms have once again sounded in southern Israel.

An Israeli website that gives rocket alert updates confirmed the information.

The sirens were heard in communities surrounding the Gaza Strip.

sdi/sri (AP, Reuters, dpa)