Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has finally attended a meeting that had been postponed three times, according to Israeli media reports. The reported reason behind the delays is Netanyahu’s awareness of his dwindling popularity.

The families of captives, anxious for the return of their relatives, are pushing for clarity on the actions being taken to facilitate their release. This puts additional pressure on the Israeli government to address their concerns.

One of the potential bargaining chips in Israel’s possession is the allowance of humanitarian aid to Gaza. However, the Americans have reportedly pressured the Benjamin Netanyahu government to permit such aid. The matter was discussed in the war cabinet, with a decision conveyed that they were not inclined to facilitate the entry of humanitarian aid.

This decision comes as a disappointment to the families of the captives, who had hoped that a negotiated deal, possibly involving humanitarian aid, could pave the way for more substantial negotiations with Hamas. The families believe a genuine negotiation could increase the chances of a ceasefire in the conflict.

Israel has intensified its military operations in Gaza, with reports of attacks near hospitals and in the southern region. The Norwegian Refugee Council has raised concerns about what they describe as “indiscriminate bombardment,” leading to unprecedented levels of civilian harm.

A spokesperson for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has criticized the feasibility of establishing safe zones in Gaza. The ongoing conflict has severely impacted children, with schools and healthcare facilities being targeted.

The death toll continues to rise, with 15,899 Palestinians killed in Gaza. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has reported that the Israeli army is urging residents to leave Eastern Khan Younis, heightening fears of displacement.

UNRWA’s Gaza chief has expressed concerns over the potential displacement of half a million Palestinians to Rafah, overwhelming its capacity to handle such an influx.

Speaking on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Qatar has expressed a united position calling for an end to the war. Qatar mediates between Israel and Hamas, aiming to facilitate a return to negotiations.

In response to the escalating crisis, the British Defence Minister is considering sending a military support vessel for humanitarian aid in the Middle East. The UK also commits to conducting unmanned surveillance flights over the eastern Mediterranean, including Israel and Gaza.