Israel faces international condemnation as Spain, Ireland, and Norway announce recognition of the State of Palestine. In response, Israeli officials vowed to continue the attacks on Gaza and expand settlements in the occupied West Bank, which are considered illegal under international law.

Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser to US President Joe Biden, voiced concern over Israel’s increasing diplomatic isolation among traditionally supportive nations.

Sullivan’s comments coincided with ongoing efforts by the Biden administration and Congress to coordinate a response to the International Criminal Court’s decision to seek an arrest warrant for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over actions in Gaza. Sullivan is scheduled to visit Israel soon.

Sullivan suggested that a two-state solution, despite resistance from Netanyahu’s government, could contribute to Israel’s long-term security and integration with moderate Arab states. However, he criticised the recent move by Ireland, Norway, and Spain to recognise Palestinian statehood, arguing that a two-state solution should be achieved through direct negotiations between the parties rather than unilateral recognition.

Sullivan also criticised Israel’s decision to withhold funds from the Palestinian Authority in response to international recognition of Palestinian statehood. Sullivan argued that this move destabilises the West Bank and undermines security and prosperity for the Palestinian people, which ultimately affects Israel’s interests.

He also reiterated the administration’s readiness to collaborate with Congress on potential penalties against the International Criminal Court (ICC) following its bid to seek arrest warrants for Israeli and Hamas leaders. Sullivan emphasised ongoing bipartisan consultations with Capitol Hill regarding response options to the ICC’s actions, without making any definitive determinations yet.

Republicans in the Senate and House of Representatives have suggested legislation against the ICC, despite the US not being a member, but having supported some of its past prosecutions.

The United States Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin opposed the request made by International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor Karim Khan for arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant. This opposition was expressed during a conversation with Israeli Gallant. The Department of Defence emphasised the US’s objections to the ICC prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders.

Khan’s request also included arrest warrants for three Hamas figures: Yahya Sinwar, Mohammed Deif, and Ismail Haniyeh – for alleged war crimes.

Meanwhile, Israel’s military has intensified its attacks on Rafah.

The UN reports over 800,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah to escape the Israeli onslaught.

Recent Israeli strikes in Gaza City and the Nuseirat refugee camp killed at least 16 Palestinians, including 10 children. In the occupied West Bank’s Jenin refugee camp, Israeli forces are seen carrying out aggressive raids, with reports of detainee abuse and attacks on media personnel.

Hamas accused Israel of manipulating a video deliberately showing Palestinian fighters seizing five female Israeli army conscripts during the 7 October attacks. The footage, aired on Israeli TV, depicted tense scenes with one man shouting derogatory remarks at the captives. Hamas claims the video was doctored.

Hamas has labeled Israel’s use of the clip as part of a broader strategy to promote fabricated narratives, most of which have been widely debunked by media outlets. Hamas said that the female soldiers were treated according to the ethics of their resistance, denying any mistreatment within their unit.

Defence for Children International Palestine has urged the United States to cease the supply of weapons used by the Israeli military in the occupied West Bank. It highlighted recent incidents, including the killing of two 15-year-old boys in Jenin by Israeli snipers. One of the victims was reportedly returning home from school on his electric bicycle.

The organisation pointed out the routine use of lethal force against Palestinian children by the Israeli military, raising concerns about potential violations of international law, including extrajudicial or wilful killings. Urging the US to cease providing weapons that are employed to kill Palestinian children without restraint, whether in Gaza or Jenin, it highlight the urgent need for international intervention to address the ongoing crisis and protect civilian lives caught in the crossfire.

World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Ghebreyesus issued an urgent appeal for the protection of patients, staff, and civilians as Israeli forces invaded al-Awda Hospital, which has been under siege since Sunday. Approximately 140 Palestinians, including medical staff, patients, and civilian companions, were inside the hospital during the raid.

Israeli soldiers ordered the majority to leave, resulting in only 12 staff members, 14 patients, and eight companions remaining behind. Tedros emphasised the need for the protection and safe evacuation of those ordered to stay by Israeli forces. The WHO has called for the safeguarding of patients, companions, and health workers inside the hospital, urging for their safe passage and evacuation.

Kamal Adwan Hospital, located in the northern Gaza area of Jabalia, has ceased functioning following the evacuation of all patients and staff. This evacuation came as a result of Israeli missile strikes on Wednesday.

Reports from local media indicate a series of Israeli raids targeting various locations across the occupied West Bank. Among the areas reportedly targeted are the eastern area of the city of Nablus, the Aqbat Jabr refugee camp, situated south of Jericho, the village of Husan, located west of Bethlehem, the village of Kafr Ain in the Ramallah district,  and the al-Marj area of the city of Qalqilya.

Since 7 October, Israel has killed nearly 36,000 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded over 80,000 others in Gaza alone. Israeli forces have destroyed nearly 75 percent of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, schools, and places of worship. They have also blocked the entry of essential aid into the occupied enclave, exacerbating the starvation of its already suffering population of 2.5 million people, half of them are children.