The Israeli army’s seizure of the Rafah border crossing has cut off the entry of aid into Gaza for the past three days. The United Nations described the situation as a complete crippling of humanitarian operations, with famine spreading rapidly among the civilian population in Gaza.

The closure of crossings has led to a lack of essential supplies including fuel, trucks, generators, water, and electricity, severely hampering relief efforts. In Deir el-Balah, central Gaza, long queues have formed at the only water station still operational.

An estimated 80,000 Palestinians have fled Rafah, seeking refuge from relentless Israeli attacks. Thousands more are attempting to leave, fearing for their lives as Israel’s military offensive intensifies.

Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Emergency Responses Janez Lenarcic has issued a rebuke against the Israeli authorities following two incidents of arson targeting the perimeter of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) headquarters in occupied East Jerusalem. Lenarcic called upon Israeli authorities to ensure the security and safety of UN staff.

UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini recounted a scene outside the agency’s office where a crowd of Israelis, some armed, were heard chanting “Burn down the United Nations.” Lazzarini voiced concern over the delayed response from Israeli police and firefighters. He noted that Israeli extremists have been staging protests outside the UNRWA compound in Jerusalem for the past two months, with recent incidents of violence involving demonstrators hurling stones at UN staff and buildings. Lazzarini emphasised the imperative for UN staff, premises, and operations to be protected in accordance with international law.

In response to Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has suspended US$9.5 billion worth of trade with Tel Aviv. The measure is perceived as a diplomatic manoeuvre aimed at exerting pressure on other nations to take action against the Israeli government.

The United Nations General Assembly is poised to vote on a resolution today that would extend new rights and privileges to Palestine while urging the UN Security Council to reconsider Palestine’s longstanding request for full UN membership. The current application follows a previous resolution on 18 April, which aimed to facilitate Palestine’s accession to full UN membership. However, the resolution was vetoed by the United States.

US Deputy Ambassador to the UN, Robert Wood, reiterated the Biden administration’s stance against Palestinian membership. During the 18 April vote, Palestine garnered the vote support of 12 countries, while the UK and Switzerland abstained, and the US stood in opposition.

US President Joe Biden’s refusal to supply weapons for a full-scale attack on Rafah has complicated the dynamics of the conflict. Israel’s military claimed that it possesses all the arms necessary for its ground invasion of the city.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly criticised Biden’s recent decision to halt a shipment of bombs to Israel, labelling it as a mistake.

On the diplomatic front, a Hamas delegation is attending talks in Cairo before leaving for Qatar. The group reports that Israel has rejected the proposal submitted by mediators and raised objections on key issues. Despite this setback, Hamas stands by the ceasefire proposal, claiming that the “ball is now completely” in Israel’s court.

Reports from the Wafa news agency indicate multiple Israeli attacks in Gaza in recent hours, killing several Palestinians, mainly women and children. In the Jabalia refugee camp, northern Gaza, four Palestinians were killed when the Israeli military bombed a house, while an unspecified number of people were killed after Israeli airstrikes targeted residential areas in Gaza City. Additional casualties were reported when the Israeli military bombed a warehouse, shops, and agricultural land near al-Dawa Street in the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

Since the beginning of its war on Gaza on 7 October, Israel has killed at least 34,904 Palestinians, majority of whom women and children, and wounded 78,514 others. Israeli forces have also destroyed nearly 75 percent of Gaza’s civilian infrastructure, including homes, hospitals, schools, and places of worship, while also blocking the entry of essential aid into the occupied enclave, pushing the population of 2.5 million people to starvation.