US President Joe Biden celebrated “press freedom and democracy” at the White House correspondents’ dinner amid criticism for overlooking the plight of journalists in Gaza. As expected, Biden, who has pledged unconditional support to Israel, made no mention of the at least 97 journalists killed by Israeli forces in Gaza. Demonstrators gathered outside the hotel hosting the dinner, condemning the Biden administration’s support for Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza and calling for a boycott of the event.

Meanwhile, a fresh wave of crackdowns swept across the United States university campuses, with over 100 students detained amid growing protests against Israeli atrocities in Gaza. McGill University in Montreal has become the host of Canada’s first campus protest camp in support of Palestinian rights, as students demand action from academic institutions. Protesters at McGill and Concordia universities are calling for divestment from funds linked to Israel and the severance of ties with Zionist institutions.

McGill University stated that encampments are not allowed on campus, drawing parallels with similar incidents at colleges in the United States.

As Israel continues its relentless attacks on Gaza, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appealed to the United States for intervention to prevent Israel’s planned invasion of Rafah.

Diplomatic endeavours have surged in a bid to broker a ceasefire agreement in Gaza, as efforts intensify to halt the escalating violence. A delegation from Hamas is headed to Egypt amid speculation that Israel may be contemplating a sustainable truce. However, the Israeli military’s chief of staff has approved plans for the continuation of war.

Israel’s hardline ministers cautioned Prime Minister Netanyahu against agreeing to a ceasefire, warning of potential repercussions that could destabilise the government.

Hamas official Khalil al-Hayya has revealed that the Palestinian group is deliberating over a new ceasefire proposal put forth by Israel. In a parallel development, Israel’s foreign minister hinted at the possibility of suspending the planned invasion of Rafah in exchange for a prisoner swap deal.

Israel and Hamas have engaged in a series of truce talks in recent weeks, with both sides offering insights into their positions. Hamas and Israel participated in mediated talks in Cairo on 7 April. However, both parties departed Egypt without significant progress being made. On 13 April, Hamas conveyed its response to a proposal presented by Israel, as revealed by Khalil al-Hayya, the deputy head of Hamas in Gaza. Al-Hayya confirmed on 25 April that Hamas is committed to releasing Israeli captives if a comprehensive agreement, including a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, is achieved. On 27 April Al-Hayya disclosed that Hamas has received an official response from Israel, although details were not provided.

Quoting two unnamed Israeli officials, US news site Axios reported that Israel’s proposal includes a willingness to discuss the “restoration of sustainable calm” in Gaza. Israel’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz subsequently stated to Israel’s Channel 12 that the nation would suspend the operation in Rafah if a deal is reached to release captives.

Israeli forces intensified their airstrikes overnight, targeting two areas in central Gaza following a day of attacks which killed at least 27 Palestinians, including 10 children.

Israeli forces conducted pre-dawn raids across the occupied West Bank, sparking clashes in Beit Sera village, west of Ramallah. Reports from the Wafa news agency detailed the use of stun grenades and tear gas by Israeli soldiers during incursions into Palestinian neighbourhoods. Additional raids occurred in the towns of Illar, north of Tulkarem, and Hizma, northeast of Jerusalem, resulting in the arrest of a 22-year-old Palestinian man in Hizma.

Since the start of its deadly assault on Gaza on 7 October, Israel has killed at least 34,454 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 77,575 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.

The war in Gaza is set to take centre stage at a special World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia, with notable attendees including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Palestinian leaders. The focus of the summit will be on brokering a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, with Saudi Planning Minister Faisal al-Ibrahim emphasising the balance between security and prosperity. WEF president Borge Brende mentioned potential progress in truce talks and resolving the impasse in Gaza.

Israel opted out of the summit, choosing to engage in formal mediation efforts elsewhere, with Qatar and Egypt taking on prominent roles in facilitating negotiations.