Israel’s war cabinet is set to convene at 6:30 p.m. to discuss matters surrounding ceasefire prospects and hostage negotiations. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, and Minister without Portfolio Benny Gantz are expected to lead deliberations. Former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot, Minister for Strategic Affairs Ron Dermer, and Aryeh Deri, leader of Israel’s ultra-orthodox Shas party, will contribute insights.

The meeting comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a two-hour meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem, where discussions centred on humanitarian aid delivery, hostage negotiations, and broader efforts towards securing lasting peace in the region.

Blinken also engaged in broader discussions with Israeli leaders regarding potential normalisation of relations with Saudi Arabia and the establishment of a Palestinian state, issues that have long been sources of debate in the region. He reiterated America’s opposition to Israel’s planned offensive on Rafah, a southern Gaza city.

Amid growing global criticism, Blinken urged Israeli leaders to ramp up the flow of aid into the region. Despite recent efforts to increase the number of trucks permitted into Gaza by Israeli forces, humanitarian agencies warned that the current level of aid remains insufficient to meet pressing needs of Gaza’s population.

The UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) issued reports of Israel’s obstruction of aid missions to northern Gaza throughout April. The newly opened aid crossing proved insufficient to address the pressing needs of the population.

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces intensifed their crackdown on Palestinian communities, arresting 15 individuals, including one woman. The majority of arrests occur in Bethlehem, Ramallah, and el-Bireh. In last 24-hour period alone, Israeli forces killed 28 Palestinians and injured 51 others.

In Gaza, Israeli air forces bombed a residential building in the Zeitoun neighbourhood near Gaza City, killing at least two Palestinian civilians and injuring several others. Israeli strikes also targeted homes in several other Gaza neighborhoods, including Shujayea, Sheikh Ijlin, and Tal al-Hawa.

Israeli airstrikes and artillery bombardments intensified in Gaza overnight, with a particular focus on the middle area of the territory. The Nuseirat refugee camp bore the brunt of the attacks, with reports of a mosque being targeted in the wave of attacks.

Meanwhile, in the United States, authorities have launched a major crackdown on student protests against Israeli attacks on Gaza, which have killed at least 34,596 Palestinians, mostly women and children, and wounded 77,816 others.

The nationwide crackdown comes less than a week after Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu called on the US authorities to bring end to pro-Palestinian protests on college campuses across the country.

Police helicopters circled over University of California while flash-bangs detonated on the ground below, casting disorientation with their bright light and deafening noise.

Protesters voiced their grievances questioning police actions with chants like “where were you last night?” as officers advanced, referring to the violent attacks on protesters by a pro-Israeli mob. Clad in protective gear, California Highway Patrol officers used force to push unarmed demonstrators off the campus. Several demonstrators were arrested.

Earlier, the police dismantled barricades erected by demonstrators, comprised of plywood, pallets, metal fences, and dumpsters. Tents and canopies of the encampment, symbols of resilience and protest, were ruthlessly pulled down by the forceful hand of law enforcement, further stoking tensions among the gathered crowds.