Here’s how things stand on Wednesday, April 4, 2024:

Fighting and humanitarian crisis

At least eight people were killed in overnight Israeli bombings on houses in Rafah, Wafa reported late on Wednesday.
Two people were also killed and 15 injured in an Israeli air attack in the Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza, according to Wafa reports.
Marc Owen Jones, assistant professor at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, said on Wednesday it was increasingly clear that Israel is deploying untested artificial intelligence (AI) systems in the Gaza war. “This is an AI-assisted genocide, and going forward, there needs to be a call for a moratorium on the use of AI in the war,” Jones said.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Wednesday urged Israel to take concrete steps to protect aid workers and Palestinian civilians in Gaza “after repeated coordination failures”. The call followed an Israeli attack that killed seven World Central Kitchen (WCK) workers in Gaza earlier this week.
Separately, Jose Andres, founder of the WCK, said Israel had targeted the aid workers “systematically, car by car”. “This was not just a bad luck situation where ‘oops’ we dropped the bomb in the wrong place,” Andres told Reuters.
“This was over 1.5, 1.8 kilometres, with a very defined humanitarian convoy that had signs in the top, in the roof, a very colourful logo that we are obviously very proud of,” he said. It is “very clear who we are and what we do”.

Diplomacy and regional tensions

Revived talks on a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas appear to be making little progress, with the two sides showing few signs that they are ready to compromise on their demands.
Israeli objections to the return of displaced residents to their homes in Gaza is a key issue holding up the negotiations, Qatari officials said on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Hamas said that it will not budge on its conditions for the release of captives it holds.
Separately, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is facing growing political pressure to halt the sale of British weapons to Israel after the killing of the aid workers in Gaza. Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf, wrote to Sunak on Wednesday seeking an “immediate end” to arms sales by the UK to Israel.
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese criticised Israel’s explanation for the killing of seven aid workers in Gaza as “not good enough”, as outrage over the attack continues to reverberate globally.
Fikri Rofiul Haq, an Indonesian volunteer with the Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C) based in southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, said on Wednesday his team of 13 volunteers were fearful but would continue to distribute aid in the aftermath of the Israeli attack on aid workers.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also said he “expressed his outrage” to Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant over the killing of the aid workers – who included a US citizen.
US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are expected to speak by telephone later today, a US official told the French news agency, AFP, in their first call since the killing of the aid workers.
Separately on Wednesday, US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the question of Palestinian statehood should be determined by “direct negotiations” and “not at the United Nations” in response to a question on whether the US would veto a Palestinian Authority bid for full UN membership.
The US military’s Central Command (CENTCOM), which oversees operations in the Middle East, said on Wednesday that US forces had intercepted and destroyed an antiship ballistic missile and two aerial drones launched by Yemen’s Houthis.
Dennis Francis, the president of the UN General Assembly, said on Wednesday that he is “deeply concerned about the risk of escalation following the recent attack in Damascus”. Francis called for “restraint to avoid further harm and suffering to the people in the Middle East”.

(Al Jazeera)

Violence in the occupied West Bank

On Thursday, Al Jazeera Arabic shared two videos – authenticated by the Sanad verification unit – showing improvised explosive devices (IEDs) detonating as Israeli forces conduct military raids on the occupied West Bank.
Young Palestinians were arrested and injured as Israeli forces, accompanied by military bulldozers, conducted raids and destroyed civilian infrastructure in the towns of Qabatiya and Silat al-Dhahr, south of Jenin, and in Jenin city and the Jenin refugee camp on Wednesday.