Friday, February 16, 2024

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Israel-Hamas war live: Hamas attacks Israeli city of Ashkelon with rocket...

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Militant group warned civilians to leave before 5pm local time, while rocket strikes also reported in Israeli cities including Tel Aviv

The US senate majority leader, Chuck Schumer, has criticised China’s response to the Israel-Hamas conflict while in China, calling on the government there to show more support for Israel.

Schumer spoke repeatedly about China’s response, including directly to China’s leader, Xi Jinping, on Monday, during a rare meeting on a multi-day trip to the country.

“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn the cowardly and vicious attacks upon them,” he told Xi in Beijing.

Earlier he had accused China’s foreign minister Wang Yi of showing “no sympathy or support for Israel during these tough, troubled times.”

On Sunday, China’s foreign ministry released a statement calling on “relevant parties” to end to hostilities and protect civilians. It said “the fundamental way out of the conflict lies in implementing the two-state solution and establishing an independent State of Palestine”.

Speaking in Shanghai, Schumer said he was “very disappointed” with China’s initial statement. He also said he had asked for China to use its “influence” on Iran to “not allow the conflagration to spread”. On Monday, at the first daily press conference since a week-long holiday break in China, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning responded to Schumer’s criticism by reiterating Beijing’s concern over the conflict and calling for peace.

Facing multiple questions on the topic, Mao said China was closely following the “recent escalation of tensions”.

“We are deeply saddened by the civilian casualties caused by the conflict and oppose and condemn acts that harm civilians. China opposes escalating the conflict and destabilising the region.”

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Amos Oz accused of ‘sadistic abuse’ by daughter in new memoir

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Galia Oz claims late author – hailed as Israel’s greatest – beat and humiliated her in childhood, but siblings say they remember him differently

The daughter of the late Israeli author Amos Oz has alleged that her father subjected her to “a routine of sadistic abuse” in a new memoir, claims that have been challenged by his family.

Galia Oz, a children’s author, published her autobiography, Something Disguised as Love, in Hebrew on Sunday. “In my childhood, my father beat me, swore and humiliated me,” she writes, in a translation published by the newspaper Haaretz. “The violence was creative: He dragged me from inside the house and threw me outside. He called me trash. Not a passing loss of control and not a slap in the face here or there, but a routine of sadistic abuse. My crime was me myself, so the punishment had no end. He had a need to make sure I would break.”

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Hawks in Iran and Israel agree: Biden’s bid to salvage nuclear...

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With elections looming in both states, and hardliners out to ensure the collapse of the 2015 deal, time is running short for the US president to save it

For sworn enemies, Iran and Israel have much in common. Both are regional powers, projecting their interests beyond their borders. Both are beholden, in different ways, to shifting US policy. Both have secretive nuclear programmes. And both are heading towards national elections – in Israel next month, in Iran in June – that could decide whether cold-hearted enmity turns into hot-blooded war.

The stand-off over Iran’s alleged attempts, which are always denied, to acquire atomic bomb-making capacity has gone on for so long that its dangers are often underestimated. Yet the coming days are crucial. Iran has set 21 February as a deadline for an easing of unilateral US sanctions. If it is ignored, Tehran is threatening to ban snap UN inspections of its nuclear facilities and further ramp up proscribed atomic activities.

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