Cease fire first, followed by an open Rafah gate



For a fifth day, Israel and Hamas traded fire yesterday, adding to the collective carnage on both sides of the border. Israel assaulted the Strip from the sea, killing six Palestinians, and Hamas lobbed rockets towards the Israeli city of Ashkelon.

But there was also something previous days hadn't turned up: universal talk of a cease fire. Speaking yesterday, one Palestinian official told news agencies that "it is possible understandings will be reached today or tomorrow". The Egyptian side, which is negotiating with leaders of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Strip, also expressed confidence hostilities were running their course.

That confidence seems overstated, even naive, given how defiant Israel's belligerent prime minister remains, still threatening to "significantly expand" operations. Considering that the US president has backed Israel's assault, it seems unlikely any mediation could have more than a moral impact. Israel has been planning a second invasion of Gaza for years, despite keeping the territory under near total siege.

But step back and it is clear how momentous this subtle change in regional diplomacy is. The Middle East has altered significantly since Israel's last assault in 2008 - changed in ways that are still unclear and still unfolding. But with a democratic Egypt and an increasingly assertive Turkey, plus a growing awareness of the immorality of Israel's siege, the political tide is, if not turning, at least becoming harder to swim against.

There is, unfortunately, no guarantee that Egypt's mediation efforts will be fruitful. Yet this is one piece of this puzzle Egypt can unilaterally solve - by taking direct action to help end Gazans' suffering.

The foremost step for Egypt is making permanent what Egypt has already done intermittently: opening the Rafah crossing with Gaza 24 hours a day. Previously there have been varying restrictions of the free movement of Palestinians and traffic into and out of the Strip. Under the Mubarak regime, Israel could count on the crossing remaining closed.

Rafah represents a vital lifeline for Gazans. The siege has choked off not only food and medicines, but also the raw materials for rebuilding the devastation. Reopening Rafah would go some way to alleviating the daily difficulties that Palestinians in the territory face. It would also, in time, helps Gazans secure material to rebuild shattered lives.

The long-term solution is to end the siege of Gaza. But, as this latest round of air strikes shows, Hamas has no partner for dialogue in Israel. If Egypt cannot end the siege of Gaza, it can at least mitigate the worst of its horrors.

RESULTS

 

Catchweight 63.5kg: Shakriyor Juraev (UZB) beat Bahez Khoshnaw (IRQ). Round 3 TKO (body kick)

Lightweight: Nart Abida (JOR) beat Moussa Salih (MAR). Round 1 by rear naked choke

Catchweight 79kg: Laid Zerhouni (ALG) beat Ahmed Saeb (IRQ). Round 1 TKO (punches)

Catchweight 58kg: Omar Al Hussaini (UAE) beat Mohamed Sahabdeen (SLA) Round 1 rear naked choke

Flyweight: Lina Fayyad (JOR) beat Sophia Haddouche (ALG) Round 2 TKO (ground and pound)

Catchweight 80kg: Badreddine Diani (MAR) beat Sofiane Aïssaoui (ALG) Round 2 TKO

Flyweight: Sabriye Sengul (TUR) beat Mona Ftouhi (TUN). Unanimous decision

Middleweight: Kher Khalifa Eshoushan (LIB) beat Essa Basem (JOR). Round 1 rear naked choke

Heavyweight: Mohamed Jumaa (SUD) beat Hassen Rahat (MAR). Round 1 TKO (ground and pound)

Lightweight: Abdullah Mohammad Ali Musalim (UAE beat Omar Emad (EGY). Round 1 triangle choke

Catchweight 62kg: Ali Taleb (IRQ) beat Mohamed El Mesbahi (MAR). Round 2 KO

Catchweight 88kg: Mohamad Osseili (LEB) beat Samir Zaidi (COM). Unanimous decision

Naga

Director: Meshal Al Jaser

Starring: Adwa Bader, Yazeed Almajyul, Khalid Bin Shaddad

Rating: 4/5

A Prayer Before Dawn

Director: Jean-Stephane Sauvaire

Starring: Joe Cole, Somluck Kamsing, Panya Yimmumphai

Three stars

THE SPECS

Battery: 60kW lithium-ion phosphate
Power: Up to 201bhp
0 to 100kph: 7.3 seconds
Range: 418km
Price: From Dh149,900
Available: Now

Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver review

Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Sofia Boutella, Charlie Hunnam, Ed Skrein, Sir Anthony Hopkins
Rating: 2/5

57 Seconds

Director: Rusty Cundieff
Stars: Josh Hutcherson, Morgan Freeman, Greg Germann, Lovie Simone
Rating: 2/5

TECH SPECS: APPLE WATCH SERIES 9

Display: 41mm – 352 x 430; 45mm – 396 x 484; always-on Retina LTPO OLED, 2000 nits max; Ion-X glass (aluminium cases), sapphire crystal (stainless steel cases)

Processor: Apple S9 64-bit, W3 wireless, 2nd-gen Ultra Wideband

Capacity: 64GB

Memory: 1GB

Platform: watchOS 10

Health metrics: Blood oxygen sensor, electrical heart sensor and ECG, 3rd-gen optical heart sensor, high and low heart rate notifications, irregular rhythm notifications, sleep stages, temperature sensing

Emergency services: Emergency SOS, international emergency calling, crash detection, fall detection

Connectivity: GPS/GPS + cellular; Wi-Fi, LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay)

Durability: IP6X, water resistant up to 50m, dust resistant

Battery: 308mAh Li-ion, up to 18h regular/36h low power; wireless charging

Cards: eSIM

Finishes: Aluminium – midnight, pink, Product Red, silver, starlight; stainless steel – gold, graphite, silver

In the box: Watch Series 9, woven magnetic-to-USB-C charging cable, band/loop

Price: Starts at Dh1,599 (41mm) / Dh1,719 (45mm)

UAE athletes heading to Paris 2024

Equestrian
Abdullah Humaid Al Muhairi, Abdullah Al Marri, Omar Al Marzooqi, Salem Al Suwaidi, and Ali Al Karbi (four to be selected).


Judo
Men: Narmandakh Bayanmunkh (66kg), Nugzari Tatalashvili (81kg), Aram Grigorian (90kg), Dzhafar Kostoev (100kg), Magomedomar Magomedomarov (+100kg); women's Khorloodoi Bishrelt (52kg).


Cycling
Safia Al Sayegh (women's road race).

Swimming
Men: Yousef Rashid Al Matroushi (100m freestyle); women: Maha Abdullah Al Shehi (200m freestyle).

Athletics
Maryam Mohammed Al Farsi (women's 100 metres).

Russia's Muslim Heartlands

Dominic Rubin, Oxford

The Roundup

Director: Lee Sang-yong
Stars: Ma Dong-seok, Sukku Son, Choi Gwi-hwa
Rating: 4/5

Porsche Macan T: The Specs

Engine: 2.0-litre 4-cyl turbo 

Power: 265hp from 5,000-6,500rpm 

Torque: 400Nm from 1,800-4,500rpm 

Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto 

Speed: 0-100kph in 6.2sec 

Top speed: 232kph 

Fuel consumption: 10.7L/100km 

On sale: May or June 

Price: From Dh259,900  


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos