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'Israel will get a lot bigger': US congressman urges Israel to reoccupy Gaza

Wounded Palestinians seek care at al-Shifa Hospital after an Israeli shelling of Gaza on October 24, 2023. (Photo by AP)

A far-right US Republican congressman of Israeli descent has called on the Tel Aviv regime to press ahead with its brutal aggression and occupy the Gaza Strip amid Washington’s unswerving support for the illegal entity to invade the besieged area.

Max Miller, representative of Ohio and an aide to former hawkish president Donald Trump, was quoted by the Hebrew-language Haaretz newspaper as saying on Saturday that Israel needed to “take back” the Gaza Strip to “get a lot bigger” as part of its decades-long occupation plan for the Palestinian territories.

"Israel will get a lot bigger. Not a lot smaller. And we will take back that land," Miller told the Republican Jewish Coalition's annual gathering in Las Vegas.

Miller took enormous flak in recent days for saying that Gaza will be turned into a “parking lot" after Israel's ground invasion of the coastal silver. The US Republican also claimed that Israel should not be beholden to rules of engagement in its days-long war on the besieged strip.

Israel has been waging a ferocious war against Gaza since October 7, when Hamas and its fellow Gaza-based resistance movement of the Islamic Jihad launched their biggest operation against Israel in years. The surprise Palestinian offensive, dubbed Operation Al-Aqsa Storm, came in response to the regime’s intensified crimes against the Palestinian people.

The Israeli war has so far killed over 8,000 Palestinians, including more than 3,000 children, with more than 20,500 wounded.

The United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Friday, calling for the implementation of an immediate "humanitarian truce" in Gaza.

The vote at the General Assembly came after the United Nations Security Council failed four times in the past two weeks to take action due to the US's recurrently casting its veto against relevant resolutions.

The assembly stressed the "importance of preventing further destabilization and escalation of violence in the region," calling on "all parties to exercise maximum restraint and upon all those with influence on them to work toward this objective."

Israel has rejected all calls for a ceasefire, claiming it would benefit Hamas.

Netanyahu: Gaza war to be 'long and difficult'

On the 23rd day of the Israeli war on Gaza, Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the “second stage” of the invasion of the besieged area and said the fighting in Gaza would be "long and difficult.”

Netanyahu claimed that the destruction of the military and leadership capabilities of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas as well as the release of Israeli prisoners in Gaza were the main goals of the offensive’s second phase.

The Israeli occupation army launched a partial ground operation in the Gaza Strip late on Friday after more than three weeks of a relentless bombardment campaign that laid waste a large swathe of the besieged area.

The United Nations warned of a catastrophe and said thousands of civilians may face death in Gaza following the ground offensive inside the Strip.

UN human rights chief Volker Turk warned of "the possibly catastrophic consequences of large-scale ground operations in Gaza," and said, "Thousands more civilians could die.”

Mirjana Spoljaric, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, called on all sides Saturday to de-escalate the conflict.

"It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza amid the massive bombardments, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible," Spoljaric said.

"This is a catastrophic failing that the world must not tolerate,” she added, calling for an end to the "intolerable" suffering of Gaza's civilians.

Internet, phone services return to Gaza

Local media announced on Sunday that Internet and phone services were returning to Gaza following a communications cut-off that humanitarian groups had warned could be used as a cover for Israeli war crimes.

Paltel Group, which provides communications services in Gaza, said landline, mobile and internet services were gradually being restored after being disrupted by “ongoing aggression.”

The plight of Palestinians in Gaza had over the past days been exacerbated after the Israeli regime imposed a telecommunications blackout on the war-ravaged area.

Hamas said all internet connections and communications across Gaza had been cut as Israel was taking the measure "to perpetrate massacres with bloody retaliatory strikes from the air, land and sea.”

Human rights groups also warned that the telecommunications blackout in Gaza risks providing cover for "mass atrocities.”

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