Israel Refuses Visa Renewal for Top UN Official Amidst Escalating Conflict with Hamas

Israel Refuses Visa Renewal for Top UN Official Amidst Escalating Conflict with Hamas

Israel has communicated to the United Nations its decision not to renew the visa for Lynn Hastings, who holds the position of deputy special coordinator for the Middle East peace process and UN humanitarian coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Hastings, a veteran UN official, has diligently served in this capacity for nearly three years. The news was shared by UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, who stated that the Israeli authorities had conveyed their intention not to extend Ms. Hastings' visa beyond its due date later this month.

Dujarric did not provide information on whether Hastings would be replaced but emphasized that UN staff adhere to visa regulations and do not overstay in any country. He further noted that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres maintains full confidence in Lynn Hastings.

This development unfolds against the backdrop of renewed hostilities between Israel and Hamas, which entered its second day following the collapse of a weeklong truce.

Explosions over Gaza City were audible from southern Israel, and reports indicated intense bombardment in southern Gaza. The Israeli military reported striking over 200 terror targets in Gaza, resulting in casualties and damage.

By Friday evening, health officials in Gaza reported 184 people killed, at least 589 wounded, and more than 20 houses hit due to Israeli strikes. Both Israel and Hamas traded blame for the truce collapse, accusing each other of rejecting terms to extend the daily release of hostages held by militants in exchange for Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli jails.

The truce, which commenced on Nov 24 and was extended twice, faced complications in negotiations to restore it, with Qatar stating ongoing talks with Israelis and Palestinians. Despite efforts by the U.S. to diplomatically restore the truce, challenges persisted due to Israel's renewed bombardment of Gaza.

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin affirmed Washington's commitment to working with Israel, Egypt, and Qatar to reinstate the pause in hostilities.

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