(Tel Aviv) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets with representatives of the Israeli opposition on Tuesday as part of a new Middle East tour aimed at pushing for a ceasefire plan in the Strip from Gaza, where four soldiers were killed in fighting.

Mr. Blinken is also expected in Jordan for an international conference aimed at mobilizing funds for humanitarian aid in the Palestinian territory, besieged by Israel since the start of the war against Hamas eight months ago, where the UN warns of the risk of famine.

New Israeli strikes targeted the center of the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, while the army announced the death of four soldiers, three conscripts aged 19 and 20 and a 24-year-old active commander, in ongoing fighting. watches in the south.

A total of 298 Israeli soldiers have been killed since the ground offensive in the Gaza Strip began on October 27.

After the Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, the head of American diplomacy meets Tuesday in Tel Aviv Benny Gantz, resigned member of the Israeli war cabinet, then the leader of the opposition, Yaïr Lapid.

This eighth regional tour by the Secretary of State since the start of the war on October 7 comes as the UN Security Council on Monday adopted a draft American resolution supporting a ceasefire plan announced on May 31 by President Joe Biden.

The text received 14 votes. Russia abstained.

“This Council has sent a clear message to Hamas: accept the ceasefire agreement on the table. Israel has already accepted it, and the fighting could stop today if Hamas did the same,” said US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

The United States is now placing the responsibility on Hamas for accepting the text.  

The Islamist movement “welcomed” the resolution and said it was ready to cooperate “to begin indirect negotiations regarding the implementation of these principles.”

Hamas is thus referring to its demands for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and a complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the territory.  

Israel, for its part, refuses to end the war until Hamas, which has been in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007 and carried out a bloody attack on its soil on October 7, is eliminated.

In Egypt on Monday, Antony Blinken called on countries in the region to “put pressure on Hamas,” considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union, to accept a ceasefire. fire.

Before Mr. Netanyahu in Jerusalem, he stressed that “the proposal on the table would pave the way for calm along Israel’s northern border” with Lebanon and “further integration” of Israel “with countries of the region,” according to the State Department.

During the night, Israeli strikes continued across the Gaza Strip. Hospital sources reported Palestinians killed in the center of the territory, where bombings have been concentrated for a week.

Four Palestinians, one of whom was suspected by Israel of an attack, were killed Monday evening by the army near Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian territory plagued by violence on the sidelines of the war in Gaza.  

In Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu suffered a political setback with the resignation on Sunday of centrist Benny Gantz’s war cabinet, which demanded the adoption of a post-war “action plan”.

Early Tuesday, his Defense Minister Yoav Gallant voted against the government on a controversial bill aimed at limiting the conscription of ultra-Orthodox Jews without subjecting them to military service like the rest of the country.

The Prime Minister,  according to part of the Israeli press, is seeking, despite these tensions, to ride on a special forces operation which made it possible to free four hostages on Saturday in the Gaza Strip.

The Hamas health ministry says 274 Palestinians were killed in the operation, a toll that could not be independently verified.

The mother of Almog Meir Jan, one of the freed hostages, called on the government on Monday to reach a deal to free the other hostages. “The remaining hostages need an agreement to return home safely,” Orit Meir said.

The war was sparked on October 7 by an unprecedented Hamas attack in southern Israel, which resulted in the deaths of 1,194 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli data .

Of 251 people kidnapped, 116 are still held hostage in Gaza, of whom 41 are dead, according to the Israeli army.

In response, the Israeli army launched an offensive on the Gaza Strip, which left at least 37,124 dead, mostly civilians, according to data from the Health Ministry of the Hamas-led Gaza government.

On May 7, the army launched a ground offensive on the southern city of Rafah, which pushed a million Palestinians to flee and closed the border crossing with Egypt, crucial for entry of humanitarian aid.  

Humanitarian organizations denounce the insufficiency of aid, controlled by Israel when it enters the Gaza Strip, and the virtual impossibility of getting it to the populations.  

“This war has destroyed our lives. There is no food, no drink, it is siege and destruction everywhere,” Soad Al-Qanou, a woman trying to save her child, Amjad, who was emaciated by malnutrition, told AFP , in the ruined Jabalia camp in northern Gaza.