Monday, December 4, 2023

Israel-Palestine conflict LIVE: Health ministry says hospitals in northern Gaza Strip out of service

Palestinian group, Hamas, which runs the Gaza Strip, has announced the start of military the operation Al-Aqsa Flood against Israel. Thousands of rockets have been fired from the blockaded enclave towards the occupied territories as far away as Tel Aviv, killing over 1,400 Israelis, including both military and settlers. More than 11,000 Palestinians have been so far killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides.

Israel’s top diplomat says 2-3 weeks more int’l legitimacy for Gaza operations

Netanyahu warns Hezbollah against expanding attacks

Over 3,250 missing or under rubble: Health ministry

Israeli army deletes post claiming ambulances, hospitals ‘legitimate targets’

Israel’s military deleted a post on X suggesting ambulances and hospitals are “terrorist infrastructure” and “legitimate military targets”.

It claimed ambulances and hospitals were used by Hamas for its fighters and its military operations.

“This is against international law and turns them into legitimate military targets,” the army wrote.

Diana Buttu, lawyer and former legal adviser for the Palestine Liberation Organisation, said Israel has in the past made similar allegations but never proved them.

“But even if it tries to do that, we have to bear in mind what Israel is trying to do is commit genocide against Palestinians and it has to be stopped now,” she added.

Hospitals in northern Gaza Strip out of service: official

Palestinian hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip went out of service as a result of the ongoing Israeli attacks and the outage of fuel needed to operate generators, a Palestinian official said Monday.

“All the hospitals, except Al-Ahly Hospital, became out of service because of the Israeli attacks and the running out of fuel,” said Ashraf al-Qedra, spokesperson of the health ministry, in a press statement,

He added that the service in Al-Ahly Hospital is “limited”.

At least 32 al-Shifa hospital patients died over past three days

At least 32 patients at al-Shifa hospital have died over the past three days, according to Palestinian health ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qidra.

Those dead include at least three premature babies, Qidra added.

Al-Shifa, the largest hospital in the beseiged Gaza Strip, was forced to shut down its operations on Saturday after running out of fuel.

Palestinian Red Crescent says “intense gunfire” heard in vicinity of Al-Quds Hospital

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reports “intense gunfire” near the Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City on Monday.

“Intense gunfire continues in the vicinity of Al-Quds Hospital in the Tel Al-Hawa area of Gaza City, and sounds of shelling and violent explosions are heard in the area,” the PRCS said in a post on X shortly before 5.30 a.m. ET.

Attempts to evacuate staff and patients from the hospital were thwarted on Monday when a convoy of PRCS vehicles, accompanied by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), was stopped in the Al-Wusta Governorate in central Gaza after setting off from southern Gaza, the PRCS noted.

“The convoy is still waiting for the situation to settle down in the surrounding area of the hospital to be able to reach it to start the evacuation process,” the PRCS added.

“All essential units have collapsed”: Al-Shifa hospital director

The conditions inside al-Shifa hospital are “catastrophic” as essential units collapse, hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya told CNN.

Around 7,000 people are currently sheltering in the hospital, along with 1,500 patients and medical staff, said Abu Salmiya.

The hospital has asked the Israeli army for 600 liters of fuel every hour to power its generators, but the army has yet to respond, he added.

“There is no more water, food, milk for children and babies .. the situation in the hospital is catastrophic,” Abu Salmiya stated.

“Communication is very bad and almost impossible for us to report what is happening in the hospital and its yards, we barely have cell lines but no internet,” he continued.

“No one can move or dare to go out of the hospital, the staff here are aware of many strikes that are happening around the hospital, we see smoke coming up from those strikes and we know that there are people in some of those buildings but ambulances do not make their way out of the hospital because… during the last days an ambulance was hit on its way out of the hospital.”

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) have announced in recent days that there is intense fighting going on in the area around al-Shifa hospital.

Palestinian journalist killed by Israeli air strike

Palestinian journalist Ahmad Fatima has been killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza, according to Wafa news agency.

On Sunday, the Committee to Protect Journalists confirmed that at least 40 journalists had been killed since the war began on 7 October, of whom 35 were Palestinian, four were Israelis and one Lebanese.

‘Meaningful’ pauses in Gaza fighting needed: EU

“It is urgent to define and respect humanitarian pauses,” Janez Lenarcic, European Commissioner for Crisis Management, said at a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers in Brussels.

“These pauses have to be meaningful,” Lenarcic added.

“Fuel needs to get in. As you could see, more than half of the hospitals in the Gaza Strip stopped working, primarily because of lack of fuel, and fuel is desperately needed.”

Another Palestinian killed by Israeli forces in West Bank

An elderly Palestinian was shot dead by Israeli army forces in the West Bank city of Hebron on Monday, the Health Ministry said.

A ministry statement added a 66-year-old man was killed by a bullet in the head.

Palestinians shared a video on social media platforms of a taxi driver covered in blood in central Hebron.

Witnesses say the man was shot near the headquarters of the Islamic Charitable Society during a military raid in the town of Yata, south of Hebron.

Israeli forces also rounded up several Palestinians in military raids in the cities of Nablus, Jenin, Qalqilya, Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah, according to witnesses.

Tensions have been high across the West Bank since Oct. 7 amid an Israeli military offensive on the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas. At least 187 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in the occupied territory ever since, according to Palestinian figures.

Infant death toll in al-Shifa Hospital rises to six: Health Ministry

Two patients and a premature baby have died in al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s Health Ministry has confirmed.

Yousef Abu al-Rish told the AFP news agency the new deaths brought the toll to six premature babies and nine patients since electrical shortages began affecting the hospital several days ago.

2 more Israeli soldiers killed in ground operation in Gaza

The Israeli army on Monday announced the death of another two soldiers in fighting in northern Gaza.

Sunday’s fatalities pushed the death toll in Israel’s ground operation in northern Gaza to 45 since it began on Oct. 27.

The death toll since Israel’s war with the Palestinian group Hamas broke out on Oct. 7 is now 363 Israeli soldiers and officers along with 59 police officers and 10 members of the Shin Bet.

Gantz says this is no time to replace Netanyahu: Report

Benny Gantz, a member of Israel’s war cabinet and former defence minister, has rejected calls for the replacement of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, sources close to the politician told the Israel Broadcasting Authority.

Gantz said until the country is in the midst of a war, calls to replace the prime minister are “nothing less than crazy”, according to the sources.

They added though that Gantz believes there will be a time to investigate and discuss responsibilities over the October 7 attack.

The issue around responsibility has been a thorny one within Israel’s political establishment. While many in the security apparatus have admitted shortcomings, Netanyahu has refused to do so, triggering widespread condemnation.

Gaza’s Kamal Adwan Hospital shuts as fuel runs out

Ahmed al-Kahlout, the head of the Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, said in an interview with Al Jazeera that the facility’s main generator has run out of fuel, forcing the hospital to shut its operation.

Aside from its patients, the hospital is also housing more than 5,000 displaced people.

He added that despite fears of being hit by Israeli bombardment, none of the people taking shelter at the hospital are able to evacuate to the south due to the lack of safety.

Israel’s military chief admits failing to protect Jewish settlements

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi admitted that the military failed to protect Jewish settlements near the Gaza Strip during the surprise attack launched by Hamas on October 7.

Halevi made the remarks during a meeting with municipal leaders from southern Israel on Sunday.

“We are aware of the failure. We failed to protect the communities. We did not prepare for such a scenario,” he said.

“We will study everything, and we will learn our lessons. We are determined to complete the mission and to destroy Hamas,” he added.

More than 60 mosques ‘destroyed’ across Gaza

According to the Wafa news agency, an Israeli aircraft bombed the al-Salam Mosque in the Sabra neighbourhood of Gaza City in the northern part of the besieged territory.

The destruction of al-Salam Mosque raised to more than 60 the total number of mosques destroyed by Israeli forces since October 7, the report added.

Places of worship qualify for protection as a cultural property under international humanitarian law.

EU asks for humanitarian pauses to face ‘dire situation’ in Gaza

The EU is calling for several humanitarian pauses to face the “dire situation” in Gaza, the bloc’s foreign policy chief said on Monday ahead of a Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Brussels.

Recalling the joint statement released by the 27 states of the EU on Sunday, in which the bloc joined calls for “immediate pauses” in hostilities and the establishment of humanitarian corridors in Gaza, Josep Borrell said: “I’m saying that in plural, not the single one but several pauses.”

“The objective is immediate pauses and new humanitarian corridors to be established in order to face the dire situation of the people in Gaza,” he continued, adding, “We ask Israel to show maximum restraint in order to save civilian lives.”

He reiterated that the bloc condemns the “use of human shields” by Hamas at hospitals, and stated: “But also we express our concern for the dire situation of the hospitals that are being heavily affected by the bombing.”

Israel approves closure of Al-Mayadeen channel: Report

Israel approved the closure of the Lebanese Al-Mayadeen channel, Israel Broadcasting Authority has reported.

The proposal for shutting down the network was put forward by Israel’s Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi.

Late on Sunday, after reports over the possible decision to close the network first emerged, its director Nasser al-Laham said that Al-Mayadeen would have continued to broadcast “what ever the cabinet’s decision”, he was quoted as saying on the channel’s website.

Death toll in Khan Younis airstrike reaches 31

An airstrike on Sunday killed at least 31 people in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

Hundreds of thousands of residents of the Strip’s northern areas have been forced to flee to the south of the 25-mile-long, six-mile-wide territory.

The south is where the Israeli military told them to go “for their own safety”.

UN regional directors call for immediate international action to halt Israel’s attacks on Gaza hospitals

The regional directors of several UN agencies have called for urgent international action to end Israel’s ongoing attacks on hospitals in the besieged Gaza Strip, which the regime has brought under an unrelenting genocidal war.

The regional directors of the United Nations Children’s Agency (UNICEF), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO) made the appeal in a joint statement on Sunday.

They said they were appalled by the regime’s attacks targeting either the main buildings or the periphery of hospitals located in the Gaza City, including al-Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, al-Shifa and al-Quds hospitals, and other hospitals located in the north of the blockaded territory.

“Over the past 36 days, the WHO has recorded at least 137 Israeli attacks on healthcare [facilities] in Gaza, resulting in the killing of 521 people and the injury of 686 others, including the killing of 16 members of the health staff and the wounding of 38 others,” the UN officials announced in their statement.

They added that those Gazan hospitals, which are still functioning, are under massive strain and can only provide very limited emergency services, lifesaving surgeries, and intensive care services.

Describing Israel’s attacks on medical facilities and civilians as “unacceptable and a violation of international humanitarian law and human rights law,” the statement added, “They cannot be condoned. The right to seek medical assistance, especially in times of crisis, should never be denied.”

“The world cannot stand silent while hospitals, which should be safe havens, are transformed into scenes of death, devastation, and despair. Decisive international action is needed now to secure an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, prevent further loss of life, and preserve what’s left of the healthcare system in Gaza,” the statement said.

“Unimpeded, safe, and sustained access is needed now to provide fuel, medical supplies, and water for these lifesaving services,” it noted.

At least 600 patients still in Al-Shifa Hospital: Ministry of Health

The World health Organization has shared an update from the Gaza Ministry of Health on the dire situation inside Al-Shifa Hospital.

The update said there were still thousands of people inside the hospital including:

  • 600 to 650 patients.
  • 200 to 500 health workers.
  • Approximately 1,500 internally displaced people.

“There is no safe passage out of the hospital,” the message added.

‘Precarious and unsafe’ evacuation conditions: ICRC

The International Committee of the Red Cross says the conditions under which civilians are evacuating in the Gaza Strip are “precarious and unsafe”.

“Men, women, and children, waving white flags, walk for dozens of kilometres past dead bodies lying on the streets and without necessities like food and water,” the organisation announced in a statement.

“The southern area is not equipped to cater to the massive number of people arriving with nothing but the clothes they are wearing, and the quantity of humanitarian aid coming in is largely insufficient,” it added.

Biden administration has ‘actively’ warned Israel over hospital warfare

The Joe Biden administration has expressed concern in conversations with Israeli officials over its siege of Al-Shifa hospital, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan told CBS on Sunday.

Sullivan said the administration feared that the hospital would become a battleground, resulting in a large number of casualties.

“The United States does not want to see firefights in hospitals, where innocent people, patients receiving medical care, are caught in the crossfire, and we’ve had active consultations with the [Israeli army] on this.”

Hamas denies refusing fuel from Israel for al-Shifa hospital

Hamas has denied it had refused 300 litres (79.25 gallons) of fuel from Israel intended for medical use at Gaza’s Al Shifa hospital.

“The offer belittles the pain and suffering of the patients who are trapped inside without water, food, or electricity. This quantity is not enough to operate hospital generators for more than thirty minutes,” the group said in a statement.

“As part of the series of lies that the occupation spreads [on a] daily [basis], the spokesman for its Nazi army said they had offered the administration of al-Shifa Hospital to supply the hospital with a quantity of fuel, but the Hamas movement refused it,” the statement read.

The statement also added that Hamas was not associated with Al-Shifa hospital management, “nor is Hamas part of its decision-making structures. The hospital is completely subject to the authority of the Palestinian health ministry.”

Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah says it has lost contact with northern Gaza hospitals

The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah released its daily report on Sunday, saying it was unable to update casualty figures in Gaza after losing contact with hospitals.

“On 11 November, following the Israeli occupation forces’ cutting of services and communications at hospitals in the north of Gaza, the MoH is not able to update casualty figures,” the report said.

The report went on to outline the dire impact strikes are having on health care to patients at hospitals in Gaza.

“There is a catastrophe occurring in hospitals: patients are now dying without receiving their treatments, such as children and adult patients who need dialysis (and) are dying in their homes without receiving dialysis sessions,” the ministry added.

The Ministry of Health in Ramallah draws data from medical sources in the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

The health care crisis is deepening in Gaza. Health officials say the largest medical center in the enclave, Al-Shifa Hospital, has devolved into a “catastrophic situation”, while the Palestine Red Crescent Society said the territory’s second-largest hospital is also out of service.

Scholz says he is against immediate ceasefire in Gaza Strip

German Chancellor has said he does not support the idea of an immediate ceasefire or a lengthy humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip as it will give time to Hamas to summon up strength.

“I don’t think that some demands for an immediate ceasefire or a lengthy pause, which is actually the same, are right because is the long run it will mean that Israel will have to give Hamas time to recover and obtain new missile to launch them again. This cannot be accepted,” he stated in an interview with the Heilbronner Stimme newspaper.

According to Scholz, only short humanitarian pauses “can have sense” to deliver assistance to the Gaza Strip and evacuate citizens of other countries and the wounded from there, and to release hostages.

Macron explains ‘killing babies’ remark to Israeli president

French President Emmanuel Macron has appeared to backtrack on his comments about Israeli strikes killing scores of civilians in Gaza, which he made in an interview with BBC on Friday while calling for a ceasefire.

The remarks were met with backlash from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused Macron of making “a serious mistake, factually and morally”, while the Israeli President said that the remarks “caused much pain and upset in Israel”.

On Sunday, the French leader initiated a phone call with Isaac Herzog to clarify his position saying that he “did not intend to accuse Israel of intentionally harming innocent civilians”, according to Herzog’s office.

Macron also reiterated his support for Israel’s right to self-defense and his commitment to securing the release of the hostages held in Gaza, explaining that his comments were “made in reference to the humanitarian situation”.

Herzog reportedly reassured his French counterpart that Israel was taking “all possible measures to prevent harm to uninvolved civilians” and shifted the blame for civilian deaths on Hamas.

On Friday, Emmanuel Macron told the BBC that he “clearly condemns” the Hamas attack on Israel. However, he also said that “de facto – today – civilians are bombed… these babies, these ladies, these old people are bombed and killed”, pointing out that “there is no reason for that and no legitimacy”, urging Israel to stop. He added that a humanitarian ceasefire was the only solution to protect all civilians in Gaza.

Netanyahu was quick to respond, arguing that Israel was “truly doing everything to minimize harm to civilians” and urged the Western leader not to bow to pressure from those calling for a ceasefire in Gaza.

At least 22 hospitals closed in Gaza Strip

At least 22 hospitals have ceased operations in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israeli strikes, the press service of the enclave government reported.

According to the statement, 22 hospitals and 49 medical centers are out of service due to “Israeli aggression”, the press services of the Gaza Strip government said on Facebook.

It was noted that the Israeli army also shot 53 ambulances.

Unimpeded humanitarian deliveries to Gaza seen as condition for hostage release: Hamas

Unimpeded access of humanitarian aide to the Gaza Strip is one of the conditions for the release of hostages who were taken during the attack on Israel, Osama Hamdan, a Hamas senior official, said on Sunday.

“The release of hostages is a humanitarian matter but it should be settled by both sides, i.e. humanitarian aid should unimpededly reach Gaza,” he was quoted as saying on the movement’s Telegram channel.

Head of Gaza hospital reports deadly airstrike on residential building in southern strip

Thirteen Palestinians were killed by an airstrike in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza on Sunday, according to the head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in central Gaza.

The airstrike hit a residential building in the city, which is close to the Egyptian border, Dr. Eyad Abu Zahr stated.

Khan Younis is south of Wadi Gaza — in the area the Israeli military has told people in the north to evacuate to for safety.

Hamas suspends hostage talks over Israel’s attacks against Gaza hospitals

Hamas on Sunday announced it is suspending hostage negotiations because of Israel’s handling of the al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, a Palestinian official briefed on the issue told Reuters.

The hospital has come under intense fire as Israeli soldiers close in on the medical facility.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told US media Sunday a deal could be afoot to free hostages being held in the Gaza Strip, but declined to provide details for fear of scuttling the potential plan.

“We heard that there was an impending deal of this kind or of that kind and then we learned that it was all hokum. But the minute we started the ground operation, that began to change,” Netanyahu told NBC News show “Meet the Press”.

Asked whether there is a potential deal to free more of the hostages being held, Netanyahu replied: “There could be.”

Netanyahu addressed calls for a ceasefire, Israel’s goals in Gaza and other key topics

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Sunday on CNN that Hamas is only calling for humanitarian pauses in Gaza to let up the fighting against the group.

Asked by CNN’s Dana Bash if Israel would consider implementing longer pauses in fighting to allow the evacuation of more civilians from fighting hotspots in Gaza, Netanyahu said:

“That’s not a pause. If you’re talking about stopping the fighting, that’s exactly what Hamas wants. Hamas wants an endless series of pauses that basically dissipate the battle against them.”

Netanyahu also addressed other key wartime topics during the interview:

Netanyahu reiterated that Israel will not agree to a “ceasefire in the entire area” of Gaza until all Israeli hostages have been released.

He also outlined Israel’s primary objectives in Gaza, saying they were to:

  • First, destroy Hamas so it cannot carry out attacks like October 7 again
  • Second, implement “an overriding and over reaching Israeli military envelope” to ensure that “terrorism” does not resurge in Gaza post-war.
  • Third, ensure any civilian authority taking over control of Gaza would agree to “demilitarize” and “de-radicalize” the enclave.

He then accused the Palestinian Authority (PA), which used to control Gaza and is based in the occupied West Bank, of failing “on both counts”, seeming to rule out a post-war role for the PA in Gaza — an idea US officials have indicated they would support.

On the crisis at Al-Shifa Hospital: The prime minister claimed the embattled Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, is being used as a Hamas command center, and that civilians should be evacuated.

“There’s no reason why we just can’t take the patients out of there instead of letting Hamas use it as a command center for terrorism,” Netanyahu stated.

The prime minister added Israel is helping patients “by creating safe corridors” for evacuation.

While the Israeli military earlier Sunday said one such corridor was opened in the area of Al-Shifa, the International Committee of the Red Cross said no one had left through it.

Heavy fighting near the medical center has left it in a “catastrophic situation”, with patients and staff trapped inside, ambulances unable to collect the wounded and life-support systems without electricity, health officials in Gaza and aid agencies are reporting.

The Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has described the situation as a “complete siege” of the hospital.

On civilian casualties: Netanyahu said Sunday that civilian casualties in Gaza are being “reduced” because of Israel’s calls for civilians to move south.

“I think the number of civilian casualties is actually being reduced because people are heeding our calls to leave the area,” Netanyahu added.

More than 11,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its military offensive nearly a month ago, according to the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry in the Palestinian enclave.

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