Saturday, December 2, 2023

Israel-Palestine conflict LIVE: Anger aimed at Israel after 500 killed at Gaza hospital

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 3,200 Palestinians have been so far killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides.

UNRWA: 14 staff members killed since start of war

The United Nations refugee agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) have said that 14 of their staff have been killed by Israel since the start of the war on 7 October.

On Tuesday, a UNRWA school was bombed by Israel in Gaza’s Al-Maghazi refugee camp, killing at least six people.

Since the start of the war, Palestinians who have been displaced from their homes by Israeli bombing have been using Unrwa schools to shelter.

Israel sharing “misleading disinformation” about hospital blast: Palestinian National Initiative leader

The Israeli military is sharing “misleading disinformation” regarding the explosion on the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, said Mustafa Barghouti, leader of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI).

Barghouti is a former minister in a Palestinian unity government and a prominent and unaligned activist for Palestinian rights.

The Israeli military has “a consistent track record of lying on many occasions regarding its crimes,” he added, stating it has “changed its official narrative several times in order to avoid culpability.”

Barghouti said that the Israelis had “already threatened the hospital with evacuation” but the staff refused to leave because “it was impossible to transfer critical patients without them dying.”

“The (World Health Organization) has said that moving them would be a death sentence,” Barghouti added.

In a statement Saturday, the WHO announced it “strongly condemns Israel’s repeated orders for the evacuation of 22 hospitals treating more than 2000 inpatients in northern Gaza. The forced evacuation of patients and health workers will further worsen the current humanitarian and public health catastrophe.”

US will provide $100 million in humanitarian assistance to Gaza civilians through international organizations

The US will provide $100 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of Gaza and the West Bank “through trusted partners including UN agencies and international NGOs,” the White House announced in a statement Wednesday.

“Civilians are not to blame and should not suffer for Hamas’s horrific terrorism,” the White House said.

“Civilian lives must be protected and assistance must urgently reach those in need. We will continue to work closely with partners in the region to stress the importance of upholding the law of war, supporting those who are trying to get to safety or provide assistance, and facilitating access to food, water, medical care, and shelter.”

In remarks from Tel Aviv Wednesday, President Joe Biden warned that the aid was meant for Palestinian civilians, not Hamas.

“Israel agreed humanitarian assistance can begin to move from Egypt to Gaza,” he confirmed in Tel Aviv.

“Let me be clear — if Hamas diverts or steals the assistance, they will have demonstrated once again that they have no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people, and it will end — as a practical matter, it will stop the international community from being able to provide this aid,” he added.

US currently assesses that Israel is “not responsible” for Gaza hospital blast

The US government currently believes that Israel “is not responsible” for the blast at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, according to the National Security Council, following President Joe Biden’s comments that a Palestinian militant group was behind the strike.

A spokesperson for the NSC, Adrienne Watson, stated the assessment is based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open-source information.

“While we continue to collect information, our current assessment, based on analysis of overhead imagery, intercepts and open-source information, is that Israel is not responsible for the explosion at the hospital in Gaza yesterday,” Watson said in a statement on Wednesday.

Officials told CNN separately that the initial evidence gathered by the US intelligence community suggests that the hospital strike came from a rocket launched by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad group.

Among the evidence that’s been gathered is a blast analysis that suggests it was a ground explosion rather than an airstrike that hit the hospital, one of the sources said. There was no singular crater suggesting there was a bomb, but there was extensive fire damage and scattered debris that is consistent with an explosion starting from the ground level, according to the source.

That analysis is one datapoint that’s led intelligence officials to lean toward assessing that the attack on the hospital was a rocket launch gone wrong.

Still, the blast analysis is just one of the things being examined by the intelligence community, which has surged intelligence collection assets to the region. US intelligence officials have not made a final assessment and are still gathering evidence, the officials added.

Israel will allow aid to enter Gaza via Egypt but won’t allow supplies to enter from Israel: PM’s office

Israel will not block humanitarian aid going into Gaza from Egypt, according to a statement Wednesday from the office of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. But it will not allow supplies into Gaza from its own territory until Hamas releases all hostages.

“In light of President Biden’s demand, Israel will not block humanitarian aid deliveries, as long as they consist water, food, and drugs for the civilian population in the southern Gaza Strip … and as long as the aid doesn’t reach Hamas,” the statement read.

The statement comes shortly after US President Joe Biden said in remarks in Tel Aviv that Israel had agreed to allow aid into Gaza, with the understanding there would be inspections to ensure the supplies are not diverted or stolen by Hamas.

Biden says Israel has agreed to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza

US President Joe Biden said Israel has agreed humanitarian assistance can cross into Gaza from Egypt, warning that any attempts by Hamas to steal the aid would illustrate it has “no concern for the welfare of the Palestinian people.”

The US “unequivocally stands for the protection of civilian life during conflict,” Biden stated during remarks in Tel Aviv, adding, “People of Gaza need food, water, medicine, shelter.”

“Today I asked the Israeli cabinet, who I met with for some time this morning, to agree to the delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, based on the understanding that there will be inspections and that the aid should go to civilians and not to Hamas,” Biden said.

“Israel agreed the humanitarian assistance can begin to move from Egypt to Gaza,” the president added.

“We’re working in close cooperation with the government of Egypt, the United Nations and its agencies like the World Food Programme and other partners in the region to get trucks moving across the border as soon as possible,” Biden continued.

Gaza death toll rises to nearly 3,500: Palestinian health ministry

At least 3,478 people have been killed in Gaza since October 7, according to a statement Wednesday by the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

More than 12,000 others have been injured, the statement added.

US Treasury Department imposes sanctions on 10 Hamas “members, operatives, and financial facilitators”

The US Treasury Department announced it took action Wednesday to try to stem revenue flow to Hamas by imposing sanctions on 10 people connected to Hamas.

“We will continue to take all steps necessary to deny Hamas terrorists the ability to raise and use funds to carry out atrocities and terrorize the people of Israel. That includes by imposing sanctions and coordinating with allies and partners to track, freeze, and seize any Hamas-related assets in their jurisdictions,” Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a news release Wednesday.

The new sanctions target “six individuals associated with Hamas’s secret investment portfolio, two senior Hamas officials, and a Gaza-based virtual currency exchange and its operator,” according to the Treasury Department.

“What we’re doing today is we’re cutting them off from access to their money,” a senior Treasury official stated.

“War costs money, and fundamentally by making sure that these networks and financiers don’t have the ability to give that money to Hamas, it will mean that they have fewer resources to pay their fighters, to buy the weapons, to support their destabilizing activity.”

“As of today, they will be cut off from those assets into the US financial system,” the official added.

In addition, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo announced the administration aims to “build a multinational coalition to go after terrorist financing,” and senior Treasury officials will travel to the region to continue to coordinate.

UK intelligence working “rapidly” to establish facts behind Gaza hospital blast: PM

British intelligence services are working “rapidly” to “establish the facts” behind the deadly blast at the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza on Tuesday, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak told lawmakers in Parliament Wednesday.

“We should not rush to judgments before we have all the facts on this awful situation,” Sunak said.

“Our intelligence services have been rapidly analyzing the evidence to independently establish the facts,” he added, reiterating the UK also remains focused on efforts to get vital humanitarian supplies into Gaza.

Biden said he used data “shown by my defense department” to back up claims Israel did not strike Gaza hospital

US President Joe Biden said he cited “the data I was shown by my defense department,” when asked Wednesday what made him confident Israelis weren’t behind the hospital blast in Gaza City that Palestinian officials say left hundreds dead overnight.

It comes after Biden’s comments on the explosion earlier Wednesday, when he said, “It appears as though it was done by the other team,” during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Before Biden left for Israel, according to one US official, the government had not yet drawn a conclusion about the source of the hospital bombing, and Biden had instructed his national security team to continue evaluating incoming information.

Authorities in Gaza have said Israel is behind the deadly blast at the hospital.

Gaza situation beyond dire: UNICEF

Chances of regional escalation high if fighting continues: UN

Death toll in Gaza rises to 3,300

Putin calls hospital bombing ‘terrible catastrophe’

US “will continue to have Israel’s back”: Biden says in meeting with Israeli war cabinet

President Joe Biden pledged US support for Israel in a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of Israel’s war cabinet in an expanded bilateral meeting in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, saying, “We will continue to have Israel’s back as you work to defend your people.”

“We’ll continue to work with you and partners across the region to prevent more tragedy to innocent civilians,” Biden told Netanyahu and members of the war cabinet, blasting Hamas’ attack as “brutal, inhuman, almost beyond belief.”

For his part, Netanyahu slammed Hamas for committing “this terrible, double-war crime against humanity.”

“While Israel seeks to minimize civilian casualties, Hamas seeks to maximize civilian casualties,” Netanyahu stated.

“Hamas wants to kill as many Israelis as possible and has no regard whatsoever to Palestinian lives – every day they perpetrate a double war crime, targeting our civilians while hiding behind their civilians, embedding themselves in the civilian population and using them as human shields.”

The Israeli prime minister also addressed the hospital bombing in Gaza overnight, in which preliminary estimates indicate hundreds were killed, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.

“We saw the cost of this terrible war crime yesterday, when a rocket fired by Palestinian terrorists misfired and landed on a Palestinian hospital,” Netanayahu added.

“The entire world was rightfully outraged – but this outrage should be directed not at Israel, but at the terrorists. As we proceed in this war, Israel will do everything it can to keep civilians out of harm’s way.”

Authorities in Gaza have said Israel was behind the blast.

Earlier Wednesday, Biden briefly addressed the hospital bombing during a meeting with Netanyahu, telling the Israeli prime minister that it “appears as though it was done by the other team.”

Biden says American death toll from Hamas attack climbs to 31

US President Joe Biden confirmed Wednesday that the American death toll following Hamas’ attack on Israel has climbed to 31 people.

“Hamas has slaughtered, it has been pointed out, over 1,300 people and it is not hyperbole to suggest slaughtered, slaughtered — including 31 Americans — and they’ve taken scores of people hostage, including children,” he said.

Following his meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden is set to hold a wider meeting with Israel’s war Cabinet.

Egypt rules out hosting Palestinians refugees in Sinai

UN human rights official warns of potential “mass ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians by Israel

Palestinians are in grave danger of “mass ethnic cleansing” by Israel, according to a UN human rights official.

In the wake of Israel’s military campaign in Gaza, UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese said that Palestinians have no safe place to be in Gaza.

“Israel has already carried out mass ethnic cleansing of Palestinians under the fog of war,” Albanese stated, referencing the hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were expelled or had to flee their homes in 1948 and 1967 wars with Israel.

“Again, in the name of self-defense, Israel is seeking to justify what would amount to ethnic cleansing,” Albanese added.

Biden arrives in Israel for high-stakes visit

US President Joe Biden has arrived in Tel-Aviv to kick off an extraordinary high-stakes trip to Israel, amidst protests following the deadly explosion at a Gaza hospital.

The blast marks a dangerous new phase in Israel’s war with Hamas.

With his visit, Biden seeks to demonstrate staunch support for Israel as it works to eliminate Hamas while also pressing for ways to ease humanitarian suffering in Gaza.

Blinken arrives in Israel ahead of Biden’s visit

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has arrived in Tel Aviv ahead of President Joe Biden’s visit.

The US president’s arrival in Israel on Wednesday will build on Blinken’s seven-nation, multi-day tour of the Middle East as the US tries to strike a delicate balance between providing unwavering support for Israel’s military operations while mitigating the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza and stopping the war from spreading to other fronts.

Blinken returned to Israel from Amman, Jordan.

Biden was scheduled to visit Jordan for a summit with King Abdullah II, Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to discuss a humanitarian response – but plans were scrapped after Tuesday’s deadly hospital attack in Gaza.

UN Security Council will hold meeting on Middle East Wednesday

The United Nations Security Council will hold an open meeting Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET on developments in the Middle East, including the bombing of a Gaza hospital.

Both Israel and Palestine are expected to speak at the meeting, which was requested by Russia and the United Arab Emirates.

The incident at the Gaza hospital is expected to be a major topic of the meeting.

Attack on Al-Ahli Hospital ‘horrific beyond words’: HRW

Palestinian health ministry says hospital killings ‘unparalleled’

Amnesty chief decries ‘cost’ of ‘unreserved support for Israel’

White House: Biden will ask Netanyahu ‘tough questions’ during Israel visit

UN Human Rights chief says deaths from Gaza hospital blast are “unacceptable”

UN Human Rights chief Volker Tur said the Gaza hospital blast that left at least hundreds of people dead was “unacceptable,” according to a statement released on Tuesday from the Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner.

“Words fail me. Tonight, hundreds of people were killed –- horrifically -– in a massive strike … including patients, healthcare workers and families that had been seeking refuge in and around the hospital. Once again the most vulnerable. This is totally unacceptable,” Turk stated.

Hospitals are sacrosanct and the killings and violence must stop, Turk said. He added those responsible for the hospital blast must be held accountable.

Turk urged all states with influence to do everything in their power to stop the current situation.

“Civilians must be protected, and humanitarian aid must be allowed to reach those in need as a matter of urgency. Those found responsible must be held to account,” he added.

Israeli air raid hits bakery in central Gaza: Report

White House sidesteps questions about cancellation of Biden’s Jordan trip

WHO says healthcare facilities should never be targeted

World Health Organization leaders have strongly condemned the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital blast, calling it an attack “unprecedented in scale.”

In addition to caring for patients, the hospital had also been sheltering thousands of internally displaced people, the WHO said.

“We want to express our deepest grief at a horror, horror that has unfolded this evening at Al-Ahli hospital,” Dr. Richard Peeperkorn, WHO representative for the occupied Palestinian territories said in a news conference Tuesday.

“This attack is unprecedented in scale, but WHO has seen consistent attacks in health care in occupied Palestinian territory.”

The WHO does not have specific casualty numbers yet from the hospital blast but said area reports indicate fatalities and injuries number in the hundreds.

The situation in the besieged Gaza Strip “is spiralling out of control”, the WHO head said.

“We need violence on all sides to stop,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on X.

“Every second we wait to get medical aid in, we lose lives. For four days, WHO supplies have been stuck at the border. We need immediate access to start delivering life-saving supplies.”

“We are all deeply shocked by the events unfolding in Gaza this evening,” stated Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme.

He added the locations of these hospitals is “absolutely clear.”

“Healthcare is not a target. It should never be a target of anyone in conflict. That is enshrined in international humanitarian law and we’re seeing this breeched again, and again, and again over the last week and it has to stop,” Ryan said, adding, “It must stop. We cannot leave doctors and nurses to make the choices they’re having to make. It is inhuman.”

Officials in Gaza have blamed an Israeli airstrike for the blast.

The hospital was one of 20 in the north of Gaza facing evacuation orders from the Israeli military, but the order has been “impossible” to carry out given the current security situation, and a lack of staff and ambulances, Dr. Ahmed Al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean, said.

“WHO calls for the immediate active protection of civilians and health care,” Al-Mandhari continued, adding, “International humanitarian law must be abided. By which means healthcare must be actively protected and never targeted.”

The WHO announced even before the hospital blast there were more than 100 attacks on health care workers: 51 of them in Gaza with 15 health care workers killed on duty, 27 injured and 24 health facilities damaged.

White House says Israel feels “very strongly” they did not cause hospital explosion

Israel feels “very strongly” they did not cause the blast at a hospital in Gaza, the White House announced Tuesday.

“The Israelis have categorically and very stridently denied that they had anything to do with it,” John Kirby, National Security Council spokesperson, told reporters aboard Air Force One.

He said US President Joe Biden spoke with “all the leaders involved” about his trip to the region Tuesday afternoon “so that all of them could make a collective decision about the value of continuing.”

Asked if the US was giving Israel the “benefit of the doubt,” Kirby declined to weigh in on where the administration thinks responsibility lies for the blast.

Biden has directed the national security team to gather as much information and context as possible “so that we can learn more about what happened,” Kirby added.

At least 304 Israeli soldiers killed since war started

Biden says ‘outraged’ over hospital ‘explosion’ without attributing blame

The US president says he is “outraged and deeply saddened” by what he described as an “explosion” at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City “and the terrible loss of life that resulted”.

In a one-paragraph statement shared by the White House, Joe Biden did not attribute blame for the deadly incident.

“Immediately upon hearing this news, I spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, and Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel and have directed my national security team to continue gathering information about what exactly happened,” he said.

“The United States stands unequivocally for the protection of civilian life during conflict and we mourn the patients, medical staff and other innocents killed or wounded in this tragedy,” he added.

UN chief Guterres ‘horrified’ by attack on Gaza hospital

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he is horrified by the deaths of hundreds of people in the strike on a hospital in Gaza.

“Hospitals and medical personnel are protected under international humanitarian law,” Guterres stated.

“My heart is with the families of the victims.”

The UN boss stated the October 7 attacks by Hamas “cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.

Guterres called for an “immediate” ceasefire in the war between Israel and Hamas.

Abbas: No Nakba in the 21st century

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