Sunday, June 23, 2024

Israel-Palestine conflict LIVE: UN says ‘Nowhere is safe in Gaza’

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. Nearly 6,500 Palestinians have been so far killed in an exchange of fire between the two sides.

3,000 children in Gaza killed by Israel since Oct 7: Palestine’s UN envoy

Some 3,000 children have been killed by Israel since the attacks it launched on Oct. 7, Palestine’s UN envoy stated Thursday.

“I repeat, 3,000 children, innocent children, angels killed in Gaza during the last three weeks,” Riyad Mansour said in an emotional address to an emergency UN General Assembly session on the Israel-Palestine conflict.

“There is no time to mourn, more death is on the way,” Mansour warned.

Mansour added 7,000 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza, saying that fully 70% of all those killed are women and children.

“Is this the war some of you are defending? These are crimes. This is barbarism. If you don’t stop it for all those who were killed, stop it for all those whose lives we can still save,” he implored.

Some 1,600 Palestinians still lie under the rubble, killed or injured and no one can reach them, to save them or bury them, he continued.

The ambassador also stated Israel has destroyed over 40% of all homes in Gaza, making an entire population homeless and displacing 1.4 million people, in the hope to forcibly transferring them outside of the territory.

Mansour also cited Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen’s remarks at the Security Council calling for the release of the hostages held by Hamas, saying: “Bring them home.”

“For millions of Palestinians, there is no home to go back to. For thousands, there is no family left to embrace. Not by an act of God, but by the acts of a government represented here,” said Mansour.

“Vengeance is dead and the only path forward is justice,” he added.


Health Ministry in Gaza warns of ‘health catastrophe’, calls on Egypt to open Rafah crossing

Israel defence minister says ‘more stages’ of war to come

Hamas official calls for stronger intervention from Hezbollah

Health ministry: ‘The world must break its silence on Israeli crimes’

A spokesperson for Palestine’s health ministry has called on the world to take urgent action, as the death toll in Gaza exceeds 7,000.

“The Ministry of Interior is undertaking its role to support our people, where nothing is sacred to Israel, and people, trees, homes, are being destroyed, hundreds are being killed over the past few hours,” said in a live press conference broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic.

“Entire neighbourhoods have been wiped out in central Gaza, with even civil defence crews being targeted,” he stated.

“The occupation is carrying out massacres non-stop, and the bombings are increasing overnight. With the cutting off of electricity, it is making treating patients more difficult,” he added.

“Israel, with the cover of the US, is targeting civilians. On the 20th day of attacks on Gaza, we call on people all around the world to take urgent action and to break your silence. The United Nations must take action as we are suffocating with no water, fuel, food or electricity.”


Arab countries make joint statement condemning collective punishment in Gaza

The United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, Morocco have published a joint statement condemning the targeting of civilians in Gaza, and Israel’s violations of international human law.

In the statement, the countries condemned the forced displacement and collective punishment in Gaza.


WHO warns Gaza health crisis reaching ‘catastrophic proportions’

Palestinian health ministry slams ‘insolence’ of those questioning validity of death toll

Ashraf al Qudra, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health, has slammed those doubting the death count published by the ministry since the start of the war on 7 October.

“To those who are questioning the validity of the numbers, we say to them, enough of your insolence. It would be better for you to stand up for the truth and prosecute the perpetrators of the massacres, and stop supporting them,” he said in a statement.

“We call on all institutions to come and observe the work and operations of the Ministry of Health, so the world can see that behind every number is a story and a person with a name and identity. Our people and our sons are not nobodies that can be forgotten,” he added.

“We reaffirm that we will publish a detailed review in front of the entire world, about the genocide committed by the Israeli occupation against our people, which has taken place in front of the world this October.”


Palestinian rights groups call on UNSC to ‘urgently’ adopt ceasefire resolution

Senior UN official: ‘Nowhere is safe in Gaza’

Lynn Hastings, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in Palestine, says Israel’s system of notifying Gaza residents before airstrikes makes “no difference” as they have nowhere safe to go.

Israel has frequently demanded the eviction of Palestinians from the north of Gaza to the south but also continues to bomb the southern half of the territory and has even attacked convoys of displaced people trying to comply with its orders.

“For people who can’t evacuate – because they have nowhere to go or are unable to move – advance warnings make no difference.”

“When the evacuation routes are bombed, when people north as well as south are caught up in hostilities, when the essentials for survival are lacking, and when there are no assurances for return, people are left with nothing but impossible choices. Nowhere is safe in Gaza.” She added.


Hamas’s military wing says about 50 captives killed in Israeli attacks

Official Palestinian death toll crosses 7,000

At least 7,028 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since Israel launched its bombing campaign after the Hamas-led attacks on southern Israel on 7 October.

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s latest figures, of those killed 2,913 are children and another 1,709 are women.

The ministry added that at least 18,484 people are wounded.

Significantly, there are also 1,650 resident missing, including 940 children. The vast majority of these people are presumed dead and there bodies are believed to be trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings.

The figures were accurate at the time of publication.


Israeli forces destroyed over a quarter of populated areas: Minister

Israeli forces have so far destroyed about 200,000 housing units completely or partially since October 7, accounting for more than 25 per cent of populated areas in Gaza, Minister of Public Works and Housing Mohammad Ziyara has said.

“The criminality of the occupier in the current aggression is unprecedented,” he stated in a statement, as reported by Palestinian Wafa news agency.

“The occupation’s bombing erased entire families from the civil registry; erased neighbourhoods and residential communities with their inhabitants; and also destroyed facilities including hospitals, places of worship, bakeries, water filling stations, markets, schools, and educational and service institutions.”


Brazil’s president: ‘It’s not a war, it’s a genocide’

Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has made his strongest comments on the ongoing war in Israel-Palestine so far.

“It’s not a war, it’s a genocide that has killed nearly 2 thousand children who have nothing to do with this war, they are victims of this war,” he said in comments reported by the country’s publicly owned news outlet Agencia Brasil.

“I don’t know how a human being is capable of war knowing that the result of that war is the death of innocent children,” Lula added without mentioning either Israel or the Palestinians by name.

The veteran left-winger stated he was also working with Qatar to make sure Brazilians in Gaza were returned home safely.

According to Agencia Brasil, there are 30 Brazilians in Gaza. It is not clear whether that number includes a Brazilian hostage held by Palestinian armed groups in the area.


Erdogan: Silence of international community over Gaza ’embarrassing’

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan told Pope Francis in a phone call on Thursday that Israel’s attacks on Gaza amounted to a massacre, and that the silence of the international community was “embarrassing,” the presidency said.

In the call, Erdogan stated that all countries must raise their voice against the humanitarian crisis in the region, according to a statement by the Turkish presidency.


WHO calls for ‘immediate and uninterrupted’ access to Gaza

The World Health Organization has called for “immediate and uninterrupted” access to Gaza as its supplies wait at the Egyptian border.

The WHO said that the supplies could provide essential health services for 110,000 people, as well as surgical interventions for 3,700 trauma patients.

“Without fuel, medicines, and health supplies, Gaza’s hospitals are on the precipice of an unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe,” the agency added.

“WHO calls for immediate and uninterrupted access into and across Gaza, so that its ailing health system can be urgently revived.”

More than 60 vehicles carrying aid have entered Gaza from Egypt in recent days, but aid workers say the supplies are insufficient.


Gaza set to run out of fuel today, stopping relief efforts

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned that they would have to halt operations in Gaza by Wednesday night unless fuel was delivered.

“No  fuel will further strangle the children, women and people of Gaza,” a UNRWA statement read.

Officials on the ground in Gaza say this will have a huge impact on the remaining hospitals, which are running on generators, as well as bakeries which are serving thousands of people daily after Israel stopped all food, water and electricity from entering the Strip.

Relief operations will also be forced to come to a halt if fuel supplies do not reach the Strip, worsening the humanitarian crisis.

Israel has banned all fuel into Gaza from 9 October, which has had a catastrophic impact on the besieged enclave, debilitating hospitals, desalination plants and bakeries.

The UNRWA commissioner-general, Philippe Lazzarini, has stated: “Without fuel, we will fail the people of Gaza whose needs are growing by the hour, under our watch. This cannot and should not happen.”


Palestinian journalist, child killed in Israeli attack

Palestinian journalist Duaa Sharaf and her child were killed in the early hours of Thursday after Israeli jets bombed her house in Gaza.

The Palestinian WAFA news agency reported that multiple missiles were fired at a residence in the az-Zawayda area in the central Gaza Strip, resulting in their death.

In a Telegram post, Voice of Al-Aqsa Radio confirmed the death of Sharaf, who was a presenter at the station.

At least 22 Palestinian journalists have been killed by Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7.


Amnesty: Israeli orders asking people to leave northern Gaza may amount to war crimes

The UK-based human rights organisation announced Israeli authorities must rescind the forced “evacuation” orders in Gaza, and to put an end to threats creating fear and panic amongst civilians.

“Declaring a whole city or region a military target flies in the face of international humanitarian law,” Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International’s senior crisis response adviser, said in a statement, adding that those carrying out attacks “must distinguish at all times between civilians or civilian objects and military objectives”.

“Violating the principle of distinction by targeting civilians or civilian objects or by carrying out indiscriminate attacks that kill or injure civilians is a war crime,” she continued.

Moreover, the human rights group said the leaflets being dropped by the Israeli army, ordering residents to evacuate, lacked effective warnings, “suggesting Israel may be trying to forcibly displace Northern Gaza’s civilians”.

A quick reminder that Israel nearly two weeks ago told some 1.1 million residents of Northern Gaza to head South “for their safety and protection”.

Amnesty added Israel’s order may amount to forced displacement of the civilian population.


Israeli military claims its ground forces raided sites in Gaza overnight, then withdrew

Israel’s military claimed that its ground forces operated within northern Gaza in the early hours of Thursday, attacking multiple Hamas targets before withdrawing.

The military posted online that the incursion was carried out “in preparation for the next stages of combat”, likely referring to the looming large-scale ground invasion that Israeli leaders have threatened.

Israel’s Army Radio described the overnight raid as the largest it has conducted since 7 October.

“The soldiers have since exited the area and returned to Israeli territory,” the military statement announced.

Hamas did not immediately comment on the statement.


Overcrowding in shelters is “severely constraining access to basic assistance”: UN group

The United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has warned about the overcrowding in UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) shelters in Gaza.

Overcrowding conditions are “severely constraining access to basic assistance and essential services, increasing health and protection risks, and negatively affecting mental health,” OCHA announced in a statement early Thursday.

OCHA said the number of displaced people in UNRWA’s shelters has reached nearly 629,000 out of a total of 1.4 million people displaced since October 7.

Meanwhile, OCHA added the water supply in the areas south of Wadi Gaza has temporarily improved.

“This happened after UNRWA and UNICEF managed to deliver small quantities of fuel they had retrieved from their existing reserves to key facilities. However, the available fuel in these facilities will be exhausted by 26 October and supply of piped water is expected to cease again.”


WHO calls for ‘immediate release’ of Israeli captives in Gaza

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for the “immediate release” of all captives held in the Gaza Strip on humanitarian and health grounds.

“We are gravely concerned by the humanitarian and health situation facing approximately 200 people, including health workers and up to 30 children,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, in a post on social media.

He called for urgent access to each of them and the delivery of medical care.

“Many of the hostages, including children, women and the elderly, have pre-existing health conditions requiring urgent and sustained care and treatment,” he added.


Biden hasn’t sought assurances from Netanyahu on delaying ground operation

US President Joe Biden says he has told Israel’s prime minister that if it’s possible to secure the release of hostages in Gaza ahead of a potential ground operation, he should do so.

Biden flatly said he had not sought assurances from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he would hold off on a ground operation while hostages remain in custody.

“What I have indicated to him is that if that’s possible to get these folks out safely, that’s what he should do,” Biden stated at The White House.

“It is their decision, but I did not demand it.”

“Obviously, they’re in jeopardy,” Biden continued, adding, “The question is whether or not there’s any way of getting them out. If we can get them out, we should get them out.”

Biden also stated he has no confidence in civilian death figures provided by the Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry, but said it was imperative for Israel to focus on targeting Hamas leaders as the country responds to this month’s terror attacks.

“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden stated, adding, “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s a price of waging war.”

Israel must be “incredible careful to be sure that they’re focusing on going after the folks that are propagating this war against Israel,” rather than civilians, he added.

“It’s against their interests when that doesn’t happen,” he said, adding, “But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”


More than 613,000 displaced people are sheltering in UN facilities

The number of internally displaced people (IDPs) sheltering in United Nations facilities across Gaza has surpassed 613,000, according to a statement from the UN agency in Gaza on Wednesday.

“The average number of IDPs per shelter has reached 2.7 times capacity, with some shelters reaching 12 times intended occupancy,” the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in the statement.

Since October 7, 38 UNRWA staff members have been killed in Gaza and 20 others injured, including one in critical condition, the organization added. A total of 41 of the agency’s 150 facilities in the strip have also been “impacted.”

The UNRWA also warned of the devastating impacts of the fuel shortage on its work on the strip.

“If fuel is not received into Gaza, UNRWA will be forced to significantly reduce and in some cases bring its humanitarian operations across the Gaza Strip to a halt,” UNRWA noted, adding, “The coming 24 hours are very critical.”


US agrees to send two Iron Dome batteries to Israel

The US has agreed to send two Iron Dome batteries from the US to Israel, a defense official and US official told CNN on Wednesday.

It’s unclear if the batteries, owned by the US Army, have already been shipped. The US Army and Israel signed an agreement for the US to procure two Iron Dome batteries in 2019, according to the Army, and they were delivered in 2020.

The batteries from US stocks are in addition to Iron Dome interceptors the US provided from stocks already in Israel. Pentagon spokesperson Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder told reporters last week that interceptors from stocks “that the United States has in country have been quickly provided to Israel”, and additional interceptors would be provided “in the days ahead.”

The Iron Dome is designed to shoot down incoming projectiles. It is equipped with a radar that detects rockets and then uses a command-and-control system that quickly calculates whether an incoming projectile poses a threat or is likely to hit an unpopulated area. If the rocket does pose a threat, the Iron Dome fires missiles from the ground to destroy in the air.

Defense News was first to report the Iron Dome batteries being sent to Israel from the US.


Halt of UN humanitarian operation in Gaza would mark end of “lifeline” for civilians

The wind-down of services by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza would mark the end of a “lifeline” for struggling civilians in the enclave, the agency told CNN Wednesday.

UNRWA runs the “largest humanitarian operation in Gaza,” Juliette Touma, the agency’s director of communications, told CNN in a statement Wednesday.

“We are sheltering at the moment 600,000 people in our shelters. UNRWA is their only lifeline.”

UNRWA has long played a pivotal role in the provision of essential services to Palestinian refugees residing in Gaza. On its official website, the agency announced it has “supported multiple generations of Palestine refugees with health, education and social assistance.”

But on Tuesday, UNRWA issued a stark warning that it will be forced to halt its operations in Gaza by Wednesday night if no fuel is delivered to Gaza. Without fuel supplies, the agency said it will no longer be able to operate desalination stations, hospital services or deliver food supplies, essentially severing its humanitarian services in Gaza.

“The humanitarian situation is getting worse by the minute. Time is running out,” Touma stated Wednesday.

The Israeli military said it would not let fuel to reach Gaza because it says Hamas is stockpiling existing supplies. This contradicts earlier comments from the Israel Defense Forces chief of staff, who said efforts would be made to provide access to fuel in Gaza, but that the IDF would “not allow” the fuel to reach Hamas.

During the recent fighting, the agency has turned its education centers into shelters for the thousands of Gazans who have fled their homes. Even before Israel told all civilians in north Gaza to evacuate to southern areas, close to 160,000 internally displaced people had sought shelter in 56 UNRWA schools in northern Gaza and Gaza City areas as of October 12, according to an agency situation report.

But now UNRWA is “struggling to to provide basic shelter in these locations. Essentially, we have people now sleeping in the open, we are struggling to keep the sanitation systems going, and now as aid supplies run out, we can’t provide the basics of food and water,” said Thomas White, the director of UNRWA affairs.

UNRWA clinics have not been spared from recent airstrikes, White added, recounting to CNN Tuesday details of a strike that took place roughly 200 meters (656 feet) from its facility in Rafah on Monday.

“It sent shockwaves through the building. (These are) people who were seeking medical care in a UN facility very close to an airstrike,” he continued.


Al Jazeera journalist’s family killed in Gaza strike

Al Jazeera says its bureau chief in Gaza, Wael Al-Dahdouh, lost his wife, son and daughter in what it said was Israeli airstrike. The blast hit a house in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip where the family was taking shelter after being displaced, according to Al Jazeera.

“Members of the family of our colleague Wael Al-Dahdouh, including his wife, son, and daughter, were martyred in an Israeli bombing,” Al Jazeera wrote in an on-air message Wednesday.

Al Jazeera reported Al-Dahdouh’s grandson Adam was declared dead two hours later.

Al Jazeera anchor Abdisalam Farah announced the deaths on air, visibly struggling to keep his composure and tearing up.

The Al-Dahdouh family were displaced from Tal El Hawa to Nuseirat refugee camp which they thought would be a safe place for them to stay, Al Jazeera’s office in Ramallah told CNN.

The International Press Institute (IPI) has condemned the killing of the Al-Dahdouh’s family, calling it “horrifying and outrageous news,” in a statement on Wednesday.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also issued a statement calling for the protection of all journalists shortly after the family was killed in what it said was an Israeli airstrike.

“During any conflict, journalists and media workers are civilians under international humanitarian law,” CPJ said, without naming Al-Dahdouh.

According to a CPJ statement released earlier Wednesday, at least 24 journalists have lost their lives in the Israel-Hamas war since October 7, including 20 Palestinians, three Israelis and one Lebanese.

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