|[Published: Monday November 13 2023]
Gaza: Thousands flee south as UN rapporteur condemns 'cynical' war pauses
GENEVA, 13 Nov. - (ANA) - UN Rapporteur Francesca Albanese has condemned an Israeli plan for 'humanitarian pauses' as cynical and cruel, as thousands fled continued Israeli strikes on hospitals and other civilian areas.
Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on occupied Palestinian territories, has condemned Israel’s plan to allow a four-hour 'humanitarian pause' each day in military operations in northern Gaza to allow civilians to flee to the south as “very cynical and cruel.”
“There has been continuous bombings, 6,000 bombs every week on the Gaza Strip, on this tiny piece of land where people are trapped and the destruction is massive. There won’t be any way back after what Israel is doing to the Gaza Strip,” Albanese said on Friday.
“So four hours cease-fire, yes, to let people breathe and to remember what is the sound of life without bombing before starting bombing them again. It’s very cynical and cruel.”
Meanwhile, Israeli strikes hit near hospitals in Gaza as forces pushed deeper into dense urban neighbourhoods in its ongoing war on the Gaza Strip.
The fighting is prompting increasing numbers of civilians to flee south, and growing numbers of people have been living in and around hospitals, hoping it will be safer than their homes or United Nations shelters in the north, several of which have been hit repeatedly.
Gaza’s largest city is the focus of Israel’s military campaign following Hamas' October 7 incursion in southern Israel, which is now in its second month.
The number of Palestinians killed in the war has risen to over 11,000 including 4,506 children and 3,027 women, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said.
In the occupied West Bank, more than 160 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli raids and attacks.
Saudi prince slams Israel 'aggression' ahead of Gaza summits
Saudi Arabia's ruler has denounced the conduct of Israeli forces in Gaza, ahead of weekend summits that will focus on the unfolding violence in the besieged Palestinian territory.
"We condemn the military aggression witnessed in the Gaza Strip, the targeting of civilians, and the continued violations of international humanitarian law by the Israeli occupation forces," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told a summit with African leaders, his first public comments on the Israel-Hamas war.
"We stress the necessity of stopping this war and forced displacement and creating conditions for the return of stability and achieving peace."
Palestinian envoy criticises West for Gaza stance
A Palestinian envoy on Friday criticised Western states for supporting Ukraine by calling out Russia's violations of international law while stopping short of naming what he said were breaches by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza.
Palestinian ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva Ibrahim Khraishi was speaking alongside more than 40 ambassadors to observe a minute of silence for thousands of civilian deaths in Gaza since the start of Israeli bombardments more than a month ago.
"There are a plethora of international laws that can be applied. They are applied fully when it comes to Ukraine. When it comes to us they are put aside, they're violated, they're not used, they're belittled," he told a gathering of diplomats and reporters.
"I should like to address myself to those who call themselves the free world. You have to do your utmost to stop the bloodshed and to reach a ceasefire," Khraishi added.
"You have to work with us in order to attack the crux of the problem, meaning ending the occupation."
Director says Al-Shifa as Hamas command centre 'utter lies'
Al-Shifa Hospital director says that Israel's claim that a Hamas command centre is constructed under the hospital is 'utter lies'.
“This is false, these are utter lies,” Al-Shifa director Muhammed Abu Salmiya tells Al Jazeera.
“This is a civilian hospital. We cater to more than 1.5 million Gazans.”
“The Israeli occupation forces are fully aware that this is a totally safe area. They are certain that there is no command centre or any tunnels under these hospitals.”
Abu Salmiya continues, “UNRWA staff, UN staff, international organisation staff have been in and around the hospital, they know that this is a totally civilian hospital catering to the victims and patients.
“More than two weeks ago we took the representatives of the media from all over the world in a tour in and around and under the hospital to prove that the Israelis are propagating mere lies, false groundless allegations."
Qatar and Saudi leaders meet to discuss Gaza developments
Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani has met with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Riyadh to discuss recent developments in Gaza, state media reported.
"The leaders met in the presence of ministers and other senior officials from both countries to focus on efforts to stop Israel's aggression against Gaza, the allowance of aid and other ways to support security and stability in the region," Qatar's Emiri Diwan office said in a statement.
Israeli forces encircle Gaza hospitals, patients trapped
Displaced civilians and patients are under siege in hospitals that has been encircled by Israeli forces in northern Gaza City.
Al-Rantisi Hospital, Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital, and the psychiatric hospital under Rantisi medical compound is surrounded by Israeli troops, who have forcibly evacuated people seeking refuge in the hospitals, according to Palestinian health ministry.
This follows air strikes on several of Gaza’s hospitals, including Al-Shifa, the territory's biggest hospital, which contains several displaced and wounded people.
ICRC demands protection for healthcare workers in Gaza
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has issued a statement, demanding the 'respect and protection' for healthcare workers and patients in Gaza, amid Israel's relentless bombing on the besieged territory.
ICRC says that Gaza's healthcare system 'has reached a point of no return', as the organisation described hospitals, civilians and patients impacted by dwindling supplies, as a result of Israel's ongoing attacks.
"Over the past days, ICRC teams distributing critical supplies to medical structures across Gaza, have witnessed horrendous images that have now gotten worse due to sharpened hostilities," the organisation said.
"Children’s hospitals have not been spared from the violence, including Al Nasser Hospital, heavily damaged by the hostilities, and Al Rantisi Hospital, which has had to cease its operations."
21 hospitals out of service in Gaza: health ministry
The number of hospitals that have gone out of service as Israel's attacks on the Gaza Strip ensues has reached 21, Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra says.
The previous number the ministry had said was 18 hospitals.
South Africa and Israel ambassador to discuss Gaza war
South Africa has called in Israel's ambassador to discuss what it describes as his recent "unfortunate conduct" linked to the war in Gaza, the foreign ministry in Pretoria says.
The ministry says Eliav Belotsercovsky received the order on Thursday, but it did not go into details on his conduct.
"Ambassador Belotsercovsky is called upon to conduct himself in line with the Vienna Conventions, which accord heads of diplomatic missions certain privileges and responsibilities, key amongst which is to recognise the sovereign decisions of the host nation," the South African statement said.
Egypt's Sisi hosts Qatar leader for Gaza ceasefire talks
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani have met to review "intensive efforts" towards a ceasefire in the Israel's war on Gaza, Cairo said.
In Cairo, Sisi and Sheikh Tamim "discussed the Israeli military escalation in the Gaza Strip, and the subsequent regional challenges that push the region in dangerous and uncalculated directions", the Egyptian presidency said in a statement.
"The two leaders discussed the best ways to protect innocent civilians in Gaza and to stop the bloodshed," it added.
"They reviewed the intensive efforts aimed at achieving a ceasefire and sustaining the delivery of humanitarian aid in quantities that meet the needs of the Palestinian people in Gaza."
Three Palestinians killed in Israeli strike on road
At least three Palestinians were killed in an Israeli strike on a road used by displaced Palestinians heading south in the enclave, Palestinian government-affiliated media in Gaza have cited health officials as saying.
Israeli forces shooting at Gaza's Al-Quds hospital: PRCS
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society has said that Israeli 'snipers' have been shooting at Gaza City's Al-Quds hospital, reporting at least one death and 20 wounded.
"Fierce clashes now and occupation (Israeli) snipers shooting at Al-Quds hospital, casualties among the displaced" Palestinians sheltering at the facility, the medical organisation said in a statement.
Gaza hospital says received bodies after strikes on school
Around 50 people have been killed in strikes that hit a Gaza City school, said the director of Al-Shifa hospital where the casualties had been taken.
"About 50 martyrs were recovered from inside Al-Buraq school... in the Al-Nasr neighbourhood in Gaza after missile and artillery strikes that targeted the school this morning," hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya said.
UN mourns record death toll of over 100 employees in Gaza
More than 100 United Nations employees have been killed since Israel's war on Gaza, the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA) has said, making it the deadliest conflict ever for the UN in such a short period of time.
"Devastated. Over 100 UNRWA colleagues confirmed killed in 1 month. Parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, support staff. UNRWA is mourning, Palestinians mourning, Israelis mourning," Philippe Lazzarini said on social media platform X.
The agency later said it was mourning 101 colleagues.
"They represent what is happening to the people of Gaza. They happen to work for the UN," said Juliette Touma, Director of Communications at UNRWA.
"They and every other civilian in the Gaza Strip...should never have been killed."
Amnesty International petition demands ceasefire
Human rights organisation Amnesty International has issued a petition to add pressure for an "immediate ceasefire" amid Israel's ongoing bombardment on the besieged Gaza Strip.
Amnesty says that as a result of the conflict's "devastating toll on civilians", the organisation has released a petition that demands "an immediate ceasefire by all parties to the conflict."
Amnesty has also condemned Israel's "illegal blockade of Gaza" and its authorities that Amnesty says they "dehumanize Palestinians in their rhetoric".
"Hundreds of thousands of people continue to protest across the world to demand a ceasefire, yet their calls have gone unheeded by the international community as warring parties continue to display a callous disregard for civilian lives,” Amnesty writes.
Hospitals in Gaza at 'imminent risk' of Israeli attacks: MAP
Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) has warned that hospitals in northern Gaza are under 'imminent threat of full-scale military assaults', as Israel has relentlessly attacked the besieged territory since October 7.
"Israel has ordered 12 still-functioning hospitals in northern areas to evacuate, making threats against them with increasingly bellicose rhetoric," the organisation said.
"These essential facilities contain thousands of patients, hundreds of staff trying to treat the ever-growing number of wounded, and tens of thousands of displaced people seeking shelter from Israel’s bombs."
The statement continued, "They must be protected from attack, and medical supplies, food, water and fuel must be allowed to reach them."
Palestinians say deadly strike hit Gaza hospital
Palestinians say a deadly strike has hit Gaza's largest hospital compound as medical facilities sheltering tens of thousands are in the midst of Israel's ongoing attacks on Gaza.
Al-Shifa hospital director Mohammad Abu Salmiya reported two people were killed and 10 wounded in a strike that he said hit the compound's maternity ward.
Hundreds of people seeking shelter at Gaza City's Al-Rantisi hospital have also fled on instruction from Israeli forces, which was surrounding it with armoured vehicles, AFP reports.
Gaza death tolls exceeds 11,000
The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza has issued a latest update on the number of Palestinians killed in Israel’s ongoing bombardments on Gaza- that now has increased to 11,078.
The death toll includes at least 4,506 children, 3,027 women, and 678 elderly people, and 27,490 people who have been claimed wounded.the ministry said.
Israeli forces arrest ambulance drivers: health ministry
Israeli forces have detained two ambulance drivers in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian health ministry says.
Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra said that the drivers were route on to the northern Gaza Strip from the south.
They were arrested despite coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), who were in talks with Israeli forces to retrieve ambulance drivers that had been detained since Thursday in the south of the Gaza Strip, al-Qudra added.
Israeli ground troops have controlled the two main roads that connect Gaza's north to south for over a week.
Indonesian clerics issue fatwa boycotting Israel-linked firm
Indonesia's top Islamic clerical body issue a fatwa to call for a boycott of goods and services from companies that support Israel in a show of solidarity with the Palestinians.
The religious edict by the Indonesian Ulema Council, or MUI, said Muslims in the country must support the Palestinians' struggle against "Israeli aggression", while also declaring that support for Israel or its supporters is "haram", or against Islamic law.
"MUI call on every Muslim to avoid as much as possible transactions and use of Israel products and those that affiliated with Israel, as well as those who support colonialism and Zionism," Asrorun Niam Sholeh, an executive of the council, tells reporters.
"We cannot support the party that is at war with Palestine, including using products whose proceeds actually support acts of murder of the Palestinians."
Macron discusses aid to 'vulnerable' countries in conflict
International financial aid can help countries inflicted by conflict such as that in Gaza, French President Emmanuel Macron has said.
"Everything is connected," Macron told delegates at the annual Paris Peace Forum in the French capital.
"Today, there are very vulnerable countries who, if we don't help them with international solidarity, will be dragged into the ongoing conflict," he added, in reference to Israel's war on Gaza.
Macron hailed the International Monetary Fund's aid to Jordan and Egypt as "absolutely decisive" in limiting the spread of the confrontation.
Lebanon's Hezbollah says Israeli fire kills 7 fighters
Lebanon's Hezbollah says that Israeli fire killed seven of its fighters, without specifying where or when they died as border tensions persist during Israel's war on Gaza.
The group named the seven fighters in a statement stating they were "martyred on the road to Jerusalem" where the deaths of Hezbollah members have risen to 68, since border clashes with Israel began last month.
The border area between the two countries has seen daily exchanges of fire, in particular between Hezbollah and Israel since the start of the conflict- following Hamas' October 7 attacks on Israel.
Hamas fires rockets deep into Israel
Sirens have been sounded in Tel Aviv and surrounding areas as Hamas said it fired rockets deep into Israel in what the Palestinian group described as a response to mounting civilian deaths in the ongoing Gaza war.
Medics reported two women in Tel Aviv suffered shrapnel wounds from the salvo, which followed a relative lull in rocket fire.
Palestinian FM says Israel are ‘hijacking’ hospitals
The Palestinian Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Expatriates alleges that Israel “kidnaps hospitals as hostages for extortion” in Gaza.
In a statement posted on X, the ministry said Israel has been expanding its siege of hospitals in order to 'blackmail' the international community for 'political gains' and forcibly relocate Palestinians to the south- a move that the ministry described as a 'new episode of genocide'.
The ministry also said that the international community must respect its position on protecting civilians and to call on 'occupying state' Israel to commit to this.
Israel must not lose an opportunity for peace: Germany
Israel must not lose a "historic opportunity" for peace with Arab states due to its heavy bombardments on the densely populated Gaza Strip, Germany's foreign minister says as she is embarking on a trip to the region.
Annalena Baerbock is making her third visit to the Middle East, where she will be stopping at countries such as United Arab Emirates, that normalised relations with Israel in 2020.
"In this almost unresolvable turmoil, it is crucial not to lose sight of the big picture," she said.
"Israel's historic opportunity for peace with its Arab neighbours must not be lost."
She continued, "
"And even in our efforts to secure the release of the hostages, humanitarian access to Gaza or the prevention of a regional spillover of violence -- we only have a chance of success if we pull together with the Arab Gulf states."
Iran says expansion of Israel-Hamas war 'inevitable'
Iran's Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian says that expansion of Israel's war on Gaza has become "inevitable", amid widespread concern in the region and beyond that the conflict could spread.
"Due to the increasing intensity of the war against the civilian residents of Gaza, the expansion of the scope of the war has now become inevitable", Amir-Abdollahian said to his Qatari counterpart, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani in a phone call.
His comments were cited on the ministry's website.
Abbas says PA ready to assume responsibility in Gaza
The Palestinian Authority is ready to assume responsibilities in the Gaza Strip as part of a comprehensive political solution for occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said.
Verified social media shows dead and wounded at Al-Shifa
Graphic video shared on social media and verified shows a number of dead and wounded, including children in an area of Al Shifa hospital in Gaza, which a Palestinian health ministry spokesman said had been hit by Israeli airstrikes, Reuters reports.
There was no immediate Israeli military comment on the video, which a Reuters correspondent said appeared to have been made in a covered, outdoor area near the hospital's outpatient department, where displaced people had been sleeping.
Reuters says it has been able to confirm the location from one of the children seen in the video, a girl wearing dark trousers and a purple t-shirt, who is also seen in other footage at the entrance of the hospital.
The appearance of the hospital entrance also matched file imagery and the source has uploaded several videos from the hospital previously and was known to be there.
WHO: Gaza's Al Shifa hospital 'coming under bombardment'
A World Health Organization spokesperson says that the Al Shifa hospital had been "coming under bombardment", adding that 20 hospitals in Gaza were now out of action entirely.
Asked about the Gaza health ministry's claim of an Israeli strike on the hospital courtyard, WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris said: "I haven't got the detail on Al Shifa but we do know they are coming under bombardment".
Asked to elaborate, she said there was "intense violence" at the site, quoting colleagues on the ground.
Protesters blockade UK defence giant's factory over Gaza
UK trade union members are blockading a British military equipment maker in southeastern England, calling for a ceasefire in Israel's offensive in Gaza.
Demonstrators brandished banners and placards reading "no business as usual" and "taxpayers have blood on their hands" outside the gates of the BAE Systems factory in Rochester.
Organisers said they are aiming to shut down the factory "which provides components for military aircraft currently being used by Israeli forces in the bombardment of Gaza".
They said it is part of an "international day of action for Palestine" organised in response to a call by Palestinian trade unionists.
Israel must protect Palestinians in West Bank- UN
The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights says that Israel must take immediate measures to protect Palestinians in the occupied West Bank as they find themselves targeted by more violence since the Israeli-Hamas war erupted last month.
Volker Turk said at least 176 Palestinians, including 43 children and one woman, had been killed in incidents involving Israeli security forces since the beginning of October.
At least eight Palestinians had been killed by Israeli settlers.
"I ...appeal as a matter of urgency for Israeli authorities to take immediate measures, to take steps to ensure the protection of Palestinians in the West Bank, who are being on a daily basis subjected to violence from Israeli forces and settlers, ill treatment, arrests, evictions, intimidation and humiliation," Turk told reporters in Jordan's capital Amman.
"Continued widespread impunity for such violations is unacceptable, dangerous, and it is in clear violation of Israel's obligation under international human rights law."
Reuters contributed to this story.
Hamas says Israeli strike on Al-Shifa Hospital kills 13
Gaza's government says an Israeli strike on Al-Shifa Hospital, territory’s largest, has led to the killings of at least 13 people.
“Thirteen martyrs and dozens wounded in an Israeli strike on Al-Shifa compound today” in central Gaza City, a government statement said.
Israeli soldier captive killed by Israeli bombing: Hamas
Hamas' armed wing, the al Qassam Brigades, said an Israeli soldier held hostage in Gaza has been killed and another captive soldier was injured in an Israeli air strike.
Israeli forces destroy homes of two Palestinian detainees
Israeli forces have blown up the homes of Mohammad al-Shantir and Saqer al-Shantir, that were located in the occupied West Bank's south Hebron,
They have both been detained in Israeli jails since August, after the two were accused of carrying out a attack that shot one settler dead and wounded a second person.
Blinken says 'more needs to be done' to protect Palestinians
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that he welcomes Israel's agreed pauses in the besieged Gaza territory, but that more needed to be done.
"Far too many Palestinians have been killed. Far too many who suffered these past weeks, and we want to do everything possible to prevent harm to them and to maximise the assistance that gets to them," Blinken said, speaking in New Delhi.
"I think some progress has been made. But I was also very clear that much more needs to be done in terms of protecting civilians and getting humanitarian assistance to them."
Blinken said Israel's agreed four-hour pauses, as well as two humanitarian corridors, will allow people to move away from the fighting.
"These steps will save lives and enable more assistance to get to Palestinians in need," he added.
Israeli strikes hit near several hospitals
Israeli strikes have hit near several hospitals in Gaza City early as the military pushed deeper into dense urban neighborhoods in its ongoing war on Gaza, prompting increasing numbers of civilians to flee toward the south of the besieged territory.
Israel has accused Hamas of hiding in hospitals and using the Shifa Hospital complex as its main command center, which the militant group and hospital staff deny, saying Israel is creating a pretext to strike it.
Growing numbers of people have been living in and around Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest, hoping it will be safer than their homes or United Nations shelters in the north, several of which have been hit repeatedly. Israeli troops were around 3 kilometers (2 miles) from the hospital, according to its director.
Israel has also struck the Shifa courtyard and the obstetrics department, according to the head of the Gaza media office, Salama Maarouf. - (ANA) -
AB/ANA/13 November 2023 — - -