Thu. Apr 25th, 2024

Gaza’s Nasser Hospital ‘not functional anymore’; Israelis call for new election

By 37ci3 Feb19,2024


Hamas calls Israel’s decision to restrict Palestinians’ entry to Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan ‘a violation of freedom’

Hamas has called Israel’s decision to restrict Palestinians from Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan “a violation of freedom of worship” at the mosque.

Israeli authorities plan to restrict access to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa Mosque is located, ahead of Ramadan, war Cabinet minister Benny Gantz said earlier.

A statement from the militant group said the move “indicates the occupation’s intention to escalate its aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque during the month of Ramadan” and called it “an intensification of the Zionist crime and religious war led by the group of extremist settlers in the terrorist occupation government.”

It called on Palestinians living in “occupied territories,” as well as Jerusalem and the West Bank, “to reject this criminal decision, to resist the arrogance of the occupation, and to mobilize and march and be present in the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

The group also warned that restricting access to the mosque “will not pass without accountability.”

U.S. conducted five self-defense strikes in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, military says

The United States conducted five self-defense strikes in areas of Yemen controlled by the Iranian-backed Houthi militia, U.S. Central Command said today.

It said it struck three mobile anti-ship cruise missiles, one unmanned underwater vessel and one unmanned surface vessel on Saturday.

“This is the first observed Houthi employment of a UUV since attacks began in Oct. 23,” CENTCOM said in a post on X.

Central Command said it had determined the missiles and vessels presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant ships in the area.

The Houthi attacks in the Red Sea area have been one sign of spreading conflict in the Middle East since war erupted between Israel and Hamas after the militant Palestinian group’s deadly assault on Israel on Oct.7.

The Houthis, who control the most populous parts of Yemen, say their attacks are in solidarity with Palestinians as Israel strikes Gaza. But the U.S. and its allies characterize them as indiscriminate and a menace to global trade.

Faced with mounting Red Sea violence, major shipping lines have largely abandoned the critical trade route for longer routes around Africa. This has increased costs, feeding worries about global inflation while sapping Egypt of crucial foreign revenue from shippers sailing the Suez Canal to or from the Red Sea.

Israel slams Brazilian president for comparing Gaza war to the Holocaust

Israel condemned Brazil’s president for comparing the war in Gaza to the Holocaust, accusing him of being antisemitic and trivializing the Nazi genocide of European Jews during World War II.

The outcry further strained relations between the countries, which have deteriorated since President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva returned to office last year. Lula has portrayed himself as a leader of the “Global South,” a loosely defined group of developing countries.

Speaking to reporters at the African Union summit in Ethiopia, Lula said that “what is happening in the Gaza Strip and to the Palestinian people hasn’t been seen in any other moment in history. Actually, it did when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

Such comments strike a raw nerve in Israel, a country established as a haven for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust. Israel rejects any comparisons of its conduct in the war in Gaza to the Holocaust.

Netanyahu said today that Lula’s comments “trivialized the Holocaust” and “crossed a red line.” He also accused Lula of being a “virulent antisemite.”

Foreign Minister Israel Katz wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that he had summoned Brazil’s ambassador in Israel for a reprimand. Katz called Lula’s comments “shameful and serious.”

Lula’s comments came after leaders at the AU summit on Saturday condemned Israel’s offensive in Gaza and called for its immediate end.

Netanyahu: Hostage release possible through ‘strong military action’

Netanyahu said today that a hostage release “can be achieved through strong military action and tough negotiations.”

The “tough position” involves pressuring Hamas and groups that can pressure Hamas, he said in an address at the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organization at the Museum of Tolerance in Jerusalem.

“That tough position has to involve the exertion of pressure. And the exertion of pressure is not merely on Hamas itself, but on those who can exert pressure on Hamas, beginning with Qatar,” Netanyahu said, adding that Qatar “can press Hamas as no one else can” because “Hamas is dependent on them financially.”

“I urge you to press Qatar to press Hamas, because we want our hostages released,” Netanyahu said. “I hope that we can achieve a deal soon to release more of our hostages. But deal or no deal, we have to finish the job to get total victory.”

14 patients evacuated from Nasser Hospital, but more than 100 trapped inside, Health Ministry says

Gaza’s Health Ministry said today that 14 patients were evacuated from the inoperable Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis with assistance from the World Health Organization.

The ministry previously reported that 150 patients were inside the hospital with nowhere to go because of an Israeli raid on the facility. The people who were able to evacuate today included five dialysis patients and three intensive care patients, the health ministry said.

The World Health Organization said earlier that it was blocked from accessing Nasser hospital for two days, permitted by Israeli authorities only to deliver fuel but not allowed inside the facility.

Israeli government reaches agreement for residents to return to communities near Gaza border

Israel residents who have been displaced from their homes in Sderot and other communities in the western Negev area near the border with Gaza should be able to return as soon as March 1, Israeli officials said.

The Finance Ministry released a joint statement with the prime minister’s office with details about an agreement that would also provide grants to those who are not ready to return. According to the statement, “acclimation grants” would be provided for those who wish to stay in hotels until early July.

“It was agreed that under the grant outline, the level would be determined according to the date of return and the needs stemming from the length of the acclimation period,” the statement said.

Israel’s government will still have to approve the plan.

More than 7,000 Palestinians arrested since start of war, Palestinian authorities say

About 7,075 Palestinians have been arrested since Oct. 7, the Commission for the Affairs of Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners said.

They include 15 people who were arrested since last night in Ramallah, Jericho, Nablus, Bethlehem, Hebron and Tulkarm, the commission said in a statement. Israeli officials have said they are seeking out people with ties to Hamas in the occupied West Bank.

“It is noteworthy that the data related to arrest cases includes those who were kept in detention by the occupation, or those who were later released,” the statement said.

According to the commission, those detained were arrested in myriad ways, such as by being taken into custody in their homes or at checkpoints or by being pressured to surrender. The United Nations has described numerous “search and arrest operations” by Israeli forces over the last few months, including one last week in the Jenin refugee camp that led to violence.

Israeli authorities will restrict movement to Al-Aqsa ahead of Ramadan, Gantz announces

Israeli authorities plan to restrict access to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, where the Al-Aqsa mosque is located, ahead of Ramadan next month, war Cabinet minister Benny Gantz said on X.

“The security forces will finalise their recommendations in accordance with the latest situation assessments and will subsequently be presented to the political echelon for decision-making,” Gantz wrote.

That area of Jerusalem’s Old City is considered one of the world’s holiest sites because of its significance to all three Abrahamic religions: Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Israelis call the area the Temple Mount, while in Arabic it’s often referred to as Haram Al-Sharif, which is often translated as “The Noble Sanctuary” in English.

It’s also home to the compound of Al-Aqsa, where thousands of Muslims congregate for prayer services during the holy month of Ramadan.

Violence has erupted at the mosque numerous times over recent years, including last April, when police raided the compound after authorities alleged some Palestinian kids threw firecrackers at them. There were reports Israeli officers beat Palestinians, and more than 50 people were injured. The Israeli military said one soldier was shot.

Gazans at risk of famine as 1 in 4 people face emergency levels of food insecurity

Gazans face a dire humanitarian crisis as more than a quarter of the enclave’s population faces famine.

“For God’s sake, every time we come we leave with nothing,” one Gazan said as thousands lined up for aid. “Please, I have 25 people at home.”

NBC News’ Molly Hunter reports on the aid agencies sounding the alarm on food insecurity in Gaza, as aid is not getting to the people who need it most. According to the World Food Programme, 1 in 4 Gazans face emergency levels of food insecurity.

Brazilian president compares treatment of Palestinians to Jews during the Holocaust

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva spoke about the plight of Palestinians during the 37th African Union Summit, comparing the situation to that of Jews during World War II.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip with the Palestinian people has no parallel in other historical moments,” Lula told reporters. “In fact, it did exist when Hitler decided to kill the Jews.”

The comment drew ire from Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said that Lula disgraced the memory of the estimated 6 million Jews killed during the Holocaust. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant wrote on X accusing the Brazilian president of supporting “a genocidal” organization, in reference to Hamas.

“Accusing Israel of perpetrating a Holocaust is outrageous and abhorrent,” Gallant wrote.

Hamas released a statement today calling Lula’s remarks “an accurate description of what our people are exposed to” in the context of Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The group asked that the comment be taken into consideration at the international court where South Africa brought a case accusing Israel of genocide.

“We call on the International Court of Justice to take into account the statement of the Brazilian President regarding the violations and atrocities that our Palestinian people are suffering at the hands of the criminal occupation army and its terrorist settlers that have never been witnessed in modern history,” the statement said.

Israel’s attacks ‘will not bring security or stability to anyone,’ Palestinian Authority says

Israel’s war in Gaza as well as the aggression in the West Bank “will not bring security or stability to anyone,” according to a statement provided by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ office.

A spokesperson for Abbas, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, called for “increased Arab action” in the face of what it described as a contradictory American position. The U.S. has said it supports an independent Palestinian state while also providing unrestricted aid to Israel, whose government rejects the concept.

“Everyone should know that Jerusalem and Palestine constitute the key to the solution and the future and stability of the region,” he said. “Without the State of Palestine obtaining its full membership in the United Nations, realizing its independence on Palestinian land with East Jerusalem as its capital … the region will remain in constant turmoil, enduring endless wars.”

Rep. Jim Clyburn: Biden ‘feels about the way I feel’ that Benjamin Netanyahu’s ‘leadership is not good for Israel’

Representative Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and President Joe Biden at the Indian Treaty Room of the White House on July 25, 2023.
Representative Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., and President Joe Biden at the Indian Treaty Room of the White House on July 25, 2023.Samuel Corum / Sipa / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Rep. Jim Clyburn said Sunday that President Joe Biden “feels about the way I feel” that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “leadership is not good for Israel.”

“I’ve talked to the president about this. And, of course, he is not going to be public with everything he says to Netanyahu,” Clyburn, D-S.C., told CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “But I know this. He feels about the way I feel when it comes to Netanyahu. He is — his leadership has not been good for Israel.”

Read the full story here.

U.S. considering sending more weapons to Israel

Smoke billows over Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, during Israeli bombardment on Sunday.
Smoke billows over Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, during Israeli bombardment on Sunday.Said Khatib / AFP via Getty Images

A weapons transfer to Israel is under consideration but nothing has been finalized yet, two U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the proposed delivery confirmed.

A Wall Street Journal report yesterday said the Biden administration was preparing to send arms to Israel, including a thousand each of MK-82 bombs, KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions that add precision guidance to bombs, and FMU-139 bomb fuses.

The officials said the U.S. has provided these weapons to Israel before and explained that they are part of long-standing U.S. aid supplied to Israel that includes additional tranches of military assistance, unrelated to the foreign aid package, that can be adjusted based on Israel’s needs.

The Biden administration plans to notify Congress if the plans are finalized, but unlike arms shipments to many other countries, congressional approval is not required for arms shipments that are part of long-standing U.S. aid to Israel.

Settlers attack people, property in West Bank

Two children were injured during an attack on Palestinian farmers in the south Hebron Hills, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA.

A group of armed settlers targeted farmers and livestock herders in the village of Al-Mufaqara, physically assaulting them and beating them up, the agency reported. A child sustained a foot injury and another was bruised by stones, it said.

WAFA also reported that settlers attacked homes and properties in a village near Ramallah and set fire to cars. Israeli media reported that racist slogans such as “death to Arabs” were also painted on walls and buildings in the village.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, a spokesperson for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, said that “continuous Israeli aggression” in Gaza and the West Bank would “not bring security or stability to anyone in the region or the world,” renewing calls for a two-state solution.

Settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank has increased exponentially since Oct. 7, according to the Israeli civil rights group Yesh Din, which monitors settler activity. At least 225 instances of violence were recorded in the first two months after the Oct. 7 attacks, it said.

Algeria proposes new U.N. Security Council cease-fire vote that the U.S. threatens to veto

Algeria, the newest nonpermanent member of the U.N. Security Council, has signaled that it will call a new vote on an “immediate” cease-fire next week, although the U.S. appears set to block it.

In a statement yesterday, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the United States had been working “tirelessly” alongside representatives from Israel, Egypt and Qatar to work out a deal that would “reunite all hostages with their families and enable a prolonged pause in fighting.” A Security Council-mandated cease-fire would “run counter” to these outcomes she added.

“For that reason, the United States does not support action on this draft resolution,” she said. “Should it come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted.”

Israeli government formally approves opposition to Palestinian state

The Israeli government has formally approved a position rejecting “international diktats” demanding a Palestinian state, according to an announcement from the prime minister’s office.

The government “unanimously” approved a declaratory decision that it will “continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state” and that “a settlement, if it is to be reached, will come about solely through direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions.”

The decision followed a statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who accused international governments pressing for a two-state solution, including the U.S., of attempting to “unilaterally force” a Palestinian state on Israel.

Al-Amal Hospital shelled, Palestine Red Crescent says

Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis has been targeted by Israeli shelling, the Palestine Red Crescent Society, an emergency medical charity, said on X today.

The fourth floor was hit by artillery shelling, the organization said, causing severe damage. Patients trapped by gunfire were evacuated “with difficulty,” it added, as central maintenance rooms were destroyed and fire was aimed at fuel tanks.

Shell attacks followed a siege on the hospital’s courtyard earlier this month and an attack on Nasser Hospital, previously Gaza’s last remaining functioning hospital, which left it “completely out of service,” according to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The IDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment from NBC News.

Netanyahu dismisses possibility of early elections amid protests

Image:
Demonstrators protest against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv last night.Leo Correa / AP

Thousands of Israelis gathered in Tel Aviv last night to call for fresh elections as Netanyahu’s popularity continues to plummet amid Israel’s devastating war with Gaza.

But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday dismissed the idea of holding early elections, telling a press briefing they would “immediately divide us.”

The crowd in Tel Aviv was smaller than the mass protests that shook Israel nearly weekly in 2023 until October, but still numbered several thousand, according to Israeli media reports.

Israel’s war on Gaza is broadly popular in the country. But there are strong divisions over the Cabinet’s handling of the hostage crisis, amid growing concerns that the hostages are incidental to the government’s wider war aims.

Image: ISRAEL-PALESTINIAN-CONFLICT-PROTEST
Israeli security forces arrest a protester at an anti-government demonstration in Tel Aviv last night.JACK GUEZ / AFP – Getty Images

127 killed overnight in Gaza as death toll nears 29,000

At least 127 people have been killed and 205 injured overnight, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry, as Israel ramped up its air attacks on Rafah ahead of a feared ground invasion.

The death toll in the strip has climbed to 28,985, according to the ministry, with thousands more missing under rubble and presumed dead.

The ministry estimated on Thursday that at least 75% of those killed so far were women, children or the elderly, as international agencies repeatedly warn that those most affected by the war are vulnerable or disabled groups who find it more difficult to flee.

Image: Israel-Hamas War: Looming Offensive Over Rafah Raises International Concern
Mourners in Rafah today. Ahmad Hasaballah / Getty Images

UNRWA head accuses Israel of attempting to destroy it

The head of UNRWA, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, alleged that Israel is intent on “destroying” the organization along with the idea that Palestinians are refugees and have a right to return home one day.

Philippe Lazzarini accused Israel in an interview with the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger of having a “long-term political goal” of eliminating UNRWA. It was created more than 70 years ago to assist Palestinians who fled or were forced from their homes during the creation of the state of Israel in 1948.

“At the moment, we are dealing with an expanded, concentrated Israeli campaign, which is aimed at destroying UNRWA,” Lazzarini said in the interview published Saturday. His remarks provided his most sweeping pushback yet against Israeli accusations that the agency ignored alleged attempts by Hamas to infiltrate its Gaza operation.

“If the aid agency is abolished, the status of the Palestinian refugees will be resolved once and for all — and with it the right of return,” he added.

Netanyahu ‘absolutely rejects’ possibility of Palestinian statehood

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a government meeting today that Israel “absolutely rejects” international efforts for a “permanent arrangement with the Palestinians.”

Describing global efforts for a two-state solution with an independent Palestine, including in statements from key Israeli allies such as the United States, Netanyahu accused the international community of attempting to “unilaterally force a Palestinian state on Israel.”

“Such an arrangement will be achieved only by direct negotiations between the parties, without preconditions. Israel will continue to oppose unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state,” he said, adding that to recognize a Palestinian state after Oct. 7 would be to “award an immense and unprecedented prize to terrorism, and prevent any future peace agreement.”

U.N. special rapporteur: Rafah is the last line of Palestinian existence in Gaza

People trapped in Rafah face “relentless anguish,” the United Nations special rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories has said, as she condemned the possibility that Palestinians sheltering in the southern city would be evacuated into the Sinai desert.

Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese described the possibility of deportations into countries such as Egypt as “another Nakba,” and called the southern border city of Rafah “the last line of Palestinian existence in Gaza.”

The Nakba, Arabic for “catastrophe,” refers to the forced expulsion in 1948 of an estimated 700,000 Palestinians from the land that became the state of Israel.

Nasser Hospital is ‘not functional anymore,’ WHO warns

TEL AVIV — Nasser Hospital in Gaza’s southern city of Khan Younis is “not functional anymore” amid ongoing raids at the facility, the World Health Organization has warned.

A WHO team was blocked yesterday and the day before from being able enter the hospital to assess the conditions of patients being treated at the facility, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a post on X today. He said the team had visited the facility to deliver fuel alongside other partners, but were not allowed to enter.

Tedros said there were around 200 patients still inside the hospital, with at least 20 needing to be “urgently referred” to other hospitals to receive health care. “Medical referral is every patient’s right,” he said, adding: “The cost of delays will be paid by patients’ lives.”

The Israel Defense Forces launched its dayslong raid at the hospital on Thursday, saying intelligence indicated that Hamas had held hostages there. The IDF said around 100 people were detained, with the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza saying medical workers were among them.

The health ministry said at least five patients at the hospital had died due to a lack of oxygen and power outages during the raid. NBC News was not immediately able to independently verify the deaths.

ICJ to hold hearings on legality of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian lands

Six days of hearings are scheduled at the International Court of Justice from Monday, examining whether Israel’s 57-year occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state is illegal. Though the case occurs against the backdrop of Israel’s ongoing war in Gaza, it focuses instead on Israel’s open-ended occupation of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

Palestinian representatives, will argue that Israel has violated the prohibition on territorial conquest by annexing large swaths of occupied land, has violated the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, and has imposed a system of racial discrimination and apartheid.

“We want to hear new words from the court,” said Omar Awadallah, the head of the U.N. organizations department in the Palestinian Foreign Ministry. “They’ve had to consider the word genocide in the South Africa case,” he said, referring to a separate case before the court. “Now we want them to consider apartheid.”

Israel is not scheduled to speak during the hearings, but could submit a written statement. It is likely to justify the open-ended occupation on security grounds in the absence of a peace deal, according to experts.

Counting on Egypt to absorb displaced Palestinians is unacceptable, President el-Sissi says

Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi today reiterated the nation’s stance against Israel’s displacement of Palestinians in Gaza and the possibility that they will be resettled in his adjacent country.

He did so during a call today with President Emmanuel Macron of France, Ahmed Fahmy, el-Sissi’s spokesperson, said in a statement. The two leaders spoke about efforts to revive a cease-fire, exchange captives and end humanitarian suffering.

The leaders see a two-state solution as best outcome for the war, the office of Egypt’s president said in today’s statement. Macron made headlines when he said this week that French recognition of a Palestinian state is not a ‘’taboo’’ for his country.

Israel arrests ‘large number’ of staff members at Nasser Hospital complex, Palestinian Health Ministry says

Israel has arrested a “large number” of administrative employees and crews at the Nasser Hospital complex in Khan Younis as they were on duty, the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said today.

Nasser Hospital, southern Gaza’s main medical facility, has been besieged by Israel for weeks. Intense fighting in and around Khan Younis over the last three weeks “is causing loss of life and damage to civilian infrastructure,” according to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East.

Around 10,000 people are seeking shelter at the hospital.

“The Israeli occupation forces arresting a large number of the administration and staff of the Nasser Medical Complex is a war crime and a disregard for the lives of the sick and wounded who are in dire need of direct care and treatment,” the health ministry said in a Telegram statement.

At least five patients have died during Israel’s raid on the hospital. Palestinian health authorities said the deaths were caused by lack of oxygen and power outages during the raid.

Israel has accused Hamas of holding hostages at the facility, a claim denied by the militant group.

Netanyahu: No point in Gaza truce talks until Hamas changes its demands

In a statement issued this evening, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said there was no point in truce talks regarding Gaza until Hamas changes its demands.

“I must tell you, citizens of Israel, that until the moment, the demands of Hamas are illusory, they mean only one thing — defeat for Israel,” Netanyahu said. “Of course we will not agree to them. But when Hamas drops these delusional demands, we can move forward.”

Hamas’ demands include a permanent cease-fire and full IDF withdrawal from Gaza. The group has also proposed a cease-fire plan that would include the release of 1,500 prisoners, including 500 people serving life sentences, a source has told NBC News. The proposal also includes developing a three-year plan, with a road map to rebuild homes and other infrastructure destroyed in the war, the source said.

Netanyahu reiterated the state’s commitment to releasing hostages in Gaza.

“I want to tell you and the families of the abductees; we do not forget even for a moment our commitment to the return of all the abductees,” he said.

Two more hostages were rescued and returned to their families this week, according to Netanyahu.



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