Gazans living in 'utter, deepening horror', UN says, amid deadly Israeli strikes

Gazans living in 'utter, deepening horror', UN says, amid deadly Israeli strikes
UN rights chief Volker Turk has decried the ongoing crisis in Gaza, calling their conditions an "utter, deep horror" as Israeli continues its military campaign in the territory's south.
18 min read
06 December, 2023

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are living in "utter, deepening horror", the UN human rights chief said on Wednesday, as he pleaded for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Volker Turk said there was a high risk of atrocity crimes being committed in such "catastrophic" humanitarian circumstances."

"Civilians in Gaza continue to be relentlessly bombarded by Israel and collectively punished - suffering death, siege, destruction and deprivation of the most essential human needs such as food, water, lifesaving medical supplies and other essentials on a massive scale," he told a press conference.

"Palestinians in Gaza are living in utter, deepening horror."

He said 1.9 million of the Palestinian enclave's 2.2 million people had been displaced and were being pushed into "ever-diminishing and extremely overcrowded places in southern Gaza, in unsanitary and unhealthy conditions".

"The catastrophic situation we see unfolding in the Gaza Strip was entirely foreseeable and preventable.

"As an immediate step, I call for an urgent cessation of hostilities and the release of all hostages," he said, adding: "you need to come back to your senses," he stressed.

Israeli forces on Wednesday were encircling southern Gaza's main city of Khan Younis, amid some of the most intense combat of its two-month-long war in the territory.

Israeli troops have shifted their brutal military campaign into the besieged territory's south following fierce fighting and bombardment that reduced much of the north to rubble and forced nearly two million people to flee their homes, causing a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

Israeli tanks, armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers were seen on Tuesday near Khan Younis, forcing already displaced civilians to pack up and flee again, witnesses told AFP.

Many are faced with no choice but to flee towards Rafah, close to the Egyptian border.

The strikes come as the very few functioning hospitals in Gaza are overwhelmed, food is scarce and increased risks for people wishing to leave in search of safety.

The UNRWA agency warned that the territory is experiencing a new wave of displacement, stressing that there is no remaining "safe zone" in Gaza.

At least 16,248 Palestinians killed by Israel's deadly military campaign, including thousands of children, as of Wednesday.

The real death toll in the Strip is expected to be much higher than the reported one, because thousands of victims are trapped under rubble.

Deadly diseases are also spreading in the territory as a result of the bombing, siege, and complete collapse of healthcare infrastructure.


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UK Defence Secretary to discuss Gaza aid in Israel visit
3:56 AM
The New Arab Staff

British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps plans to advocate for accelerated delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza during his visit to Israel and Palestine, his office said, according to Reuters.

The report adds that Shapps' visit agenda will include aid to Gaza's civilian population, discussing the UK's potential support for the Palestinian Authority, strategies for hostage exchange.


EU chief backs Guterres on ceasefire call
3:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Josep Borrell, the European Union's chief of foreign policy, has called on EU members within the UN Security Council, along with other nations, to back UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres's proposal for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The Security Council “must act immediately to prevent a full collapse of the humanitarian situation in Gaza”, he wrote on X.

This appeal follows Guterres' recent use of Article 99 from the UN Charter, a rarely-invoked measure, to urge the Security Council to agree to a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire.

ICC Prosecutor: Blocking aid to civilians may be a war crime
2:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

ICC's chief prosecutor, Karim Khan, has recently stated the urgent need for humanitarian aid to be delivered to Gaza without delay.

"I wish to reiterate in the clearest terms possible that wilfully impeding relief supplies to civilians may constitute a war crime under the ICC Rome Statute," he wrote on X.


Israeli FM urges Guterres to resign over Article 99 move
1:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli foreign minister calls for Guterres' resignation following his activation of Article "99" of the United Nations Charter.

 Eli Cohen said that the ceasefire "constitutes support" for Hamas and is “an endorsement of the murder of the elderly, the abduction of babies, and the rape of women.”

Jordan announces airlift of medical aid to Gaza hospital
12:30 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Royal Jordanian Air Force announces it dropped an urgent medical aid to the Jordanian field hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.

Israeli far right ministers oppose fuel into Gaza
11:57 PM
The New Arab Staff

The  Israeli security cabinet approved the war cabinet’s recommendation to allow "minimal" fuel into Gaza, with a maximum limit of 120,000 litres per day.

Two far-right ministers, national security minister, Itamar Ben-Givr, and finance ministers, Bezalel Smotrich, opposed the move saying that Israel is changing its red lines.


Israeli forces raid West Bank's Tulkarm
11:24 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Forces raid the West Bank city of Tulkarm and open fire on Palestinians, says Al Araby TV Correspondent Rima Abu Hamdieh.

Republican senators block $110.5bn aid bill for Ukraine
10:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

The White House proposal for $110.5bn in urgent aid for Ukraine and Israel was blocked by Republican senators on Wednesday.

45 senators voted in favor while 48 voted against the proposal, which had to secure 60 votes in the 100-member Senate necessary to move forward with legislation.

"Today’s vote is what it takes for the Democratic leader to recognize that Senate Republicans mean what we say. Then let’s vote. And then let's finally start meeting America's national security priorities, including right here at home," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said in a floor speech earlier on Wednesday.

UN chief pushes security council to act over Gaza
10:00 PM
The New Arab Staff

UN spokesman Stéphane Dujarric says that UN chief Antonio Guterres' invocation of Article 99, the first in five years, is "arguably the most important invocation."

"In my opinion, the most powerful tool that he has," said Dujarric.

Guterres, the UN chief, made the move "given the scale of the loss of human life in Gaza and Israel in such a short amount of time," he said.

The use of Article 99, a "dramatic constitutional move," is hoped by Guterres to increase pressure on the Security Council to demand a ceasefire.

Gaza Health Ministry says injured are "bleeding to death"
9:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

The spokesperson of Gaza's Health Ministry, Ashraf al-Qudra, says that influxes of injured people coming to the Ahli Arab Hospital are left “bleeding to death” with no medical capacity to attend to them.

We are facing great difficulties and need the support and protection of international institutions,” he added

The Health Ministry said that about 800,000 people in northern Gaza are now left without any form of medical care.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians escape to Rafah city
9:09 PM
The New Arab Staff

As the Israeli army officially expanded its ground military operations to Khan Younis city in the south of Gaza a few days ago, Rafah city has become the main site to shelter thousands of people fleeing death and destruction from Israel's indiscriminate attacks

"During the current war, I was forced to be displaced five times(…) First, I was displaced from my house in Gaza City to Al-Nuseirat refugee camp. After that, I went to  Deir al-Balah, then to Khan Younis and finally to Rafah," said one woman.

Read more from TNA's correspondent in the Gaza here.

Palestinian NGOs: 'EU will soon ask us to become Zionist'
8:30 PM
Qassam Muaddi

Palestinian civil society organisations continue to warn against the possible consequences of European funding restrictions imposed on Palestinian NGOs since 7 October.

On Tuesday, 5 December, Shawan Jabarin, the general director of Al-Haq, the largest Palestinian human rights organisation, told The New Arab that "the restrictions are mainly imposed by a number of European countries which have frozen some of the funding programs with the excuse of vetting them to avoid beneficiation by terrorist entities".

"In private meetings, we have challenged these countries' representatives after 7 October", said Jabarin. "They did not reply when I told them that soon, their countries will ask us, Palestinian civil society organisations, why we haven't become Zionist yet".

Read more from TNA's correspondent in the West Bank Qassam Muaddi here.

Live Story
Morocco to build satellite with Israel Aerospace Industries
8:00 PM
Basma El Atti

Morocco is seeking to build a new surveillance satellite in cooperation with Israeli companies, reported French media La Tribune. 

"According to many sources, Morocco chose an Israeli group, possibly Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI), at the end of the summer to provide it with a new surveillance satellite, intended to replace Mohammed VI-A satellite launched in 2017," wrote the French publication on Tuesday. It did not give details about the alleged cooperation's timeline and cost.

Rabat has yet to confirm the news.

Read more from TNA's correspondent in Morocco Basma El Atti here.

Israeli military says forces advance into Gaza cities
7:35 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli military's spokesperson Daniel Hagari, has said on Tuesday that forces have advanced over the previous two days  into the areas of Jabalia in northern Gaza, the Shejaiya neighborhood in Gaza City, and Khan Younis in the south.

This follows a recent statement by the Israeli military, saying that it has started fighting in central Khan Younis, one of Gaza's largest cities, "for the first time"


Qatar's Prime Minister discusses ceasefire with UN head
6:59 PM
The New Arab Staff

Qatar's Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, discussed the "latest developments" in Gaza and Palestine with UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, over the phone.

According to a statement from Qatar's foreign ministry, their discussion focused on reducing violence and enforcing a ceasefire.

Sheikh Mohammed emphasised the importance of establishing humanitarian corridors to facilitate the proper delivery of aid to Gaza. He also stressed the necessity of protecting vehicles delivering aid, particularly those headed to north Gaza.

Al Jazeera condemns the killing of its reporter in Gaza
6:30 PM
The New Arab Staff

Al Jazeera media network said in a statement that 22 family members of its reporter Momin Alshrafi were killed in today's attack on the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza.

The airstrike killed the reporter's mother, father, three siblings, and several children from his family.

The statement demanded that "the Israeli military is held accountable for the daily crimes committed against journalists and innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip."

"Al Jazeera reaffirms that it will pursue all legal steps to hold accountable all those responsible for this crime," it said.

WHO warns another Gaza hospital is collapsing
6:07 PM
The New Arab Staff

The World Health Organization says that Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza has ceased operations, currently tending to only 20 patients.

"This will deprive thousands of people of essential lifesaving care,"  the organization's head, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on X.

He stressed the deadly state of healthcare infrastructure in the area, saying that there are 14 hospitals operating partially, three functioning at a minimal level, 19 completely non-operational hospitals, and two field hospitals.

UN warns Gaza war may aggravate threats to global peace
5:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned the Security Council on Wednesday that Israel's war in the Gaza Strip "may aggravate existing threats to international peace and security."

Guterres invoked the rarely used Article 99 of the founding UN Charter that allows him to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."

"We are facing a severe risk of collapse of the humanitarian system. The situation is fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole and for peace and security in the region," Guterres wrote in a letter to the 15-member council.

"Such an outcome must be avoided at all cost," he said

'Public order' in Gaza likely to 'completely break down': UN
5:34 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The head of the UN warned on Wednesday that he expects "public order to completely break down soon due to the desperate conditions" in Gaza, currently under relentless Israeli bombardment.

The humanitarian conditions amid the Israel's war on the territory are "fast deteriorating into a catastrophe with potentially irreversible implications for Palestinians as a whole," Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a letter to the president of the Security Council.

PA will 'not lead' Gaza as long as I am Israel PM: Netanyahu
5:20 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu said the Palestinian Authority will "not control" of the Gaza Strip as long as "he is Prime Minister" of the country, in a post on X.

Netanyahu's made the statement by including a screenshot of a report saying Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is ready to accept control of the Gaza Strip.

"Those who educate their children for terrorism, finance terrorism and support terrorist families will not be able to rule Gaza after eliminating Hamas," Netanyahu continued.

Houthis say have launched ballistic missiles at Israel
4:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis said the group launched several ballistic missiles at military posts in the Israeli city of Eilat, the group's military spokesperson said in a statement on Wednesday.

Eilat has been sporadically targeted by the Houthis since October 7 [Getty]
Islamic Resistance group targets military base in Iraq
4:15 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A drone has targeted Western troops at a military base in Iraq on Wednesday, a US military official said, in an attack claimed by the Islamic Resistance group in Iraq.

"A one-way attack drone was launched against US and Coalition forces at (Ain) al-Asad Airbase" in western Iraq, the official who spoke on condition of anonymity told AFP, adding it caused no causalities or damage.

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed the attack. The pro-Iran group has been carrying out its attacks in response to the United States' support for Israel in its nearly two-month war with Hamas.

Read more about who the Islamic Resistance in Iraq group is here.

Exodus of Gazans into nearby nations would be 'catastrophe'
3:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An exodus of Palestinians from Gaza into neighbouring countries would be "catastrophic", the United Nations refugee chief Filippo Grandi told AFP in an interview Wednesday, stressing the need for a ceasefire.

"I hope that there will not be a regional exodus of Palestinians," he said, stressing that "it is very, very important to address (the humanitarian crisis and insufficient aid going into Gaza) to prevent an exodus that would be really catastrophic."

Family of Al Jazeera correspondent killed in Israeli strike
3:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

The family of Al Jazeera Arabic correspondent Momin Alshrafi has been killed in Israeli strike in the home they were sheltering in Gaza's Jabalia camp, the Qatari broadcaster said.

The attack, which took place overnight, killed Alshrafi's parents, siblings and their spouses, as well as his nieces and nephews.

"None of the civil defence crews are unable to reach their bodies,” he said. “We are prevented from saying goodbye to our loved ones, and are deprived of giving them a proper burial," the correspondent said in the aftermath of his loss.

Israel approves over 1,700 homes in e. Jerusalem settlement
3:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel has approved over 1,700 new homes in east Jerusalem settlement, an NGO said.

Camps for displaced in Rafah 'unbearable and humiliating'
2:41 PM
The New Arab Staff

Camps for displaced people in Rafah are are 'unbearable and humiliating', Gaza-based Palestinian journalist Hind Khoudary said, citing a close source.

No bathrooms or water can be found at one of the camps in the southernmost part of Gaza, reportedly.

The source, who arrived in Rafah form Deir al-Balah to escape Israel's indiscriminate bombardment, returned to the central Gazan city due to the conditions of the camps.


Saudi Arabia urges US restraint amid Houthi ship attacks
2:26 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi Arabia has asked the United States to show restraint in responding to attacks by Yemen's Houthis against ships in the Red Sea, two sources familiar with Saudi thinking said.

This comes as Riyadh seeks to contain spillover from Israel's war in Gaza, as the Houthis have waded into the war, attacking vessels at suspected Israeli ship, as well as firing drones and missiles at Israel itself.

PA calls for int'l pressure to stop east Jerusalem march
1:49 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Authority has made demands for international pressure to put a halt to a planned extremist march in east Jerusalem due to take place on Thursday.

The march, planned to be carried out at the Al-Aqsa compound, will coincide with the Jewish Hannukah holiday.

The PA, in a statement posted on X, stressed the need for an international intervention to stop the upcoming provocative march at the holy site.

Palestinian victims buried in mass graves in Deir al-Balah
1:32 PM
The New Arab Staff

Grieving Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were seen burying their loved ones killed by Israeli strikes in mass graves on Wednesday, in the central city of Deir al-Balah.

Israel, Hezbollah attack posts near border
1:11 PM
The New Arab Staff

Hezbollah claimed that the Lebanese group has directly hit a :radar site" in northern Israel, the Turkish Anadolu news agency said.

The claim comes as Israel’s military says it is repeatedly shelling Hezbollah positions in southern Lebanon and responding to rocket attacks near the border.

The Lebanese group and Israel have traded rocket fire throughout the war in Gaza along the border between the two countries, which has killed scores of Lebanese, mostly Hezbollah fighters, as well as some civilians.

Extremist march in east Jerusalem okayed by police
12:57 PM
Ibrahim Husseini

Police in Israel have given the green-light to an extremist march in east Jerusalem on Thursday, coinciding with the first day of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.

Read more from The New Arab's Jerusalem correspondent Ibrahim Husseini here.

Egypt efforts to broker truce hampered by 'intransigence'
12:43 PM
Thaer Mansour

Egypt's efforts to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas have yet to yield any results as Tel Aviv continues to pound the Gaza Strip following the breaking down of a previous truce last week.

Read more from The New Arab's Egypt correspondent here.

Turkey rejects 'buffer zone' plan for Gaza, Erdogan says
12:08 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey rejects plans to establish a post-war buffer zone in Gaza because it would be disrespectful to Palestinians, President Tayyip Erdogan was quoted as saying on Wednesday.

Reuters reported last week that Israel had conveyed plans for the buffer zone to several Arab states and Turkey.

Speaking to reporters on a flight from Doha, Erdogan said Gaza's governance and future after the war would be decided by Palestinians alone.

"I consider even the debating of this (buffer-zone) plan as disrespectful to my Palestinian siblings. For us, this is not a plan that can be debated, considered, or discussed," Erdogan's office quoted him as saying.

WFP urgently calls for humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza
11:49 AM
The New Arab Staff

The World Food Programme (WFP) has called for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, as Israeli bombardment of the southern end of the territory escalates.

The NGO stressed that the previous truce allowed for the WFP to safely scale up relief efforts in Gaza, distributing food and other necessities to almost 250,000 people.

The WFP expressed sadness that such progress has come to a halt amid the end of the ceasefire and the resumption of intense Israeli striking, which has killed scores in recent days.

"Humanitarians must have a safe, unimpeded and sustained access," it said, "so we are able to distribute life-saving assistance throughout the territory. All parties must uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law."

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza is worsening as Israel's military campaign goes on [Getty]
US officials 'expect south Gaza campaign' to go on for weeks
11:32 AM
The New Arab Staff

US officials told US news channel CNN that the current phase of Israel's military onslaught in Gaza targeting the southern end of the strip is expected to last several weeks, possibly by January.

The officials disclosed that they expect Israel to "transition on to a lower-intensity, hyper-localised strategy that narrowly targets specific Hamas affiliates and leaders, according to the US news channel.

Additionally, a senior US administration official said that the White House is "deeply concerned about how Israel’s operations will unfold over the next several weeks."


PM Netanyahu rules out international force for Gaza
11:18 AM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a press conference on Tuesday that Gaza must be "demilitarised" after the war, and that "no international force can be responsible for that," adding that he is "not ready to accept any other arrangement".

The right-wing PM added that he had heard stories of sexual abuse at a meeting with hostages returned by Hamas during a recent pause in the fighting in Gaza. "I heard, and you also heard, about sexual abuse and incidents of brutal rape like nothing else," he said.

Israeli army: 'Red Cross must have access to hostages'
10:57 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli army said Wednesday that the International Committee of the Red Cross "must have access to the hostages" still being held by Hamas in Gaza.

"As the IDF (military) expands its operations to dismantle Hamas in Gaza, we have not lost sight... of our critical mission to rescue our hostages," army spokesman Daniel Hagari said.

"The international community must take action. The Red Cross must have access to the hostages that are in the hands of Hamas."

Israel says 138 hostages out of the estimated 240 people seized on October 7 attack are still being held by the Palestinian group and its allies.

Fuel, medical supplies provided at critically low level: MSF
10:38 AM
The New Arab Staff

Fuel and medical supplies in Gaza are at a critically low level, the NGO Medecins Sans Frontieres said early on Wednesday, who blamed road closures amid relentless Israeli bombardment.

MSF said that Al-Aqsa hospital in central Gaza has been receiving on average between 150-200 wounded Palestinians on a daily basis since 1 December.

Marie-Aure Perreaut Revial, MSF emergency coordinator in Gaza, said that the hospital is running out of supplies to treat patients with.

"Shortages of medicine & fuel could result in the hospital being unable to provide lifesaving surgeries or intensive care. Without electricity, ventilators would cease to function, blood donations would have to stop, the sterilisation of surgical instruments would be impossible," she stressed.

Gaza's Palestinians living in 'utter, deepening horror': UN
10:28 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip are living in "utter, deepening horror", the UN human rights chief said Wednesday as he called for an urgent ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

"Civilians in Gaza continue to be relentlessly bombarded by Israel and collectively punished... Palestinians in Gaza are living in utter, deepening horror," Volker Turk told a press conference.

Gazans have been suffering for almost 2 months, amid death, bombardment [Getty]
Israel 'reviewing' strike that harmed Lebanese troops: army
9:37 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli army said on Wednesday it was reviewing a strike that harmed Lebanese troops in south Lebanon, an apparent reference to Israeli shelling that killed a Lebanese soldier and wounded three others the previous day.

"The Lebanese Armed Forces were not the target of the strike. The Israeli army expresses regret over the incident. The incident is under review," the Israeli military said in a statement.

The Lebanese army said the soldier, a sergeant, was killed when an army position was shelled by Israel on Tuesday.

The Israeli army claimed its soldiers had acted in "self defense to eliminate an imminent threat that had been identified from Lebanon" from a "known launch area and observation point" used by Hezbollah.

Israel army says 5 Hamas-affiliated commanders killed
9:20 AM
The New Arab Staff

The Israeli army said early on Wednesday that it had killed five commanders belonging to the Hamas-affiliated Northern Gaza Strip Brigade in a strike by the Indonesia Hospital in northern Gaza.

New displacement wave underway in Gaza: UNRWA
8:41 AM
The New Arab Staff

A new wave of displacement in underway in the battered Gaza Strip, UNRWA has warned, stressing that the humanitarian situation is getting "worse" by the minute in the enclave.

The NGO further emphasised that there is no "safe zone" in the territory, with nowhere for Gazans to go as shelters are overflowing.

Two Palestinians, including teenager, killed in Israeli raid
8:28 AM
The New Arab Staff

Two Palestinian men killed in an Israeli raid in the West Bank early on Wednesday in the Al-Far'a camp and the town of Tammoun, south of Tubas.

11 people were also wounded in the incursion, the Palestinian official news agency Wafa said.

The victims were identified as 23-year-old Moaz Ibrahim Zahran and 16-year-old Abdul Rahman Imad Khaled Bani Odeh.

Israeli troops stormed Al-Far'a camp, reinforced with military vehicles, from the Hamra military checkpoint, where confrontations broke out near the entrance to the camp amid heavy gunfire.