Israel agrees to four-hour daily pauses in northern Gaza, White House says

Israel agrees to four-hour daily pauses in northern Gaza, White House says
Negotiations are underway for a three-day humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza but Israel's indiscriminate strikes on the besieged enclave are continuing, with thousands of people fleeing and fears of hunger and disease.
34 min read
09 November, 2023

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Israel has agreed to put in place four-hour daily humanitarian pauses in its assault on northern Gaza, the White House has said.

It was previously reported that negotiations were underway to reach a three-day humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for the release of about a dozen hostages held by Hamas.

This was according to two officials from Egypt, one from the United Nations, and a Western diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity. It was not clear if there was any link with the ceasefire negotiations.

The ceasefire deal would enable more aid, including limited amounts of fuel, to enter the besieged and bombed Palestinian territory to alleviate worsening conditions for the 2.3 million Palestinians trapped there.

However Israel's indiscriminate war on Gaza is continuing, with Israeli air strikes hitting Gaza City on Thursday amid clashes between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters.

Tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled their homes southwards in the besieged territory to escape the Israeli strikes, which have killed entire families.

After more than a month of intense bombardment, hundreds of thousands of people remain trapped in a "dire humanitarian situation" in urban battle zones without enough food and water, the United Nations has said.

The reported ceasefire deal is being brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the United States, according to the officials. One of the Egyptian officials says details of the deal were discussed this week in Cairo with the visiting CIA chief and an Israeli delegation. He said mediators are finalising a draft deal.

Under the deal, Hamas would release a dozen civilian hostages, most of them foreign passport holders, and provide a complete list of hostages to mediators, according to the officials. The International Committee of the Red Cross would be allowed to visit the hostages.

A senior US official said the Biden administration has not put forward any specific time frame for a pause in Israel's attacks but has suggested that Israel consider tying the length of a pause to the release of a certain number of hostages.

If an agreement on the duration of the pause and the number of hostages to be freed can be reached and the deal successfully implemented, the same formula could be revisited for additional pauses and releases, according to the official.

A three-day ceasefire would allow the delivery of humanitarian aid across Gaza, including the northern area, the main focus of Israel’s deadly strikes. Under the proposed deal, some fuel would also enter Gaza for the first time since the start of the war, to be distributed to hospitals and bakeries under UN supervision.

The diplomat said the talks are complex because of the involvement of different parties in the region and in Western capitals.

Featured images: Getty

Palestine activist detained in France after expulsion order
8:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French authorities have detained a Palestinian activist after a top court ordered her expulsion, the woman's lawyer said Thursday.

Mariam Abu Daqqa, a 72-year-old leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, is now in "administrative detention", lawyer Julie Gonidec told AFP.

Abu Daqqa was detained by plainclothes police on Wednesday night after attending a cinema debate in Paris, her associates said.


IRC resumes escorting Gaza patients after convoy shooting
8:11 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Red Cross has resumed patient escorts to the Gaza border after it temporarily halted operations after its convoy came under fire earlier this week, the head of its Gaza office said on Thursday, describing the incident as "deeply alarming" and calling for safety guarantees.

"The ICRC was targeted the day before yesterday, and that is unacceptable," William Schomburg, the head of the ICRC delegation in Gaza told Reuters by videolink.

"We took a pause yesterday," he added, saying it had resumed patient transfers from Gaza City to the Egypt border crossing on Thursday.

Schomburg voiced alarm about overcrowding in cramped shelters where hundreds of thousands of Gazans have fled to, especially as many thousands more flee south, hoping to avoid the brunt of Israel's ground invasion.

"It's a particularly difficult image in my mind, seeing thousands upon thousands of individuals with a look of total fear on their faces, carrying few of their possessions, some waving white flags as they moved on foot to seek greater safety and protection," he told Reuters.

"Unless there is a reduction in the hostilities and if humanitarian aid is able to enter at a greater rate than it currently is, then the lives of civilians will become increasingly pressurised as resources become ever more scarce," he said.

Yemen's Houthis say launched ballistic missiles on Israel
8:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Yemen's Houthis have launched a batch of ballistic missiles at various targets on Israel including military targets in Eilat, the group's military spokesperson said on Thursday.

'Pauses' to let refugees flee, won't curb offensive: Israel
7:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel's defence minister said on Thursday that the military was undertaking "localised, pinpoint measures" in Gaza to enable Palestinian refugees to flee the fighting with Hamas, in an apparent reference to four-hour pauses announced by Washington.

"These things do not detract from the war fighting," Yoav Gallant said when asked by a reporter about the U.S. announcement, which he did not directly address.

The war would continue until Hamas is toppled and hostages held in Gaza are freed, he said.

Israeli official denies humanitarian crisis in Gaza Strip
7:38 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An Israeli military official on Thursday denied the dire humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip, as a conference to secure aid for the besieged Palestinian territory opened in Paris.

"We know the civil situation in the Gaza Strip is not an easy one," said Colonel Moshe Tetro, head of coordination and liaison at COGAT, the Israeli defence ministry body handling civil affairs in Gaza.

"But I can say that there is no humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip," he told reporters at the Nitzana border post between Israel and Egypt.

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No indication Iran or proxies intend to precipitate war: US
7:33 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues David Satterfield said on Thursday there was no indication that Iran or its proxies in the region intend to precipitate a conflict beyond Israel's war with Hamas.

But it is essential that Iran and Hezbollah do not undertake provocative actions, and exchanges with Hezbollah along Israel's border with Lebanon raise the potential for miscalculation, he said.

"We do not believe that a conflict involving Lebanon and Israel is in any way inevitable," Satterfield said in an online briefing with reporters. "The here and now reality is there is no indication on any side that there is an intent to precipitate a conflict or a war."

There will be 2 humanitarian corridors to flee N. Gaza: US
6:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The U.S. State Department said on Thursday that there will be two humanitarian corridors allowing people to flee areas of hostilities in northern Gaza, adding that it is critical humanitarian supplies and assistance be expanded in the areas where people are moving.

State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters that the Rafah crossing on Thursday was open for aid trucks to enter Gaza and foreign nationals to depart.

NGOs say they need Gaza ceasefire to provide care
6:50 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Aid organisations said Thursday that a full ceasefire is needed between Israel and Hamas if they are to bring meaningful help to the civilian population in Gaza.

About 10 non-governmental organisations told reporters on the sidelines of a humanitarian summit hosted by France that a simple pause in the fighting would not alleviate what they called a humanitarian "catastrophe".

Their appeal came as US President Joe Biden said that there was "no possibility" of a ceasefire, although Israel had agreed to daily four-hour pauses in fighting.

"We don't know what a humanitarian pause means concretely," Isabelle Dufourny, president of the Medecins sans Frontieres NGO, told a joint news conference.

Unless safe areas were created on the battlefield "it's impossible to work", she said.

"Hospital staff are dealing with massive arrivals of wounded people, are working in horrible hygiene conditions, can't rest and are under constant stress," she said.

"Our colleagues tell us: we cannot wait a minute more. End these bombardments, lift this siege," said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian refugee council.

"It's heartbreaking to see that it continues."

Oxfam France director Cecile Duflot said staff were reporting "the worst, the most tragic situation that they have ever seen" in Gaza.

"Our health carers are exhausted, trying to survive" said Jean-Francois Corty, vice president of the Medecins du Monde NGO.

The aid organisations also expressed frustration at being unable to transport crucial aid to the 2.4 million people living in Gaza, one of the world's most densely populated territories.

They said people in Gaza were getting only one litre or water per person per day, compared to a need of 10 litres. About 500 aid trucks have been allowed into the territory from Egypt over the past month, a number that had been the daily average before the war.

"There is something obscene about aid being available, and so difficult to access," Corty said.

International organisations have suffered heavy losses in the war.

Drone, explosive attacks target US forces across Iraq
6:43 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

U.S. forces were targeted in three attacks in Iraq on Thursday but suffered no casualties, security sources said, in the most geographically widespread series of strikes on U.S. assets in a single day since the Israel-Hamas conflict started.

Spokespeople for the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and U.S.-led international forces stationed in Iraq did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A joint patrol of U.S. forces and the Iraqi counter-terrorism service was targeted by an explosive device near the northern city of Mosul on Thursday, causing damage to a vehicle but no casualties, two security sources said.

A U.S. military official confirmed a U.S.-led coalition convoy encountered an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in the vicinity of Mosul Dam and said no casualties were reported.

Armed drones targeted the al-Harir air base in Erbil and the Ain al-Asad air base west of Baghdad, both of which house U.S. and international forces. The drones were downed by air defences and caused no casualties, security sources said.

A statement from Iraqi Kurdistan’s counter-terrorism service, which differs to the Federal Iraqi service, said attacks by drones at the al-Harir airbase caused a fire at one of its fuel depots. It added that the base had been evacuated of U.S.-led coalition forces on 20 October.

Israeli soldier captive in Gaza killed by airstrike: Hamas
6:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hamas' armed wing, the Al-Qassam Brigades, said an Israeli soldier held hostage in Gaza was killed and another captive soldier was injured in an Israeli airstrike on Thursday.

Mossad trumpets Hezbollah bust, Brazil-Israel ties strained
6:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

An unusual statement by Israeli spy agency Mossad saying it had helped foil a Hezbollah attack in Brazil is the latest incident to strain relations between Israel and Latin America's largest nation against the backdrop of the Gaza war.

On Wednesday, Brazil arrested two people on terrorism charges as part of an operation to take down a suspected Hezbollah cell planning attacks on Brazilian soil. Later that day, Mossad publicly thanked Brazil's police and said that, "given the backdrop of the war in Gaza," Hezbollah was continuing to attack Israeli, Jewish and Western targets.

Mossad's comments angered Brazilian Justice Minister Flavio Dino, who on Thursday delivered a stiff rebuke to Israel, saying on social media that "Brazil is a sovereign country," and "no foreign force orders around the Brazilian Federal Police."

Dino did not explicitly deny any of the details in the Israeli statement, but seemed more angered by its timing, tone and the link it drew to the current war in Gaza.

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"We appreciate appropriate international cooperation, but we reject any foreign authority that deems to direct Brazilian police bodies, or use our investigations for the use of propaganda or its political interests," he wrote, adding that Brazil's probe had "nothing to do with international conflicts."

A Brazilian Federal Police source said Dino was angry as the Mossad statement made it look like Brazil was taking orders from Israel and could be perceived to be taking sides in the war.

A spokesperson for the Israeli prime minister's office, which oversees the Mossad, had no immediate comment.

Dino's comments reflect growing unease among Brazilian officials with Israel's conduct in Gaza.

UNRWA seeks nearly half a billion dollars in aid for Gaza
5:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN Palestinian refugee agency says it is seeking $481 million for Gaza due to "unprecedented devastation" there as well as growing needs in the occupied West Bank and a possible mass displacement of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon.

"One month into a tight [Israeli] siege and a brutal war, the humanitarian needs in the Gaza Strip are colossal. They grow by the hour," UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini says.

UNRWA says in a statement the money would be used to provide basic food assistance, shelter, water and sanitation to 1.6 million people in Gaza and provide basic health care and protection to those in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

It also says the funding was needed for Lebanon "in anticipation of a potential mass displacement of Palestine refugees, particularly in the areas of Saida and Tyre, in the southern part of the country".

Tens of thousands have already been displaced by skirmishes on the Israel-Lebanon border that have escalated since the Gaza war erupted, the UN has previously said.

The new appeal follows a previous UN appeal for $1.2 billion announced last week.


Islamic Jihad claims video shows hostages in Gaza
5:37 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad releases a video it claims shows two hostages, a woman in her 70s and a 13-year-old boy, held in Gaza.

"We are ready to release them on humanitarian grounds when the security conditions on the ground are met," said in the video Abu Hamza, spokesman for the group's military wing.

The video was slammed as "psychological terrorism" by Israeli military spokesman Richard Hecht, in remarks to journalists moments after the footage was published.

Over half of Gaza inpatient hospitals stopped functionioning
5:26 PM
The New Arab Staff

More than half of Gaza hospitals with inpatient capacities have ceased functioning, the Palestinian Authority's health ministry said in a report yesterday.

Eighteen of 35 inpatient hospitals stopping working and 71 percent of primary care facilities have closed down because of damage or a lack of fuel.

"The functioning hospitals are limited with what they can provide and are shutting down wards gradually," the report adds.

It says al-Shifa, Gaza's largest hospital, was forced to close six operating rooms given an inadequacy of supplies including fuel.

Jenin: 13 killed since this morning
5:12 PM
The New Arab Staff

The number of people killed since this morning in Jenin has risen to 13, the Palestinian Authority health ministry says in a Facebook post.

It adds that 17 people have been killed overall in the occupied West Bank.

Jenin is often the target of Israeli military raids [ARIS MESSINIS/AFP/Getty]
Germany accused of silencing pro-Palestinian voices
4:56 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Germany faced accusations from Muslim countries of silencing pro-Palestinian voices and failing to do enough to tackle Islamophobia in a United Nations review of its human rights record on Thursday.

German authorities have cracked down on pro-Palestinian groups amid the Gaza war, and refused to authorise many pro-Palestinian protests, saying the curbs are to stop public disorder and prevent public antisemitism.

Supporters of the Palestinians say they feel blocked from publicly expressing support or concern for people in Gaza without risking arrest, their jobs or immigration status.

Indonesia's envoy to the UN in Geneva urged Germany to "ensure the freedom of opinion and expression is fulfilled by avoiding discriminatory treatments by police officers against activists, in particular to the peaceful pro-Palestinian protesters."

That viewpoint was expressed by other Muslim countries, which also called for Germany to better tackle Islamophobic crimes that have been on the rise since the start of the Gaza war, in tandem with a surge in antisemitic incidents, according to activists.

"The rise of attacks on mosques and NSU [neo-Nazi] murders does demonstrate deep systemic failures of the German police and justice system in tackling such crimes," said Turkey's envoy.

"We recommend Germany to take serious steps against Islamophobic and xenophobic attacks and practices, including a comprehensive review of its police force and justice system, as well as additional protection for mosques," the Turkish envoy added.

Germany's Commissioner for Human Rights Policy Luise Amtsberg said there were limits on the right to peaceful demonstration in connection with criminal acts.

"Terrorism must not be celebrated," she said. "We have had prohibitions on demonstrations when it is to incite antisemitism, and freedom of opinion must not be abused to propagate hate."

Separately, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said earlier on Thursday that the country that perpetrated the Holocaust could not tolerate antisemitism. At the same time, however, the tensions fanned by the Gaza war should not be used to question the place of the more than five million Muslims in its society.

All 193 UN member states are subject to scrutiny as part of the review process established in 2008. A three-person UN "troika" will submit recommendations to the German government next week.


Labour MP defies Keir Starmer with Gaza ceasefire motion
4:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

UK Labour MP Zarah Sultana has put forward an amendment to the King's Speech  on Wednesday calling for an "immediate ceasefire" in Israel's war on Gaza and the return of hostages held by Hamas. 

Sultana's motion has been interpreted as a direct challenge to Labour leader Keir Starmer's authority and follows the resignation of Bradford MP Imran Hussain from the shadow cabinet. 

It puts additional pressure on the Labour Party leader, who has so far rejected growing calls in his party for a ceasefire. He has only called for a temporary "humanitarian pause", a view that mirrors that of the UK and US leaders. 

Sultana, who is one of the few Muslim women MPs in the UK parliament, says her call for an long-lasting ceasefire is more in step with the views of the British public as Israel kills hundreds of Palestinians every day.

"More than 10,000 Palestinians have been slaughtered in Israel’s assault, nearly half of whom are children. It would take nearly six hours to read the names and ages of every child killed so far but this horror has been given the green light by this Government," Sultana told the UK House of Commons. 

"So today I tabled an amendment to the King’s Speech calling for an immediate ceasefire, a move backed by 76 percent of the British public."

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Reuters rejects report suggesting Hamas alerted it to attack
4:42 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Reuters denied on Thursday suggestions by media advocacy group HonestReporting that it and other international news organisations had prior knowledge of the 7 October attack by Hamas on Israeli civilians and soldiers.

The Israeli government demanded explanations from Reuters and three other news groups regarding the HonestReporting article which questioned their work with Gaza-based photojournalists during the Hamas assault.

HonestReporting, which describes itself on its website as "a charitable organisation" with a mission "to combat ideological prejudice in journalism and the media, as it impacts Israel", said it was not accusing Reuters of collusion but was raising ethical questions about news coverage.

"Reuters categorically denies that it had prior knowledge of the attack or that we embedded journalists with Hamas on 7 October," Reuters said, responding to the HonestReporting article and subsequent allegations by Israeli government officials.

"Reuters acquired photographs from two Gaza-based freelance photographers who were at the border on the morning of 7 October, with whom it did not have a prior relationship.

"The photographs published by Reuters were taken two hours after Hamas fired rockets across southern Israel and more than 45 minutes after Israel said gunmen had crossed the border. Reuters staff journalists were not on the ground at the locations referred to in the HonestReporting article."

Israeli government spokesperson Nitzan Chen said in a statement that Israel was demanding explanations from Reuters and the other news organisations regarding the HonestReporting article, saying what the report had described "crosses every red line, professional and moral".

The Israeli prime minister's office said it viewed with "utmost gravity" the suggestion that journalists working with international media had joined in covering the Hamas attack. "These journalists were accomplices in crimes against humanity; their actions were contrary to professional ethics," it said.

HonestReporting wrote on social media platform X that it was raising questions about news coverage, including whether the photojournalists had prior knowledge and, if so, whether the news groups were notified before the attack.

"We did not accuse Reuters of collusion," it said. "We quite rightly raised some serious ethical issues regarding news outlets' association with these freelancers and asked important and relevant questions that everyone deserves answers to."

The Associated Press (AP), which was among the news groups named by HonestReporting, said: "The Associated Press had no knowledge of the 7 October attacks before they happened.

"The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began. No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time."

Reuters said in its statement that it remained committed to delivering independent, accurate and unbiased news around the world, in keeping with its Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


Israeli, US spy chiefs in Doha talks on Gaza pause: official
4:39 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli and US spy chiefs were in Qatar for talks on "a potential humanitarian pause" to the war raging in Gaza since 7 October, an official with knowledge of the visit says.

CIA director Bill Burns and David Barnea, head of Israel's Mossad spy agency, "are both visiting Doha for trilateral talks with the Qataris to work through the details of a potential humanitarian pause that would see the release of hostages and more aid entering Gaza", the official tells AFP requesting anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

"Talks have been progressing well towards a deal in the past few days."

Moscow 'shocked' by timeline to evacuate Russians from Gaza
4:28 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Russia says it was "shocked" by the Israeli ambassador saying it could take up to two weeks to evacuate Russian citizens from the Gaza Strip.

Israel's envoy to Moscow told Russian state media this week that with 500-600 people leaving each day, and 7,000 waiting to be evacuated, it could take two weeks to get Russian citizens out of Gaza.

"We were truly shocked to hear that statement," Russia's foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova tells reporters.

"This logic is unacceptable," she says, adding that Russia had followed all the requested procedures for submitting evacuation lists to the relevant authorities.

More than 500 Russian citizens are awaiting evacuation, Russian state media reported this month, citing Russian diplomats.

"There are a lot of children on the lists for evacuation from Gaza. We are talking about approximately 300 Russian minors," Zakharova says separately on social media.

"For a month they have been in a blockade."

No Russians have yet been publicly confirmed as having left Gaza since the Rafah checkpoint with Egypt first reopened on 1 November to allow the evacuation of stranded foreigners and dual nationals.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has criticised the West for allegedly stoking tensions in the region and Israel for its conduct in the conflict.

Citizens of the United States, France, Britain and Canada are among those who have been evacuated from Gaza so far.

Unidentified drone hits Israeli school in Eilat, army says
4:22 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

A unidentified drone on Thursday hit an elementary school in the southern Israeli resort city of Eilat, causing damage and panic, the Israeli military said.

No one was physically hurt in the explosion but paramedics were treating seven people for shock, said an army spokeswoman at the scene, details that were separately confirmed by emergency services.

Local residents clustered around the school complex, which was cordoned off by dozens of soldiers and police officers, an AFP reporter saw.

The Israeli military did not confirm the origin of the drone and no group has so far claimed responsibility.

Yemen's Iran-backed Houthi rebels have claimed repeated missile and drone attacks aimed at Israel as they step up a campaign of disruptive strikes also targeting US forces in the region during Israel's war on Gaza.

White House: Israel agrees to 4-hour daily pauses in N Gaza
3:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The White House says Israel has agreed to put in place four-hour daily humanitarian pauses in its assault on northern Gaza.

The Biden administration says it has secured a second pathway for civilians to flee fighting. President Joe Biden had asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to institute the daily pauses during a Monday call.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said that the first humanitarian pause would be announced on Thursday and that the Israelis had committed to announcing each four-hour window at least three hours in advance.

Palestinian 'genocide' didn't start on 7 Oct, experts say
3:03 PM
The New Arab Staff

A group of 41 experts on state crime say Israel's "genocide" of Palestinians did not start on 7 October.

They say in a statement that research spanning 40 years has demonstrated that the "coercive opportunity-structures available to states", when combined with "weak control-mechanisms", give rise to the conditions for the "illicit use of violence by states" aiming to coercively realise contested political aims.

It has also been shown states are disproportionately capable of hiding and denying their criminal uses of violence and thwarting later accountability, the experts say.

They add: "It is the consensus of our scientific community that we are currently witnessing these risks and tendencies taking place in a particularly intensive form in Gaza, Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank. Palestinians within the 1948 boundaries (now Israel) are also experiencing high levels of threat.

"Cumulatively the evidence firmly indicates that in a disproportionate response to the Hamas killings of 7 October the Israeli state is employing its extensive and advanced military capacity to inflict violence on Palestinian peoples on such a scale that it is accurate to frame it as the annihilation phase of genocide."

The experts say Israel's actions in Gaza and its historic actions against the Palestinian people correspond with both legal and criminological definitions of genocide.

"For Palestinians the genocide process began in 1917 with the Balfour Declaration, when Britain 'gifted' their country to European Zionists looking for a Jewish homeland," the statement says.

"It materially took form in the 1948 war, which led to the creation of the State of Israel. During this catastrophe (the Nakba) thousands of Palestinians were killed and 750,000 were driven from their homeland, forever denied a right of return by the Israeli state.

"Decades of dispossession, occupation, structural violence, forced eviction and apartheid discrimination have followed. What we are witnessing now is the dénouement [end result] of the Israeli state’s genocide of the indigenous Palestinians. What we are seeing is a second Nakba."

The experts' statement was published by the International State Crime Initiative.

The interdisciplinary forum's founders, professors Penny Green and Kristian Lasslett, were joined as signatories by academics at universities in the UK, US, Brazil, and Australia.

INFOGRAPHIC: Destruction of Gaza by Israel's onslaught
2:55 PM
The New Arab Staff
UK FM Cleverly: Calls for Gaza ceasefire 'understandable'
2:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

British Foreign Minister James Cleverly said on Thursday calls for a ceasefire in Gaza were understandable but the United Kingdom also recognised that Israel was acting for its own security.

"Well, what we have said, is that calling for a ceasefire is understandable," Cleverly said during a visit to Riyadh, where he met Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

"But what we also recognise is that Israel is taking action to secure its own stability and its own security. Of course, we want to see this terrible situation resolved as quickly as possible," he added.

"The immediate challenge is the humanitarian needs of the people of Gaza."

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf Arab states have been calling for a ceasefire and a lift of the siege on the Gaza Strip.

Cleverly made a stop in the kingdom after taking part in a meeting of G7 foreign ministers in Tokyo, which called for a humanitarian pause in the fighting.

"Well, calling for a ceasefire is the easy point. Actually, establishing peace is much more difficult, and we are committed to establishing peace and sustainable peace that sees Israel secure but also sees security for the Palestinians," Cleverly said.

Cleverly said it was not possible to predict how long the Israeli military operations or the security situation immediately afterwards would take.

"Any security responsibility that they [Israelis] take on because of the military operation in Gaza needs to be temporary, and needs to exist only as long as we're able to move towards a Palestinian leadership that we want to see committed to peace, committed to the two state solution," Cleverly said.


Al-Quds Hospital faces 'fuel depletion within 24 hours'
2:17 PM
The New Arab Staff

Gaza City's al-Quds Hospital faces "imminent fuel depletion", the Palestine Red Crescent Society warns, adding that urgent international aid is required.

"We are only 24 hours away and we will be completely running out of fuel," the Red Crescent, which operates the hospital, saying on social media platform X.

"This means that the hospital will be forced to shut down all of its services.

"The situation now inside the hospital is dire, is heartbreaking. It can't be described. We barely have food and water for our patients and for our staff, along [with] for almost 14,000 civilians who are currently sheltering inside the hospital."

The Red Crescent says today is the fourth day al-Quds Hospital has been "almost isolated" under heavy bombing taking place in the surrounding area.

The humanitarian organisation says no aid has so far reached the hospital, adding that two days ago the group was waiting for some from the International Committee of the Red Cross, but Israeli forces "targeted" the convoy.

Mohammed el-Kurd: 'Hang Palestinian flag from your window'
2:05 PM
The New Arab Staff

Palestinian poet, writer and journalist Mohammed el-Kurd asks non-Palestinians to hang his country's flag from their window.

"Get an anti-Zionist bumper sticker. Put [Palestinian flag emoji] in your bio," he adds on social media platform X.

"Join a Palestinian organization. Gift someone a book on Palestine. Visible solidarity, albeit often symbolic, is needed in a climate so hostile to us."

10 killed, 20 injured in Israeli army raid on Jenin
1:57 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Ten people were killed and more than 20 injured in an Israeli raid on Jenin in the occupied West Bank, the Palestinian Authority health ministry says as AFP journalists reported intense fighting.

They saw black smoke rising over Jenin and heard multiple explosions and gunfire.

The Israeli army said its forces were operating in the northern West Bank city, but did not provide further details.

Gaza death toll passes 10,800, including over 4,400 children
1:51 PM
The New Arab Staff

The death toll in Gaza has risen to 10,812, including 4,412 children, the besieged enclave's health ministry says.

Israel has been carrying out a relentless and indiscriminate military campaign against the strip for a month.

The Gaza health ministry also reports 26,905 people injured.

WHO warns of 'worrying trends' in disease spread in Gaza
1:47 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Gaza Strip faces an increased risk of disease spreading due to Israeli air bombardments that have disrupted the health system, access to clean water, and caused people to crowd in shelters, the World Health Organization warned on Wednesday.

"As deaths and injuries in Gaza continue to rise due to intensified hostilities, intense overcrowding and disrupted health, water, and sanitation systems pose an added danger: the rapid spread of infectious diseases," WHO said.

"Some worrying trends are already emerging."

It said that the lack of fuel in the densely populated enclave had caused desalination plants to shut down, which increased the risk of bacterial infections like diarrhoea spreading.


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Washington Post apologises, takes down 'racist' Gaza cartoon
1:21 PM
The New Arab Staff

American newspaper The Washington Post has taken down a political cartoon on Gaza following a widespread backlash and accusations of racism.

The cartoon, entitled "Human Shields", depicts a suited member of Hamas saying "how dare Israel attack civilians" with four children and a woman tied to him with ropes.

The man is flanked by a Palestinian flag, as well as a picture of al-Aqsa Mosque with an oil lamp beneath it.

The cartoon received scathing criticism from The Washington Post's readership prior to being taken down late on Wednesday.

Egyptian American journalist Mona Eltahawy labelled the cartoon as "racist, Islamophobic, genocide-enabling", whilst British journalist Owen Jones stated that the cartoon is "not even subtle in its racism".

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Turkey ready to assume guarantor role, Erdogan says
1:16 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi that Ankara was ready to assume a guarantor role to resolve crisis between the Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza, the Turkish presidency says.

Erdogan and Raisi met on the sidelines of a summit of Economic Cooperation Organisation in Uzbekistan's capital Tashkent, according to a statement of the Turkish presidency.


NATO allies back humanitarian pauses in Gaza war: chief
1:07 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

NATO allies support humanitarian pauses in the war between Israel and Hamas to allow aid to reach Gaza, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday.

International law must be respected and civilians be protected in the conflict, he told reporters in Berlin as he addressed the media before a meeting with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

"The war in Gaza must not turn into a major regional conflict. Iran and Hezbollah must stay out of this fight," he added.#


Gaza aid conference presses for ceasefire
12:55 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday opened a conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza by calling for a "ceasefire", echoed by other delegates looking to support the Palestinian territory under Israeli bombardment for a month.

"In the immediate term, we need to work on protecting civilians. To do that, we need a humanitarian pause very quickly and we must work towards a ceasefire," Macron told delegates in Paris.

Israel has stayed away from the talks on aid for civilians in the enclave of 2.4 million people, where its military campaign has killed more than 10,500 people.

"Israel has the right to defend itself and the duty to protect its own people," Macron said.

But the government "also has a clear responsibility... to respect the law and protect civilians," he added, warning that the humanitarian situation "is worsening more and more each day".

Thursday's aid conference has been put together in a hurry on the sidelines of the annual Paris Peace Forum on 10-11 November.

It has brought together government representatives from many European countries, Egypt and the Palestinian Authority and a slew of aid groups, but no heads of government from the Arab world.

Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry said that "what the Israeli government is doing far exceeds the right to self-defence," accusing the state of "violations of international humanitarian law".

"How many Palestinians must die for this war to stop? Is it enough to kill six children and four women every hour?" Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh asked delegates, urging them to "end the double standard" he said existed between Palestinian and Israeli casualties.

The UN estimates that $1.2 billion in aid will be needed for the populations of Gaza and the West Bank from now until the end of the year.

In Paris, delegates hope to reach a shared evaluation of the situation on the ground and to mobilise the international community to lend support - although no joint declaration is planned at the end of the conference.

France's foreign ministry said there would be sections on donations of goods such as food, fuel and medical supplies, financial support and humanitarian access.

Macron said Paris would increase its financial support from 20 million to €100 million ($107 million).

But any promises of aid risk ringing hollow while supplies are being held up at the Gazan border.

"We're going to ask that aid enter Gaza because for now it's just a few trucks each day," Philippe Lazzarini, head of the United Nations' Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, told broadcaster France Inter early on Thursday.

He added $100 million was needed just to pay salaries to UNRWA's 30,000 employees.

The world body has "never registered so many deaths in such a short time in a conflict" among its staff, he said.

International concern over the fate of Gaza's civilians, most of whom cannot flee the sealed-off territory, has strengthened calls for humanitarian "pauses" or a full ceasefire.

Both European and US leaders are "having difficulty convincing [Israel] that there should be humanitarian pauses as soon as possible", European Council head Michel told broadcaster France 2 early on Thursday.

"Israel has the right to defend itself, and this must be in line with the rules of international law," he added.

Independent UN expert Balakrishnan Rajagopal said on Wednesday that Israel's widespread and systematic bombardment of housing and civilian infrastructure in Gaza was a "war crime", as were indiscriminate Hamas rocket attacks that hit Israeli dwellings.

Emmanuel Macron is the president of France [LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP/Getty]
Welsh Parliament calls for Gaza ceasefire
12:22 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Welsh Parliament called on Wednesday on the international community to unite and seek an immediate ceasefire in the war in Gaza to "end the human suffering and allow humanitarian organisations to reach those in need".

The motion also urged the international community to pressure the Israeli government to "end the siege of Gaza which contravenes international law and the basic human rights of Palestinian civilians".

It passed with 24 votes in favour and 19 against, with 13 abstentions.

The motion, proposed by the Welsh nationalist Plaid Cymru party, called on the international community to "do everything within its power to create safe and meaningful aid corridors into the Gaza Strip and enable safe passage out of the region".

It began by condemning the "horrifying attacks carried out by Hamas against Israeli civilians" and urging the immediate release of hostages.

The motion said Israel has a duty to protect its citizens and Palestinians living under occupation.

Jordan NGO works with UN to send medical aid to Gaza
11:52 AM
The New Arab Staff

A Jordanian non-governmental organisation is sending an 45 tons of medical supplies to Gaza.

The Jordanian Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO) worked with the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA to send an aircraft with the aid on board, Amman's official Petra news agency reports.

"JHCO Secretary-General Hussein Shibli indicated that this deployment signifies the fourth by Jordan, with coordinated efforts involving the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Armed Forces/Air Force, and security agencies," Petra says.

The assistance is to arrive in Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt and will be provided to hospitals in the besieged strip.

It comes after Jordan airdropped medical aid to its field hospital in Gaza on Monday.

Gaza family loses three generations to Israeli air strike
11:50 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli air strike hit Mohammed Hamdan's Gaza home soon after the Muslim evening prayer on Tuesday, he said, killing 35 members of his extended family across three generations from Kamal, aged 70, to Rasmi, aged seven.

Hamdan, 50, was buried by his collapsing house and it took an hour and a half to pull him out, he said. He emerged to discover he had lost his daughter Malak, brother Ahmed, his nephew, nieces and many cousins.

"My brother, my nephew and I were sitting down along with another brother just after the prayer. We found ourselves under the rubble," he said, recounting the moment of the strike.

The Hamdan family is one of many in besieged Gaza eviscerated by an unprecedented air and artillery bombardment that has killed more than 10,000 people.

Live Story
Saudis host Gaza summits, Iran president amid regional fears
11:15 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Saudi Arabia is hosting Arab leaders and Iran's president for two summits this weekend on the ongoing war in Gaza, which is raising fears of a regional escalation.

The emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) come after over a month of indiscriminate Israeli bombardment has killed more than 10,000 people in Gaza.

With Israel's leaders rebuffing talk of a ceasefire until Hamas frees its captives held in the strip, anger in Saudi Arabia over the Palestinian death toll comes amid worries the war could destabilise the wider region and fears this could thwart the kingdom's attempts to transition the economy away from oil.

Saudi Arabia and its neighbours are "united in fearing one thing in particular, which is a broader escalation", said Elham Fakhro of Chatham House.

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Belgium deputy PM says 'time for sanctions against Israel'
11:11 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Belgium's deputy prime minister called on the Belgian government on Wednesday to adopt sanctions against Israel and investigate the bombings of hospitals and refugee camps in Gaza.

"It is time for sanctions against Israel. The rain of bombs is inhumane," deputy prime minister Petra De Sutter told the Nieuwsblad newspaper.

"It is clear that Israel does not care about the international demands for a ceasefire."

De Sutter said the European Union should immediately suspend its association agreement with Israel, which aims at better economic and political cooperation.

She also said an import ban on products from occupied Palestinian territories should be implemented and violent settlers, politicians, soldiers responsible for war crimes should be banned from entering the EU.

Live Story
Israeli police detain former Arab MKs for anti-war event
11:06 AM
Ibrahim Husseini

In a further crackdown on the freedom of expression, Israeli police detained Muhammad Barakeh, the head of the Follow-Up Committee and a former Knesset member, this morning, ahead of an anti-war sit-in that was set to take place in the city of Nazareth. 

A video showed the Israeli police detaining several more Palestinians in Nazareth's al-Ein square, where the sit-in was taking place.

Among the arrested are former MKs Sami Abu Shehadeh and Hanin Zoabi. Also detained were Mansour Dahamshe, Yousef Tattour and Mahmmoud Muwasi.

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Palestine says Israel 'continues its genocidal war'
9:15 AM
The New Arab Staff

Palestine says Israel is continuing its "genocidal war and ethnic cleansing against our people" in the Gaza Strip for the 34th day in a row.

This results in "daily and hourly massacres, destruction, and forced displacement of civilians", the foreign ministry posts on social media platform X.

It adds: "This is accompanied by ongoing bloody raids, violations, and killings by the occupying forces and armed settler militias in the occupied #West_Bank, including #East_Jerusalem.

"Alongside the mass arrests among Palestinian civilians, infrastructure demolition, and the continued dismemberment of the West Bank, turning it into a large prison containing smaller prisons that aren't linked together due to the aggression of settler militias and their terrorist attacks."

Western, Arab officials to meet on how to provide Gaza aid
8:59 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Officials from Western and Arab countries, the United Nations and non-governmental organisations are gathering on Thursday in Paris for a conference on how to provide aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip during the war, including proposals for a humanitarian maritime corridor and floating field hospitals.

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has called for a "humanitarian pause" in the war, wants the conference to address the besieged Palestinian enclave's growing needs including food, water, health supplies, electricity, and fuel.

Over 50 nations are expected to attend, including several European countries, the United States, and regional powers such as Jordan, Egypt, and the Gulf countries, the French presidency said. Also attending is Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh. Israeli authorities won't participate in Thursday's conference, the Elysée said.

The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, the UN's top aid official, and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross are expected to provide details about urgent needs in the Gaza Strip.

More than 1.5 million people – or about 70 percent of Gaza's population – have fled their homes, and an estimated $1.2 billion is needed to respond to the crisis in the strip and the occupied West Bank.

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides will present his plan for a humanitarian sea corridor to Gaza which he has said aims for a "sustained, secure high-volume flow of humanitarian assistance to Gaza in the immediate, medium and long term". Ships would deliver the aid from Cyprus's main port of Limassol, about 255 miles (410 kilometers) away.

French officials said they are also considering evacuating injured people to hospital ships in the Mediterranean off the Gaza coast. Paris sent a helicopter carrier off the Cyprus coast and is preparing another with medical capacities on board for that purpose.

Thursday's discussions will also include financial support and other ways to help Gaza's civilians.

France is expected to announce some additional funding.

European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen are also attending the conference.

Amnesty International welcomed the humanitarian conference and called on states "to push for an immediate ceasefire by all parties – as this is a vital precondition to ensure the people of Gaza receive any kind of sustained, effective, and impactful humanitarian aid".

Israel pounds Gaza City as tens of thousands flee their home
8:58 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli air strikes pounded Gaza City on Thursday as soldiers battled street-by-street with Hamas militants, and tens of thousands of desperate Palestinians fled their homes southwards in the besieged territory.

After more than a month of intense bombardment, hundreds of thousands of people remain trapped in a "dire humanitarian situation" in urban battle zones without enough food and water, the United Nations said.

Broken palm trees, distorted road signs and twisted lampposts marked the ruins of what was once north Gaza's main arterial route, an AFP journalist saw while embedded with Israeli soldiers.

Israeli flags were flying over buildings at beach resorts in northern Gaza and there was little sign of any human presence amid the destruction.