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Israel now controls Gaza’s harbour, says military; Biden backs ongoing al-Shifa Hospital raid

Israel now controls Gaza’s harbour, says military; Biden backs ongoing al-Shifa Hospital raid
Israel Defence Forces flares light up the sky and landscape over Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip on 15 November 2023, viewed from Sderot, Israel. (Photo: Christopher Furlong / Getty Images)

The Israeli army now controls Gaza’s harbour after clearing the surrounding buildings and dismantling 10 tunnel shafts, the military said in a statement. The army said it destroyed other military infrastructure at the small port, just off Gaza City, and accused Hamas of using the site for training and attacks on Israel.

Israel’s military raid on Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital — which drew condemnation in the Middle East and elsewhere — won some support from US President Joe Biden, who said Hamas’ use of the facility against international norms constituted a “war crime”. 

Latest developments

Gaza Strip telecom services non-functional 

All telecom services in the Gaza Strip had “gone out of service” as all energy sources sustaining the network had been depleted, with fuel not being allowed in, Paltel, the main telecom provider in the territory, said in a post on X.

Egypt denies it was pressured to take in Palestinians from Gaza  

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said his nation wasn’t pressured by the US to take in Palestinians from Gaza, and that Cairo was working alongside its international partners to free Israeli hostages held by militants in the strip.

Shoukry’s remarks to reporters came in response to questions about whether the US and Israel had offered financial incentives to allow in Palestinians displaced by the Israel-Hamas war. Egypt has repeatedly and strenuously rejected any proposal that Gazans be relocated to north Sinai, saying such a move poses not only a security threat but also undermines Palestinian hopes for a state of their own.

No end in sight to exchanges of fire on Israel-Lebanon border  

The Israeli military said it struck a militant group attempting to launch anti-tank missiles from Lebanon, in the latest of what has become an almost daily exchange of fire.

Earlier in the day, Israeli fighter jets carried out strikes on Hezbollah military posts following an overnight attack from Lebanon in which an anti-tank missile was fired at an Israeli community.

Egypt ready to transfer infants from Gaza to Egyptian hospitals 

Egypt prepared ambulances and incubators at the Rafah Crossing for the transfer of 35 infants from Gaza, the Cabinet said in a statement.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organization said the lives of an estimated 130 premature babies were threatened as incubators would stop running due to lack of fuel.

Germany raids properties linked to Hezbollah 

German authorities conducted nationwide raids on 54 properties as part of their probe into an Islamist organisation suspected of supporting banned activities of Hezbollah.

“We have the Islamist scene in our sights,” Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said in an emailed statement. “Especially now, at a time when many Jews feel particularly threatened, we do not tolerate Islamist propaganda or anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement,” she added. “That is why we are resolutely investigating every well-founded suspicion.”

Saudi Arabia condemns hospital raid 

Saudi Arabia expressed its “strong condemnation” of Israel’s raid of the al-Shifa Complex, state-run Saudi Press Agency said.

The kingdom, echoing other Arab states, also said it held Israel accountable for a bombing near the Jordanian Field Hospital. Jordan said on Wednesday the attack injured seven personnel.

The Israeli military hasn’t commented on the field hospital incident.

Four injured in shooting at Jerusalem-West Bank checkpoint  

A gunman opened fire at an Israeli checkpoint linking Jerusalem and the West Bank, injuring a number of people before he was disarmed, according to the Israel Police. The Magen David Adom emergency service said four people were wounded, one of them critically.

Israeli inflation slowdown remains intact  

Israel’s inflation slowed for a second consecutive month, defying some earlier predictions of a price surge because of the war with Hamas.

Consumer prices in October rose by 3.7% year on year and grew by a monthly 0.5%, matching the forecasts of economists surveyed by Bloomberg. 

The data provide some of the first glimpses into the economic impact of the conflict, which has mainly affected the leisure and tourism sectors. During the fifth week of fighting, credit card purchases were still down more than 20% compared with an average week in 2023.

At least 23 hospitals in northern Gaza inoperable, says UN

Only one of the 24 hospitals with in-patient capacity in the northern section of Gaza is still operational, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its daily note. The situation at al-Shifa Hospital, where an Israeli raid took place, was unclear due to communication disruptions, it added. 

Gaza received about 23,000 litres of fuel on Wednesday, the first such delivery since the 7 October Hamas attacks on Israel. OCHA said the fuel can only be used by UN trucks delivering aid, but the delivery was below the 160,000 litres needed to run basic humanitarian operations.

Gaza’s last mill was reportedly hit and destroyed, which means “that locally produced flour will not be available in Gaza in the foreseeable future”, OCHA said. 

Deal to free 50 hostages under consideration – Washington Post  

Hamas has agreed in principle to free 50 women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a three-to-five-day pause in fighting and the release of some women and children held in Israeli prisons, the Washington Post reported, citing an Arab diplomat it didn’t identify. 

Israel has yet to decide on whether it supports the deal, according to the Post. Biden, speaking to reporters after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping, said he was “mildly hopeful” about getting hostages released.

Biden defends hospital raid, criticises Hamas 

Biden defended Israel’s controversial military operation at Gaza’s largest hospital, standing behind the US ally in the face of international criticism.

The US President said Hamas headquartered its military operations underneath al-Shifa Hospital, which he labelled a “war crime,” and added that Israel had taken precautions to limit civilian casualties in the hospital incursion. He said Israel’s military operations would conclude “when Hamas no longer maintains the capacity to murder, abuse and just do horrific things to the Israelis”. 

“Hamas has already said publicly that they plan on attacking Israel again,” Biden told reporters in California. “And so the idea that they’re gonna just stop and not do anything is not realistic.” 

UN Security Council backs Gaza truce 

The UN Security Council approved a resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in the fighting in Gaza, and the release of all hostages held by Hamas. Twelve out of 15 Security Council members voted in favour of the text proposed by Malta, with the US, Russia and the UK abstaining.

The resolution calls for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip” so that UN agencies and non-profit organizations can get essential goods and services to civilians. It also urges the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children”. The vote followed four failed attempts to pass a Gaza truce resolution.

Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, said in a posting on X that the resolution is “disconnected from reality and is meaningless”. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Israel-Palestine War


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Likewise, armchair commentary here is “disconnected from reality and is meaningless”.

    The emotional lines are drawn, and will not be change by uneducated emotive babble spewed by commentators here.

    No one is in any danger convincing anyone of anything, so please stop the rhetoric.

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