Netanyahu announces series of government meetings tonight ‘in light of developments’ on hostage releases
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has announced a series of government meetings tonight “in light of developments on the issue of the release of our hostages”.
The war cabinet will meet at 6pm (4pm GMT), the security cabinet at 7pm (5pm GMT) and the full government at 8pm (6pm GMT).
Protesters have gathered outside the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv as Benjamin Netanyahu met with his most senior ministers amid growing expectations of a deal for the release of some hostages held in Gaza.
About 200 protesters have gathered alongside the families of hostages, Haaretz reported.
South African lawmakers have voted in favour of closing down the Israeli embassy in South Africa and suspending all diplomatic relations with Israel until it agrees to a ceasefire in Gaza.
The vote, which was adopted by a 248-91 margin, is largely symbolic as it will be up to the government whether to implement it.
The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the unlawful use of force by Israel is a war crime. The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food and water to the residents of Gaza is tantamount to genocide.
He called for an “immediate and comprehensive ceasefire” and the deployment of a UN force “to monitor the cessation of hostilities and protect civilians.”
Scottish Labour has formally backed demands for a full ceasefire in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, widening the party’s divisions on the conflict.
Anas Sarwarsupported a motion tabled by Scotland’s first minister, Humza Yousaf, in Holyrood on Tuesday calling for an immediate truce, in defiance of Keir Starmer’s instruction that Labour should only support “pauses” to allow evacuations and aid to arrive.
Sarwar then directly criticised Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to consider the full cessation of military action in Gaza. Sarwar told MSPs he believed the Israeli prime minister “has no interest in peace”, implying he needed to be removed from power for lasting peace to be achieved.
The coalition between Labour and the Scottish National party at Holyrood echoed last week’s revolt in the Commons, when 56 Labour MPs, including eight frontbenchers, broke the party whip to support an SNP motion at Westminster calling for a ceasefire.
The head of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said he is “devastated” that a colleague had been killed in Gaza.
Dima Alhaj was “tragically killed alongside her six-month-old baby, her husband and two brothers”, he wrote in social media post alongside a photo of Alhaj.
He said multiple other family members were also killed as they sheltered in the same house, adding:
I have no words to describe our grief.
The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has said three doctors were killed in what it said was an Israeli strike on Al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza.
Doctors Without Borders (MSF)has confirmed that two of its doctors and a third health ministry doctor were killed following what it said was a strike on Al-Awda.
ActionAid said it was “horrified” to learn from the hospital, which is a partner to the organisation, that three doctors were killed after the fourth floor of the building was hit by bombing. It added:
While we are still awaiting further information, our position is in no doubt. This bombing of Al-Awda is yet another potential breach of international humanitarian law in a crisis where the rights of patients to access lifesaving care are being violated daily. Healthcare workers, ambulances, and hospitals are never a legitimate target.
In a statement, Al-Awda said that it “adhered to the medical and health principles and practices in times of conflicts and war” and that “only medical personnel, patients and the injured” were inside the hospital.
MSF says its doctors were killed in strike on northern Gaza hospital
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said it is “horrified” by the killing of two of its doctors and a third health ministry doctor following what it said was a strike on Al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza.
The MSF doctors, Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila and Dr Ahmad Al Sahar, were in the hospital when it was hit on the third and fourth floors, the charity said in a statement. Other medical staff, including MSF staff, were severely injured, it said.
More than 200 patients are still in Al-Awda and must be urgently evacuated to other hospitals in Gaza that are still functioning, MSF said.
It said it has regularly shared information about Al-Awda – one of the last remaining functional hospitals in northern Gaza – and that it had shared GPS coordinates with Israeli authorities on Monday. The statement continued:
We condemn this strike in the strongest terms and yet again call for the respect and protection of medical facilities, staff and patients.
Attacks on medical facilities are a “serious violation of international humanitarian law”, it said, adding that such attacks have become “systematic” in the past weeks.
This is yet another incident that MSF staff have been subject to in the last few days. Our colleagues who are assisting hundreds of patients in Gaza are facing extremely difficult times in providing the little medical care they can. Seeing doctors killed next to hospital beds is beyond tragic, and this must stop now.
Israel’s Religious Zionist Party, led by finance minister Bezalel Smotrich, has said it cannot agree to a proposed deal for the release of some of the hostages held in Gaza.
In a statement, the party described the deal as “bad for Israel’s security, bad for the hostages, and bad for the soldiers of the IDF”, the Times of Israel reported.
It said the deal will “abandon” some of the hostages for an uknown period of time, “raise the price” for their release, and give Hamas the opportunity to reorganise.
The only way to return all the hostages “is by continuing the unceasing military pressure on Hamas until total victory”, it said, adding:
Religious Zionism will stand strong for the continuing of the war until the total destruction of Hamas, the return of all the hostages, and the elimination of the threat posed by Gaza to Israeli citizens.
UN warns of ‘tragic, avoidable surge’ in child deaths in Gaza
The UN has warned that a “tragic … entirely avoidable surge” in child deaths is expected in Gaza, where on average a child is killed every 10 minutes.
“About 160 children are killed every day; that’s one every 10 minutes,” said World Health Organization (WHO)spokesperson Christian Lindmeier on Tuesday.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, he said that “every 10 minutes, two children are injured” and that children and families have been dying “in terrifying circumstances”.
The UN children’s agency (Unicef) warned that number could skyrocket due to the serious additional threat of a mass disease outbreak in the besieged Palestinian territory. The Unicef spokesperson James Elder said:
If youngsters continue to have restricted access to water and sanitation in Gaza, we will see a tragic yet entirely avoidable surge in the number of children dying.
“The death toll among children is sickening,” he said, noting that more than 5,350 Palestinian children had reportedly been killed, according to Gaza health authorities.
Grief is becoming embedded in Gaza. So this then is a stark warning: without sufficient fuel, without sufficient water, conditions for children will plummet.
He said the daily minimum need in emergency situations was 15 litres of water per person, but that in parts of Gaza as little as three litres a day is available, and none on some days.
Pointing to “a desperate lack of water, faecal matter strewn across densely populated settlements [and] an unacceptable lack of latrines”, Elder said it was a “perfect storm for the spread of disease”.
At least 52 journalists and media workers have been killed since the Israel-Hamas war began on 7 October, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).
The toll now includes 46 Palestinians, four Israelis and three Lebanese killed since 7 October, as well as 11 journalists injured and three missing journalists.
Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator, said:
Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heart-breaking conflict. Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats. Many have lost colleagues, families, and media facilities, and have fled seeking safety when there is no safe haven or exit.