Mediation efforts are continuing to secure a new Gaza ceasefire and free more hostages held by Hamas despite the ongoing Israeli bombardment that is “narrowing the window” for a successful outcome, Qatar’s prime minister said Sunday.
“Our efforts as the state of Qatar along with our partners are continuing. We are not going to give up,” sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani told the Doha Forum, adding that “the continuation of the bombardment is just narrowing this window for us”.
“We are going to continue, we are committed to have hostages released, but we are also committed to stop the war,” Qatar’s prime minister said.
But, AFP reports he added, “we are not seeing the same willingness from both parties”.
The World Health Organization’s executive board on Sunday adopted a resolution on tackling the worsening health situation in the Gaza Strip, calling for immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access.
Agence France-Presse reports:
After the UN security council declined Friday to demand a ceasefire between Israel and the Hamas militant group, the 34 countries on the WHO’s executive board adopted by consensus a resolution calling for the ‘immediate, sustained and unimpeded passage of humanitarian relief’ into Gaza.
The resolution, proposed by Afghanistan, Morocco, Qatar and Yemen, called for the granting of exit permits for patients.
It seeks the supply and replenishment of medicine and medical equipment to the civilian population and for all persons deprived of their liberty to be given access to medical treatment.
It also expressed ‘grave concern’ for the humanitarian situation and the ‘widespread destruction,’ and urged protection for all civilians.
Despite agreeing to the resolution, some countries expressed reservations about the resolution.
The United States’ representative said Washington agreed not to oppose the consensus on the text but had ‘significant reservations,’ saying it ‘regrets the lack of balance in the resolution.’
Canada said it considered the text a ‘compromise resolution’ that could have gone further with additional language acknowledging role of Hamas in the conflict, such as its taking of hostages and ‘use of human shields.’
Australia said it took issue with the fact that the resolution did not make specific reference to the October 7 attacks, which were ‘the catalyst for the current devastating situation.’
Médecins Sans Frontières has criticized the US following its veto of a UN security council resolution on Friday that called for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
In a statement released on Sunday, MSF said:
“The US veto stands in contrast to the values it professes to uphold. By continuing to provide diplomatic cover for the atrocities in #Gaza, the US is signaling that international humanitarian law can be applied selectively – that the lives of some people matter less than others.”
Israeli forces have invaded the area near the UNRWA clinic in Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp, where a group of emergency medical service staff are operating a medical post, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).
According to the PRCS, the emergency team consists of nine doctors, nurses and volunteers.
US Republican senator Lindsey Graham urged Israel to understand that no Gulf state can help Israel if the Palestinians are left hanging with no promise of a two-state solution, adding the best way to help the Palestinians is to create a world where they are not dependent on terrorist organisations.
Graham has been involved in the stalled behind-the-scenes normalisation talks between Saudi Arabia and Israel, and said he believed it is still possible for Saudi Arabia to strike a deal with Israel by no later than May next year.
He said he was going to Israel soon, adding:
This is what I am going to tell my Israeli friends: ‘Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE – none of these Arab countries – can help you unless you make a commitment to a two-state solution. They just cannot do it. Whether you can do it, I leave that up to you whether that is a good idea for Israel, I leave it up to you. To my Arab friends, I know you cannot leave the Palestinians hanging. To my friends in Israel, the best thing you can do to beat Iran is to give the Palestinians a life where they are not dependent on terrorist organisations.
Praising Joe Biden for imposing the US veto on a ceasefire in Gaza, he said Hamas had never struck a ceasefire deal that it had honored. He promised to help secure the votes in the Senate for Saudi Arabia to have a defense agreement with the US, adding a peace reconciliation between the Arabs and the Jews is the ultimate solution to “stop Iranian efforts to keep the region in constant chaos”.
Graham insisted that Iran was behind Hamas, and said he would do everything possible to help the US president hit Iranian proxy forces militarily in Iraq and Yemen. Graham is an unusual figure since he is a supporter of Donald Trump, but also of the Gulf states, including Qatar.
Describing Iran as “the root cause of all the problems in the region”, he added: “Iranians need to pay a price for what they have done to the people in the region.” He also called for a new Palestinian Authority, saying: “I would not give 15 cents to this crew. The PA needs new people to offer new governance that is less corrupt.”
He said Hamas was just a terrorist organisation. “If you do not do what Hamas says, they throw you off the roof,” he said. Hamas is “a group of people who are nuts and for some reason want to kill all the Jews”, he added.
Graham admitted he did not think that the supplemental budget that the Biden administration is seeking will be passed until early next year.
2024 is going to be a test of the world, the world that you want. I do believe with the right type of leadership, a Republican Senator helping a Democrat President over the Arab-Israeli conflict and leaders in the Arab world standing up to the street in a reasonable way 2024 could be one of the most consequential years in the history of the world. One way or the other 2024 is going to shape the world for decades to come.
Qatar’s prime minister and minister of foreign affairs Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said that Qatar is “not going to give up” on peace efforts with Gaza.
Speaking at the Doha Forum, al-Thani said that Qatar knows that “there are a lot of complications and … what happened in the fallout of this pause, actually we feel disappointment that the parties didn’t give a chance for further efforts to be taking place”.
He went on to add:
For the way forward, we are going to continue, we are committed to have all the hostages being released but also we are committed to stop this war, to stop the bombardment of innocent Palestinians.
It always takes two parties to be willing to (agree to) such an engagement. Unfortunately we are not seeing the same willingness that we have seen in the weeks before in … both parties.
In his interview with CNN on Sunday, US secretary of state Antony Blinken also said: “We’re not going to have durable security for Israel unless and until Palestinian political aspirations are met.”
When the major military operation is over … we have to make sure that we’re on a path to a durable and sustainable peace. From our perspective, I think from the perspective of many around the world, that has to lead to a Palestinian state …
What happens the day after in Gaza itself once military operations, major military operations, are over, that’s also hugely important and urgent to make sure that governance, security, reconstruction, all of that is in place, so that there’s no vacuum.
In a new interview with CNN, US secretary of state Antony Blinken said that it is “imperative that civilians be protected” in the ongoing Israel-Gaza war.
Speaking to CNN host Jake Tapper, Blinken said:
We think there needs to be a premium put on protecting civilians and making sure that humanitarian assistance can get to everyone who needs it. And, as I said, I think the intent is there, but the results are not always manifesting themselves …
Israel needs to be able to deal with this to protect itself, to prevent October 7 from happening again. But, as it does that, it’s imperative that civilians be protected.
In the last two months, Israel has killed over 17,700 Palestinians including over 7,100 children.
It has just gone 5pm in Gaza City and in Tel Aviv. Here are the latest headlines …
Mediation efforts are continuing to secure a new Gaza ceasefire and free more hostages held by Hamas despite the ongoing Israeli bombardment that is “narrowing the window” for a successful outcome, Qatar’s prime minister said Sunday. “We are going to continue, we are committed to have hostages released, but we are also committed to stop the war,” sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said. But, he added, “we are not seeing the same willingness from both parties”.
Israeli forces continues to push on Sunday into southern Gaza, where hundreds of thousands of civilians have fled in search of shelter from bombardments and intense fighting. Residents report that Israeli tanks have reached the main north-south road through the middle of Khan Younis after intense combat through the night that had slowed the Israeli advance from the east.
The IDF has claimed to have struck “over 250 terror targets” in the last 24 hours. According to local authorities in Gaza, at least 17,700 Palestinians have been killed, and more than 48,780 wounded, by Israeli military actions since 7 October. An additional 7,780 people are believed to be missing. It has not been possible for journalists to independently verify the casualty figures being issued during the conflict.
A World Health Organization database shows there have been 449 attacks on healthcare facilities in Palestinian territories since 7 October, without assigning blame. WHO director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said “Resupplying health facilities has become extremely difficult and is deeply compromised by the security situation on the ground”. He added that the impact of the Israel-Gaza conflict on the territory’s healthcare sector has been “catastrophic”
UN secretary general António Guterres has vowed he will not give up seeking a ceasefire in Gaza after the US wielded its veto to block the move at the security council on Friday, leaving the UN without a clear route map to stop the conflict lasting many months. Speaking at the Doha Forum in Qatar, Guterres did not directly criticise the US in his address but said the security council is “paralysed by geostrategic divisions”. He added world institutions “are weak and outdated, caught in a time warp reflecting a reality of 80 years ago”.
Israel has said that it has intercepted suspicious aerial targets that crossed into the northern part of the country from Lebanon, but that some soldiers were “lightly injured”.
Russia and Israel have both given readouts of the call today between Netanyahu and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin. In its statement, Israel said Netanyahu voiced displeasure with “anti-Israel positions” taken by Moscow’s envoys at the UN, and offered “robust disapproval” of Russia’s “dangerous” cooperation with Iran. For the Russian side, Putin said Russia was “ready to provide all possible assistance in order to alleviate the suffering of civilians and de-escalate the conflict,” and cautioned Israel that “it is extremely important that countering terrorist threats does not led to such dire consequences for the civilian population.”
Netanyahu has said that western leaders calling for a ceasefire in Gaza are being inconsistent with their support for Israel’s stated war aim of destroying Hamas. Briefing his cabinet, he said he had told the leaders of France, Germany and other countries: “You cannot on the one hand support the elimination of Hamas, and on the other pressure us to end the war, which would prevent the elimination of Hamas.”
Israeli intelligence service the Mossad helped Cyprus foil an Iranian-ordered attack against Israelis and Jews on the island, prime minister Netanyahu’s office alleged on Sunday, saying such plots were on the rise since the Gaza war erupted.
Residents in Gaza have told Associated Press there is still heavy fighting under way in the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shijaiyah and the Jabaliya refugee camp, a dense urban area housing Palestinian families who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel during the 1948 war surrounding its creation.
“They are attacking anything that moves,” said Hamza Abu Fatouh, a Shijaiyah resident. He said the dead and wounded were left in the streets as ambulances could no longer reach the area, where Israeli snipers and tanks positioned themselves among the abandoned buildings.
“The resistance also fights back,” he added.
In central Gaza, hundreds of Palestinians waited for flour outside an UN distribution centre. The price of food has soared as much of the territory faces severe shortages. Abdulsalam al-Majdalawi said he has come every day for nearly two weeks, hoping to get food for his family of seven.
“Every day, we spend five or six hours here and return home (empty handed),” he told AP. “Thank God, today they drew our name.”
Here are some of the latest images sent to us from Gaza and Israel over the news wires.
CNN reports that the IDF has told the network that Israel believes Hamas had about 30,000 fighters in Gaza before the war began on 7 October.
The IDF believed the fighters were divided into five brigades, 24 battalions and approximately 140 companies.
On Saturday national security adviser Tzachi Hanegbi said that Israel had killed at least 7,000 combatants.
It has not been possible for journalists to independently verify the casualty figures being issued during the conflict.