From reactions to the Israel-Hamas truce deal to an Israeli attack on southern Lebanon – here are major updates.
Here is what to know about the situation on Thursday, November 23, 2023:
- Former Obama White House adviser Stuart Seldowitz was arrested by New York police over multiple charges, including hate crime, on Wednesday after videos of him harassing a halal cart vendor went viral. Threatening the vendor, Seldowitz also remarked that not enough Palestinian children have been killed.
- Israeli official Tzachi Hanegbi said late on Wednesday that Israeli captives would not be released by Hamas before Friday, adding that discussions around their release were “advancing and continuing constantly”. On Wednesday, National Security Council spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the US was “hopeful” that implementation of the truce agreement would start on Friday.
- In a media briefing in London on Wednesday, the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan said the truce agreement should be extended and become a first step towards a full cessation of hostilities, including the resumption of talks for a two-state solution.
- On Wednesday, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s armed wing, al-Quds Brigades, said it targeted 11 Israeli military vehicles in Gaza.
- Concerns of censorship in Hollywood are rising after Oscar-winning actor Susan Sarandon and Scream star Melissa Barrera were dropped by their companies following comments against Israel, according to The Associated Press news agency.
Human impact and fighting
- An Israeli attack on southern Lebanon has killed five Hezbollah members, including the son of a Lebanese parliamentarian, the group confirmed late on Wednesday.
- As the clock ticks towards the start of a pause in fighting, Israel continues its bombardment in Gaza. At least six different areas across the enclave were attacked based on reports from Al Jazeera Arabic and the Palestinian news agency Wafa. Deadly strikes also hit the Jabalia refugee camp in the north while 15 people were killed in Khan Younis.
- The United States Central Command said on Wednesday that its USS Thomas Hudner warship downed several “one-way attack drones” fired from Houthi-controlled parts of Yemen while it patrolled the Red Sea.
- A total of 190 patients were evacuated from al-Shifa Hospital to the south of Gaza on Wednesday. While dialysis patients were taken to Abu Youssef Al Najjar Hospital in Rafah, the others were moved to the European Hospital, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
- Over a phone call on Wednesday, US President Joe Biden thanked his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for Cairo’s efforts towards the Israel-Hamas truce deal. He reassured el-Sisi that “under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, or the besiegement of Gaza, or the redrawing of the borders of Gaza”, according to a White House readout.
- In another phone call on Wednesday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanked Qatari Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani for Doha’s mediation in the truce deal, according to the White House. The two also discussed securing the release of remaining captives and increasing the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.
- White House briefings of the various phone calls since the deal was announced note discussions of achieving peace and stability but make no mention of a long-term ceasefire, for which public pressure has been mounting.
- US Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren released a statement on Wednesday supporting the truce agreement and calling for its extension. She also criticised Netanyahu’s military strategy, which she said has led to “a humanitarian catastrophe, the deaths of thousands of civilians in Gaza, and endangered the region’s long-term stability”.
- The European Commission welcomed the truce in a statement on Wednesday and said it will step up aid deliveries to Gaza during the four-day pause in fighting.
- Head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis said at his Wednesday general audience that the fighting between Israel and Hamas has gone beyond war to become “terrorism”. He also met separately Palestinians and the families of Israeli captives, according to the AP. He told the Palestinian delegation that he is in daily contact with the church in the Gaza Strip, according to Wafa.
Arrests and attacks in West Bank
- At least nine different areas across the occupied West Bank faced Israeli raids overnight based on reports from Al Jazeera Arabic and Wafa.
- A 17-year-old Palestinian was shot in the head while another Palestinian man, shot in the back, was injured, according to the Palestine Red Crescent. Israeli forces also detained Red Crescent rescue workers attempting to reach the victims, confiscating their keys and phones, the organisation said on Thursday.
- Israeli forces demolished six homes, a sheep barn, and a well, and destroyed a water network and agricultural crops in a village near Hebron on Wednesday, Wafa reported. Local sources said the activities were part of expanding the Avigal settlement built adjacent to the village.
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