Palestinian officials have called on the nations of the world to step in and prevent the “deliberate genocide” of their people by Israel after hundreds were killed in the bombing of a hospital in Gaza.
Israeli officials blamed the blast on an errant rocket launched by the Islamic Jihad militant group. However, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated on X (formerly Twitter) that Israeli forces struck a “Hamas terrorist base” hidden inside the hospital before deleting the tweet shortly afterward and posting another update blaming Hamas.
“The hospital massacre cannot be tolerated by sensibility or the morals of nations, and what is taking place is genocide,” Hussein al-Sheikh, a senior adviser to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, wrote on social media on Tuesday.
“We call on the international community to intervene immediately to stop this massacre,” he continued. “Silence and bias are no longer acceptable.”
The Christian-run Al-Ahli Hospital was destroyed in an apparent missile strike on Tuesday, killing almost 600 people, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. The bombing took place amid continuous Israeli airstrikes on Gaza, and Palestinian officials blamed Israel for targeting the facility.
“The effects of the massacre are beyond description,” Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Kaila said in a statement on social media on Tuesday. “The occupation broke all humanitarian norms, charters and laws, and they killed patients and patients and citizens who were safe from its bombing everywhere in the Gaza Strip.”
In an appeal directed at the “countries of the world” and the UN, al-Kaila pleaded for someone to “save our people from this deliberate genocide.”
Israeli warplanes began striking Gaza more than a week ago in retaliation for a Hamas assault on Israel that left at least 1,300 Israelis dead, 4,500 wounded, and more than 150 taken as hostages by the militant group, according to Israeli military figures. In the same period, Israeli airstrikes killed 3,300 people and wounded 13,000 others, according to the latest figures from the Palestinian Health Ministry.
The Al-Ahli Hospital was located in Gaza City in the north of the Palestinian enclave. Israeli authorities ordered the evacuation of the city last week, warning that anyone who refused to move south would not be safe from airstrikes. The World Health Organization called this order a “death sentence for the sick and injured,” who were unable to leave hospitals in the city.
The bombing was vehemently condemned throughout the Muslim world, where it triggered protests and riots in several countries. U.S. President Joe Biden has taken Israel’s side, telling Netanyahu on Wednesday that “it was done by the other team, and not you.”
Gaza Hospital Strike A Humanitarian Disaster, Says Putin
A media report said:
The strike on a Gaza hospital that left hundreds dead should serve as a signal both to Palestinian armed groups and Israel to end the hostilities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday.
Speaking to journalists at China’s Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, Putin described the powerful explosion that rocked Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, killing at least 600 people according to local authorities, as a “tragedy” and a “terrible incident.”
“Hundreds of dead and wounded, of course, this is a catastrophe, especially in a humanitarian place. I expect this is to be a signal that this conflict should end as soon as possible. In any case, it should lead to the start of some kind of contacts and negotiations, he said.
Putin also said that he had discussed the Middle East crisis with the leaders of Egypt, Palestine, Iran, Syria, and Israel, describing the conversations as “important and timely.” “I had the impression that nobody wants this conflict to go on and escalate,” the Russian president noted, although he declined to give specific details of the talks.
The conflict between Hamas and Israel was also on the agenda of Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping as the two held three-hour talks on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum.
In the wake of Tuesday’s deadly strike on Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, which Palestinian officials blamed on Israel, an allegation denied by West Jerusalem, Jordan canceled a summit involving the leaders of the U.S., Egypt and Palestine which was meant to serve as a platform for discussing the Gaza crisis. Explaining the decision, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said that Washington “will not be able to take a decision to stop the war.” The US has confirmed the cancellation of the gathering.
According to Gaza authorities, since October 7, Israeli strikes have claimed more than 3,300 lives in the enclave, while Israeli authorities have estimated the death toll in the country at more than 1,400.
Displacing Palestinians Is An Act Of War, Says Jordan
Media reports quoted by the Roya News outlet said:
Jordan will not become complicit in another expulsion of Palestinians from their homes, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi said on Wednesday.
The Hashemite kingdom is doing all it can to stop the conflict but will treat any attempt to displace Palestinians as “a declaration of war,” Safadi vowed,.
Amman will not allow “a new catastrophe nor will it let Israel shift the crisis created and exacerbated by the occupation to neighboring countries,” he added.
Catastrophe, or ‘Nakba’, is how the Palestinians refer to their 1948 exodus from territories claimed by Israel. Jordan ended up annexing the West Bank while Egypt took control of Gaza, but Israel seized both territories in 1967. Jordan signed a peace treaty with Israel in 1994, establishing an “administrative boundary” between the kingdom and the West Bank, without prejudicing the territory’s future status.
Displacing the Palestinians from Gaza to another country would be a war crime, Safadi said, accusing Israel of already engaging in war crimes against the Palestinians there. “There is no justification for what Israel is doing in Gaza,” the Jordanian foreign minister said. “We demand for the war to be stopped, to allow humanitarian aid to enter Gaza Strip and to protect civilians.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government declared war on Gaza after October 7, when Hamas launched hundreds of rockets at Israel and sent militants into nearby Jewish villages. Over 1,300 Israelis were killed in the incursion, according to the government in West Jerusalem.
Israel has since demanded that all civilians leave Gaza City and the northern part of the territory, in order to allow the Israel Defense Force to target Hamas. Palestinians in Gaza have said they have nowhere to go, as Israel blockades them from the sea and Egypt has refused to open the border.
The government in Cairo has argued that admitting Palestinians would amount to helping Israel engage in “ethnic cleansing,” in which they want no part. Egypt has offered to send humanitarian aid to Gaza, but Israel has opposed that on grounds that some of it might end up in the hands of Hamas.
“All indications suggest that the worst is yet to come and that Tel Aviv is heading towards a ground invasion,” Safad said on Wednesday.
Pro-Palestinian Protesters Invade U.S. Capitol, 300 Arrested
Other media reports said:
Scores of pro-Palestinian protesters staged a sit-in protest in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, demanding that the U.S. back a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Police arrested multiple demonstrators who refused to leave the building.
The activists broke away from a larger demonstration on the National Mall and sat on the floor in the House Office Building, as a ring of police looked on. Chanting “ceasefire now” the protesters held banners reading “let Gaza live” and “not in our name.”
Shortly after the protest began, Capitol Police warned the crowd to disperse, before moving in and detaining those who refused to comply. Capitol Police reported that roughly 300 people were arrested.
The demonstration was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, which claimed that more than 350 people, including 24 rabbis, took part. Outside, the group claimed that up to 10,000 people marched “to challenge the Israeli government’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”
U.S. officials and lawmakers have overwhelmingly backed the Israeli military response, with President Joe Biden visiting Tel Aviv on Wednesday to show his country’s solidarity.
Only a handful of Democratic lawmakers have spoken out against the Israeli operation. Among them are Representatives Cori Bush of Missouri and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, who both spoke at Wednesday’s rally. “President Biden, not all of America is with you on this one, and you need to wake up and understand that. We are literally watching people commit genocide,” Tlaib told the crowd.
German Arms Exports To Favor Israel Over Ukraine, Says Media
Citing sources, the DPA news agency reported on Wednesday:
The German government wants to prioritize weapons deliveries to Israel amid its conflict with Hamas,.
According to unnamed government officials interviewed by the outlet, “commercial applications from companies for arms exports will be processed and approved with priority given the currents situation” in the Middle East. However, the agency did not provide further details on the new policy.
The report comes after Chancellor Olaf Scholz expressed support for Israel in its conflict with Hamas, saying that “there is only one place for Germany – that place is at Israel’s side.” “Our own history, our responsibility arising from the Holocaust, makes it a perpetual task for us to stand up for the security of the state of Israel, “he said last week.
In line with this approach, Defense Minister Boris Pistorius said last week that Berlin had returned two Heron combat drones that had been leased by the German military back to Israel, adding that talks were now underway about providing German ammunition to Israeli warships.
Israel has also asked Germany to provide it with protective vests, while Berlin has announced that it would provide medical aid to Israeli service members and examine other assistance requests. Finally, Scholz promised that his country’s authorities would “issue a ban on Hamas activities in Germany.”
On Tuesday, the German chancellor arrived in Tel Aviv in a show of solidarity. During the visit, his delegation had to be evacuated to a bomb shelter due to incoming rockets from the Gaza Strip, according to several media reports.
UK Minister Likens BBC’s Gaza Coverage To ‘Blood Libel’
Another media report said:
British Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick likened BBC’s coverage of the Hamas-Israel conflict to an anti-Semitic “blood-libel” on Wednesday. The public broadcaster came under fire from several UK officials over its reporting on the deadly attack on the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City that took place on October 17, for which Israel and the Palestinian officials blamed each other.
“The reporting of the tragic explosion at the Al-Ahli hospital by the BBC and others was like a 21st century blood libel, “Jenrick wrote on X (formerly Twitter). Historically, blood libels were false accusations that Jews were killing Christian babies for ritual purposes.
In his post, Jenrick was commenting on the question MP Stephen Crabb posed earlier to UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. During a parliamentary debate, Crabb complained that “sections of the British media” had reported the strike on the hospital relying on the information from “officials in terrorist-controlled Gaza.”
“The headlines have since been rewritten, but the outpouring of Jews hate on social media overnight was vile,” Crabb said. He went on to ask that Sunak make a warning that “any information coming from Hamas must be treated with a degree of scrutiny and cross-examination.”
The UK PM agreed that “we should not rush to judgment before we have all the facts” about the tragedy. “It is incumbent on all of those in positions of responsibility in this House and outside in the media to recognize that the words we say will have an impact, and we should be careful with them,” Sunak said, adding that the government was “working with our allies to establish the truth of what has happened.”
British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly echoed this sentiment, arguing that on Tuesday “too many jumped to conclusions around the tragic loss of life at Al-Ahli hospital.” He urged everyone to “wait for the facts, report them clearly and accurately.”
Israel Accuses UK Media Of Bias
Israel also accused UK media of bias in relation to the hospital blast. IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus criticized the BBC for “double standards” and argued that a Sky News anchor had opened a recent interview with him with a “very unfair” question that implied that Israel should be held responsible for the deaths in Al-Ahli.
The broadcaster confirmed earlier this week that it was investigating several of its staffers for alleged anti-Israel bias and the support of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
The BBC has also been criticized by the pro-Palestinian camp. On Monday, the broadcaster apologized for its “misleading description” of demonstrations in support for Palestine in the UK as rallies of Hamas supporters. The group Palestine Action covered the entrance to BBC’s office in London with red paint over the weekend, claiming that the news corporation was spreading Israeli “lies.”
The BBC insisted that it was upholding the principle of impartiality.
BBC Takes Six Reporters Off Air Over ‘Pro-Palestine’ Stance
An earlier media report said:
British state broadcaster BBC has launched an investigation into six reporters and a freelance contributor working for its Arabic service over allegedly exhibiting anti-Israel bias and cheering attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
The probe is related to the journalists’ social media activities, namely liking and reposting pro-Palestinian content and criticism of Israel. The online conduct of BBC employees is covered by BBC’s ‘impartiality’ rules.
According to British media reports, the offensive posts, all of which have been taken down, included descriptions of Hamas as “freedom fighters” and the group’s surprise attack on Israel as a “morning of hope” for Palestine.
While the staff reporters have not been formally suspended as of yet, only put off-air, the corporation has already parted ways with the freelance contributor, who had been working with the outlet since early October.
“We are urgently investigating this matter. We take allegations of breaches of our editorial and social media guidelines with the utmost seriousness, and if and when we find breaches, we will act, including taking disciplinary action,” a BBC spokesperson said on Sunday.
The probe comes as the broadcaster faces domestic backlash over its refusal to call Hamas a “terrorist” group – despite London designating them as such – and describing them as “militants” instead. While the BBC argued it has been doing so for the sake of maintaining “impartiality,” multiple fellow British media outlets have attacked the broadcaster over this approach.
Seven former culture secretaries, led by Sajid Javid, penned a letter to the corporation’s director-general, Tim Davie, arguing the approach actually damages the BBC’s impartiality.
“The BBC’s commitment is to impartiality, not indifference. This distinction is now in danger of being blurred. Worryingly, the precise language of ‘fighters’ and ‘militants’ also serves to conflate terrorists with the Palestinian people, who suffer more than anyone from Hamas’ actions,” they argued, asking the corporation to “urgently reassess” its approach.
The BBC has also faced online backlash over using very specific language to describe victims of the ongoing escalation between Israel and Hamas, referring to Israeli victims as “killed,” and Palestinian – as those who “died” in massive retaliatory air strikes. Another major British broadcaster, SkyNews, has been caught using the same wording to describe the matter amid the escalation.
Israel To Allow Foreign Aid Into Gaza
Other media reports said:
The Israeli government has said it will not prevent aid shipments to Gaza through Egypt as long as no supplies are sent to Hamas. The decision was announced after a visit by U.S. President Joe Biden, who reportedly helped to coordinate the assistance.
In a statement on Wednesday night, the office of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that while Israel would not let any aid to come to the Palestinian enclave from its own territory, it would allow humanitarian transfers from Egypt “as long as its is food, water and medicine for the civilian population located in the southern Gaza Strip.” “Any supplies that reach Hamas will be prevented,” the Israeli PM added, noting that the decision was made at the request of U.S. President Joe Biden.
The U.S. president said 20 truckloads of aid would come from Egypt through the Rafah border crossing into Gaza starting on Friday. The UN will help to distribute the supplies, though Biden stressed that the assistance would be halted if goods wound up in the hands of Hamas. He suggested there could be a “second tranche” of aid, but said he would “see how it goes.”
Egypt announced on Thursday that it would reopen the Rafah crossing for the purpose of the “sustainable” transfer of humanitarian assistance, according to presidential spokesman Ahmed Fahmy.
Khalid Zayed, the head of the Red Crescent for North Sinai told reporters that 200 trucks carrying 3,000 tons of aid were heading towards Rafah or already stationed there.
The UN and international human rights groups have been warning about the dire humanitarian situation unfolding in Gaza after Israel cut the supply of electricity, water and fuel, and urged more than 1 million Palestinians to immediately evacuate to the southern part of the densely populated enclave. Hundreds of thousands of refugees have fled for safety amid heavy Israeli airstrikes, and the UN has warned of an “unprecedented catastrophe” in Gaza due to “rapidly dwindling” stocks of food, fuel and medicine.
Israeli officials said that the supplies would not be restored from their end until Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups free hostages taken during their deadly October 7 raid into Israeli territory.
Molotov Cocktails Thrown At Berlin Synagogue
A media report said:
Two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a synagogue in Berlin on Wednesday, police said, as Germany experiences a surge in anti-Semitic incidents in connection with the Hamas-Israel war.
According to police, at around 3:45am local time, two masked assailants threw bottles with flammable liquid at the building in the German capital’s Mitte neighborhood, starting a fire and fleeing the scene. The fire was quickly put out by security personnel.
The building, which belongs to the Kahal Adass Jisroel Jewish community, also houses a daycare center and a yeshiva school, the Central Council of Jews in Germany said. Police said that several hours after the attack, a person drove up to the synagogue on a scooter and was briefly detained for shouting anti-Israel slogans.
On Wednesday, police used pepper spray and water cannons to break up two pro-Palestinian demonstrations in the capital. During one gathering, rioters set garbage bins on fire, as well as pelting police and emergency vehicles with stones, police said. Overall, 39 arrests were made and 20 officers were injured.
Israeli Flags Burned Across Germany
Israeli flags have been torn down and set on fire in several cities across Germany, local media reported, citing police and officials. The banners were hung outside city halls and other public buildings in solidarity with the Jewish state, which suffered a deadly attack on October 7 by the Gaza-based militant group Hamas.
In the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Wurttemberg alone, flags were vandalized in at least 12 cities, according to the news program Tagesschau. On Monday night, a man removed the Israeli flag hoisted on a pole outside the city hall in Aachen and set it ablaze. In Witten, the flag was taken down twice, most recently on Friday night, while the flag hoisted outside a Protestant church in Bad Saeckingen was pelted with eggs.
Police told Bild newspaper that a drunk man in his 50s had attempted to tear down the flag in the city of Pirna (Saxony), but was stopped by officers. Israeli national symbols were taken down, stolen or destroyed in Mainz (Rhineland-Palatinate), Erfurt (Thuringia), Stralsund (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), and Stade (Lower Saxony), among other places.
In some cases, officers managed to identify the perpetrators. In Schwerin (Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania), the suspect is a 17-year-old man of Iraqi origin, who acted as part of a group, some of whom were “with migrant background,” police said.
Stealing and desecrating national flags is a criminal offense in Germany, punishable by up to three years in prison. In addition to the actions against Israeli flags, police said on Wednesday that swastikas and the words “Kill the Jews” were written on fragments of the Berlin Wall.
Germany has seen a wave of anti-Semitic incidents since last week as politicians and officials voice support for Israel in the wake of the deadly attack by the Hamas militant group, which killed more than 1,300 Israelis. Israel responded with airstrikes on Gaza, killing 2,750 people, according to Palestinian officials.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrations have been banned in several German cities out of fear of the expression of extremist sentiment.