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Fire and smoke rise after an Israeli air strike in Gaza City. PA
AS IT HAPPENED

As it happened: 50,000 Gazans flee to south of Strip as reported death toll reaches 10,500

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that there will be no pause until the more than 240 hostages seized by Hamas are freed.

LAST UPDATE | Nov 8th 2023, 8:33 PM

TENS OF THOUSANDS of Gazans fled the north of the Strip on foot today in a surge away from the fighting and intense bombardment in Gaza as Israel said it was tightening the “stranglehold” around Hamas.

The Israeli army said 50,000 civilians fled north Gaza for the south today, claiming it was because they could see Hamas had “lost control”. 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Israel will assume “overall security” in Gaza after the war ends, while Ron Dermer, Israel’s minister of strategic affairs, said the prime minister was not referring to any future reoccupation of the territory.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, Israel’s relentless bombardment has killed more than 10,500 people, many of them children.

Meanwhile, foreign ministers in the G7 released a statement saying that they supported “humanitarian pauses and corridors” in the conflict but refrained from calling for a ceasefire.

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the there is “no indication that Ireland is somehow being penalised for the stance we’re taking in our call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.

Follow the latest developments below.

Updates from Lauren Boland, Hayley Halpin, Jane Moore and Eoghan Dalton

With additional reporting from Press Association and © AFP 2023

This morning, the Israel Defence Forces has said its fighters continue to operate deep in the Gaza Strip, “eliminating terrorists and directing aircraft to attack terrorist infrastructure”.

The IDF has shared a series of images of its troops in Gaza, along with a strike on what it says is the Abu Zina warehouse. It said this warehouse served as the head of the Industries and Weapons Department at the Hamas production headquarters. 

Speaking yesterday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News that Israel will assume “overall security” in Gaza after the war ends.

However, Ron Dermer, Israel’s minister of strategic affairs, said the prime minister was not referring to any future reoccupation of the territory.

“After Hamas is removed from power, after we dismantle this infrastructure, Israel is going to have to retain overriding security responsibility indefinitely,” Dermer told MSNBC television.

Israel withdrew its troops from the territory, which it captured in the 1967 Six-Day War, in 2005. 

Key ally Washington said it opposed a long-term occupation of Gaza.

“We’re having active discussions with our Israeli counterparts about what post-conflict Gaza ought to look like,” White House security spokesman John Kirby told reporters.

“The president maintains his position that a reoccupation by Israeli forces is not the right thing to do,” Kirby added, saying there were also debate on what future “governance in Gaza” would look like.

“Hamas can’t be part of that equation,” Kirby added. “We can’t go back to 6 October”.

Hamas spokesman Abdel Latif al-Qanou roundly rejected the proposal to eject Hamas.

“What Kirby said about the future of Gaza after Hamas is a fantasy,” he said in a post on Telegram. “Our people are symbiotic with the resistance, and only they will decide their future.”

In the occupied West Bank on Sunday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken suggested the Palestinian Authority under president Mahmoud Abbas should retake control of Gaza.

The PA exercises limited autonomy in only parts of the West Bank, and Abbas said it could only potentially return to power in Gaza if a “comprehensive political solution” is found for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

G7 foreign ministers issue statement on Gaza

Diplomats from the G7 leading industrial democracies have announced a unified stance on the Israel-Hamas war after intensive meetings in Tokyo.

The representatives condemned Hamas, supported Israel’s right to self-defence and called for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting to speed up aid for desperate Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

In a statement, the nations sought to balance criticism of Hamas’ attacks on Israel with a push for “urgent action” to help civilians in the besieged Palestinian enclave in need of food, water, medical care and shelter.

US secretary of state Antony Blinken and foreign ministers from the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and Italy emphasised that they “support humanitarian pauses to facilitate urgently needed assistance, civilian movement and release of hostages”.

There was also condemnation of “the rise in extremist settler violence committed against Palestinians”, which the ministers said is “unacceptable, undermines security in the West Bank, and threatens prospects for a lasting peace”.

from-left-to-right-british-foreign-minister-james-cleverly-german-foreign-minister-annalena-baerbock-u-s-secretary-of-state-antony-blinken-japanese-foreign-minister-yoko-kamikawa-high-representa G7 foreign ministers meeting in Tokyo. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Reporting from the West Bank, journalist Hannah McCarthy has met a community in the Palestinian village of Susiya who told her of how settler violence is uprooting people across the territory.

Resident Nasser Nawajeh said that an Israeli contractor from a nearby illegal outpost installed a roadblock near the village under the Israeli military’s order and destroyed several of the community’s water cisterns and a field growing crops.

The playground by Nawajeh’s home in Susiya is empty and few people are outside that morning. “Settlers have been pointing guns at Palestinians and telling them to stay inside and not graze,” said Nawajeh, who is also the South Hebron Hills field researcher for Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem. On 13 October, an Israeli settler shot Nawajeh’s brother-in-law in the stomach.

Susiya is just one of 19 Palestinian hamlets in the Hebron hills known as Masafer Yatta. One Palestinian from a neighbouring village in Tuba, who didn’t want to disclose his name for fear of reprisal, described how two days previously five masked settlers entered his house in the middle of the night while his family were sleeping. They searched his home, took his phone and his wife’s and threatened his family including his two daughters aged 7 and 9 with guns.

The masked men then took him from his home and beat him. After the beating, they told him that he had 24 hours to completely leave his house and if not, they’ll come back and they’ll shoot him. “I don’t have anywhere else to go,” he said, “This is my land and my home.”

Yesterday, The Israeli embassy in Dublin screened some of the most graphic footage of the 7 October Hamas attacks at an event for Irish media, including video taken from body cameras worn by the attackers.

The Journal‘s News Editor Daragh Brophy attended the screening, which comprised 43 minutes of raw footage and still images. Some has already been circulated on social media. Other footage has not been shared widely out of respect for family members of those killed.

The footage was extreme and harrowing. It showed multiple people being shot at close range or stabbed. One clip showed a man being beheaded, another showed a father being killed in front of his two young sons.

Similar events have also taken place in other countries. Speaking at the embassy, Dana Elrich, the Israeli Ambassador, said the events were being organised to counter what she described as a Holocaust denial-like campaign to discredit reports of the atrocities.

The footage was “historically important”, Elrich said – adding that she also hoped to organise screenings for politicians in Leinster House.

Tánaiste Micheál Martin has said that Ireland does “take stances and positions” on conflicts. 

Martin was speaking in response to comments made by Ireland’s Israeli Ambassador Dana Erlich, who said she does not believe Ireland is politically neutral in respect of the Israel-Hamas conflict.

Speaking to reporters in China, Martin said: “We adhere to international humanitarian law, and that is the prism through which we conduct our foreign policy.

“In respect of neutrality, it’s military neutrality and it’s defined by membership or non-membership of the military alliance. In this case, we’re not members of Nato.”

He said Ireland was not neutral when it came to the Ukraine war and has been clear that Russia violated the UN Charter and should withdraw its forces from the country.

“So we do take stances and positions,” he added.

party-leader-micheal-martin-addresses-the-fianna-fail-annual-conference-at-the-dublin-royal-convention-centre-in-dublin-picture-date-saturday-november-4-2023 Micheál Martin. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has said it is mourning the loss of one of its team members, who was killed along with several members of his family in Gaza on 6 November. 

The charity said Mohammed Al Ahel had been a laboratory technician for MSF for over two years and was at his home in Al Shate Refugee Camp when the area was bombed and his building collapsed, reportedly killing dozens of people.

“It is clear that no place in Gaza is safe from brutal and indiscriminate bombing. More than 10,000 people, including over 4,000 children, have now been killed in Gaza already, according to the Ministry of Health,” the charity said in a statement. 

“Our repeated calls for an immediate ceasefire have fallen on deaf ears, but we insist on it being the only way to prevent more senseless deaths across the Strip and allow adequate levels of humanitarian aid into Gaza.”

The charity said helpless people keep losing family members, their homes and their lives all over Gaza “while world leaders fail to take meaningful action”. 

“In this tragic moment, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) continue to be gravely concerned for all our colleagues in Gaza, many of whom are still working in hospitals across the Strip to provide lifesaving care. We reiterate our call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.”

Blinken says Israel should not ‘reoccupy’ Gaza

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on Israel not to reoccupy Gaza once its war with Hamas ends.

Speaking to reporters after G7 foreign ministers held talks in Japan, Blinken listed what he said were “key elements” in order to create “durable peace and security.”

“The United States believes key elements should include: no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, not now, not after the war; No use of Gaza as a platform for terrorism or other violent attacks; No reoccupation of Gaza after the conflict ends,” Blinken told reporters.

He added that other conditions included no “attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza” or any “reduction in the territory of Gaza.”

It comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News that Israel will assume “overall security responsibility” in Gaza “for an indefinite period” after the war ends.

tokyo-japan-7th-nov-2023-us-secretary-of-state-antony-blinken-looks-at-journalists-during-a-meeting-with-japanese-foreign-minister-yoko-kamikawa-not-in-photo-at-the-foreign-ministry-in-tokyo-on US Secretary of State Antony Blinken looks at journalists during a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoko Kamikawa at the foreign ministry in Tokyo on 7 November. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

An Israel Defence Forces Arab media spokesman has said that a corridor is open for civilians in northern Gaza to flee south.

In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Avichay Adraee said that the IDF is allowing movement south through the Salah al-Din road, the main highway of the Gaza Strip, between 10am and 2pm local time (8am to 12pm Irish time).

“For your safety, take advantage of the next time to move south beyond Wadi Gaza,” he said,

“The northern Gaza Strip area is considered a fierce combat zone, and time is running out to evacuate it. They join hundreds of thousands who have responded to calls and moved south in recent days.”

UK Foreign Secretary says Israeli ‘security responsibility’ in Gaza should be temporary

britains-foreign-secretary-james-cleverly-speaks-during-an-event-of-signing-a-memorandum-of-understanding-with-japans-foreign-minister-yoko-kamikawa-in-tokyo-tuesday-nov-7-2023-david-mareuilp Britain's Foreign Secretary James Cleverly in Japan on 7 November. Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

We reported that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC News that Israel will assume “overall security responsibility” in Gaza “for an indefinite period” after the war ends.

After US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called on Israel not to reoccupy Gaza, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said that Israeli “security responsibility” in Gaza should only be temporary.

Cleverly indicated that the UK wanted a “peace-loving Palestinian leadership” in the strip.

The US is opposed to any reoccupation of the territory, from which Israel removed soldiers and settlers in 2005, and has suggested that a revitalised Palestinian Authority (PA) could govern Gaza.

But the internationally recognised PA, whose forces were driven out of Gaza by Hamas 16 years ago, says it would only do so as part of a solution that creates a Palestinian state in Gaza, the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

Cleverly said: “What we’re seeing at the moment is an Israeli military operation in Gaza. Their explicit aim is to remove Hamas as the government of Gaza.

“The UK Government’s position has long been that we want to see a Palestinian leadership for the Palestinian people, committed to peace and committed to a two state solution.

In the short term, it is inevitable that Israel, because they have the troops in Gaza, will need to have a security responsibility.

“But our view is as soon as practicable, a move towards a peace-loving Palestinian leadership is the most desired outcome.

“The UK position is clear. It is unchanging. We want to see a two-state solution where a Palestinian state and an Israeli state are living side by side in peace and prosperity.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said it is “deeply troubled” that its humanitarian convoy in Gaza City came under fire yesterday.

In a statement shared last night, the humanitarian organisation said the convoy of five trucks and two ICRC vehicles was carrying lifesaving medical supplies to health facilities, including to Al Quds hospital of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, when it was hit by fire.

It said two trucks were damaged and a driver was lightly wounded.

“These are not the conditions under which humanitarian personnel can work,” said William Schomburg, the head of the ICRC delegation in Gaza. “We are here to bring urgent assistance to civilians in need. Ensuring that vital assistance can reach medical facilities is a legal obligation under international humanitarian law.”

It said that the convoy after the incident and reached Al Shifa hospital, where it delivered the medical supplies. Afterward, the ICRC convoy accompanied six ambulances with critically wounded patients to the Rafah crossing.

New death toll

The health ministry in the Gaza Strip said the death toll in the region has reached 10,569 today, as fighting in the Palestinian territory enters its second month.

The ministry said there were 4,324 children among the dead and 2,823 women, with more than 26,000 more wounded since 7 October.

British police have come under mounting government pressure today to ban a pro-Palestinian rally scheduled to take place in London on the day the country commemorates its war dead.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called the protest against the Israel-Hamas conflict scheduled for Saturday “provocative and disrespectful”.

Organisers have resisted pleas from Sunak and London’s Metropolitan Police to postpone the demonstration, when tens of thousands of people are expected to demand a ceasefire in the month-old conflict.

The force’s chief, Mark Rowley, has said the rally does not meet the threshold for requesting a government order to stop it going ahead.

Rowley said such a ban was “incredibly rare” and a “last resort” where there is a serious threat of disorder.

“The events taking place this weekend are of great significance and importance to our nation,” he said in a statement.

“We will do everything in our power to ensure they pass without disruption.”

prime-minister-rishi-sunak-and-metropolitan-police-commissioner-sir-mark-rowley-right-during-a-visit-to-kilburn-police-station-north-west-london-picture-date-wednesday-august-30-2023 British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley in August Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Sunak is to meet Rowley today but ministers in the Conservative government suggested that the commissioner should  think again.

“There is a legal threshold and the commissioner is of the view that that legal threshold has not been met,” Health Secretary Steve Barclay told Sky News.

“Obviously, the Home Office and colleagues will discuss that over the course of the day.”

Culture Secretary Lucy Frazer said in a radio interview that police should keep the protest “under review”.

11 November commemorates the end of fighting in World War I, and the sacrifice of armed forces in all conflicts since 1914.

Protest groups have not indicated they plan to march on Remembrance Sunday, when solemn ceremonies and two minutes’ silence are held at war memorials up and down the country.

But some fear their Saturday protest will disrupt Sunday’s commemorations.

Organisers have vowed to avoid the Whitehall area of central London where the Cenotaph – the focal point of Remembrance Sunday – is located.

When asked by The Journal today whether Irish citizens in Gaza will be included on today’s list to cross the Rafah border into Egypt, the Department of Foreign Affairs did not confirm so. 

It said: 

“There are an estimated 8000 foreign and dual nationals and immediate dependants in Gaza who are seeking to leave. The departures are being managed country by country on a phased basis. It will take some time for this process to be completed.

“The names of all Irish citizens in Gaza who have asked to be included on the list of those due to leave have been submitted to the relevant authorities. Our Embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv are in regular communication with the authorities in Egypt and Israel in this regard.

“We are also in regular communication with Irish citizens on the ground and are updating them directly as we have confirmed information.”

Israel withdraws from Paris conference

Israeli representatives will not participate at a “humanitarian conference” for Gaza in Paris tomorrow organised by French President Emmanuel Macron, AFP is reporting office said.

Macron had spoken yesterday to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the pair will talk again once the aid conference is over, the Elysee Palace added.

The French leader had also spoken to Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Tuesday, his office said.

Both countries are playing a key role in attempts to bring more aid into the Gaza Strip.

Despite its withdrawal, an official in Macron’s office told AFP that Israel still has “an interest in the humanitarian situation improving in Gaza”.

Widespread destruction of housing is a ‘war crime’ – UN special rapporteur

The widespread and systematic bombardment of housing and civilian infrastructure in Gaza amounts to a war crime and a crime against humanity, an independent United Nations expert said Wednesday.

Balakrishnan Rajagopal stressed that civilian housing in Israel was also not a military object, warning that Hamas’s continuing indiscriminate launching of rockets from Gaza and elsewhere is also “a war crime”.

A month of Israeli attacks on targets within the Gaza Strip have destroyed or damaged 45 percent of all housing units in the Palestinian territory, Balakrishnan Rajagopal said, warning the destruction comes at a “tremendous cost to human life”.

The UN special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing stressed that systematic or widespread bombardment of housing, civilian objects and infrastructure are strictly prohibited under international law.

“Carrying out hostilities with the knowledge that they will systematically destroy and damage civilian housing and infrastructure, rendering an entire city — such as Gaza City — uninhabitable for civilians is a war crime,” he said.

When such acts are “directed against a civilian population, they also amount to crimes against humanity”, he said.

Sunak to hold police commissioner ‘accountable’ over pro-Palestinian march

Downing Street has denied UK PM Rishi Sunak is trying to put pressure on the Metropolitan Police Commissioner Mark Rowley by saying he would hold the force “accountable” for their approach to a pro-Palestinian march planned for Armistice Day.

Earlier this morning, Sunak said he would speak to Rowley over his decision to greenlight a pro-Palestinian demonstration on Armistice Day.

Sunak said they need to “safeguard remembrance” for Britain and keep the public safe.

“We’ve asked the police for information on how they will ensure that this happens. I’ll be meeting the Metropolitan Police Commissioner later today to discuss this,” he said, adding that he believes the pro-Palestine marches are “disrespectful”.

Since those remarks, Sunak’s official spokesman at Downing Street denied that Sunak was overstepping the line.

“No, that’s part and parcel of how Government and the Met operate. The Met are operationally independent, it’s the job of the Prime Minister and the Government to hold them to account for their approach. So, that is what the Prime Minister will be doing.”

A group of children in Gaza have made an appeal for peace in a press conference held outside Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital.

According to the health ministry in Gaza, Israel’s bombardment has killed more than 10,500 people – many of them children.

Reporting from Al Jazeera shows one young boy outlining that they are drinking “unusable water” and plea for international leaders “to protect us”.

“We want to live, we want peace,” the boy said in the appeal.

While the UK’s Tory leader Rishi Sunak has come under pressure for comments criticising the police, his Labour Party counterpart is also facing a backlash over the war.

A member of Keir Starmer’s frontbench has now quit in protest at his leader’s refusal to back a ceasefire.

Imran Hussain, MP for Bradford East, said he was quitting his role as shadow minister for the New Deal for Working People so that he can “strongly advocate” for a ceasefire.

Starmer has been grappling to maintain discipline in his top team over the Gaza conflict.

At least 16 shadow ministers have either called for a ceasefire or shared others’ calls on social media while around 30 councillors have resigned.

Hussain has been on Labour’s frontbench for almost eight years, serving under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership as shadow international development minister in 2016.

Some photos from Gaza today: 

palestinians-inspect-the-damage-of-a-destroyed-house-following-israeli-airstrikes-on-gaza-city-wednesday-nov-8-2023-ap-photoabed-khaled Palestinians inspect the damage of a destroyed house following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

palestinians-walk-in-the-al-rimal-neighbourhood-central-gaza-city-while-fleeing-to-the-southern-gaza-strip-wednesday-nov-8-2023-ap-photoabed-khaled Palestinians walk in the al-Rimal neighbourhood, central Gaza City while fleeing to the southern Gaza Strip Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

palestinians-crowded-together-as-they-wait-for-food-distribution-in-rafah-southern-gaza-strip-wednesday-nov-8-2023-since-the-start-of-the-israel-hamas-war-israel-has-limited-the-amount-of-food Palestinians crowded together as they wait for food distribution in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

palestinians-on-donkey-carts-hold-up-white-flags-trying-to-prevent-being-shot-while-fleeing-gaza-city-on-the-al-rimal-neighbourhood-central-gaza-city-wednesday-nov-8-2023-ap-photoabed-khaled Palestinians on donkey carts hold up white flags trying to prevent being shot, while fleeing Gaza City on the al-Rimal neighbourhood, central Gaza City Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Members of the Students’ Union at Trinity College Dublin have blocked the front entrance to the university in protest. 

A spokesperson for Trinity College Dublin said: “We fully respect students’ right to protest in a peaceful and respectful manner.”

More than 150 British nationals have left Gaza via the Rafah crossing as of last night, a UK Foreign Office minister has said.

Making a statement in the House of Commons on the humanitarian situation in Gaza, Andrew Mitchell said: “Immediately after Hamas’ brutal assault, the government brought home almost 1,000 British nationals safely on charter and military flights, but the safety of all British nationals is our utmost priority and so we are in regular contact with those in Gaza registered with us since the conflict began.

“Working with partners, we have been engaging intensively with Israel and Egypt to allow foreign nationals to leave Gaza via the Rafah border crossing.

“This has proved possible on five of the last seven days and I can confirm to the House that as of late last night, over 150 British nationals have made it through to Egypt.

“A forward deployed team of consular officials is … close to Rafah to meet them and provide the medical consular and administrative support they need.

“We have also set up a reception centre for British nationals in Cairo and have arranged accommodation. We will do everything we can to ensure all remaining British nationals in Gaza can leave safely.”

image (2) Oireachtas TV Oireachtas TV

Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said the there is “no indication that Ireland is somehow being penalised for the stance we’re taking in our call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire”. 

“We will not change our position on that, no matter what,” Varadkar said. 

Varadkar told the Dáil that only about 20% of EU citizens have been allowed to leave Gaza so far. 

Since the opening of the Rafah border crossing into Egypt last week, no Irish citizens have been permitted to leave Gaza. 

Varadkar was responding to claims by TD Paul Murphy that while citizens of other countries have been allowed to leave, “Irish citizens, together with Brazilian citizens, are effectively being held hostage by the Israeli regime in Gaza.” 

In a statement today, the Department of Foreign Affairs said: “There are an estimated 8000 foreign and dual nationals and immediate dependants in Gaza who are seeking to leave. The departures are being managed country by country on a phased basis. It will take some time for this process to be completed.

“The names of all Irish citizens in Gaza who have asked to be included on the list of those due to leave have been submitted to the relevant authorities. Our Embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv are in regular communication with the authorities in Egypt and Israel in this regard.

“We are also in regular communication with Irish citizens on the ground and are updating them directly as we have confirmed information.”

Israel’s offensive to wipe out Hamas in Gaza is “the war of the free world”, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen has told EU lawmakers in Brussels.

Cohen also said Israel was attacked not only by Hamas but by other militias in the region that are supported by Iran, which he called “the world number one financer of terror”.

israels-foreign-minister-eli-cohen-left-is-greeted-by-european-commission-president-ursula-von-der-leyen-at-the-european-parliament-in-brussels-wednesday-nov-8-2023-israels-foreign-minister-e Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, left, is greeted by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at the European Parliament in Brussels Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen was speaking in Brussels alongside several Israelis whose relatives were taken hostage by Hamas when its militants stormed communities near Gaza on 7 October.

After calling Hamas militants “monsters” and pleading for international help to secure the release of the more than 240 hostages being held, Cohen left to speak with European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen. 

During his speech to the MEPs, Cohen showed two minutes of brutal images said to be from Hamas videos filmed during the 7 October attack, overlaid with piano music.

“The 7th of October was the worst day of the state of Israel and for the Jewish people since the Holocaust,” he said.

The foreign minister justified Israel’s intense bombardment of Gaza as necessary to root out Hamas “terrorism”.

“This is not just the war of the state of Israel. This is the war of the free world,” he said.

“We need to win this war in order to ensure that the West will not be next since terrorism, it’s like a cancer.”

Israel has said the goal of its military operation in Gaza is to eradicate Hamas.

Cohen said Hamas had used international financial aid to build tunnels and rocket factories while leaving Palestinians “starving”.

He said Iran was behind Hamas and other militias targeting Israel.

“We are not attacked only by the Hamas and by the Islamic Jihad. We are also attacked by the Hezbollah in our northern border and also by the Huthis in Yemen,” Cohen said.

“There is one thing that connects them: Iran. Iran is the world number one financer of terror,” he said, accusing Tehran of trying to “stop the normalisation and the peace process that took place in the last three years”.

AFP is reporting that Hamas has accused the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees of “colluding” with Israel in the “forced displacement” of residents of Gaza.

“UNRWA and its officials bear responsibility for this humanitarian catastrophe, in particular the residents of the Gaza (City) area and north of it” who are following Israeli military orders to flee south, said Salama Maruf, head of the media bureau of Gaza rulers Hamas.

british-ambassador-to-ireland-paul-johnston-speaking-during-the-62nd-plenary-of-the-british-irish-parliamentary-assembly-farnham-estate-spa-and-golf-course-in-county-cavan-ireland British Ambassador to Ireland Paul Johnston Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

British Ambassador to Ireland Paul Johnston has spoken to RTÉ Radio One’s Today with Claire Byrne about calls for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

“There is a crucial humanitarian situation to be addressed but as both the British Prime Minister and the opposition leader have said, if you go for a ceasefire now, assuming that Hamas will respect a ceasefire, you’re effectively allowing them to regroup and begin their murderous campaign again.”

He added: “We regret the loss of every innocent civilian life but equally there is a massive challenge there.

“I was shocked frankly that 600 Irish academics described the events of the 7 October as an ‘incursion by a Palestinian armed group caused some criminal attacks against civilians.’

“This was an appalling terrorist outrage and it’s right that Israel takes the steps that it has to take to make sure that Hamas can never impose that threat to the State and people of Israel again.”

Qatar is reportedly mediating negotiations between Israel and Hamas for the potential release of 10 to 15 hostages held in Gaza in exchange for a humanitarian pause.

“Negotiations mediated by the Qataris in coordination with the US are ongoing to secure the release of 10-15 hostages in exchange for a one- to two-day ceasefire,” an informed source told news agency AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Qatar has been heavily involved in diplomacy to try to to secure the release of hostages. The country has negotiated the handover of four hostages (two Israelis and two Americans) so far in recent weeks.

Qatar hosts both the largest US military base in the Middle East and the political office of Hamas.

Speaking to reporters on Sunday, Qatar’s prime minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani said the country is “determined to continue its mediation”, despite the difficulties on the ground “caused by the actions of the Israeli occupation”.

Earlier, Israel’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israeli troops are “tightening the stranglehold around the city of Gaza”.

As Israel ramps up its presence in Gaza, Amnesty International says it has collected testimony from released detainees and human rights lawyers, along with video footage and images, that show “some of the forms of torture and other ill-treatment prisoners have been subjected to by Israeli forces over the past four weeks”.

The NGO said these acts include “severe beatings and humiliation of detainees”.

Heba Morayef, Amnesty’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement:

“Over the last month we have witnessed a significant spike in Israel’s use of administrative detention – detention without charge or trial that can be renewed indefinitely – which was already at a 20-year high before the latest escalation in hostilities on 7 October. Administrative detention is one of the key tools through which Israel has enforced its system of apartheid against Palestinians. Testimonies and video evidence also point to numerous incidents of torture and other ill-treatment by Israeli forces including severe beatings and deliberate humiliation of Palestinians who are detained in dire conditions.

“The summary killings and hostage-taking by Hamas and other armed groups on 7 October are war crimes and must be condemned as such, but Israeli authorities must not use these attacks to justify their own unlawful attacks and collective punishment of civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip and the use of torture, arbitrary detention and other violations of the rights of Palestinian prisoners. The prohibition against torture can never be suspended or derogated from, including – and especially – at times like these.”

According to new official data, Germany has approved 10 times more in military gear exports to Israel so far this year.

The data, which goes up to 2 November, shows export approvals issued for €303 million worth of military equipment to Israel, almost 10 times more than the €32 million in authorisations a year ago.

Close to €19 million worth of goods fall in the “war weapons” category, while the bulk of around €284 million worth were in the “other military goods” category, including gear like armoured vehicles or radar technology.

“After the terrorist attack of Hamas on Israel, the German government is prioritising the processing of and decisions on applications for the export of military equipment to Israel,” said a source from the economy ministry.

brussels-belgium-26th-oct-2023-chancellor-of-germany-olaf-scholz-pictured-at-the-arrivals-ahead-of-a-european-council-summit-in-brussels-thursday-26-october-2023-belga-photo-hatim-kaghat-credit German Chancellor Olaf Scholz Alamy Alamy

A new update on the hostage negotiations: a source closed to Hamas has told news agency AFP that talks are underway for the release of a dozen hostages held by Hamas, including six Americans, in return for a three-day ceasefire in the Gaza Strip.

“Talks revolve around the release of 12 hostages, half of them Americans, in exchange for a three-day humanitarian pause, to enable Hamas to release the hostages and to enable Egypt an extended (period of time) to deliver humanitarian aid,” the source said.

“There’s disagreement around the time period and around the north (of the Gaza Strip), which is witnessing extensive combat operations,” they said, adding that Qatar, which is facilitating negotiations, is “awaiting an Israeli response”.

Elected members of Fianna Fáil met today with the ambassadors of Palestine and Egypt.

Fianna Fáil Senator Lisa Chambers wrote on social media that the meeting discussed the “horrifying humanitarian situation in Gaza and the need for a ceasefire, the hostages held by Hamas and Emily Hand, [and] the Rafah crossing in Egypt and getting aid in”.

Meanwhile, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has reiterated her support for Israel.

Von der Leyen met today with Israel’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen to express “full solidarity” with Israel.

She wrote on social media that the two discussed the release of hostages in Gaza and humanitarian assistance.

Also coming from Europe today is a statement from MEP Grace O’Sullivan calling for a review of the EU’s trade arrangements with Israel.

A trading pact called the EU-Israel Association Agreement came into force in 2000 and includes stipulations for both parties to respect human rights and democratic principles.

O’Sullivan has said Israel’s “indiscriminate bombing” in Gaza and the targeting of hospitals is evidence that Israel has “shown a complete disregard for human rights and is grounds for a termination of the Agreement”.

“So far the EU’s leadership has essentially given carte blanche to the Israeli far-right government to kill as many Palestinian civilians as it wants in the name of self-defence,” the MEP said.

“If we are serious about our commitment to human rights, then we need to call for an immediate ceasefire now and we need to hold both Hamas and the Israeli government and army responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity. As the EU is Israel’s largest trade partner, the best way to do that is through economic pressure.”

A pro-Palestinian rally looks set to take place in London on Saturday despite the UK government fearing it would clash with its Remembrance commemorations.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak government had put pressure on the Metropolitan Police to ban the protest in the British capital. He met with Scotland Yard chief Mark Rowley to secure assurances that Armistice Day memorial services would not be disrupted and that the public would be safe from disorder.

“It’s welcome that the police have confirmed that the march will be away from the Cenotaph [a war memorial] and they will ensure that the timings do not conflict with any Remembrance events,” Sunak said afterwards, but added that he believed there “remains the risk of those who seek to divide society using this weekend as a platform to do so”.

The Israeli army has said 50,000 civilians fled north Gaza for the south of the Strip today as it continued its bombardment.

“We saw today how 50,000 Gazans moved from northern Gaza to southern Gaza,” said army spokesman Daniel Hagari.

He claimed they were leaving because “they understand that Hamas lost control in the north, and in the south it’s safer”.

The World Health Organisation is warning that the risk of disease spreading in Gaza has soared due to disruptions to hospitals and water and sanitation systems.

Lack of fuel has caused desalination plants to shut down, increasing the risk of bacterial infections such diarrhea spreading because people are drinking contaminated water, according to the health agency.

Additionally, lack of fuel has disrupted solid waste collection, creating an environment “conducive to the rapid and widespread proliferation of insects and rodents that can carry and transit diseases”.

It said the problems are compounded by a lack of access to routine vaccinations in Gaza, leaving many people vulnerable.

“The situation is particularly concerning for almost 1.5 million displaced people across Gaza, especially those living in severely overcrowded shelters with poor access to hygiene facilities and safe water, increasing risk of infectious diseases transmission,” the WHO said in a statement this evening.

“UNRWA, WHO, and the Ministry of Health are scaling up a flexible disease surveillance system in many of these shelters and health facilities.  The current disease trends are very concerning.”

That’s all from us this evening. Thanks for sticking with our coverage throughout the day.