Borrell: Israel’s actions “not acceptable”

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Sunday, 12th November 2023

European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, has once again sharply criticised Israel’s actions in Gaza. It was “not acceptable” to cut off the supply of water, food, electricity, and fuel to the entire population of Gaza, he said in a video message that was broadcast at the two-day congress of the Party of European Socialists (PES) in the Spanish city of Malaga. It’s clear “that we must support Israel in view of the terrorist attacks it has suffered,” Borrell said. He added, however, that the country must “respect international humanitarian law and try to minimise the number of civilian casualties.” It’s in Israel’s own self-interest, Borrell said. The Congress was also attended by Maltese Prime Minister and Labour Party leader, Robert Abela.

Photo credit: Álex Zea/EUROPA PRESS/dpa/picture alliance

Israel: “We are not attacking Al-Shifa hospital

IDF spokesman Daniel Hagari has denied Israel was attacking the Al-Shifa hospital. Haaretz quotes him saying, in a Saturday evening briefing: “It’s false that we are surrounding the Al-Shifa hospital and that we are attacking it. We are fighting with terrorists who choose to fight right next to the hospital.” He said: “Hamas is committing a war crime by using hospitals as shields. ” According to Tass news agency, Hagari also said that “Hamas had lost control over northern Gaza” as some 200,000 residents of Gaza City have left the city in the last three days alone, “contrary to the instructions” of Hamas.

Photo credit: Israel Defense Forces

‘Fighting near hositals intensifies’ – Hamas

Meanwhile, pressure was growing on Israel after frantic doctors at Gaza’s largest hospital said the last generator had run out of fuel, causing the death of a premature baby, another child in an incubator, and four other patients. Thousands of war-wounded, medical staff and displaced civilians were caught in the fighting. The Hamas-run Health Ministry told Al Jazeera there were still 1,500 patients at Al Shifa, along with 1,500 medical personnel and between 15,000 and 20,000 people seeking shelter. Fighting near Al Shifa and other hospitals in northern Gaza has intensified and supplies have run out. The Israeli military has alleged, without providing evidence, that Hamas has established command posts in and underneath hospitals and are using civilians as human shields. Medical staff at Al Shifa have denied such claims and accused Israel of harming civilians with indiscriminate attacks. Israel’s military confirmed clashes outside the hospital, but Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari denied Al Shifa was under siege. He said troops will assist on Sunday in moving babies treated there and said “we are speaking directly and regularly” with hospital staff.

Photo credit: Dawood Nemer/AFP/Getty Images

Netanyahu brushes off ceasefire calls

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pushed back against growing international calls for a ceasefire, saying Israel’s battle to crush Gaza’s ruling Hamas militants will continue with “full force”. A ceasefire would be possible only if all 239 hostages held by militants in Gaza are released, Netanyahu said in a televised address. For now, Netanyahu said: “The war against [Hamas] is advancing with full force, and it has one goal: to win. There is no alternative to victory.”

Photo credit: The Times of Israel: Marc Israel Sellem/POOL

Muslim, Arab leaders call for ceasefire

A 57-nation gathering of Muslim and Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia have called for an end to the war in Gaza and the immediate delivery of humanitarian aid. Saudi Gazette reports they also called on the International Court of Justice, a UN organ, to open an investigation into Israel’s attacks, saying the war “cannot be called self-defence and cannot be justified under any means.” Nearly 240 people abducted by Hamas from Israel remain captive. More than 11,070 Palestinians, two-thirds of them women and minors, have been killed since the war began, according to the Health Ministry in Gaza. About 2,700 people have been reported missing and are thought to be possibly trapped or dead under the rubble.

Photo credit: Turkish Presidential Press Service

Pope removes a leading US conservative critic as bishop

Pope Francis on Saturday ordered the removal of Bishop Joseph Strickland, bishop of Tyler, Texas, a conservative prelate active on social media who has been a fierce critic of the pontiff and has come to symbolise the polarisation within the US Catholic hierarchy. Strickland, 65, has emerged as particularly critical of Francis’ recent meeting on the future of the Catholic Church during which hot issues were discussed, including ways to better welcome LGBTQ+ Catholics. Strickland had insisted he wouldn’t resign voluntarily, saying in media interviews that he was given a mandate to serve as bishop in 2012 by the late Pope Benedict XVI and couldn’t abdicate that responsibility.

Photo credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports via REUTERS

White House rejects Republican proposal against shutdown

The White House has rejected US House Speaker Mike Johnson’s proposal as a stopgap bid to avoid government shutdown, labelling it as “a recipe for more chaos and more closures”. US administration spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement: “An extreme Republican shutdown would put national security and domestic priorities at risk. House Republicans must stop wasting time, do their jobs and engage in a bipartisan way to avoid gridlock.”

Trump’s plan against illegal migrants

“Mass roundups, arrests, and deportations” is Donald Trump’s plan to manage the trafficking of people at the border with Mexico if he is re-elected to the White House. The controversial strategy, reported by the New York Times, would require the construction of large camps to house migrants awaiting deportation and the use of federal and local law enforcement to assist in large-scale arrests of undocumented people in all United States.  Trump announced that, on the first day of a potential second term, he would sign a document to block funding for housing and transportation for undocumented immigrants.

Photo credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

Skark bites Australian diver in the face

An Australian woman was bitten in the face by a shark while diving last week and had her teeth surgically removed from her skull following the attack. Bridgette O’Shannessy, 32, was mauled by a pointer shark Friday while free-diving off a reef in Adelaide. She was swimming with her dive partner Brian Gordon Peters when the fish struck, Perth Now reported. Peters managed to push the animal away from her and then began applying pressure to her wounds, the outlet reported. O’Shannessy was placed in a rescue boat and brought back to shore, according to 9 News.

Photo credit: 7News
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