EU condemns Hamas, urges Israel to show restraint

This morning's top world news, in a nutshell - Tuesday, 14th November 2023

The European Union has condemned Hamas for using hospitals and civilians in them as shields, while at the same time urged Israel to show maximum restraint. Euronews quotes Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs, conveying the message during a meeting of Foreign Affairs ministers in Brussels on Monday. Israel has repeatedly claimed there is a Hamas command centre underneath Al-Shifa hospital, which Hamas and hospital officials have denied. “We ask Israel to show maximum restraint, in order to save civilian lives and we condemn the use by Hamas of people at hospitals as shields, but we also express our concern for the dire situation of the hospitals that are being heavily affected by the bombing,” the foreign policy chief told reporters. He also said he would go to the region to meet with leaders and discuss the situation this week.

EU’s foreign policy chief calls for medium, long-term solution

At a news conference following Monday’s Council meeting, Borrell said he had proposed to ministers an approach to look beyond the current hostilities, calling on the EU to get far more involved, particularly in the construction of a Palestinian state. “We have been far too absent. We have delegated the solution to this problem to the United States,” he said. Borrell also said he will go to the region to meet with leaders and discuss the situation this week, underlining there should be no forced displacement of the Palestinian people outside Gaza, no reduction of Gazan territory or permanent re-occupation by Israel, but equally, he said, Hamas could not be allowed to return. “If we don’t find a solution we will experience a perpetual cycle of violence from generation to generation and funeral to funeral,” the 76-year-old said. “We need to focus on a medium- and longer-term solution, a post-conflict scenario that can guarantee stability on an ongoing basis, that will make it possible to build a peace between Palestinians and Israelis and throughout the region,” Borrell urged.

Photo credit: European Union

Doctors race to save newborns as Israel battles Hamas around hospital

Premature babies at Gaza’s largest hospital are being wrapped in foil and placed next to hot water in a desperate bid to keep them alive in “catastrophic” conditions, the hospital director has warned, as Israeli firepower pounds surrounding streets and remaining fuel reserves dry up, leaving the facility unable to function. Staff at the Al-Shifa hospital were fighting to keep the newborns alive and warm after oxygen supplies ran out and they had to move the babies by hand from the neonatal unit’s incubators to a different part of the hospital. Haaretz reported this morning the Israeli army has started transferring incubators to the al-Shifa hospital. One of the Israeli government’s spokespersons for the foreign press, Eylon Levy, wrotes on X, “the Israel Defence Forces would work with “any reliable mediating party” to ensure the incubators were delivered safely.”

Photo credit: Reuters

‘People too scared to flee due to the heavy fighting’

Meanwhile, a reporter for the Al Arabiya network who was inside the al-Shifa hospital told CNN that people were trapped there, too scared to flee due to the heavy fighting. “There is no more water, food, milk for children and babies… the situation in the hospital is catastrophic,” the director of the medical centre, Dr Muhammad Abu Salmiya, said on Monday. Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers from the Golani Brigades entered and took control of the Parliament building in Gaza City. A photo of the troops displaying Israeli flags behind the presidential desk went viral on social media.

Photo from social media

5 killed in West Bank clashes

Meanwhile, five Palestinians were killed in clashes with the Israeli army in the Tulkarem area, in the north of the occupied West Bank, AFP agency quoted the director of Thabet hospital, Amin Khader, where the deaths were recorded. The men killed during the Israeli army operation were between 21 and 29 years old. The Israeli army confirmed to AFP an operation in this sector of the West Bank. Meanwhile, the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has announced that one of its workers was killed in the attacks in the northern Gaza Strip together with her family. Announcing this on its website, the agency said that, since the beginning of hostilities between Hamas and Israel, 102 UNRWA employees died and 27 were injured. Later this morning, Times of Israel quotes the Israeli Defence Force announce that two more soldiers were killed in fighting against Hamas in the northern Gaza Strip, bringing the death toll from the Israeli ground operation to 46. The two soldiers were 21 and 27 years old.

Photo credit: Hazem Bader/AFP

US Supreme court adopts ethics code after scandal

The US Supreme Court issued an ethics code on Monday after a series of revelations about undisclosed property deals and gifts intensified pressure on the justices to adopt one. In a statement, the justices said they had established the code of conduct “to set out succinctly and gather in one place the ethics rules and principles that guide the conduct of the members of the court”. However, The New York Times reports, what was unclear was how the rules would be enforced or by whom. The nine-page code does not place specific restrictions on gifts, travel, or real estate deals. However, it does caution the justices that they should not take part in outside activities that “detract from the dignity of the justice’s office”.

David Cameron makes ‘shock’ return to UK government

With his country mired in economic doldrums and his party trailing in the polls as an election nears, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak shook up his government on Monday, appointing former Prime Minister David Cameron to the post of Foreign Secretary. The move – called bold by Sunak’s supporters and desperate by his critics – came in a Cabinet reshufle that saw Sunak sack his powerful but controversial interior afairs minister, Home Secretary Suella Braverman, in a bid to reset his faltering government. Today’s Times quotes one senior government figure saying, “Everyone in the Foreign Office is over the moon. Having a former prime minister as foreign secretary is every diplomat’s dream. It gives the department huge clout in Whitehall and increases the clout of the UK on the world stage.” Asked what Cameron’s appointment said about Sunak, they replied: “It shows we are serious about winning the next election.” The Conservatives have been in power for 13 years, but opinion polls put them 15 to 20 points behind the opposition Labour Party amid a stagnating economy, persistently high inflation, an overstretched health care system and a wave of public sector strikes.

Photo credit: BBC

Thousands give last farewell to Bobby Charlton

Manchester stopped yesterday as thousands of people, also arriving from Wales and Ireland, took to the streets of the city, braving bad weather and rain, to pay their last respects to Sir Bobby Charlton, one of Manchester United’s legends, who died last month aged 86. The hearse, carrying the coffin of the 1966 world champion footballer, crossed the city to Manchester Cathedral, and was warmly applauded by the crowd throughout the journey. On its route, the procession passed through several emblematic places closely linked to the footballer’s career: the legendary Old Trafford stadium, the scene of all his exploits, and the famous “United Trinity”, a statue which immortalises Charlton together with Denis Law and George Best, winners with Sir Bobby of the European Cup that United won against Eusebio’s Benfica in 1968.

Main photo credit: Khader Al Zanoun | AFP | Getty Images

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