Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned his Cabinet ministers to “be careful with their words” when they talk about the war with Hamas. Speaking to Israel’s Channel 12 news outlet on Saturday, Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter described the forced exile of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip as the “Gaza Nakba of 2023”. Dichter, a member of the right-wing Likud party, was referring to the ongoing displacement of large numbers of Palestinians from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip. Asked about comparing the situation in Gaza to the original Nakba, Dichter replied: “Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end.” The ‘Nakba’ refers to the mass expulsion of Palestinians from their homeland in 1948 to make way for the new state of Israel.
‘Military pressure could lead to hostage deal’
In an interview on US television programme Meet the Press, Netanyahu said that Israel’s army could strike a deal with the Islamist group Hamas to release some of the hostages held in the Gaza Strip. “We heard that there was an impending deal of this kind or of that kind and then we learnt that it was all hokum,” Netanyahu said. “But the minute we started the ground operation, that began to change.” Reports earlier in the day said Hamas had suspended hostage negotiations due to the situation at Al-Shifa Hospital, citing a Palestinian official who had been briefed on the hostage talks.
‘Hamas wanted to start a regional war’
Hamas’ intention on 7th October was not only to kill and capture as many Israelis as possible but to trigger a conflict that would spread throughout the region, Intelligence officials from four Western and Middle Eastern countries told the Washington Post. According to analysts, the evidence found after the attacks – detailed maps, food supplies for several days, ammunition and explosives in large quantities – reveal Hamas’ intention to deliver a blow of historic proportions and trigger an unprecedented Israeli reaction… and also to go on for days and days.
Hamas says Israel carried out another attack on Al-Shifa Hospital
The Israeli army carried out another attack on Al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip on Sunday afternoon, causing significant damage to the intensive care unit, the Ministry of Health in Gaza said. The ministry’s spokesman, Ashraf Al-Qudra, said the second Israeli army attack of the day caused significant damage to the intensive care unit building and the hospital’s cardiology unit. The medical complex is reported to be largely out of service, and running low on medical equipment and supplies, threatening the lives of approximately 650 patients and wounded, including 36 children. Israel has launched relentless air and ground attacks on the Gaza Strip since the cross-border attack by Hamas. The number of deaths in the ongoing Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip since 7th October has surpassed 11,180, including more than 8,000 children and women, the government media office in Gaza said on Sunday. The Israeli death toll is nearly 1,200, according to official figures.
‘Hamas prevented Shifa from withdrawing fuel’ – Israel
The Israeli army wanted to deliver 300 litres of fuel for “urgent medical purposes” to the Shifa hospital in Gaza City but Hamas prevented the facility’s staff from taking them. An Israeli military spokesman said Sunday Israeli soldiers arrived at the entrance to the hospital and deposited the fuel there. The army also released a recording of a conversation between an Israeli officer and a hospital manager according to which Yosef Abu Rish, director general of the Ministry of Health, prevented the hospital from getting the fuel.
Pope calls for “far more” humanitarian aid for Gaza
Pope Francis on Sunday reiterated his call for “far more” humanitarian aid for Gaza. “In Gaza, let the wounded be rescued immediately, let civilians be protected, let far more humanitarian aid be allowed to reach that stricken population,” the pontiff told the crowd gathered in St Peter’s Square. “May the weapons be stopped: they will never lead to peace, and may the conflict not widen! Enough! Enough, brothers!” he said. He also called for the release of all captives, including the elderly and children.
“Israeli army not following the laws of war” – Guterres
Meanwhile, UN Secretary General António Guterres complained in an interview with CNN that the Israeli army was not following the laws of war in Gaza that provide for protection of civilians. “From the numbers of civilian victims it is clear that this is not happening,” he reiterated.
Kyiv says 4.9 million internally displaced
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk says some 4.9 million people are registered as internally displaced amid Russia’s ongoing war in the country. The figures reflect years of Russian aggression, even before it launched a full invasion of Ukraine last year. Some 3.6 million people left their homes in Ukraine but stayed inside the country since February 2022, Vereshchuk said. Years of fighting in the Donbas regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, in eastern Ukraine, as well as the illegal annexation of the Crimean Peninsula, have already caused more than a million people to be internally displaced since 2014. Latest UN figures show some 6.2 million Ukrainians, from the pre-war population of some 41.4 million, have fled abroad either temporarily or permanently since early 2022.
Critics decry Vienna sculpture
A new fountain in Austria’s capital commemorating 150 years of Vienna’s modern water system is drawing fierce criticism for its perceived “ugliness” and excessive costs. The €1.8 million fountain was commissioned by the city’s administration and inaugurated by President Alexander Van der Bellen last month. The unusual fountain, featuring 33 humanoid sculptures seated in a circle, was created by the provocative Viennese artist group Gelitin after their design symbolising the “communal responsibility for water” as a precious resource won over the jury.
‘Remarkable’ Titanic dinner menu sells for £84,000
A menu for first-class passengers travelling on the Titanic has sold for £84,000 at auction at Henry Aldridge & Son in Devizes, Wiltshire. Described as “remarkable”, the relic, which shows signs of water damage, boasts a menu of oysters, beef, spring lamb, and mallard duck. It was served on the evening of 11th April 1912 after the liner left Queenstown in Ireland. The Titanic struck an iceberg three days later, on the evening of 14th April, and sank the following day. The menu measures 6.25 inches by 4.25 inches and bears an embossed red White Star Line flag. It would have originally had gilt lettering with the initials OSNC (Ocean Steamship Navigation Company) alongside the lettering RMS Titanic.
Main photo credit: Belal Khaled – Anadolu Agency