Israel-Hamas War : US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday called on Israel to take “urgent” action to stop settler violence against Palestinians in the West Bank. He made the plea in a telephone call with Benny Gantz, an opposition leader who joined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s wartime cabinet. The US official “stressed the urgent need for affirmative steps to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, including by confronting rising levels of settler extremist violence”.
Unlike the Gaza Strip, which is under Hamas control, the West Bank is largely under Israeli occupation with limited autonomy by the Palestinian Authority, whose leaders are enemies of Hamas. Palestinians in the occupied West Bank say they have faced increased harassment from Israeli settlers since the war began.
Around 240 people were taken hostage during the Hamas attacks, which killed some 1,200 people, mostly civilians, said Israeli officials. Since then, Hamas government officials say Israel’s bombardment and ground offensive have killed more than 11,500 people, mostly civilians and including thousands of children.
Israel distributed photos and a brief video of what a spokesman said was a tunnel shaft at Shifa hospital in Gaza City, as pressure increased for the armed forces to provide evidence of Hamas’s presence at the site of an Israeli raid in recent days.
Hamas and Israel are reportedly engaged in preliminary discussions aimed at reaching a deal for the release of hostages. The proposed agreement specifically focuses on the potential release of around 50 women and children among the 240 hostages currently held by Hamas in Gaza, The Washington Post reported citing an Arab diplomat familiar with the negotiations.
Israeli forces on November 15 stormed into the Al Shifa hospital, the main medical facility in the besieged Gaza Strip, alleging that it was partly being used by the Palestinian militant group Hamas as a hideout and for storage of weapons.
German leaders host Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for talks Friday, in a highly controversial visit made more explosive by the Erdogan’s branding of Israel as a “terror state”.
Erdogan has been increasingly critical of Israel’s war against Gaza-rulers Hamas, triggered after the Islamist gunmen’s deadly attack on October 7 that Israel said killed around 1,200 people, mostly civilians.
Israel Defence Forces (IDF) has said that a Hamas terrorist tunnel was uncovered in the Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza.
According to IDF, IDF troops found another terrorist tunnel in the Rantisi Hospital. It further said that a large amount of weaponry and ammunition were found in the Al-Quds Hospital.
Israel is said to be evaluating the proposal, which entails a three-to-five-day halt in fighting, an increase in humanitarian aid to Gaza, and the release of an unspecified number of women and children held in Israeli prisons.