Israel-Palestine conflict: UN chief 'deeply alarmed' by escalation

UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was "dismayed" by reports that two-thirds of people killed in Gaza were women and children

Israel has attacked targets in Gaza for almost a month (photo: DW)
Israel has attacked targets in Gaza for almost a month (photo: DW)


  • International humanitarian law is not an "a la carte menu," says UN Secretary General Guterres

  • Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says 50 killed in Israeli strike on a refugee camp

  • Houthi rebels pledge to continue attacks against Israel until the war stops

  • Protesters disrupt US Congress hearing on aid to Israel

UN chief Guterres: International law not an 'a la carte menu'

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said protection of civilians was paramount "on both sides" and needed to be respected "at all times."

With Israel continuing its operations against Hamas, Guterres warned that he was "deeply concerned about the risk of a dangerous escalation" beyond Gaza.

"I repeat my utter condemnation of the acts of terror perpetrated by Hamas on 7 October. There is never any justification for the killing, injuring and abduction of civilians," Guterres said in a statement, while also urging the release of civilian hostages held by Hamas.

At the same time, he referenced reports of mounting civilian victims of the Israel's response.

"I condemn the killing of civilians in Gaza and I am dismayed by reports that two-thirds of those who have been killed are women and children," Guterres said.

"International humanitarian law establishes clear rules that cannot be ignored. It is not an a la carte menu and cannot be applied selectively," warned the UN Secretary-General.

Israel has previously decried Guterres for his comments stating that the Hamas attack on October 7th "did not happen in a vacuum." Israel's UN envoy Gilad Erdan urged the UN chief to resign.

Israel says two of its soldiers killed in Gaza

As fighting in Gaza continues, the Israeli military said two of its soldiers were killed on Tuesday.

Both of the soldiers were sergeants in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and both of them were 20 years old, according to the military's website.

The IDF also said two other soldiers were injured.

Israeli troops have been conducting limited ground operations in Gaza in recent days, but the incursions have so far fallen short of a full-scale ground offensive.

Protesters disrupt US Congress hearing, yell: 'Cease-fire now!'

A group of protesters repeatedly interrupted a US congressional hearing on sending more aid to Israel.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin were urging the Senate Appropriations Committee to approve billions in security funding, including to Israel and Ukraine.

But a group of around two dozen protesters showed up at the proceedings, chanting slogans and raising hands stained with red paint. They chanted slogans including "Cease-fire now!", "Protect the children of Gaza" and "Stop funding genocide."

Capitol police eventually removed the group.

The US is Israel's most important security partner.

After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected calls for a cease-fire yesterday, US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby also said Washington did not believe "that a cease-fire is the right answer right now." Kirby instead urged "pauses" to get aid into Gaza.

Hamas-run Health Ministry says 50 killed in Israeli bombing of Jabalia

An Israeli airstrike killed 50 people and wounded around 150 at the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, according to a statement from the Gaza Health Ministry cited by the AFP news agency.

The head of Gaza's Indonesian Hospital also told the Al Jazeera broadcaster over 50 Palestinians were killed in the bombing of the densely populated area.

The Health Ministry is run by Hamas, which is designated as a terrorist organization by the US, EU, Israel and other governments.

Israeli officials did not immediately comment.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said over 8,500 people were killed in the Israeli strikes since October 7. Israel has been targeting Gaza in response to the Hamas attack which killed around 1,400 people, according to Israeli officials.

War must not escalate into 'major regional conflict,' says NATO chief

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has condemned Hamas' attacks on Israel and said the Israeli response must respect international law.

"The suffering we have seen in recent weeks reminds us once again that we must not give up the work for a lasting, peaceful political solution to the conflict," Stoltenberg said in a speech at a meeting of the Nordic Council in Oslo.

"We condemn Hamas' terrorist attacks against Israel," he said. "At the same time it is important that Israel's response takes place within international law, that civilian lives are protected and that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza."

He also said it was important that Iran, Hezbollah and other groups did not abuse the situation and escalate ''the war into a major regional conflict."

Yemen's Houthi rebels vow to carry out more attacks on Israel

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen say they have "launched a large batch of ballistic missiles ... and a large number of armed aircraft" towards Israel.

In a video message released Tuesday, the rebels said they would continue to carry out the attacks as long as the 'war' against Hamas in Gaza continued.

"The Yemeni Armed Forces ... confirm that they will continue to carry out qualitative strikes with missiles and drones until the Israeli aggression stops," the message said.

Earlier Tuesday, the Israeli military said it shot down an approaching "aerial target" near the Red Sea city of Eilat.

Separately, the military said its forces used the 'Arrow' aerial defense system to intercept a surface-to-surface missile fired towards Israeli territory from the area of the Red Sea.

Earlier this month, a US Navy destroyer in the Red Sea intercepted cruise missiles and several drones launched toward Israel by the Houthis.

Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry says death toll passes 8,500

At least 8,525 people have been killed in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7, the Hamas-controlled Health Ministry said.

Two-thirds of those killed are women and children, with at least 3,542 children and 2,187 women among the dead. The number could not be independently verified.

Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra said 130 healthcare staff were killed and 15 hospitals are now out of service.

Israel began carrying out airstrikes on Gaza after Hamas militants staged a devastating terror attack on Israeli communities on October 7 that killed more than 1,400 people.

WHO warns of 'imminent public health catastrophe' in Gaza

An official from the World Health Organization has told a press briefing in Geneva that people in Gaza are facing a looming "public health catastrophe."

Israel tightened its blockade on the Gaza Strip, home to 2.3 million people, following the Hamas terror attacks on October 7.

Although more than 150 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies have been allowed to enter the territory from Egypt over the past few days, aid workers say it's not enough.

Damage to water and sanitation infrastructure, overcrowding and mass displacement are compounding an already dire humanitarian situation in the territory, they say.

The WHO spokesperson said fuel was urgently needed to run generators at clinics, to treat water and for emergency vehicles.

At the same press briefing, a spokesperson from the UN children's agency UNICEF warned there was also the risk of infant deaths due to dehydration.

Just 5% of normal water supplies are currently available in Gaza, the spokesperson said.

Yad Vashem criticizes UN envoy for wearing star

Israel's Holocaust memorial, Yad Vashem, has criticized Israel's UN ambassador for wearing a yellow star as he addressed the Security Council in New York.

"This act disgraces the victims of the Holocaust as well as the state of Israel," Yad Vashem chairperson Dani Dayan said in a Hebrew-language post on X, formerly Twitter.

He said he was "sorry to see" the move by the Israeli delegation and suggested they wear the Israeli flag instead.

"The yellow star symbolizes the helplessness of the Jewish people and their being at the mercy of others," he said.

"We now have an independent state and a strong army. We are the masters of our own fate. Today we will fasten to our lapel a blue and white flag, not a yellow star."

During an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Monday, Israeli UN ambassador Gilad Erdan displayed the yellow star on his chest and said he would continue to do so until the body condemned the atrocities committed by Hamas militants on October 7.

The 15-member council has not adopted a single resolution on the war between Israel and Hamas.

Israel shoots down 'aerial target' near Red Sea city

Israel's military says it has shot down an approaching "aerial target" outside Israeli airspace in the Red Sea city of Eilat.

Air raid sirens sounded in the area in Israel's far south on Tuesday morning after an initial warning of a "possible aircraft intrusion."

The military later said, "There was no threat or risk to civilians."

Eilat is Israel's southernmost city. It is located on the coast near the borders of Egypt and Jordan.

Earlier this month, a US Navy destroyer in the Red Sea intercepted cruise missiles and several drones launched toward Israel by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Israel says 300 militant targets struck in past day in Gaza

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) says it struck some 300 militant targets over the past day and that troops had engaged in battles with Hamas fighters inside Gaza.

"The soldiers killed terrorists and directed air forces to real-time strikes on targets and terror infrastructure," the IDF said in a statement.

The Israeli military has urged civilians in Gaza to move south as it expands its ground operations in the territory, which is ruled by Hamas. The IDF said its overnight strikes hit missile and rocket launch posts as well as "military compounds inside underground tunnels belonging to the Hamas terrorist organization."

It added that militants responded with anti-tank missiles and machine gun fire.

The military wing of Hamas said it fired mortar rounds at Israeli forces near a closed border crossing between Israel and Gaza in the southern end of the territory.

It also said it targeted two Israeli tanks and bulldozers in northwest Gaza with missiles.

It was not possible to independently confirm the reports.

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Published: 01 Nov 2023, 8:36 AM