From attacks on the Indonesian Hospital to the Houthi seizure of a cargo ship in the Red Sea – here are major updates.
Here is the situation on Monday, November 20, 2023:
- Yemen’s Houthi fighters hijacked a Japanese-operated cargo ship in the Red Sea on Sunday and took 25 crew members aboard as hostage on Sunday in response to “Israel’s aggression against Gaza”. A statement from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel was not affiliated with the ship’s ownership, operation or crew. However, public ownership records link the vessel to Israeli businessman Abraham “Rami” Ungar. Japan’s government has condemned the seizure of the ship, which was on its way from Turkey to India.
- The Washington Post reported on Sunday that the United States, Hamas and Israel had reached a tentative deal that entails freeing 50 or more captives in Gaza every day over a five-day pause in fighting, but the US and Israel both said there was no deal in place yet. Qatar’s Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani said on Sunday that only “minor” challenges that are “more logistical” remain.
- In a statement on Sunday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply shocked that two UNRWA schools were struck in less than 24 hours in Gaza”. He called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and thanked Qatar for leading mediation efforts.
Human Impact and Fighting
- Israeli attacks on the Bureij and Nuseirat refugee camps in central Gaza on Sunday killed at least 31 people, according to Gaza’s Ministry of Health.
- On Sunday, 31 premature babies at Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa, were evacuated to medical centres in southern Gaza following an Israeli raid on the hospital last week. However, all of them are fighting serious infections, according to the World Health Organization. “Preparations are under way” for them to enter Egypt along with three doctors and two nurses, according to Mohammed Zaqout, director-general of hospitals in Gaza. Eight other premature babies at al-Shifa have died after incubators stopped functioning following Israel’s ban on the entry of fuel into the enclave early in the war.
- Two Israeli soldiers have been killed during fighting in northern Gaza, raising the count of its personnel killed since October 7 to 387, the Israeli army announced on Monday.
- On Sunday, 69,000 litres of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt, according to the latest flash update from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). The UN’s Relief and Works Agency will distribute the fuel to support food distribution and operate critical facilities such as hospital generators and water and sanitation systems.
- At least six Palestinian journalists were killed in the 24 hours prior to the update, reported OCHA.
Situation at Gaza’s hospitals
- Following continued attacks on the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza early on Monday, the hospital’s main operation room has been damaged and is no longer available for surgeries, according to Al Jazeera correspondent Safwat Kahlout. Several people, including doctors and patients, have also been killed and injured.
- About 250 critically injured people, who were not able to leave al-Shifa, remain stuck there, Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud reported on Monday.
- Doctors Without Borders reported on Sunday that 122 patients arrived at the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis within minutes of an Israeli attack in the vicinity. Seventy were dead upon arrival, while others had burns and injuries.
- French President Emmanuel Macron told Netanyahu on Sunday that there were “too many civilian losses” in Israel’s war in Gaza and reminded him of “the importance of achieving an immediate humanitarian truce leading to a ceasefire”, according to a statement from Macron’s office on Sunday. The country will also be sending more medical supplies and a second hospital ship to Gaza.
- Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on Muslim states to cut political ties with Israel, at least for “a limited time” on Sunday, reported the Reuters news agency, quoting state media.
- China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi told a visiting delegation of Arab and Muslim officials on Monday that Beijing would work with them to “restore peace in the Middle East as soon as possible”, according to the AFP news agency. He added that Beijing has “always firmly supported the just cause of the Palestinian people to restore their legitimate national rights and interests”, while the delegation called for an immediate ceasefire, according to Reuters.
- US President Joe Biden said “a revitalised Palestinian Authority” should eventually govern the West Bank in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Saturday.
Arrests and attacks in the occupied West Bank
- Israeli forces have arrested at least 30 Palestinian workers who were originally from Gaza during raids in Deir al-Ghusun and the neighbouring town of Attil, in the northwest part of the occupied West Bank, according to Palestinian news agency Wafa on Monday.
- Israeli forces shot a 21-year-old Palestinian man near Hebron on Sunday and prevented ambulances from approaching him until he died, according to the news agency Wafa. The soldiers then handed him over to the Palestinian Red Crescent.