Netanyahu Rejects Calls For Ceasefire As Israel Deepens Attack On Gaza City

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says he has no plans to resign, despite a public uproar over the deadly Oct. 7 Hamas raid that killed over 1,400 Israelis and sparked the current Israel-Hamas war.

Netanyahu was asked at a news conference on Monday if he has considered stepping down.

“The only thing that I intend to have resigned is Hamas. We’re going to resign them to the dustbin of history,” he said. “That’s my goal. That’s my responsibility.”

Netanyahu also said he would not agree to a cease-fire, saying it would be tantamount “to surrender to Hamas, to surrender to terrorism, to surrender to barbarism. That will not happen.”

“Israel did not start this war. Israel did not want this war. But Israel will win this war,” he said.

Israel expands ground assault into Gaza

Israeli troops and tanks pushed deeper into Gaza on Monday, advancing on two sides of the territory’s main city.

Video circulating on social media shows an Israeli tank and bulldozer in central Gaza blocking the enclave’s main north-south highway, which the Israeli military earlier told Palestinians to use to escape the ground offensive.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who remain in the north would no longer be able to escape if the road is blocked since it’s the only useable route south.

In footage captured by a local journalist, a car is seen approaching an earth barrier across the road. The car stops and turns around. As it heads away, an Israeli tank appears to open fire, and an explosion engulfs the car.

The journalist, in another car, races away in terror, screaming, “Go back! Go back!” at an approaching ambulance and other vehicles. The Gaza Health Ministry later said three people were killed in the car that was hit.

Palestinians leave their homes following Israeli bombardment on Gaza City, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023.
Palestinians leave their homes following Israeli bombardment on Gaza City, Monday, Oct. 30, 2023.Abed Khaled/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Israel has positioned its forces on both sides of Gaza City and the surrounding areas of northern Gaza, in what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called a “second stage” of the war that began after Hamas’ 7 Oct attack.

Casualties on both sides are expected to rise sharply if Israeli forces expand their ground operation and end up battling Palestinian militants in dense residential areas.

Though Israel ordered Palestinians to flee the north, where Gaza City is located, and move south, hundreds of thousands remain, in part because Israel has also bombarded targets in so-called safe zones.

Around 117,000 displaced people hoping to stay safe from strikes are staying in hospitals in northern Gaza, alongside thousands of patients and staff, according to UN figures.

Moscow blames Kyiv for antisemitic airport riot

Russia has accused Ukraine of playing a “key role” in an anti-Israeli riot which broke out at an airport in the Russian republic of Dagestan.

On Sunday, a large crowd of men in the Muslim Caucasian region stormed Makhachkala airport, chanting antisemitic slogans and looking for Israelis.

Moscow did not provide any evidence for its claim, as fighting between Israel and Hamas inflames tensions around the world.

The clashes were “the result of a planned and externally led provocation” in which Kyiv played a “key and direct” role, said Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova in a statement.

Ukraine wanted to “undermine” relations between Russia’s different religious communities, she added.

Kyiv has not reacted to Moscow’s allegation, though President Volodymyr Zelenskyy – who is Jewish – said the event demonstrated Russia’s “culture of hatred against other nations”.

Sixty people have been arrested over the incident, Russian authorities said on Monday.

Dagestan’s Ministry of Health said more than 20 were injured, with two in critical condition. This included police officers and civilians.

Video on social media showed some in the crowd waving Palestinian flags and others trying to overturn a police car. Antisemitic slogans were shouted and some examined the passports of arriving passengers, apparently in an attempt to identify those who were Israeli.

In a statement Sunday night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said Israel “expects the Russian law enforcement authorities to protect the safety of all Israeli citizens and Jews wherever they may be and to act resolutely against the rioters and against the wild incitement directed against Jews and Israelis.”

While voicing support for Palestinians in Gaza, the regional Dagestani government appealed to citizens to remain calm and not take part in such protests.

“We urge residents of the republic to treat the current situation in the world with understanding. Federal authorities and international organizations are making every effort to bring about a ceasefire against Gaza civilians … we urge residents of the republic not to succumb to the provocations of destructive groups and not to create panic in society,” it wrote on Telegram.

Gaza water shortage forces Palestinians to rely on sea

The besieged Gaza Strip’s 2.3 million people don’t have access to clean, running water after Israel cut off essential supplies to the enclave.

If water does trickle from the tap, residents say it’s so contaminated with sewage and seawater that it’s undrinkable. Under these circumstances, some are forced to use the sea to bathe, wash clothes and clean their cookware.

On Sunday, 33 trucks carrying water, food and medicine entered Gaza’s only border crossing from Egypt.

Israel said it has opened two water lines in southern Gaza within the past week, though it is not clear if they are functioning.

Since 9 October, Israel has imposed a “total siege” on Gaza, cutting off supplies of water, electricity and food. With the territory already subject to an Israeli blockade, this is inflicting a dire humanitarian toll on civilians.

Palestinians resort to the sea water to bathe and clean their tools and clothes due the continuing water shortage in the Gaza Strip, on the beach in Central Gaza, 29/10/23.
Palestinians resort to the sea water to bathe and clean their tools and clothes due the continuing water shortage in the Gaza Strip, on the beach in Central Gaza, 29/10/23.Mohammed Dahman/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Journalists ‘explicitly targetted’ in strike near Israeli border – report

Video analysis and witness testimonies from the scene of strikes that killed one journalist and injured six others in south Lebanon this month has found they were “explicitly targeted,” Reporters Without Borders said in a statement Sunday.

Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah was killed near the village of Alma al-Shaab while covering skirmishes between Israeli troops and members of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.

“Two strikes in the same place in such a short space of time … from the same direction, clearly indicate precise targeting,” the statement said.

Analysis noted the journalists had been filming on a hillside for more than an hour until the strikes hit about 37 to 38 seconds apart, both coming from the direction of Israel.

The first killed Abdallah; the second hit a vehicle belonging to an Al Jazeera team, injuring journalists standing next to it, the statement said. It noted that the journalists were wearing helmets and vests marked “press,” and the car was marked “press” on the roof.

It added that witnesses reported seeing an Israeli helicopter fly over the scene shortly before the strikes. The report did not specifically say Israel was responsible for the fire, saying the investigation was ongoing.

The Israeli military did not immediately respond Sunday to a request for comment on the analysis.

Military spokesperson Lt. Col. Richard Hecht previously said Israel was “looking into” the episode. He did not confirm whether the journalists had been hit by Israeli shelling.

More than 3,000 children killed in Gaza

The number of children killed in the blockaded Gaza Strip since the start of the Hamas-Israel war earlier this month has exceeded the number killed in armed conflict every year globally since 2019, international charity Save the Children said on Sunday.

In a statement, the charity cited numbers from the Gaza Health Ministry of at least 3,195 children killed in the war that was sparked following a surprise Hamas attack on 7 Oct.

It also mentioned the deaths of 33 children in the occupied West Bank and 29 children killed in Israel.

Smoke rises following Israeli bombardment on Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.
Smoke rises following Israeli bombardment on Gaza City, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023.Abed Khaled/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

“The numbers are harrowing and with violence not only continuing but expanding in Gaza right now, many more children remain at grave risk,” Save the Children Country Director in the occupied Palestinian territory Jason Lee said in a statement.

“A cease-fire is the only way to ensure their safety.”

After the unprecedented bloody attack by Hamas on October 7 on Israeli soil, Israel said it wanted to destroy the Palestinian Islamist movement and has since carried out incessant bombings on the Gaza Strip, which it controls.

Children make up around half of Gaza’s population, according to Save the Children.

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