Gaza wakes after a night of ‘vicious’ attacks

More than 30 Palestinians killed east of Gaza

More than 30 Palestinians were killed on Monday by Israeli airstrikes in the east of Gaza, the Palestinians news agency, WAFA, reported.

Israeli warplanes took aim at homes in the Al-Zaytoun and Al-Shuja’iya neighbourhoods of Gaza with several families believed to have been targeted.


Erdogan: Netanyahu will be tried as a war criminal

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a speech on Monday called Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the “butcher of Gaza” adding that “we are preparing to put him on trial”.

Speaking about Israel’s attacks on Gaza, Erdogan said, “The UN, which was established for global security, cannot even protect its own employees from Israeli barbarism. Israel’s massacre has accelerated, I salute the resisting Gaza.

“Netanyahu, who is currently the butcher of Gaza, will be tried as the Butcher of Gaza, just like Milosevic,” added Erdogan referring to the former Serbian leader who was charged by an international court for war crimes in connection with the Bosnian, Croatian and Kosovo wars during the 1990s.


 
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Women mourn the relatives killed in Israeli air strikes on Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early on 4 December 2023 (AFP)
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Palestinians inspect the damage in a residential building in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, following Israeli air strikes early on 4 December 2023 (AFP)
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Palestinians inspect the damage in a residential building following Israeli air strikes early on 4 December 2023 (AFP)
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Palestinian boys collect wood for fire near a cemetery damaged following Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early on 4 December 2023 (AFP)
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Palestinians check the damage next to a huge crater following Israeli air strikes in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip early on 4 December 2023 (AFP)

 

Unicef spokesman James Elder, currently in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis, has described a “night of utterly relentless bombardments” in a voice note posted to X.

“I cannot stop thinking about the 1.8 million people here in the south,” he said. “I don’t think there was more than a five or ten minute period throughout the course of the night, and I really didn’t sleep, where something wasn’t flying overhead or the sky being lit up”.


 

Israel’s evacuation maps are causing fear and panic said Melanie Ward, chief executive of humanitarian organisation Medical Aid for Palestinians.

“I cannot overstate the fear, panic and confusion that these Israeli maps are causing civilians in #Gaza, including my own staff. People cannot run from place to place to try to escape Israel’s bombs, nor does international law expect them to.

“What is being done is unconscionable,” Ward said in a post on X on Sunday.

On Friday divided Gaza into more than 600 zones so they could evacuate from specific zones.


 

Two Palestinians were killed this morning by Israeli troops in Qalqilya, Israeli radio network GLZ radio and Palestinian media outlet Arab48 said.

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Israeli forces also made more than a dozen arrests following the storming of several areas across the West Bank, including Jenin, Silwad, Jaffna, Jalazoun and Hebron.


 

A Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) volunteer as well as an employee have been killed in an Israeli strike on the al-Faluja neighbourhood north-east of Gaza City, the organisation has said on X.


 

The Israeli military said the three soldiers were killed in Gaza during fighting on Sunday. This brings the military death toll since Israel’s offensive war into Gaza on October 7 to 75.


Morning recap

Good morning MEE readers.

Israel’s bombardment of southern Gaza is the “worst bombardment of the war right now”, Unicef spokesperson James Elder said on Sunday.

“I am seeing massive child casualties,” Elder posted on X (Twitter).

On Saturday alone, at least 700 Palestinians were killed by Israel.

While the death toll for Palestinians has been catastrophic, we got a glimpse of the financial devastation.

Gaza’s poverty rate is set to soar to more than 90 percent, according to the director of statistics at the Central Bureau of Statistics, Muhammad Qalalwa.

Israel’s devastating war on Gaza since 7 October has resulted in at least $700m worth of losses, just in the first month, said Qalalwa on Sunday.

Here’s a round-up of the latest updates:

  • On Monday, the Netherlands will be confronted with a lawsuit claiming that its involvement in exporting F-35 fighter jet components to Israel implicates it in purported war crimes in Gaza.
  • Yemen’s Houthi movement targeted two Israeli ships on Sunday with an armed drone and a naval missile, a spokesperson for the group’s military said
  • Israel will hunt down Hamas in Lebanon, Turkey and Qatar even if it takes years, the head of Israel’s domestic security agency Shin Bet said in a recording aired by Israel’s public broadcaster Kan on Sunday
  • The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday called on Israel to respect the international rules of war and said he was accelerating his investigation into violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank

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On Monday, the Netherlands will be confronted with a lawsuit claiming that its involvement in exporting F-35 fighter jet components to Israel implicates it in purported war crimes in Gaza.

The case, filed by three human rights groups including Oxfam’s Dutch branch, will be heard in the district court in The Hague. They argue that the export of these aircraft parts facilitates Israel’s bombing of the Gaza Strip, Reuters reported.

“Israel disregards the fundamental principles of the laws of war, such as distinguishing between civilian and military targets and the principle of proportionality,” in the bombing of the Gaza Strip, the organisations said in their court filings.

Several weeks following the October 7 attacks by Hamas, the Dutch government approved the delivery of spare parts for Israeli F-35 jets, as revealed by government records.

The Dutch defence ministry, responsible for overseeing such exports, wrote to the parliament last week saying that current information does not confirm the involvement of F-35 jets in serious breaches of international humanitarian law.


 

A leading Israeli newspaper has detailed how unverified and inaccurate accounts of the 7 October Hamas attack led to the publication of stories that appear to be false.

Some of the details behind these stories, which described atrocities purportedly committed by Palestinian fighters, were provided by Israeli officials and soldiers as well as search and rescue volunteers.

However, Haaretz cross-referenced some of these allegations in a report published on Sunday and found that they did not add up.

The Israeli army admitted that mistakes were made by at least one soldier who fed one of the stories.

One of the main topics allegedly riddled with unconfirmed reporting and misinformation was the death of children and babies, according to Haaretz.


 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held discussions with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani about the release of hostages and boosting aid to Gaza.

“Spoke with Qatari Prime Minister Al Thani about ongoing efforts to facilitate the safe return of all hostages and further increase levels of aid to civilians in Gaza,” Blinken said on X on Sunday evening.

This comes just a few days after Blinken stepped up calls for Israel to comply with international law and spare civilians as it continues its assault in Gaza.


 

German Finance Minister Robert Habeck called off a scheduled visit to the Middle East on Sunday, choosing instead to concentrate on discussions regarding a deficit in Germany’s 2024 budget.

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Habeck was set to travel to Dubai on Monday evening for COP28, followed by visits to Oman, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. However, the chancellor requested that he delay his journey, as per a spokesperson’s statement.

The coalition government is currently engaged in detailed discussions on addressing a 17-billion-euro shortfall in the 2024 budget, resulting from a recent constitutional court decision, Reuters reported.

In a Saturday interview, Finance Minister Christian Lindner suggested reducing social spending, international climate funding, development aid, and certain subsidies to address this deficit.

“I am very optimistic that we are on a good path to reach an agreement,” Habeck said on Sunday, declining to give further details before an agreement had been reached.


 

Israel’s bombardment of southern Gaza is the “worst bombardment of the war right now”, Unicef spokesperson James Elder said on Sunday.

“I am seeing massive child casualties,” Elder posted on X (Twitter).

“We have a final warning to save children; and our collective conscience.”


 

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Sunday called on Israel to respect the international rules of war and said he was accelerating his investigation into violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

“In Gaza, there is no justification for doctors to perform operations without light, for children to be operated upon without anaesthetics. Imagine the pain,” ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said in a video message posted online after a four-day visit to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

“I was crystal clear, that this is the time to comply with the law. If Israel doesn’t comply now, they shouldn’t complain later.”

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