/ 31 October 2023

Fears for Gazans as Israeli troops advance

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The Squiz

The Palestinian Red Crescent says Israeli officials have told the al-Quds hospital – a major facility which reports say is sheltering up to 14,000 displaced civilians and patients – to evacuate immediately “because it is going to be bombarded”. It’s located in Gaza City in the Palestinian territory’s north, and doctors say moving intensive care patients and babies in incubators is impossible given the damage to the hospital building and neighbourhood. The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) says Hamas is using the hospital as cover and its repeated calls for Palestinian civilians to get out of the region. Yesterday, the IDF’s Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari said “we are today emphasising that this is an urgent call”.

Is this part of Israel’s dismantling of Hamas?

Yep. And reports say images of Israeli tanks on the Gaza Strip’s western coast point to a plan to encircle Gaza City because it’s seen as the Palestinian terror group’s stronghold. As that’s happening, International Criminal Court prosecutor Karim Khan yesterday said that Israel must allow aid to get through to Gazan civilians because if they don’t, it could be a war crime. He added the court has “active investigations ongoing” over “crimes allegedly committed in Israel” on 7 October, as well as in Gaza and the West Bank going back to 2014. International human rights organisations are also putting a spotlight on child casualties. Save The Children International says more than 3,195 Gazan children have been killed in Gaza this month – that’s more than the annual number of children killed in conflict zones worldwide since 2019.

And what’s going on outside those borders?

In Russia, hundreds of people stormed the airport in Dagestan in search of a flight from Tel Aviv on Sunday night. It’s a predominantly Muslim area of southern Russia, and videos show the rioters holding Palestinian flags and signs as they run to the tarmac and attempt to break through a plane’s windows. Dagestan’s government has voiced support for Gaza but appealed to locals to end the protests as Israel urged Russia to protect “all Israeli citizens and all Jews”. And closer to home, our living former PMs (except one…) have issues a joint statement supporting Israel while calling for civilian deaths to be avoided. Paul Keating didn’t put his name to it.

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