Woman, Boy May Be First New Hostage Releases As Negotiations Accelerate For Wider Deal – Mideast War, Day 34
The Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s military wing, the al-Quds Brigades, has said it is prepared to release two hostages held in Gaza if conditions on the ground permit.
A spokesperson for the al-Quds Brigades said it is ready to release two Israeli hostages, a woman and a boy, for humanitarian and medical reasons. He added that the initiative would take place once measures are met.
Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted Thursday that there would be "no ceasefire" without the release of all hostages held by Hamas.
Still, Israel will begin implementing four-hour pauses in fighting each day in northern Gaza, according to the White House.
Negotiations are still underway to reach a three-day humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza in exchange for the release of about a dozen hostages held by Hamas, according to two officials from Egypt, one from the United Nations and a Western diplomat.
A trilateral meeting with Qatari officials and the intelligence chiefs of Israel and the U.S. was held in Doha on Thursday to discuss hostage releases in exchange for a humanitarian pause and aid entry to Gaza.
The meeting, which included CIA Director William Burns, Mossad head David Barnea and Qatari officials, discussed a proposed plan to release between 10 to 20 civilian hostages in return for a three-day pause in fighting and the entry of further aid, plus enabling Hamas to hand over a list of hostages being held in Gaza.
One Israeli official said Israel was “ready for a pause” if there could be certainty that Hamas was “serious about releasing hostages.”
French President Emmanuel Macron also called for a “ceasefire” for the first time on Thursday, as he inaugurated an international humanitarian conference for Gaza in Paris. He added that the protection of civilians in Gaza is "not negotiable”.
IDF Conducts Large-Scale Raids in West Bank
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) began conducting large-scale raids in the Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank on Thursday, as the occupied Palestinian territory continues to be described by analysts as a “powder keg.” According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 15 Palestinians have been killed so far Thursday — however, the number could grow as reports suggest the raid is intensifying as explosions are being witnessed more frequently.
The IDF has dropped leaflets in Jenin suggesting that the raids would continue and grow more severe, according to Al Jazeera.
Hamas has condemned the attack in Jenin, and claimed that Israel will not succeed in “breaking the will of [the Palestinian] people from Gaza to the West Bank. Islamic Jihad, another armed militia group based in Gaza, called the attack “barbaric and brutal,” adding that the Jenin raids were an attempt by Israel to “cover up its failure to achieve any gain on the ground” in Gaza.
Jenin, in the northern West Bank, is one of the poorest of the 19 refugee camps inside the territory and has long been at the center of Palestinian resistance movements. In 2002, during the Second Intifada, the IDF launched a wide-scale assault into the refugee camp killing 52 Palestinains — as many as half were civilians. Israel lost 23 soldiers.
The Palestinian Health Ministry says that at least 164 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since October 7, with more than 2,100 injured.
50,000 Gazans flee north, most by foot
Palestinians fleeing northern Gaza
Israel has reported that some 50,000 Palestinians fled northern Gaza on Wednesday during an evacuation window for Gazans to follow IDF orders and leave the upper half of the enclave. While these numbers could not be verified, a CNN journalist at the scene said that vast numbers were leaving by foot, and was far larger than the day before.
The UN office for the coordination of humanitarian affairs said Wednesday that about 15,000 people fled on Tuesday, compared to 5,000 on Monday and 2,000 on Sunday, suggesting the number of people attempting to evacuate has been increasing as northern Gaza continues to be bombarded and Israeli troops carry out ground operations there.
The IDF announced on Wednesday that a four-hour window was in place for Gazans to evacuate down Salah Eddin Street, which serves as one of the two primary highways in Gaza, linking the north to the south.
Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesperson, told Sky News in the UK on Wednesday that only 100,000 civilians remained in northern Gaza out of the population of 1.1 million.
WHO warns infectious diseases are spreading
The World Health Organization is concerned about the rapid spread of infectious diseases in Gaza due to the intense overcrowding and disrupted health, water and sanitation systems.
Lack of fuel has led to the shutting down of desalination plants, significantly increasing the risk of bacterial infections as people consume contaminated water.
The situation is particularly concerning for the almost 1.5 million displaced people across Gaza, especially those living in overcrowded shelters with little to no access to hygiene facilities and safe water, increasing risk of infectious diseases transmission.
Meanwhile, the majority of Gazan hospitals have now stopped functioning, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah. The ministry said Thursday that 71% of all primary-care facilities in Gaza have closed due to damage amid Israel's bombardment or a lack of fuel, saying that hospitals that remain open are limited in what they can provide and are gradually shutting down their wards.
Israel calls for investigation into alleged embedding of journalists with Hamas on October 7
מחבלים בתחפושת של עיתונאים?— 🇮🇱שלמה קרעי - Shlomo Karhi (@shlomo_karhi) November 9, 2023
דרשתי הבהרות מיידיות מגופי התקשורת הבינ"ל שפורסמו בתחקיר.
כל מי שהשתתף, תמך או שמר על קשר של שתיקה ואיפשר את הטבח בעוטף, דינו כמו כל מחבל בעזה.@CNN @Rueters @nytimes @AP pic.twitter.com/WQ3kq3dTg1
The National Information System in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office has called for an immediate action regarding “photographers in the service of Hamas”.
The Israeli government has issued a response to a report by Honest Reporting, which has raised alarming concerns about journalists in Gaza potentially being embedded with Hamas during the deadly attacks on Israel on October 7.
In an urgent letter to major international media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, AP, and Reuters, Dr. Shlomo Karhi, the Minister of Communications, emphasized the gravity of the situation and urged a thorough investigation into the possible actions and/or collusion of their employees with the terrorist organization Hamas.
Honest Reporting's examination of images from the October 7 massacre raised specific concerns about coordination with Hamas, approval by wire services, and notifications to media outlets by freelance photojournalists.
CNN responded to the report, acknowledging awareness of the article and photo concerning Hassan Eslaiah, a freelance photojournalist whose work was used by the network. CNN decided to suspend all ties with Eslaiah in light of the information.
The Associated Press responded to the allegations saying it had no knowledge of the Ocober. 7 attacks before they happened. In a statement, the AP said, "The first pictures AP received from any freelancer show they were taken more than an hour after the attacks began. No AP staff were at the border at the time of the attacks, nor did any AP staffer cross the border at any time. We are no longer working with Hassan Eslaiah, who had been an occasional freelancer for AP and other international news organizations in Gaza."
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