Israel-Hamas war

Israel faced another round of global pressure on Tuesday for a ceasefire in Gaza with a new UN vote and fresh Western diplomatic efforts, although the United States vowed to continue arming its ally. Follow our live blog for the latest developments.  All times are Paris time (GMT+1)

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Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, December 18, 2023.
Israeli soldiers operate in the Gaza Strip amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, December 18, 2023. © Reuters

Summary:

  • US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin held a joint press conference with Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant in Israel on Monday, during which he called for more aid for people displaced in the besieged Gaza Strip and said that the US would continue to provide arms and munitions to Israel.
  • The United Nations Security Council vote on the conflict in Gaza was postponed until Tuesday as negotiations continued over the text of the document, diplomatic sources at the United Nations told AFP.
  • US and Israeli intelligence chiefs met with Qatar’s prime minister in Poland to broker the release of more hostages, the first known meeting of the three since a weeklong cease-fire ended in late November.
  • The first commercial trucks have entered the Gaza Strip since the war, joining UN-led deliveries, the United States said on Monday.
  • A more precise picture of Hamas‘s October 7 attack on Israel has emerged from social security data, confirming the unprecedented scale of the violence but also challenging some initial testimonies. The final death toll from the attack is now thought to be 695 Israeli civilians, including 36 children, as well as 373 security forces and 71 foreigners, giving a total of 1,139. This excludes five people, among them four Israelis, still listed as missing by the prime minister’s office.
  • At least 19,453 people have been killed in Israel‘s ensuing assault on the Gaza Strip and at least 52,286 people injured, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave. At least 7,600 people are missing, according to the Hamas media office.

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Key developments from yesterday:

  • Prolonged negotiations led the UN Security Council to postpone to Tuesday a vote on a resolution that had sought a new ceasefire in Gaza.
  • A north Gaza hospital that Israeli troops raided is no longer functioning and patients including babies have been evacuated, putting the enclave’s collapsing health services in further peril, a World Health Organisation official said.
  • Israelis protested Monday in central Tel Aviv, calling for swift action to release the remaining 129 hostages believed to be held in Gaza.
  • While in Israel, US defense secretary Austin said Washington‘s support for Israel was “unshakable” but he urged its ally to do more to protect civilians.

About casualty figures from Gaza’s Hamas-run health ministry:

Gaza’s health ministry collects data from the enclave’s hospitals and the Palestinian Red Crescent.

The health ministry does not report how Palestinians were killed, whether from Israeli airstrikes and artillery barrages or errant Palestinian rocket fire. It describes all casualties as victims of “Israeli aggression”. The ministry also does not distinguish between civilians and combatants. 

Throughout four wars and numerous skirmishes between Israel and Hamas, UN agencies have cited the Hamas-run health ministry’s death tolls in regular reports. The International Committee of the Red Cross and Palestinian Red Crescent also use the numbers.

In the aftermath of war, the UN humanitarian office has published final death tolls based on its own research into medical records. The UN’s counts have largely been consistent with the Gaza health ministry’s, with small discrepancies. 

For more on the Gaza health ministry’s tolls, click here.

(FRANCE 24 with AP) 

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP & Reuters)

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