Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed that Israel will continue its war against Hamas after a potential pause in fighting to allow for the release of hostages held by the terror group.
“We are at war, and we will continue the war,” the Israeli prime minister said at the start of a government meeting called to consider the deal. “We will continue until we achieve all our goals.”
Mr Netanyahu’s cabinet is currently debating the deal, which he urged fellow officials to accept, saying it was a difficult decision but the right one.
Details of the proposed deal have not been officially released, but it is understood that the potential agreement includes a four, or five-day halt in Israel’s offensive in Gaza, and the exchange of 150 Palestinian prisoners for the release of 50 of the 240 hostages held by Hamas.
It is thought the hostages would be released over several days. Hamas said earlier on Tuesday that the group was “close to reaching a deal”.
12:10 AM GMT
Blog is now closed
Thank you for joining us for our live coverage of the Israel-Hamas war.
The biggest developments from today are:
Israel and Hamas are poised to reach a deal which would see a temporary pause in fighting to allow the release of Israeli hostages
The agreement is expected to see the release of 50 hostages, mostly women and children, in groups of 12 or 13 per day over a four/five day period
Benjamin Netanyau said Israel will continue fighting Hamas after the potential break, saying “we will continue the war”
Please join us again tomorrow for all the latest updates.
11:16 PM GMT
Blinken to travel to Israel next week
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is planning to travel to Israel next week to hold talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials, sources told Axios.
It will be Mr Blinken’s fourth trip to Israel since 7 October and his visit could take place while the expected multi-day hostage release deal is being carried out.
Sources said he is expected to travel to the Middle East after Thanksgiving and before the NATO foreign ministers summit in Brussels next Tuesday.
10:46 PM GMT
Jordan bolsters border with Israel
Jordan said on Tuesday the army had beefed up its presence along its borders with Israel and warned that any Israeli attempt to forcibly push Palestinians across the Jordan River would represent a breach of its peace accord with its neighbour.
Prime Minister Bisher Khasawneh said his country would resort to “all the means in its power” to prevent Israel from implementing any transfer policy to expel Palestinians en masse from the West Bank.
“Any displacements or creating the conditions that would lead to it, Jordan will consider it a declaration of war and constitutes a material breach of the peace treaty,” state media quoted Mr Khasawneh as saying, referring to the 1994 peace treaty with Israel.
“This would lead to the liquidation of the Palestinian cause and to harming the national security of Jordan,” Mr Khasawneh added.
10:14 PM GMT
Pictures from the war as fighting continues
10:07 PM GMT
Billboard in Tel Aviv shows photos of Israeli hostages
09:53 PM GMT
Statement by Netanyahu
More details from Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech on Tuesday evening:
“There is a lot of nonsense out there to the effect that after the pause to return our hostages, we will stop the war. Then let me make it clear: We are at war – and will continue the war. We will continue the war until we achieve all of our war aims: To eliminate Hamas, return all of our hostages and our missing, and ensure that there is no element in Gaza that threatens Israel.
“I told the dear families [of the hostages]: ‘Returning our hostages is a sacred and supreme task – and I am obligated to it together with my colleagues. As Maimonides says: There is no greater precept that redeeming captives. We will not relent in our efforts until we redeem them all, the young men and women, the elderly men and women, the male and female soldiers, all of them. In war there are stages, and in returning the hostages there are stages, but we will not relent until we achieve the absolute victory and until we bring them all back.
“Before you this evening, now, is a difficult decision but it is the correct decision. All of the security agencies fully support it; they have made it completely clear in their professional assessment, that the security of our forces will be ensured during the pause and that the intelligence effort will be maintained in those days. They have made it clear that not only will the war effort not be harmed, it will enable the IDF to prepare for the continuation of the fighting.”
09:45 PM GMT
Fighting rages on
As attention is focused on the hostage release deal, fighting on the ground is raging on, according to Reuters.
Israel has said its forces have encircled the Jabalia refugee camp, a major urban flashpoint and Hamas militant stronghold.
The Palestinian news agency WAFA said 33 people were killed and dozens wounded in an Israeli air strike on part of Jabalia, a congested urban extension of Gaza City where Hamas has been battling advancing Israeli armoured forces.
In southern Gaza, Hamas-affiliated media said 10 people were killed and 22 injured by an Israeli air strike on an apartment in the city of Khan Younis.
These accounts could not be immediately verified.
09:35 PM GMT
Vote on hostage deal expected tonight, says Netanyahu adviser
The vote on the hostage deal is still pending but may happen within an hour or two, the adviser to Benjamin Netanyahu Mark Regev has said.
If the deal includes the release of people held in Israeli prisons who were involved in “violent extremism”, the families of their victims have the right to protest the supreme court against the decision, Mr Regev told Sky News.
Mr Regev said it is the right of the supreme court to decide whether to override the government, but that it was reasonable to assume they would allow the government to press ahead, if the cabinet agreed on a deal.
“On the assumption that the government tonight approves the framework for the release of the hostages, then a 24-hour period comes in where the supreme court hears the petitions, on the assumption that it rejects the petitions and allows the government to go ahead – which I think is a reasonable assumption - that means we can start moving on this deal on Thursday, hopefully seeing people come home immediately,” he told Sky.
Asked whether a ceasefire, which is included in the potential deal, could end up being extended, Mr Regev said: “Theoretically, if we were to get more people out we would consider extending the ceasefire.”
08:56 PM GMT
South African lawmakers vote to suspend diplomatic ties with Israel
South African lawmakers have voted in favour of closing down the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and suspending all diplomatic relations until a ceasefire is agreed in its war with Palestinian Islamist group Hamas in Gaza.
The resolution is largely symbolic, Reuters has reported, as it will be up to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s government whether to implement it.
A presidency spokesperson said Ramaphosa “notes and appreciates” parliament’s guidance on South Africa’s diplomatic relations with Israel, particularly on the status of the embassy.
“The president and cabinet are engaged over the matter, which remains the responsibility of the national executive,” Vincent Magwenya said.
Ramaphosa and senior foreign ministry officials have been vocally critical of Israel’s leadership during its devastating military campaign against Hamas in the densely populated Gaza Strip, calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate them for potential war crimes.
The Israeli embassy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
08:29 PM GMT
Palestinian Islamic Jihad announces death of a female Israeli hostage
The armed wing of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad announced late on Tuesday the death of one of the Israeli hostages it has held since the Oct 7 attacks on Israel, Reuters has reported.
“We previously expressed our willingness to release her for humanitarian reasons, but the enemy was stalling and this led to her death,” Al Quds Brigades said on its Telegram channel.
08:18 PM GMT
Netanyahu says his government faces 'difficult decision' tonight
Netanyahu has said the Israeli government faces a “difficult decision” tonight as they debate the temporary truce with Hamas which would secure the release of 50 hostages.
Israel minister and retired army general Benny Gantz said the deal is the first step in returning all of the hostages.
08:09 PM GMT
Red Cross will be allowed to visit hostages, Netanyahu says
BREAKING: Netanyahu told the ministers during the cabinet meeting that as part of the agreement the Red Cross will visit hostages that will not be released and provide them with medicine, according to the Prime Minister’s office
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) November 21, 2023
07:39 PM GMT
US says 20,000 gallons of fuel reached Gaza over last day
White House spokesman John Kirby said almost 20,000 gallons of fuel (76,000 litres) had been delivered to Gaza over the previous day by “non-governmental organisations”. He said this would primarily be used for hospital.
And he said 50 trucks carrying humanitarian aid had entered Gaza in the previous 24 hours.
07:28 PM GMT
Netanyahu’s 38-minister cabinet now meeting
Netanyahu’s full 38-minister cabinet is now meeting, according to the Times of Israel.
“The war cabinet and the security cabinet have completed their discussions of the hostage release deal, and the full 38-minister cabinet is now meeting,” the local media organisation said.
No vote was held in the earlier meetings, with Netanyahu asking ministers in those sessions to wait for the full cabinet meeting for a detailed debate and the vote, Channel 12 reported.
07:26 PM GMT
IDF releases photos of Hamas 'terror tunnel' beneath Al-Shifa hospital
Daniel Hagari, an IDF spokesperson, has released photos which the IDF claims are the “terror tunnel” under the Al-Shifa hospital.
תמונות מפריצת דלת ההדף במנהרת הטרור ותוואי המנהרה בשיפאא׳: pic.twitter.com/R8jIe11rnm
— דובר צה״ל דניאל הגרי - Daniel Hagari (@IDFSpokesperson) November 21, 2023
07:18 PM GMT
Ten killed in Israeli strike on a residential building in southern Gaza, says Hamas-affiliated media
Ten people were killed and 22 others injured in an Israeli strike on a residential apartment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza on Tuesday night, according to Hamas-affiliated media and reported by Reuters.
The victims and the injured arrived at Nasser Hospital, according to Shehab News Agency, a channel close to Hamas, said on Telegram.
07:01 PM GMT
Hostages expected to be released will be 'almost entirely' children
Our Deputy US Editor, Rozina Sabur, writes:
The hostages expected to be released from Hamas custody shortly will be “almost entirely” children, according to CNN.
Around 40 children, including a three-year-old US citizen, are among the roughly 240 hostages the terror group seized during its attack on October 7.
An internationally-brokered deal for a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas is expected to be announced imminently.
The potential deal would free about 50 hostages and allow a four-to-five day pause in fighting.
In exchange for the hostage release, Israel would release Palestinian women and children being held in its prisons, according to sources.
The two sides would agree to a pause in the fighting while the exchanges were coordinated.
Sources suggest the deal could involve the release of one hostage captured from Israel for every three Palestinian prisoners released, with up to 50 hostages and 150 prisoners potentially being freed in the next few days.
CNN journalist Becky Anderson, who is reporting from Doha, Qatar, where the deal is being brokered, said she understood the hostage release would be almost entirely children.
“It’s almost entirely going to be children and as I understand it,” she reported during a CNN broadcast.
06:36 PM GMT
Hostage deal would have majority in cabinet, local media reports
The Israeli government will have a majority in the cabinet to approve a hostage deal, despite opposition from far-right parties Religious Zionist Party and Otzma Yehudit, the Times of Israel reported.
The war cabinet supports the deal and will rally 19 votes held by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and five votes held by Benny Gantz’s National Unity party, it reported.
Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit together hold six cabinet votes, it writes.
06:03 PM GMT
Hamas says death toll passes 14,000 in Gaza
The Hamas-run Gaza government says the number of people who have been killed in the territory since the war on Oct 7 began has reached 14,128.
It says that 5,840 children are among the dead.
05:53 PM GMT
White House says ‘we’re getting closer’ to hostage deal
The United States is hopeful about getting a hostage deal in the Israel-Hamas conflict and believes the parties are getting closer to an agreement, White House spokesman John Kirby said on Tuesday.
“We are closer than we’ve been. We believe we’re getting closer,” Mr Kirby said at a news briefing. “We won’t say and do not want to say anything in these delicate hours that could put a deal at greater risk.”
05:41 PM GMT
WHO chief says an employee was killed in Gaza alongside family
The World Health Organization has said that one of its employees had been killed in Gaza alongside her six-month-old baby, husband and two brothers.
“My colleagues and I are devastated: we have lost one of our own in Gaza today,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on social media platform X, showing a photo of the victim, named Dima Alhaj. “Reportedly multiple other family members sheltering in the same house were also killed,” he added.
My colleagues and I are devastated: we have lost one of our own in #Gaza today.
Our young @WHOoPt colleague Dima Alhaj was tragically killed alongside her 6 month old baby, her husband and 2 brothers. Reportedly multiple other family members sheltering in the same house were… pic.twitter.com/vURpNFRXe6
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) November 21, 2023
05:31 PM GMT
MSF doctors killed in strike on Al Awda hospital
Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has said it is “horrified” by the killing of two of its doctors and a third doctor following what it said was a strike on Al Awda hospital in northern Gaza.
MSF doctors Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila and Dr Ahmad Al Sahar were in the hospital when it was hit by the strike, the charity said in a statement. Other medical staff, including MSF staff, were also severely injured, it said.
“We condemn this strike in the strongest terms and yet again call for the respect and protection of medical facilities, staff and patients,” it said.
More than 200 patients are still in Al Awda and must be urgently evacuated to other hospitals in Gaza that are still functioning, MSF added.
Attacks on medical facilities are a “serious violation of international humanitarian law”, it said, adding that such attacks have become “systematic” in the past weeks.
05:20 PM GMT
Religious Zionism party says proposed hostage deal ‘bad for Israel’s security’
Israel’s Religious Zionist Party has said it cannot agree to a proposed deal for the release of some of the hostages held in Gaza.
In a statement, the party described the deal as “bad for Israel’s security, bad for the hostages, and bad for the soldiers of the IDF”, the Times of Israel reported.
It said the deal will “abandon” some of the hostages for an unknown period of time, “raise the price” for their release, and give Hamas the opportunity to reorganise.
The only way to return all the hostages “is by continuing the unceasing military pressure on Hamas until total victory”, it said.
National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said that the deal would be a “disaster”.
“I am very upset because they’re now talking about some kind of deal,” Mr Gvir told the news outlet Channel 14. “I am disturbed because we are once again being divided and once again we are not being told the truth. And once again, we are being pushed to the side. The rumours are that the State of Israel is once again going to make a very, very big mistake in the style of the Shalit deal.”
05:02 PM GMT
Protestors in Tel Aviv demand the release of hostages
04:54 PM GMT
Four killed in Lebanon, local media reports
Four civilians were killed in south Lebanon on Tuesday by Israeli bombardment, according to official media.
Lebanon’s Al-Mayadeen television said two of those who died were its journalists, correspondent Farah Omar, 25, and cameraman Rabih Maamari, 40.
The frontier between Lebanon and Israeli has seen escalating exchanges of fire, mainly between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement, but also Palestinian groups, raising fears of a broader conflagration.
04:39 PM GMT
Reports of ministers planning to vote against the hostage deal
Bezalel Smotrich, Israel’s finance minister, and Ben Gvir, Minister of National Security of Israel, have said they will vote against the release of the 50 hostages, thought to be mostly women and children, according to a reporter at Axios.
They also reportedly said that their party ministers will also vote against the deal.
סמוטריץ' ובן גביר ושרי המפלגות שלהם עומדים להצביע נגד שחרור 50 נשים וילדים שנחטפו לעזה
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) November 21, 2023
04:28 PM GMT
Biden says "very close" to securing release of hostages
President Joe Biden has said that they are “very close” to securing the release of potentially dozens of hostages held by Hamas.
“We are now very, very close,” Biden told reporters
04:21 PM GMT
Watch: 'I hope there will be good news soon,' says Netanyahu
04:20 PM GMT
Netanyahu summons Israeli war cabinet
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has summoned his war cabinet amid growing signs of an imminent deal on the release of hostages who were taken by Hamas militants to the Gaza Strip more than six weeks ago.
03:56 PM GMT
More details on the two journalists killed by Israeli strike
An Israeli strike killed two journalists working for a Lebanese TV channel and a third person near the border with Israel on Tuesday, Lebanese state media and the channel, Al Mayadeen, said.
The deaths add to a toll of more than 50 journalists killed covering the war between Israel and Hamas and its spillover to other parts of the region since Oct 7, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.
Most of those have been killed in the Gaza Strip.
Al Mayadeen said the Israeli strike on Tuesday near the town of Tir Harfa, about a mile from the Israeli frontier, had deliberately targeted the TV crew because the channel was known to be pro-Palestinian and pro-Iran’s regional military alliance.
Israel denied the claim. Its military said it was “aware of a claim regarding journalists ... who were killed as a result of (Israeli army) fire.
“This is an area with active hostilities, where exchange of fire occur. Presence in the area is dangerous,” it said.
The Israeli military has previously said it cannot guarantee journalists’ safety in areas where it is fighting.
03:37 PM GMT
Hostages may not be released tonight
The general public in Israel will have 24 hours to appeal a possible hostage deal if the Israeli government approves one, Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi said on Tuesday.
03:37 PM GMT
EU clears continuation of development aid to Palestinians
The EU has given the green light to continuing development aid to Palestinians after a review found no funds had gone to Hamas, but said tighter controls could be imposed going forward, AFP has reported.
Brussels launched the assessment of its assistance following the Hamas attack on October 7 in which 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and 240 taken hostage.
The 27-nation bloc is the biggest international aid provider supporting Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, with nearly 1.2 billion euros earmarked for assistance from 2021 to 2024.
“The review found no indications of EU money having directly or indirectly benefited the terrorist organisation Hamas,” European Commission vice president Valdis Dombrovskis said.
“The review found that the control system in place has worked, and as a result payment to Palestinian beneficiaries and UNRWA (United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees) will continue without payment delays.”
But Brussels announced it now may apply tougher safeguards on its projects, including increased screening for any possible anti-Semitism.
“The commission has identified some additional measures, such as the inclusion of relevant anti-incitement contractual clauses in all new contracts and ensure the monitoring of their strict application at all times,” a statement said.
03:30 PM GMT
Announcement from Israel’s Prime Minister's Office
Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office has released the following statement:
“In light of developments on the issue of the release of our hostages, Prime Minister’s Office Director General Yossi Shelley is now convening the forum of directors general of Government ministries to prepare for dealing with, and assisting on, all necessary civilian aspects.”
03:23 PM GMT
Jordan says Israel ordered evacuation of Jordanian hospital in Gaza
Jordan said Israel had ordered the evacuation of a Jordanian field hospital in Gaza, but that it would not heed the order.
Prime Minister Bisher al Khasawneh also said Jordan’s army was beefing up its presence along the border in view of the developments in Gaza, in comments carried on state media.
03:15 PM GMT
Turkey says its working on release of hostages
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said his foreign minister and intelligence chief were working in coordination with Qatari authorities on the release of hostages held by Hamas.
“Both my foreign minister and my intelligence chief, they are continuing the process with a joint effort with Qatar,” Erdogan told a news conference with his Algerian counterpart in Algiers.
“Our hope is that we reach an outcome on the exchange of the prisoners as soon as possible. We are in constant communication, and our hope is to get positive results from this,” he added.
02:57 PM GMT
Pictured: Israeli soldiers repair tank tracks near the Gaza Strip
02:47 PM GMT
'I will believe it when I see them walk out,' says relative of hostage
The relative of a hostage being held captive by Hamas has said she is cautiously optimistic about reports of a hostage deal.
Liz Hirsh Naftali, the great aunt of a Abigail Mor Idan, a three-year-old American held hostage by Hamas, told CNN:
I’m not a politician, I’m not a diplomat. I will believe it when I see them walk out.
Until then we just have to keep everything in check because it’s just too much of an emotional rollercoaster.
For me, this is really emotional because I have no idea if this is real, but my heart believes it has to be.
I have faith and I just pray that this is going to be the real peace but again until we see them come out and until Abigail is in the arms of her family, I just can’t go down to that point where I’m relieved and I believe it’s going to happen fully.
02:42 PM GMT
Palestinian Red Crescent condemns Israeli shelling of Al-Awda hospital
The Palestine Red Crescent has condemned Israeli shelling on the Al-Awda hospital.
— PRCS (@PalestineRCS) November 21, 2023
02:04 PM GMT
Pictured: A Palestinian mother holds her newborn baby after being evacuated from Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City
01:30 PM GMT
Hostage talks 'making progress,' says Netanyahu
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu said progress was being made on the release of hostages held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
“We are making progress. I don’t think it’s worth saying too much, not at even this moment, but I hope there will be good news soon,” he told reservists according to a statement from his office.
His office said that “in light of developments in the matter of the release of our hostages,” he would convene his war cabinet at 6 p.m (1600 GMT), his broader security cabinet at 7PM (1700 GMT) and the full cabinet at 8 p.m. (1800 GMT).
12:47 PM GMT
UNICEF: Number of children killed in Gaza has exceeded 5000
Another horrifying milestone.
⁰The reported number of children killed in #Gaza has now exceeded 5,000.
Each one is a life extinguished and a family devastated.
This must end!
⁰All children must be protected.
— Catherine Russell (@unicefchief) November 21, 2023
12:26 PM GMT
Pictured: Israeli tanks operate in a location given as Gaza
12:17 PM GMT
'Truce deal could see 50 hostages freed and multi-day pause in fighting'
Potential details of what the truce deal may entail continue to emerge.
A source briefed on the talks told Reuters the deal brokers the release of around 50 civilian hostages by Hamas and the release of Palestinian women and children from Israeli custody.
Meanwhile, Axios is reporting that the deal will be split into two phases.
The first phase would see a four-day ceasefire in Gaza and would reportedly entail Hamas release 50 Israeli women and children in exchange for Israel releasing around 150 Palestinian prisoners - mainly women and children.
A second phase could see Hamas release upto 50 Israeli hostages - women, children, and elderly people - in return for a ceasefire lasting several more days.
In addition, Axios report that Israel would permit 300 aid trucks a day to enter Gaza from Egypt.
11:46 AM GMT
Two premature babies died before evacuation from Gaza, says UN
Two premature babies being cared for at the Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza died before the evacuation of 31 others, the United Nations has said, adding that most of those who reached Egypt were “unaccompanied”.
World Health Organisation spokesman Christian Lindmeier told reporters in Geneva that the Al-Shifa hospital had been caring for 33 premature babies just the evening before the evacuation.
“Two of these premature infants died only on that night because of the lack of care available to them,” he said.
The United Nations health agency helped evacuate 31 premature babies from Gaza’s largest hospital on Sunday. Twenty-eight of those babies arrived in Egypt on Monday.
The other three babies moved from Al-Shifa in the north of the Gaza Strip are now in a hospital in southern Gaza and have their families with them.
11:28 AM GMT
Mapped: Israel's advance into Gaza
11:24 AM GMT
Netanyahu: Return of hostages is a 'sacred and supreme mission'
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu called returning Israeli hostages taken by Hamas a “sacred and supreme mission.”
Mr Netanyahu affirmed his commitment to getting back the hostages taken on October 7 after he and his war cabinet met with hostages families.
He said: “We will not let go of the mission to return them, and it is my responsibility as well as the war cabinet’s.”
He added “We will not stop fighting until we bring our hostages home.”
11:05 AM GMT
Negotiations have reached a 'critical and final stage,' says Qatar
Hostage negotiations have reached a “critical and final stage,’ mediator Qatar has said.
Qatari foreign ministry spokesperson Majed Al-Ansari said: “We are at the closest point we ever had been in reaching an agreement.”
“We are very optimistic, very hopeful,” hw told a briefing.
“But we are also very keen for this mediation to succeed in reaching a humanitarian truce,” he said.
It comes as a senior Hamas official claimed that a truce agreement with Israel could be agreed “in the coming hours.”
10:57 AM GMT
In pictures: The Israeli army say they located a cache of weapons in the home of a Nakhaba terrorist in the Gaza Strip
10:50 AM GMT
World Health Organisation planning to evacuate three Gaza hospitals
A World Health Organisation spokesperson said that three hospitals in Gaza had requested help with evacuating patients and said that planning was underway.
WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier said that the three hospitals were Al Shifa, from which a group of babies has already been rescued, Indonesian Hospital and Al Ahli Hospital.
He said such an event was a last resort.
“It’s robbing the entire population of the north of the means to seek health (care),” he told a Geneva press briefing.
10:23 AM GMT
Two reporters 'killed near Lebanese border with Israel'
Two journalists and a third person were killed by a rocket strike near Lebanon’s border with Israel, the Lebanese state news agency reported.
The agency said the incident took place near the town of Tir Harfa, about a mile from the Israeli frontier.
It gave no further details.
10:13 AM GMT
Israel recalls its ambassador to South Africa
Israel has recalled its ambassador to South Africa “for consultations” ahead of a parliamentary vote in the African country to decide the fate of the Israeli embassy.
The two countries’ diplomatic relations have recently witnessed a rise in tensions over the Israeli war on Gaza. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa previously said his country believes Israel is committing war crimes and genocide in Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians have been killed.
Following the latest South African statements, the Ambassador of Israel to Pretoria has been recalled to Jerusalem for consultations. pic.twitter.com/yOSWD8TvhZ
— Lior Haiat 🇮🇱 (@LiorHaiat) November 20, 2023
This came ahead of a vote in South Africa’s parliament on a motion to shut down the Israeli embassy and cut all ties with Israel until a cease-fire is implemented in Gaza.
09:51 AM GMT
Israel-Hamas war in pictures:
09:34 AM GMT
'Hostage deal could be announced by Qatar today'
A hostage deal between Israel and Hamas could be announced by Qatar today, Axios is reporting.
BREAKING: A source with direct knowledge tells me Qatar could announce as early as today the hostage deal between Israel and Hamas. The source says he hopes nothing happens on the ground in Gaza that harms this
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) November 21, 2023
A source with direct knowledge of the talks tells me that as part of the hostage deal Israel will release three Palestinian prisoners held in its prisons for each Israeli hostage that will be released by Hamas (ratio of 3:1)
— Barak Ravid (@BarakRavid) November 21, 2023
09:27 AM GMT
Group of Muslim countries to reportedly push for Gaza ceasefire
A newly formed group made up of senior officials from several Muslim countries will visit the United Nations Security Council’s five permanent members and others to urge an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, a Turkish foreign ministry source has said.
The group was formed earlier this month at a summit of the Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Riyadh. It includes foreign ministers and representatives from Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, Jordan, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the Palestinian Authority, as well as the OIC Secretary General.
The source said the group had started talking with the permanent UN Security Council members - the United States, China, Russia, Britain, and France - with a visit to Beijing on Monday, and would also visit other countries.
“The primary goal of the contact group is for a ceasefire to be announced as soon as possible and for humanitarian aid to be sent to Gaza,” the source said.
“As an end goal, (the group) aims to contribute to the two-state solution within the framework of internationally accepted parameters; to Palestinians living in their own country safely, with stability and prosperity,” the person said.
08:57 AM GMT
Both sides would free women and children in truce agreement, says Hamas
A Hamas official told Al Jazeera TV that negotiations were centred on how long the truce would last, arrangements for delivery of aid into Gaza and the exchange of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for Palestinian prisoners in Israel.
Both sides would free women and children and details would be announced by Qatar, which is mediating in the negotiations, said the official, Issat el Reshiq.
Israel has generally avoided giving commentary on the status of the Qatar-led talks. Israel’s Channel 12 television quoted an unidentified senior government source saying “they are close” but giving no further details.
08:31 AM GMT
Pictured: An Israeli soldier walks past graffiti saying 'Welcome To Hell' at an observation post overlooking the border with Gaza
08:23 AM GMT
Israeli army 'completes encirclement' of Jabaliya
The Israel Defense Forces said it has completed the encirclement of Jabaliya.
In a statement, the IDF said its troops were ready for the “continuation of the attack.”
Footage released by the military shows Israeli soldiers patrolling in Jabaliya on foot as gunfire echoes around them.
“Terrorists were eliminated and infrastructure was destroyed,” it said.
08:00 AM GMT
Midnight bombing of refugee camp kills 17 in central Gaza
At least 17 Palestinians were reportedly killed in Israeli bombing of the Nuseirat camp in central Gaza at midnight, the Palestinian news agency WAFA said.
There was no immediate comment from Israel.
07:55 AM GMT
Israel claims firing into the Indonesian hospital was 'in complete compliance with international law'
Israel’s firing at a hospital in northern Gaza on Monday was “in complete compliance with international law,” Benjamin Netanyahu’s foreign policy adviser has said.
Ophir Falk, an adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, told CNN that the actions were “proportional.”
Palestinian officials said an Israeli shell struck the hospital early Monday, killing 12 people. Israel denied shelling the hospital, but said its troops returned fire on militants who targeted them from inside the compound.
He told CNN: “We are in complete compliance with international law, with proportionality, distinction and there is a clear military necessity to destroy Hamas, and that’s exactly what we’re doing.
“In the course of destroying Hamas, which is what the IDF is doing right now, we are distinguishing, making a clear distinction between civilians and terrorists,” Mr Falk added.
Mr Falk defended the Israeli military response, adding that “no military on Earth that is more moral” than the Israel Defense Forces.
07:54 AM GMT
Around 250 Hamas 'targets' struck, says IDF
Around 250 Hamas “terror targets” were struck in the past 24 hours, the Israel Defense Forces has claimed.
The Israeli military claimed “dozens of terrorists,” rocket launchers, and infrastructure were struck.
It said troops directed a fighter jet to strike a rocket launch post which they say was used to fire rockets towards central Israel.
The IDF claimed the post was located near a residential area of the civilian population.
07:34 AM GMT
International Red Cross President meets with Hamas leader
The International Red Cross president travelled to Qatar on Monday to meet with the leader of Hamas to “advance humanitarian issues” related to the group’s conflict with Israel, the Geneva-based body said in a statement.
President Mirjana Spoljaric met with Ismail Haniyeh, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said, and also met separately with Qatari authorities which are acting as mediators in the conflict.
The ICRC, a neutral intermediary which is providing aid to Gaza and has helped escort hostages and patients from the enclave, said that the meeting was part of discussions with all sides to the conflict to improve respect for international humanitarian law.
It added that it was not part of negotiations aimed at releasing more than 200 hostages seized by Hamas during their deadly incursion into Israel on Oct. 7.
07:29 AM GMT
In pictures: Injured Palestinians in hospital
07:26 AM GMT
Palestinian children deserve a ceasefire, says former Labour Foreign Secretary
Palestinian children deserve a ceasefire. #WorldChildrensDay
— David Miliband (@DMiliband) November 20, 2023
07:24 AM GMT
Mastermind behind Hamas attacks personally handling hostage negotiations
The Hamas leader who masterminded the Oct 7 attacks is personally handling negotiations for a hostage release even as Israeli troops seek to find and kill him.
Yahya Sinwar, who spent 22 years in an Israeli prison, has taken control of the deal and has been in-and-out of touch with Qatari mediators, according to reports.
Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, has described Sinwar as a “dead man”. The terrorist leader has stayed inside Gaza, unlike Hamas’s political-wing which lives in luxurious exile in Qatar and Turkey.
Read more from Nataliya Vasilyeva here