Israel is violating international law by committing war crimes and genocide in besieged Gaza, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa says. / Photo: AP

Tuesday, 21 November, 2023

18:52 GMT Ten people have been killed and 22 others injured in an Israeli strike on a residential apartment in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, according to Hamas media.

The victims and the injured arrived at Nasser Hospital, according to Shehab News Agency on Telegram.

More updates 👇

18:47 GMT Germany reiterates opposition to request ceasefire in Gaza

Germany’s foreign minister reiterated her country’s position to not request a ceasefire in Gaza where the death toll has climbed to more than 14,000 civilians.

Annalena Baerbock defended Germany’s opposition to a ceasefire in the occupied enclave during an interview with German public broadcaster, DW, and emphasised that the priority needs to be getting humanitarian aid to residents.

She pointed to "international responsibility" in the besieged Gaza when Israeli attacks end. "In order to ensure security, we need international responsibility," noted Baerbock.

18:43 GMT UN ready to deliver aid 'more effectively' if Gaza ceasefire reached

The UN is ready to deliver humanitarian aid to the besieged Gaza "more effectively" if a ceasefire is reached between Israel and Palestine, a UN official said.

"It's a little bit premature to talk about, but certainly what we are doing is trying to make sure that we are ready. So if there is any pause in fighting, which is what we've been asking for, we would be able to deliver humanitarian aid more effectively," Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the UN Secretary-General said at the daily news briefing.

18:14 GMT South African parliament passes motion to close Israeli Embassy

South African lawmakers voted in favour of a motion to close the Israeli Embassy in the capital Pretoria and suspend diplomatic ties with Tel Aviv.

"The Israeli Embassy should remain closed until they agree to a ceasefire," the ruling African National Congress party chief whip in parliament Pemmy Majodina said.

"The ongoing war is not a religious war like some people here in parliament want us to believe," she also told the house, while some lawmakers chanted "Free Free Palestine."

17:52 GMT Three doctors killed in strike on north Gaza hospital: MSF

French medical charity Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) said that three doctors, including two of its own, were killed in a strike on the Al Awda Hospital in northern Gaza, saying it was "horrified" by the incident.

"MSF has regularly shared information about Al Awda as a functioning hospital and the presence of its staff in Al Awda to warring parties," it said in a statement.

"GPS coordinates were also shared with Israeli authorities yesterday." It named the doctors as Dr Mahmoud Abu Nujaila (MSF), Dr Ahmad Al Sahar (MSF) and Dr Ziad Al Tatari.

"Seeing doctors killed next to hospital beds is beyond tragic, and this must stop now," it said.

17:39 GMT White House: We believe we are getting closer to a hostage deal in Gaza

The United States is hopeful about getting a hostage deal in the Israel-Palestine conflict and believes the parties are getting closer to an agreement, White House spokesperson John Kirby said.

"We are closer than we've been. We believe we're getting closer," 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."

17:22 GMT WHO employee killed in Gaza alongside family

The World Health Organisation chief 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, without giving further details of how the family died and who was responsible.

More than 5,800 children and 3,920 women have died in the ongoing conflict. Photo: AP

17:03 GMT Palestinian death toll in Gaza surpasses 14,000 — ministry

Officials in Gaza said the death toll in the Palestinian territory has reached 14,128 since the Israeli onslaught began on October 7.

The authorities said 5,840 children and 3,920 women were among the dead, with another 33,000 people wounded.

The Palestinian Health Ministry has previously said it can no longer give exact tolls as intense fighting has prevented bodies from being recovered.

16:53 GMT — Israel guilty of war crimes, genocide in Gaza, says South Africa's president

Israel is violating international law by committing war crimes and genocide in besieged Gaza, South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

"The actions by Israel are in clear violation of international law, including the UN Charter and the Geneva Convention read together with its protocols," Ramaphosa told a special session of the BRICS countries — Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa — to discuss the situation in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

In his opening remarks as chair of the virtual meeting, Ramaphosa said the collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through Israel's unlawful use of force constitutes a war crime.

"The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food, and water to the residents of Gaza is tantamount to genocide," the South African leader told the event, attended by the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.

16:39 GMT Saudi crown prince demands stopping weapon exports to Israel

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman demanded a cessation of weapons exports to Israel during an online extraordinary BRICS summit, according to the Saudi official channel, Al Ekhbariya.

The crown prince noted that ''the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza is deepening day by day, and decisive solutions must be implemented,'' and urged ''an immediate cessation of military operations and the establishment of humanitarian corridors to provide relief to civilians in the enclave.''

“The Kingdom’s stance is constant and firm; there is no way to achieve security and stability in Palestine except through the implementation of international decisions related to the two-state solution,” he said.

16:27 GMT US President Joe Biden has signalled that a deal to free hostages held by Hamas in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and a temporary truce is "now very close."

"We are now very close, very close. We could bring some of these hostages home very soon. But I don’t want to get into the details of things, because nothing is done until it's done," he said at the White House.

"Things are looking good at the moment."

15:49 GMT BRICS nations urge 'durable, sustained' humanitarian truce in Gaza

The leaders of the BRICS group of nations have called for an "immediate" humanitarian truce in Gaza during a summit aimed at drawing up a common response to the Israeli war on the Palestinian enclave.

"We called for an immediate, durable, and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities," the group of major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa said in a statement.

15:47 GMT — Türkiye working to evacuate 50 more patients from Gaza, says health minister

Türkiye said it prepared a list of 50 patients, mostly children, to evacuate from the besieged Gaza, where relentless Israeli attacks have taken place for 46 days.

After Türkiye received two groups of a total of 88 patients from the occupied Palestinian enclave in the past weeks, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said a third evacuation could happen in the coming days.

"The third evacuation may be carried out in the coming days," Koca told Turkish lawmakers at parliament in the capital Ankara, adding that the country's priority was "babies, children, and the injured."

Noting that, along with the 88 patients, Türkiye had received a total of 150 people from Gaza including 62 companions, he said six patients were receiving intensive care.

When asked about the evacuation of premature babies from Gaza, he said they were planning to first evacuate babies under 12 months old and toddlers and children up to 4 years old.

15:29 GMT — EU clears continued development aid to Palestinians

The EU gave the green light to continue development aid to Palestinians after a review found no funds had gone to Hamas, but said tighter controls could be imposed going forward.

"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.

14:47 GMT — Xi urges 'immediate' ceasefire, release of detainees in Israel-Hamas war

Xi Jinping has called for the release of civilian detainees and an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli war on Gaza, state media said, as the Chinese President addressed a virtual summit of fellow BRICS leaders.

"All parties in the conflicts should immediately ceasefire and hostilities, stop all violence and attacks targeting civilians, and release civilian detainees to avoid more loss of lives and suffering," Xi said, according to Beijing's state news agency Xinhua.

"There can be no sustainable peace and security in the Middle East without a just solution to the question of Palestine," Xi said, speaking through an interpreter.

"China calls for an early convening of an international peace conference that is more authoritative to build international consensus for peace," he said.

Such a conference would, Xi added, "work toward an early solution to the question of Palestine that is comprehensive, just, and sustainable".

13:53 GMT — Progress being made to free Gaza hostages: Israel's Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that "we are making progress" on the return of hostages Hamas seized during the October 7 attacks, after mediators said a truce deal was in sight.

"I hope there will be good news soon," Netanyahu told Israeli soldiers at a military base in the north of the country.

Shortly afterwards, his office released a statement saying that "in light of the developments regarding the release of our hostages", the war cabinet, security cabinet, and the government will meet in succession on Tuesday evening.

The comments came after the leader of Hamas and key mediator Qatar both said a truce agreement with Israel was in sight.

Israeli public broadcaster KAN said that Tel Aviv had proposed a prisoner swap deal with Hamas. / Photo: AA

13:32 GMT — South Africa accuses Israel of war crimes and 'genocide'

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa accused Israel of war crimes and "genocide" in Gaza, as he chaired an extraordinary summit of the BRICS group of nations.

Pretoria is hosting a virtual meeting of BRICS - a group of major emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa - aimed at drawing up a common response to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

"The collective punishment of Palestinian civilians through the unlawful use of force by Israel is a war crime. The deliberate denial of medicine, fuel, food, and water to the residents of Gaza is tantamount to genocide," Ramaphosa said.

12:41 GMT — Türkiye expects around 100 more people to evacuate from Gaza to Egypt amid Israeli attacks

Türkiye expects around 100 more people to evacuate through the Rafah Border Crossing to Egypt amid Israeli attacks, according to Turkish diplomatic sources.

The ministry personnel arrived at the Rafah Border Crossing on Tuesday morning, said the sources, adding that if conditions permit, the ministry aims to evacuate approximately 100 more people.

12:28 GMT — Israeli bombardment kills four civilians: Lebanon state media

Israeli bombardment of south Lebanon killed four civilians, two of them journalists, official media said, as Lebanon's Al Mayadeen television said it employed the two reporters.

The Israel-Lebanon border has seen daily exchanges of fire, mainly between Israel and the Iran-backed Hezbollah group, since the Israel-Palestine war began on October 7, raising fears of a broader conflagration.

The state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported "the deaths of three citizens - two journalists and another civilian - in enemy bombing" of the Tair Harfa area.

12:22 GMT — Volume of humanitarian aid to Gaza ‘clearly insufficient’: Russia

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that the volume of humanitarian aid provided to the besieged Gaza amid the ongoing conflict in the region is “clearly insufficient.”

"Today's situation shows how catastrophic it can be to follow a path that ignores international law. We are already seeing catastrophic humanitarian consequences in the Gaza Strip," Lavrov said during a meeting with several of his counterparts from Arab League and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries in Moscow.

He added, "The volume of incoming humanitarian aid is clearly insufficient, and agencies involved in humanitarian assistance within the UN are sounding the alarm.”

Lavrov reiterated Russia’s condemnation of terrorism "in all its manifestations," but also underlined the necessity to fight terrorism using methods that do not take "the form of collective punishment" and "grossly violate the norms of international humanitarian law."

11:55 GMT — 100 patients evacuated from bombarded Indonesian Hospital to southern Gaza

The Palestinian health authorities evacuated some 100 Palestinian patients from the bombarded Indonesian Hospital in the north of the besieged Gaza to Nasser Hospital in the south.

The Palestinian official news agency Wafa quoted medical sources as saying that the evacuation was carried out in coordination with the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

“Still there are 500 patients in the (Indonesian) hospital, and coordination with ICRC is taking place to evacuate them to Nasser Hospital and other hospitals in the south of Gaza,” the sources told Wafa.

11:22 GMT — Two premature babies died before evacuation from Gaza: UN

Two premature babies being cared for at the Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza died before the evacuation of 31 others, the UN has said, adding that most of those who reached Egypt were “unaccompanied”.

WHO spokesperson 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.

Vicinity of 3 hospitals in Gaza - Al Shifa Hospital, Al Quds Hospital, and Indonesian Hospital - targeted by Israel, according to the Health Ministry. / Photo: AA

11:18 GMT - Gaza hospitals out of service

All hospitals in northern Gaza went out of service, coordination is underway to evacuate the besieged Indonesia Hospital, the Palestinian Health Ministry has announced.

Separately the ministry stated that 259 injured people, several civilians and medical personnel are still inside Al Shifa Hospital and there is no date yet for their evacuation.

11:00 GMT - Israeli attack kills elderly woman, journalists in south Lebanon: state media

An Israeli strike killed an elderly woman and wounded her granddaughter in southern Lebanon on Tuesday, state-run media reported.

"Enemy aircraft raided inhabited houses in Kfar Kila, leading to the death of citizen Laiqa Sarhan, 80, and the wounding of her granddaughter," the official National News Agency said.

Israeli bombardment also killed 2 journalists and a civilian, according to state media.

10:28 GMT - Israel recalls ambassador ahead of South African parliamentary vote to shut down Israeli embassy

Israel has recalled its ambassador to South Africa, Eliav Belotserkovsky, back to country “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.

This came ahead of a vote in South Africa's parliament on a motion to shut down the Israeli embassy in Pretoria and cut all ties with Israel until a ceasefire is implemented in Gaza.

Israeli security forces have been carrying out attacks on Gaza since October 7. Photo: Reuters

10:00 GMT - Two more Israeli soldiers killed, 5 injured seriously in Gaza: army

The Israeli army has announced that two more soldiers were killed and five others wounded seriously in ground battles in northern Gaza.

In a statement, the Israeli army identified the two soldiers as Arnon Moshe, 26, and Ilya Senkin, 20, from its Givati Brigade.

It added that five soldiers seriously wounded in battles across Gaza were taken to hospital.

According to the Times of Israel news website, the number of Israeli soldiers killed in the Gaza ground offensive since Oct. 27 reached 68.

09:19 GMT - Israeli army bombs school sheltering displaced people in northern Gaza

As the Israeli onslaught on Gaza enters its 46th day, the Israeli army bombed a school sheltering displaced people in northern Gaza.

According to the official Palestine TV, an Israeli airstrike targeted a school in the al Faluja area in the Jabalia refugee camp leaving several casualties among the displaced Palestinians, most of them children and women.

In overnight raids, the Israeli army bombed nine homes in Beit Lahia town in the north of Gaza, causing casualties.

08:17 GMT - Hezbollah claims Metulla attack

The Lebanese group has claimed responsibility for an attack that targeted a house used by Israeli soldiers in Metulla in northern Israel.

Hezbollah said the strike was in retaliation for Israel's targeting of houses in border villages in southern Lebanon.

In recent days, Hezbollah has increased the number of attacks against Israeli military positions along the border, averaging about 10 a day.

08:11 GMT - Many killed as Israel bombs Nuseirat refugee camp

At least 20 Palestinians were killed in an Israeli bombing of 2 homes in Nuseirat refugee camp, central Gaza, the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Gaza has said.

07:52 GMT - Telecom services completely cut off in Gaza: Wafa

Telecom services were completely cut off in Gaza City, and areas in northern Gaza following the Israeli bombing of telecom towers, Palestine's official news agency Wafa has said.

07: 24 GMT - 2.2 million people in Gaza need urgent food assistance: WFP

The UN's food agency has called for a halt to hostilities in Gaza, home to some 2.3 million people.

"Existing food systems are collapsing, and to reach those in need, WFP and our partners need increased access and resources like fuel, gas, and connectivity," the World Food Programme said.

06:18 GMT — Israeli bombs destroy 83 mosques, damages over 170 in Gaza

A total of 83 mosques have been destroyed by Israeli strikes across the besieged Palestinian enclave since October 7 and an additional 170 have sustained damage, according to government media in Gaza.

Palestinians have accused Israel of deliberately targeting mosques in Gaza for destruction, while Israeli forces have made unsubstantiated claims that mosques have been used by Hamas to shield them from attack.

05:00 GMT - Hamas 'close to reaching truce' with Israel

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said his resistance movement was nearing a truce agreement with Israel, according to a statement posted on Telegram.

"We are close to reaching a deal on a truce," Haniyeh said, according to the post.

Negotiators have been working to seal a deal to allow the release of around 240 mostly Israeli hostages seized on October 7, during the deadliest assault on Israel in its history.

Hamas fighters also killed around 1,200 people during their cross-border attack.

04:17 GMT - WHO official says Gaza hospital situation 'catastrophic'

A top World Health Organization official described the hospital situation in Gaza as “catastrophic”, saying most are no longer functioning and what remains will likely be overwhelmed by thousands of births expected in the next month.

The United Nations briefing came hours after a shell struck the second floor of a hospital in northern Gaza, killing 12 people, according to Gaza's Health Ministry and a medical worker.

03:48 GMT — Young Palestinian man succumbs to his wounds from Israeli fire in Jenin

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that a young Palestinian man succumbed to wounds he sustained from Israeli forces two weeks ago in the northern occupied West Bank.

In a statement, the ministry identified the man as Mohammad Owais, 25, who died from critical wounds inflicted by Israeli forces in the city of Jenin.

The latest Palestinian victim brings the death toll in the occupied West Bank since October 7 to 217 in addition to 2,850 injured, according to the Health Ministry.

03:01 GMT - Qatar calls for formation of intl committee to probe Israeli crimes in Gaza

Qatar’s Foreign Ministry called Monday for the formation of an international committee to look into "the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation against civilians in Gaza."

The country’s stance was made in a statement condemning the Israeli bombing of the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza which left several Palestinians dead and injured.

The Foreign Ministry considered the bombing of the Indonesian Hospital "an extension of the (Israeli) occupation's approach in targeting hospitals, schools and population centers" across Gaza, which is a "blatant violation" of international law and the Geneva Convention.

02:50 GMT - Jordan’s king, top EU official discuss Israeli onslaught on Gaza

Jordan’s King Abdullah II and European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell held discussions on Israel’s onslaught against Gaza.

King Abdullah met with Borrell in the capital Amman, according to a statement by the Jordanian Royal Court

It said the Jordanian monarch highlighted "the need to work intensively to stop the war on Gaza (and to) end the (Israeli) siege" imposed on the Palestinian enclave.

He also stressed the necessity "to ensure the delivery of food, medicine, water and fuel" for Palestinians in Gaza.

For our live updates from Monday (November 20), click here.

TRT Afrika and agencies