But Palestine says granting it a full membership in the UN "would alleviate some of the historical injustices endured by the Palestinian people. / Photo: AA

Thursday, April 18, 2024

18:03 GMT — The US has said it will vote against on a UN Security Council resolution granting the observer state of Palestine full membership at the UN.

"It remains the US view that the most expeditious path toward statehood is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, with the support of the US and other partners," State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel told reporters.

"The United States is voting no on this proposed Security Council resolution," Patel said before a Security Council vote on a draft resolution presented by Algeria.

18:55 GMT — Spain argues for the recognition of a Palestinian state in UN

The Spanish foreign minister made an impassioned plea for the international community to recognise the state of Palestine during the UN Security Council debate.

Jose Manuel Albares said the establishment of a Palestinian state, and its recognition as a full UN member, is not only a “question of justice” but the “only viable option for peace.”

"The risk of regional escalation is more pressing than ever, there is no alternative other than to direct our efforts towards a political solution," he said.

17:54 GMT — Full UN membership to 'alleviate historical injustices': Palestine

Palestine's representative at the UN Security Council has said granting Palestine a full membership in the UN "would alleviate some of the historical injustices endured by the Palestinian people," state news agency Wafa reported.

Ziad Abu Amr, UN special representative of the observer state of Palestine, made his statement ahead of voting on the Palestine membership bid at the Security Council.

Abu Amr said granting Palestine the full membership "would open broad prospects for achieving genuine peace and safeguarding the two-state solution."

17:36 GMT — Circumstances in Gaza still dire and more needs to be done: US

The humanitarian circumstances in Gaza are still dire and Israel needs to do more to allow more aid into the strip and coordinate with aid agencies on deconfliction, State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel has said.

"There has been some measurable progress that we've seen when it comes to humanitarian aid getting into Gaza," Patel told a press briefing. "But the circumstances within Gaza continue to be dire and more absolutely needs to be done. The crisis that we're seeing demands rapid expansion of these efforts."

17:32 GMT — Palestinians 'prey to violent acts' in occupied West Bank: Switzerland

Switzerland has condemned the violence of illegal Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, saying that those perpetrators must be held accountable.

"We must not lose sight of the situation in the West Bank, where violence has reached record levels," Pascale Baeriswyl, Swiss envoy to the UN, told a Security Council meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question.

Recalling last weekend's attacks against Palestinians around Ramallah and Nablus, she said: "The Palestinian population in particular is prey to violent acts by Israeli settlers."

16:48 GMT — Algeria pushes for Palestinian UN membership, urges two-state solution

Algeria has called for granting Palestine full membership in the United Nations Security Council.

"The time has come to make Palestine a fully recognised state in the United Nations,” Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf said during a UN session to vote on a draft resolution presented by Algeria, calling for Palestine’s full membership in the United Nations.

He added: "The Palestinians have a historic right to establish their state, and the Security Council has a historical responsibility to take urgent action to enforce the two-state solution."

16:42 GMT — Israel involved in illegal settler actions: Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused the Israeli military of involvement in illegal Israeli settler attacks in the occupied West Bank, resulting in the displacement of 20 communities, with at least seven communities entirely uprooted since Oct. 7, 2023.

HRW investigated attacks that forcibly displaced all residents of Khirbet Zanuta and Khirbet al-Ratheem south of Hebron, al-Qanub east of Hebron, and Ein al-Rashash and Wadi al-Seeq, east of Ramallah, in October and November 2023.

A report by HRW highlighted illegal Israeli settlers' acts against Palestinians during the ongoing hostilities in Gaza, including assaults, torture, sexual violence, theft, death threats, and demolitions of homes and schools.

16:40 GMT — Turkish president calls for unified Western response against Israel's actions in Gaza

The Turkish president has urged a united response from Western countries on Israel's actions in Gaza, just like they reacted to Iran's recent retaliatory strikes.

"We've seen Western countries respond unanimously to Iran's retaliation. Same actors now need to unite in telling Israel 'enough'," Recep Tayyip Erdogan told a joint news conference with his Tanzanian counterpart Samia Suluhu Hassan in Ankara.

15:37 GMT — Houthis claim attacks on 98 vessels since start of campaign

Yemen's Houthi have said they have attacked almost 100 vessels in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden in months of strikes that have disrupted global shipping.

In a speech broadcast Al-Masira channel, Houthi leader Abdel Malek al Houthi announced new attacks against eight ships, adding that "the total number of enemy-linked vessels targeted has reached 98".

The attacks on vessels deemed linked to Israel or its allies have had "a massive effect and have been a success", the rebel leader said.

UN Secretary-General reiterates calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. / Photo: AFP

14:35 GMT — Palestinian football body urges FIFA to terminate Israel's membership

The Palestinian Football Association (PFA) has urged FIFA to expel the Israel Football Association (IFA) from the Zurich-based organization because of that country’s human rights violations in Gaza.

PFA demanded the termination of the IFA's membership due to their continued inclusion of football teams in the territory of another association, Palestine, in their national league, it said in an application.

"All the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed or seriously damaged, including the historic stadium of Al Yarmuk, which was turned by the Israeli occupation into a concentration camp, as documented by more than one international organisation. Israeli bulldozers dug up the pitch just to destroy it," it said.

14:30 GMT — Israel kills 485 health workers in Gaza since Oct. 7: media office

Since Oct.7, 485 health workers and 66 civil defence officials have been killed in the Israeli attacks on Gaza.

A statement by the Media Office in Gaza reported that the Israeli army "has committed 3,002 massacres in Gaza Strip since Oct. 7."

The statement stated that 14,685 children and 9,670 women were killed in the Israeli army's attacks on the coastal enclave, and 7,000 people were under the rubble or missing.

It underlined that 72 percent of the victims of Israeli attacks are women and children.

14:27 GMT — Palestinians exhume bodies from mass graves at Gaza hospital

Thirty bodies of Palestinians were recovered from two mass graves at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the government media office has said.

The Israeli army launched a 14-day military raid on the hospital, the largest in Gaza, last month before withdrawing from there on April 1.

"The bodies were found in two graves outside the emergency and kidney departments at the hospital," Salama Marouf, head of the media office, said in a statement. He said 12 of the victims have been identified.

"Women, elderly people and wounded patients were among the extracted bodies," Marouf said. "Some of the victims were handcuffed and stripped of their clothes, which indicates that they were executed in cold blood," he added.

14:13 GMT — Israel's war on Gaza created 'humanitarian hellscape' — UN chief

Israel's war on Gaza created 'humanitarian hellscape' — UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has reiterated his call for a ceasefire in Gaza.

"I reiterate my calls for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate release of all hostages held in Gaza," Guterres said.

"In Gaza, six and a half months of Israeli military operations have created a humanitarian hellscape," he lamented, and while he said Israel had made "limited progress" on allowing more aid into the territory, he called for more to be done.

"Our aid operations are barely functional. They cannot operate in an organised, systematic way; they can only seize opportunities to deliver aid whenever and wherever possible," he said.

Health ministry in Gaza has said that at least 71 people have been killed in the last 24 hours./ Photo: Reuters

11:39 GMT — Death toll from Israel's war on Gaza rises to 33,970

The Health Ministry in Gaza has said that at least 33,970 people have been killed in the territory during more than six months of Israel's war on Gaza.

The toll includes at least 71 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 76,770 people have been wounded in Gaza since the war began on October 7.

11:55 GMT — Thousands lack proper healthcare services in northern Gaza: ministry

More than 730,000 people lack proper healthcare services in northern Gaza, the Health Ministry has warned.

"The Israeli occupation deliberately destroyed the healthcare system in Gaza City and the northern provinces," ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al Qudra said in a statement.

He said the destruction of al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical facility in Gaza, "has dealt a deadly blow to the healthcare system in Gaza." "This has left more than 730,000 people in northern Gaza without real healthcare services," he added.

11:44 GMT — UN experts express 'deep' concern over 'systemic destruction' of schools in Gaza

UN experts have expressed "deep" concern over attacks on schools, universities, teachers, and students in Gaza, raising alarm over the "systemic destruction" of the Palestinian education system.

"With more than 80 percent of schools in Gaza damaged or destroyed, it may be reasonable to ask if there is an intentional effort to comprehensively destroy the Palestinian education system, an action known as 'scholasticide'," the experts said in a statement.

The term "scholasticide" refers to a "systemic obliteration of education through the arrest, detention or killing of teachers, students and staff, and the destruction of educational infrastructure," they said.

11:17 GMT — Irish activist accuses European Commission head of ‘enabling genocide’ in Gaza

A prominent Irish activist and author, has attempted to put European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen under "citizen arrest," accusing her of "enabling genocide" in Gaza.

"In my opinion, Ursula von der Leyen should be arrested by the real law and order authorities for enabling the genocide in Gaza. Genocide is regarded as the worst possible crime. And she did enable the genocide in Gaza with the trip she made in October, and indeed by subsequent statements that she had reiterated her total solidarity for Israel as it commits genocide in Gaza," he told Anadolu.

10:35 GMT — Chinese top envoy criticises US role in Gaza talks

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi attacked the United States for earlier blocking United Nations resolutions calling for a ceasefire in Gaza after a meeting with his counterpart in Indonesia.

The Chinese and Indonesian foreign ministers reiterated their countries' calls for an immediate and lasting ceasefire in Gaza after a meeting in Jakarta, condemning the humanitarian costs of Israel's ongoing war.

10:25 GMT — Israel arrests dozens more Palestinians in military raids in occupied West Bank

At least 40 more Palestinians were detained in Israeli military raids in the occupied West Bank, according to prisoners’ affairs groups.

Several children were among the detainees, the Commission of Detainees’ Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoner Society said in a joint statement.

The new wave of arrests brought to 8,310 the number of Palestinians detained by the Israeli army in the West Bank since last October, according to Palestinian figures.

10:10 GMT — Israeli army leaves trail of destruction in Gaza refugee camp

The Israeli army withdrew from the Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, leaving behind the bodies of several Palestinians and a trail of destruction, the Palestinian Civil Defense Agency said.

The Israeli army withdrew from the northern part of the camp on Wednesday following an 8-day military assault.

“Several victims were retrieved by civil defense teams, while many others are still under the rubble,” the agency said in a statement.

The civil defense agency said heavy machinery is needed to extract the bodies of dead people from under the debris of destroyed buildings.

According to Gaza’s government media office, 75 people were killed, 348 injured and 100 others went missing during the Israeli operation, in addition to the destruction of 13,000 housing units in the camp.

09:11 GMT Egypt, Bahrain call for Gaza ceasefire, full UN membership for Palestine

Egypt and Bahrain have called for a ceasefire in Gaza, which has been witnessing an Israeli war for over six months, and for Palestine to be accepted as a full member of the UN.

This came during a meeting between Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al Sisi and Bahrain's King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, according to the Bahrain News Agency.

The two emphasised the “need to de-escalate the situation in the region and adopt tangible political, diplomatic solutions to meet the aspirations of the region’s peoples for more security, stability and prosperity,” it said.

Gazan teams, civil defense, crime scene investigation, and forensics continue to carry out investigation at the scene after Israeli siege and attacks that completely destroyed Gaza's Al-Shifa Hospital / Photo: AA

05:23 GMT — UNRWA warns against its dismantling as sought by Israel

Dismantling the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, as sought by Israel, would accelerate besieged Gaza's slide into starvation and doom generations of children to despair, the organisation's head warned.

Director Philippe Lazzarini told the UN Security Council that the agency is the backbone of UN humanitarian operations in Gaza.

Referring to Israel, he said there is an "insidious campaign" under way to dismantle UNRWA and that this would have lasting consequences.

04:40 GMT — Israel kills seven civilians in Rafah strikes

Seven civilians, including a woman and three children, have been killed in Israeli air strikes in southern Gaza, Palestine's official news agency reported.

WAFA citing its correspondent said Israeli warplanes targeted a site and a residential structure sheltering displaced persons in the city of Rafah, killing seven civilians, including a woman and three children.

04:21 GMT — Uncertainty surrounds UN Palestinian membership vote

The Security Council vote on the Palestinians' bid to become a full member state of the United Nations is expected to occur Thursday or Friday, diplomats said, as discussions continued.

Several diplomatic sources had told the AFP news agency earlier that the vote would take place on Thursday, but the situation has since changed with some member states asking for a Friday vote.

No firm decision had been taken, according to several diplomatic sources.

03:26 GMT — Algeria gives UNRWA $15 mln as exceptional fund, state TV says

Algeria has given the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) a $15 million exceptional fund, Algerian state TV said early.

UNRWA provides aid and essential services to Palestinian refugees in besieged Gaza, the Israeli-occupied West Bank and across the wider region.

02:30 GMT — Türkiye expresses 'solid, unwavering' support for UNRWA

Türkiye expressed its solid and unwavering support for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).

Speaking at a UN Security Council session on the situation in the Middle East, including the Palestinian question, Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz conveyed his appreciation to UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini for "his efforts to fulfil UNRWA's mandate under extremely challenging circumstances."

Noting that "the suffering in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is at unprecedented levels," Yildiz stressed that the occupied West Bank "is under immense tension with settler violence and growing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people."

With illegal settlements, the demolition of houses, expulsions and land confiscations continuing daily, he reminded that at least 7,000 people had been arrested since October 7 "for no reason."

"Gaza faces the most formidable man-made disaster in modern ages. Unseen destruction and massacres take place before our eyes. It is tormenting, heart-breaking," he stressed.

Expressing Türkiye's "solid, unwavering" support for UNRWA, he further called on member states to "ensure that UNRWA continues its critical work."

For our live updates from Wednesday, April 17, click here.

TRT Afrika and agencies