Netanyahu says there is no deal to release hostages
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a news briefing today that there has been no deal to release the over 200 hostages taken by Hamas on Oct. 7.
“There was no offer and there was no deal,” he said. “We want to bring back as many hostages as possible, and we are united in our interests here, we made the decision unanimously. There is fake news all the time.”
Last week, Netanyahu told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that there “could be” a potential hostage deal with Hamas but declined to give any further details, saying doing so could thwart the delicate negotiations to free those taken captive by the militant group.
Netanyahu says Israel will continue fighting until it destroys Hamas and brings the hostages home, adding that while the U.S. has stood with the country and sent ammunition, “the whole world is pressuring against us.”
“In most cases we pushed them back,” Netanyahu said. “They said no ground incursion into Gaza, they said no to fighting in Gaza City, and they said no to operating in Shifa — and we did. They pressured us to agree to a full cease-fire — we refused.”
“We insist on our interests, and we achieve the political space for continuing the operation,” he said.
Biden urges international community to pursue postwar ‘interim security measures’ in Gaza
President Joe Biden has called on the international community to help Gaza by providing resources and helping to manage security in the region in the direct aftermath of the war.
“The international community must commit resources to support the people of Gaza in the immediate aftermath of this crisis, including interim security measures, and establish a reconstruction mechanism to sustainably meet Gaza’s long-term needs,” Biden wrote in an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Sunday. “And it is imperative that no terrorist threats ever again emanate from Gaza or the West Bank.”
The U.S. and Israel have tried to present a united front publicly, but a divide was exposed after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said earlier this month that Israel would have a postwar security role in Gaza for an indefinite period.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken quickly pushed back, emphasizing that the U.S. would not accept any suggestion of a reoccupation of the Gaza Strip or a blockade of the enclave. Blinken also laid out his most detailed vision yet for the future of Gaza, saying it “must include Palestinian-led governance and Gaza unified with the West Bank under the Palestinian Authority.”
Israel is ready if Hezbollah ‘makes a mistake,’ says Israeli Defense Minister
Israeli Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant said the country is “ready on land, in the air, and at sea” if Hezbollah “makes a mistake.”
Gallant held an operational situation assessment today at the Israel Defense Forces’ Northern Command with the head of the command, Maj. Gen. Uri Gordin, as well as Maj. Gen. Yitzhak Gershon and other senior officials.
“We have established a policy of conducting ‘active defense’ and attacking Hezbollah’s offensive infrastructure. We will reach the goal of ensuring that residents of northern [Israel] will feel secure,” he said during the assessment.
Gallant was briefed on IDF activities conducted in defense of Israel’s northern communities and held a discussion with the troops.
“At this time, IDF troops are operating in the south, [fulfilling their missions] successfully and operating precisely and forcefully. Here in the north, we have adopted a policy of active defense — exacting a price against every threat — from the air and from the ground, with great force.”
Gallant said the military has hit Hezbollah infrastructure.
“If Hezbollah makes a mistake, we will know what to do — we are ready on land, in the air, and at sea,” he said. “Our intelligence is watching developments, and together we are able to face any challenge.”
Deputy assistant to Biden dismisses talk of cease-fire, calls for hostage release
BAHRAIN — It was standing room only at the IISS Manama Dialogue 2023, an annual defense and security conference in Bahrain, as Brett McGurk, the deputy assistant to the president and National Security Council coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa, laid out U.S. objectives in an early-morning panel discussion.
McGurk dismissed calls for a cease-fire, arguing “simply calling a cease-fire is not a path to peace,” and argued instead for the release of the 240 hostages. “Such a release of such a large number of hostages would result in a significant pause in fighting and a massive surge of humanitarian relief,” McGurk said.
McGurk also took time to outline five “no’s” as far as the U.S. government is concerned with respect to Gaza: “First, there must be no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza; second, there must be no reoccupation of Gaza; third, there must be no reduction of the territory of Gaza. This is Palestinian land, and it must remain Palestinian land. Fourth, Gaza must not be used as a platform for terrorism or other violent acts. That means no threats to Israel from Gaza. Finally, there must be no besiegement of Gaza. The innocent people of Gaza must be separated from Hamas; they are not responsible for its crimes.”
But that vision failed to sway some in the region. Several hours later, a sharply worded address by Saudi Arabia’s elder statesman Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud challenged the U.S. “There is a narrative that if Hamas releases the hostages, then we can move forward on humanitarian support and humanitarian pauses in the fight,” he said. “[T]his conflict did not begin on Oct. 7, 2023. So what about those Palestinians who have been incarcerated in Israeli jails before then, without due process? And without legal recourse? What about their fate? Are they also going to be included in this quid pro quo.”
Prince Turki reserved his strongest criticism for Israel, likening its military operation in Gaza to a “genocide” and referring to an extreme right-wing Israeli minister’s threat to use nuclear weapons on the Palestinian territory as “recklessness.”
While many conference delegates debated the fate of Gaza post-military operation, the former head of the Saudi General Intelligence Directorate focused on what happens inside Israel. “There is also no mention of the day after, as there is about Gaza, about Israel,” said the prince. “Is this government going to continue after the day, the day after the fighting stops? You can imagine what’s going to happen there. They’re going to be even more awful, more right-wing, and more extremist than they are today.”
Russia evacuates 120 citizens and members of their families to Moscow
The Russian Ministry of Emergency Situations said it will evacuate 120 Russian citizens and members of their families to Moscow, according to a statement.
“Earlier today, two convoys of buses delivered more than 220 people to the department’s operational headquarters in Cairo,” the ministry said. “The first group has been formed for dispatch by plane, which is already heading to Cairo Airport for further flight to Moscow.”
The ministry has evacuated more than 500 people from Gaza, it said.
In march on Jerusalem, thousands press Israeli government to do more to free Hamas hostages
JERUSALEM — Thousands of family members and supporters of some 240 hostages held in Gaza streamed into Jerusalem on Saturday, castigating Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over his handling of the war with Hamas and pleading with the government to do more to bring their loved ones home.
The march capped a five-day trek from Tel Aviv and represented the largest protest on behalf of the hostages since they were dragged into Gaza by Hamas on Oct. 7 as part of the militants’ deadly attack in southern Israel. About 1,200 people were killed in Israel on the day of the surprise Hamas assault.
Israel declared war in response, and more than 11,500 Palestinians have been killed in the past six weeks as the Israeli military conducts a punishing air and ground offensive in Gaza, where Hamas militants have ruled for the past 16 years.
Israeli leaders have set two objectives — to crush Hamas and to bring the hostages home.
Some of the hostage families have said they fear that the military offensive endangers their loved ones. Israeli leaders, in turn, have argued that only military pressure on Hamas will lead to some hostage releases in a possible deal involving a temporary cease-fire.
On Saturday, the marchers carried Israeli flags and photos of the hostages as they finished the 70-kilometer (45-mile) walk to Jerusalem and slowly converged on Netanyahu’s office.
34 premature babies at Al-Shifa hospital, according to Palestinian Health Ministry
There are now 34 premature babies at Al-Shifa hospital, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in the West Bank.
Yesterday, there were 36 premature babies at the hospital, Dr. Ahmed Mokhallalati, a plastic surgeon at the facility, told NBC News.
Around six days ago, there were 42 premature babies at the hospital, Mokhallalati said.
In a news briefing today, Palestinian Authority Health Minister Dr. Mai Al-Kaila asked how long it would take before the international community takes action against Israel’s operations at hospitals.
“How long will the hospitals, including the patients and medical teams in Gaza and the West Bank, remain hostage to the machine of aggression, destruction, targeting and siege by the Israeli occupation army without oversight, accountability or questioning before the eyes and ears of the international community, knowing that there is no hospital in the Gaza Strip that has the capacity to accommodate and treat them, holding the occupation authorities fully responsible for their lives,” she said.
The health ministry says Israel is “still wreaking havoc in all the various departments” of Al-Shifa hospital, where it said the IDF issued an evacuation order this morning. The IDF has not confirmed that it issued the evacuation order.
Grief over those killed in southern Gaza
People mourn as they collect the bodies of Palestinians killed in airstrikes in Khan Younis, Gaza, on Saturday.
Gaza death toll surpasses 12,300, Gaza media office says
The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 12,300, according to the media office of the Hamas-controlled government.
This includes 5,000 children and more than 3,000 women. There are 6,000 reports of people who are thought to be under the rubble, the media office said.
Around 30,000 people have been injured and 1.5 million have been displaced, according to the media office.
In the West Bank, 212 people have been killed and 2,800 people have been injured, according to Palestinian Authority Health Minister Dr. Mai Al-Kaila.
Netanyahu: Israel has ‘not been successful’ in minimizing civilian casualties
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again blamed Hamas for the death of civilians as Israel continues its bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza.
He reiterated in an interview with CBS News that Israel issued evacuation orders and dropped leaflets warning civilians to leave areas in Gaza. Netanyahu said, however, that they have not succeeded in avoiding civilian casualties.
“The other thing that I can say is that we’ll try to finish that job with minimal civilian casualties,” he said. “That’s what we’re trying to do. Minimal civilian casualties. But unfortunately, we’re not successful.”
IDF says it is ‘expanding’ its operation in Gaza
Israel’s military is “expanding operational activities in additional neighbourhoods” of Gaza City by ground and air, it said in a statement Saturday, as its war with Hamas enters its sixth week.
The IDF said that over the past day its forces had entered Jabalia, a refugee camp north of Gaza City, and Al-Zaytoun, a densely populated area in the city’s south. It also entered Sheikh Ijlin and Rimal, two neighborhoods on the outskirts of Al-Zaytoun, the statement said.
In their attacks, the IDF said its forces killed “numerous terrorists” and damaged significant infrastructure, including “underground infrastructure.” The areas targeted were operating centers for different battalions and divisions of Hamas, according to the statement. NBC News was not able to independently verify this claim.
Over 12,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Oct. 7, according to Palestinian officials.
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators rally in Washington, D.C.
Pro-Palestinian protesters gathered at Union Station in Washington, D.C., on Friday night, chanting “cease-fire now” and “the occupation has got to go.”
Humanitarian cease-fire cannot wait, U.N. official says
A humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip “cannot wait any longer,” said Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner general of the United Nations’ refugee works agency in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Lazzarini said he had received “horrifying” images and footage of people killed in a UNRWA school sheltering displaced people in Gaza’s north.
“These attacks cannot become commonplace, they must stop,” Lazzarini said.
Though Lazzarini did not name the school, earlier Saturday a director of a hospital in Jabalia refugee camp said dozens of people had been killed in an attack on the camp’s Al-Fakhoura school.
Drone strikes reportedly hit U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria
Iran-backed Shiite militias in Iraq said that they used two drones to attack U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria.
Officials in Kurdistan, a region in northern Iraq, reported that an attack caused a fire at a base in in Erbil province, where U.S. forces lead an anti-ISIS coalition.
The Department of Defense confirmed there were attacks on bases and that injuries were reported. NBC News could not independently confirm the attacks or injuries.
On Thursday, Deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh said that there had been 58 attacks on U.S. service members in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 17.
“All of which have been unsuccessful,” she said. “They have not caused significant damage to infrastructure and they have not caused significant injury to any of our service members. And all of our service members who have been injured have all returned to duty.”
Hezbollah says it fired on Israeli barracks; IDF says it retaliated with artillery fire
Hezbollah targeted the Ramim military barracks in strikes with rockets and artillery shells, achieving direct hits, according to a statement released Saturday from the Lebanon-based, Iran-backed militant group.
The strikes were “in support of our resilient Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip,” the group said in a statement.
Separately, the IDF said in a statement that 25 launches had been identified near Kibbutz Sasa and Moshav Shtula in northern Israel, and that they were retaliating with artillery fire. No injuries were reported, the statement added.
International officials and experts are concerned that mounting tensions between Hezbollah and Israel could culminate in a wider regional conflict.
Doctor says bodies from Al-Fakhoura school have arrived at hospitals
The bodies of “dozens” of people who were killed in an attack on Al-Fakhoura school have arrived at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza, said Dr. Ahmed Al-Kahlout, the hospital’s director.
He said that among the dead were women and children. It was not possible to release the number of the dead, Al-Kahlout added, “because bodies are everywhere.” More people had been taken to the Indonesian Hospital in the camp, he said.
An official statement from Hamas blamed Israel for the strike and said it would be “held accountable.” NBC News could not immediately verify the source of the attack.
U.N. says Israel approves some fuel deliveries; much more needed
The United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees says Israel has approved half of the minimum amount of fuel needed to conduct humanitarian operations in Gaza, and that much more is needed.
“Following long weeks of delay, Israeli Authorities approved only half of the daily minimum requirements of fuel for humanitarian operations in Gaza,” the UNRWA said in a statement on Saturday.
The lack of fuel imposed on Gaza since the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack, in addition to the Israeli airstrikes and ground invasion, have created huge hardships for the civilian population. Israeli officials maintain that Hamas militants siphon off much of the fuel sent to the enclave.
“This is far from enough to cover the needs for desalination plants, sewage pumps, hospitals, water pumps in shelters, aid trucks, ambulances, bakeries and communications networks to work without interruption,” the UNRWA said in a statement.
Hamas says it took hostages to hospitals
Hamas’ military wing has said it sent some of the more than 200 people taken hostage during the Oct. 7 terror attack to intensive care units for treatment to “preserve their lives.”
“We transferred a number of them to care centers to receive treatment due to the seriousness of their health condition,” the Al-Qassam Brigades said in a post on Telegram yesterday.
Hamas was responding to videos from Israel indicating that the militant group was keeping hostages in hospitals. Israel has repeatedly said that Hamas maintains command centers and kept hostages in hospitals and tunnels beneath them, a claim the group denies.
Yesterday, the bodies of two hostages were recovered in the vicinity of Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza, the IDF said.
‘We have nothing left,’ Khan Younis resident says amid destroyed home
Gaza resident Huda Mubasher described sitting in her living room with her husband when a recent airstrike hit her home in Khan Younis.
“Suddenly something fell on us and I found stones in my mouth, I couldn’t breathe or speak,” she told Reuters. “My daughter was calling me and I was moving my hands, I told her I’m not feeling well. I put my hand in my mouth and I removed the stones from my mouth and ears and I told my daughter that I am alive.”
Images from the city showed residences now reduced to piles of rubble, belongings and damaged furniture strewn on the street.
Sonia Mubasher was sitting on a bed with her cats.
“My cat’s name is Malika and she sleeps here, next to me and my mother, I used put these blankets for her and keep her warm, but now where do I put her?” she said. “The house is damaged, we have nothing left.”
Jewish and Muslim students at this large state university say they don’t always feel safe
As the country grapples with a surge in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents, federal agencies and university administrators are struggling to walk a fine line between providing security on college campuses and protecting free speech.
In many cases, schools have been reluctant to intervene to stop speech that could be perceived as threatening to one group but an expression of free speech to another. Even inside the Biden administration, representatives from the White House and the Homeland Security, Justice and Education departments have had lengthy debates about how to strike the right balance, two administration officials tell NBC News.
At the main campus of the University of Connecticut in rural Storrs, students from the Muslim Student Association, Students for Justice in Palestine and the Hillel center for Jewish students all said they have received calls from parents who are worried about their safety.
Read the full story here.
Red Crescent says medical teams trapped in Gaza hospital
NABLUS, West Bank — Palestine Red Crescent Society emergency medical teams remain trapped at Al-Ahli Hospital in northern Gaza for the third consecutive day amid occasional heavy bombardment and gunfire by Israeli soldiers, the organization says.
“We demand that the international community intervenes immediately to protect our teams and other medical teams who are now in danger,” the organization said in a statement.
Airstrikes hit Khan Younis in southern Gaza, killing more than two dozen
More than two dozen Palestinians were killed after Israeli airstrikes hit residential blocks in Khan Younis on Saturday, Reuters reported, citing Palestinian health officials.
The Israeli military earlier reiterated calls for citizens to evacuate parts of the city in southern Gaza, as its armed forces pushed beyond the northern part of the territory.
An Israeli military statement released Saturday did not mention airstrike locations, only saying that over the past 24 hours its air force hit dozens of targets in Gaza including militants, command centers, rocket launch sites and munitions factories.
Evacuations and airstrikes in Rafah
The sky over Rafah, in southern Gaza, is scattered with flyers this morning (top), and a pair of siblings sit in the debris of their home following an airstrike today.
‘Stop hindering humanitarian efforts,’ says E.U. crisis management chief
“I most strongly urge the parties involved to stop hindering humanitarian efforts and ensure sufficient & non-interrupted delivery of fuel into #Gaza to humanitarian organisations as well as to turn back on communications which are crucial for delivery of life-saving assistance,” the European commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarčič, said in a post on X yesterday.
Some communications in Gaza were restored this morning, according to Jawwal, the main cellular communications network in the occupied Palestinian territories. Gaza has been subject to several communications blackouts since the start of the conflict. Humanitarian workers in the area have repeatedly warned that blackouts interrupt crucial medical and lifesaving work.
Israel also approved limited deliveries of fuel into the strip yesterday, according to Reuters.
Doctor says Israeli military has ‘stolen’ 200 hundred bodies from Al-Shifa
TEL AVIV — Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati described Al-Shifa hospital, where he is the head of plastic surgery, in northern Gaza as being in a “horrible, totally terrifying situation.”
“The other issue that the Israeli forces have gone to the hospital and they have stolen around 200 dead bodies from the hospital,” he said on Thursday. “If you remember, we have the big issue with the dead bodies within the hospital area. We are unable to bury them.”
NBC News could not confirm the claims that the IDF took the bodies without permission. Israeli officials were not immediately available for comment on the report.
Information missteps have led to questions about Israel’s credibility
Alongside its fight with Hamas, Israel is fighting another battle: to convince the world, and chiefly the United States, that this is a just war.
Israel’s public-relations machine has gone into overdrive in recent weeks to make the case that its pummeling of Gaza has been necessary and conducted in a way meant to minimize civilian deaths. It has allowed journalists, including those from NBC News, to embed with its soldiers in Gaza, maintained a steady drumbeat of social media posts, and made Israeli representatives available for TV appearances.
But in doing so, it has released several pieces of inaccurate or disputed information including claiming that an Arabic calendar was a shift schedule for Hamas kidnappers, and using curtains as evidence that hostage videos had been filmed in a hospital.
The widespread reaction calling out these questionable pieces of evidence has weakened Israel’s credibility, according to some experts, and could lead to a boy-who-cried-wolf situation unless concrete evidence for a Hamas headquarters is found beneath Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, one of Israel’s key contentions at this stage of the war.
“The irony is they might find something and nobody is going to believe them,” said H.A. Hellyer, a senior associate fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington, D.C., think tank. “At this point their credibility is shot.”
Read the full story here.
Mourning the dead in Khan Younis
A man kisses the shrouded body of a relative who was killed in an airstrike in the southern city of Khan Younis today.
Hundreds gather for a funeral procession in the West Bank after overnight airstrike
NABLUS, West Bank — In the outskirts of the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, hundreds of people, many wearing black, line the streets as they wait for the funeral processions of several people reported killed in an airstrike overnight. Gunshots were fired into the air as part of the procession, as the first body was carried through the crowds.
One man, a 20-year-old wearing all black, told NBC News it was the first time he had seen what he believes was a drone strike at the Balata refugee camp. He said he was afraid that what’s happening in Gaza will happen in the West Bank.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said a number of people were killed in a strike on a building in the Balata refugee camp. NBC News was not immediately able to independently verify the details of the strike or the death toll.
The Israel Defense Forces said its aircraft struck a “hideout that was used by terrorists involved in the planning of imminent terror attacks against Israeli civilians and military targets.”
It said that alongside those targeted in the strike, Mohammad Zahid, “a senior terrorist in the city of Nablus was killed.”
One 20-year-old waiting for the procession told NBC News it was his understanding that militants were killed, but he said he believed at least one person not a militant.
The IDF said Zahid was involved in a number of shooting attacks in the area of Nablus and “planned terror activities, including a shooting attack in Jerusalem in April 2023, in which two Israeli civilians were injured.”
The IDF said that during counterterrorism activity in the Balata camp, an explosive devices manufacturing laboratory was also identified and struck, while IDF engineering vehicles “exposed IEDs located underneath and beside roads in order to hit IDF soldiers.”
Gaza should be governed by Palestinian Authority after war, European Comission says
Josep Borrell, vice president for the European Commission, says he met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at a regional security summit in Manama, Bahrain, where they discussed ways to end the fighting between Israel and Hamas and the need to invest in a two-state solution.
“We need to support the Palestinian Authority to return to Gaza,” Borrell said on X today, adding that this was a “medium term” goal following the need for aid in Gaza, humanitarian pauses, and the release of hostages. In a separate post, he added that the E.U. would “do its part” in “redoubling efforts” to ensure security for both Palestinians and Israelis.
The Palestinian Authority has not been in control of the Gaza Strip since its collapse in the area in 2007, after Hamas won local elections and the militants ousted the authority during the Battle of Gaza.
Jordan minister doubts Israel can wipe out Hamas
Jordan’s foreign minister said on Saturday that he did not understand how Israel’s goal of obliterating the Palestinian militant group Hamas it is fighting in Gaza could be achieved.
“Israel says it wants to wipe out Hamas. There’s a lot of military people here, I just don’t understand how this objective can be realized,” said Ayman Safadi.
He warned Jordan would do “whatever it takes to stop” the displacement of Palestinians, amid heavy Israeli bombardment of the Hamas-run Gaza Strip in retaliation for an Oct. 7 attack by Hamas and other Islamist militants.
IDF denies it ordered evacuation of Al-Shifa hospital
The Israeli military today denied reports it tried to force patients and medical staff at Al-Shifa hospital in northern Gaza to evacuate, and instead has “acceded to the request” of its director to help Palestinians who wanted to leave the complex.
“At no point, did the IDF order the evacuation of patients or medical teams and in fact proposed that any request for medical evacuation will be facilitated by the IDF,” a statement added today. “Medical personnel will remain in the hospital to support patients who are unable to evacuate.”
According to earlier unverified reports circulating on social media, Israeli forces had given people in Al-Shifa one hour to leave the hospital.
Sick and injured were ordered to evacuate Al-Shifa hospital, Palestinian health officials say
“The Israeli army ordered people to leave the hospital, and not everyone was able to leave,” said Dr. Muhammad Zaqout, director general of hospitals for the Palestinian health ministry.
“The displaced people walked to Al Wahda Street amidst the destruction and rubble, and a large number of them were sick,” Zaqout said. Those who remained were left without “drinking water, food, treatment or electricity.”
Israel has denied ordering the evacuation, saying that it came at the request of the director of Al-Shifa hospital.
After people fled northern Gaza, Israel warns them to evacuate the south
As Israel pushes its offensive beyond northern Gaza, Mark Regev, an aide to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warned residents in the line of fire in the southern city of Khan Younis that they should evacuate.
“We’re asking people to relocate. I know it’s not easy for many of them, but we don’t want to see civilians caught up in the crossfire,” Regev told MSNBC’s “The Mehdi Hasan Show” on Friday.
The evacuation order comes after tens of thousands of Gazans fled the besieged north to the south, many of them arriving in Khan Younis in the last two weeks. According to the U.N., 1.6 million people are already displaced inside Gaza.
Talks to secure release of hostages in Gaza are ‘very fluid’
NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell sits down with Kristen Welker about the latest developments in the attempts to secure the release of hostages, progress toward fuel deliveries and an uptick in violence in the West Bank.
Biden tells two different stories about the Israel-Hamas war in letters to Americans
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden is delivering different messages on the war in the Middle East to pro-Palestinian and pro-Israel Americans, according to copies of official White House correspondence obtained by NBC News.
While one letter emphasizes Biden’s support for Israel against the “pure evil” of terrorism, the other focuses on the administration’s work to protect civilians in Gaza.
Though the two letters do not contradict each other — or Biden’s own policies — it is not common for the White House correspondence office to craft versions of a letter on the same topic that diverge so dramatically in their emphasis. Yet they reflect the political tightrope Biden is trying to walk as pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian elements of his coalition fray over the war.
Read the full story here.
PRCS: Several killed in strike on West Bank refugee camp
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Several people were killed and at least two more were injured in a strike on a building in the occupied West Bank, the Palestine Red Crescent Society said early on Saturday, local time.
The Israeli military did not immediately provide comment on the incident at Balata refugee camp, in the central city of Nablus.
The PRCS earlier said its medics were dealing with several serious injuries from the blast.
NBC News could not independently confirm the details of the incident.
The West Bank, part of territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war, has seen a sharp surge in violence since the deadly attack on southern Israel by Hamas gunmen from Gaza last month.
Situation in Al-Shifa complex is ‘catastrophic’, Ministry of Health spokesperson says
The humanitarian situation in Al-Shifa medical complex is “catastrophic,” a spokesperson for the Ministry of Health in Gaza said.
Dr. Ashraf Al-Qudra told Al Jazeera in a phone interview that the food that was delivered to the complex is sufficient for only about 400 people, though between 7,000 and 10,000 people are in the hospital complex.
“The patients in the Shifa complex are starving and in pain, and the displaced cannot find a piece of bread,” he said, according to an NBC News translation.
A number of patients, including babies, have died, and more are at risk without aid, he told Al Jazeera.
Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati, a plastic surgeon at the facility, told NBC News today that IDF soldiers had provided some sandwiches and drinking water, but it was not enough.