#PalestineChronology: Press Summaries on the War on Gaza, Oct. 17-18
Date: 
October 19 2023

October 17

In Gaza, an Israeli airstrike killed 471 Palestinians in al-Ahli (Baptist) Hospital in Gaza City (according to initial reports). The hospital that was filled with patients and Palestinians seeking shelter from Israeli bombardment had received evacuation warnings from Israel on 10/14, 10/15, and 10/16 as did other hospitals, but there is no where to go. Other Israeli airstrikes killed around 200 Palestinians, mostly in Rafah and Khan Yunis. Israel also assassinated the head of Hamas’ Shura Council Osama Mazini, who led negotations on the prisoner exchange that saw Gilad Shalit transferred to Israel in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in 2011, and Hamas commanders Muhammad Alwadia, Ayman Nofal, and Akram Hijaz. It was also reported that Israeli airstrikes had killed 3 members of Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh’s family. 6 were killed in an airstrike on an UNRWA school sheltering Palestinians in al-Maghazi. Rockets were fired at Israel, causing damage. In the West Bank, there were large demonstrations against the PA and the Israeli bombing of the al-Ahli Arab Hospital throughout the West Bank, with PA forces violently dispersing Palestinian protesters, killing a 12-year old girl in Jenin with live ammunition and many others with tear gas. Israeli forces shot and killed 2 Palestinians, including a minor, during raids in Halhul and Nabi Salih. 1 elderly Palestinian succumbed to injuries sustained by Israeli forces on 10/13 in Nablus. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinians, injuring 8 with live ammunition in Nablus. Elsewhere, Israeli forces assaulted 1 ambulance driver near al-Arroub refugee camp, causing a fractured arm and bruises. Israeli forces arrested the speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Aziz Dweik during a raid. 115 others were arrested during raids in and around Hebron, Ramallah, Bethlehem, and Nablus, including 50 Palestinians from Gaza who were employed in Israel before being expelled to the West Bank. The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Authority said Israel had arrested 680 Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem since 10/7. In Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Lebanon, Israeli forces attacked targets north of the Blue Line. Hezbollah said it fired an anti-tank missile at a vehicle in Metula, 3 were reportedly injured. Israel said it killed 4 people who had entered Israel from Lebanon. 4 were also killed in an Israeli airstrike west of Yarine. In Jordan, protesters attempted to storm the Israeli embassy in Amman. (AP 10/7; AJ, AP, HA, REU 10/16; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AP, AP, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/17; AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AP, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, WAFA 10/18)

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The Ministry of Health in Gaza said at least 3,500 Palestinians had been killed and 12,500 had been injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since 10/7, including 47 entire families consisting of 500 people. In addition, it has been reported by Israeli media that 1,500 Palestinian militants have been killed near Gaza. 61 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem since 10/7, including 13 children. More than 1,230 had been injured, including at least 300 with live ammunition. Israeli officials recorded no new fatalities leaving the Israeli death toll at around 1,300 Israelis, including foreign nationals, 4,229 have been injured since 10/7. The UN reported that over 1 million Palestinians had been displaced since 10/7 and that since 11pm on 10/12 there had been a complete blackout of electricity due to the Israel blockade. At least 11,887 housing units have been destroyed in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7. The number is likely much higher as the latest data is from 10/14. The Palestinian civil defense team said that more than 1,000 Palestinians were under the rubble of buildings in Gaza. The Committee to Protect Journalists said 13 Palestinian, 3 Israeli, and 1 Lebanese journalist had been killed since 10/7. (AJ 10/16; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, HA, HA, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA 10/17; HA 10/18)

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UNRWA said parts of southern Gaza, about 14% of the population, received water for 3 hours. The remaining seawater desalination plant in Gaza shut down due to a lack of fuel. (AJ 10/16; HA 10/17)

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Hundreds of trucks carrying aid to Gaza were stuck near the Rafah crossing as Israel continued to deny them safe passage into Gaza. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said the crossing was not officially closed but that it was not functioning due to being bombed four times by Israel. (AJ 10/16; HA, REU, REU 10/17)

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UN human rights office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said Israel’s siege and order to evacuate northern Gaza could breach international law. (AJ, REU 10/17)

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Israel attempted to deny that it killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians in an airstrike in al-Ahli (Baptist) Hospital in Gaza, presenting a slew of flimsy evidence to put the blame on Islamic Jihad. Israeli government social media accounts published what it claimed to be evidence that it was rocket misfire but later deleted the videos when a New York Times journalist questioned the timing of the videos. Military spokesperson Daniel Hagari said “[a]ccording to our intelligence, Hamas checked the report, understood it was an Islamic Jihad rocket that had misfired, and decided to launch a global media campaign to hide what really happened.” Israel often employs misinformation campaigns to deflect its blame for atrocities, on occasion taking responsibility long after the event, as in the case with the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. A UK Channel 4 investigation said Israeli evidence presented is likely fabricated and contradictory, but the channel did not make a final determination regarding the origin of the explosion. Israeli President Isaac Herzog called reporting that Israel conducted the airstrike “21st century blood libel.” Many Western leaders called for an investigation or referred to the loss of life without condemning the perpetrators. Leaders in the Middle East were unequivocal in their condemnation of the Israeli airstrike. King Abdullah II of Jordan, PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi canceled meetings with U.S. president Joe Biden scheduled for 10/18 in Amman. The UAE and Russia called on a meeting of the UN Security Council on 10/18 on the attack on the hospital. U.S. Defense Department spokesperson Sabrina Singh said in response to questions about the incident that Hamas puts “their command and control units inside hospitals,” saying the U.S. does not know who the perpetrator was. Biden said he spoke to Prime Minister Netanyahu and that his national security team will gather information about the incident. Large demonstrations were held in Washington D.C., Turkey, Jordan, Yemen, Iraq, Lebanon, and Morocco. (AJ, AP 10/16; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/17; AJ, AJ, AP, C4, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, NYT, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/18)

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The PA foreign ministry accused Israel of ethnic cleansing and genocide aimed at removing all Palestinians from Gaza. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics said Israel had killed at least 3,057 Palestinians since the beginning of 2023, including 2,793 in Gaza and 264 in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. (WAFA, WAFA 10/17)

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Fatah’s military wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades called on President Abbas to step down as the head of Fatah’s Martyrs and Prisoners Commission. (AJ 10/18)

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Israeli military spokesperson Daniel Hagari ruled out a ceasefire, saying Israel continues to “prepare for the next stages of war.” Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said the Israeli campaign would take several months. The Israeli military also said that it could not confirm that white phosphorus was used in attacks on Gaza but maintained that it would not be “unlawful” in certain situations. Israeli police commissioner Kobi Shabtai “[w]hoever wants to become an Israeli citizen, welcome. Anyone who wants to identify with Gaza is welcome. I will put him on the buses heading there now.” Shabtai also said he had outlawed demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza. (HA 10/17; AJ, HA, WAFA 10/18; AJ 10/19)

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After Israeli airstrike on al-Ahli (Baptist) Hospital, President Abbas traveled back from Amman to Ramallah to hold an emergency meeting. Abbas also declared three days of mourning and in a speech called the airstrike a heinous crime. Earlier in the day met with U.S. secretary of State Antony Blinken in Amman. Blinken later called Abbas to offer condolences on the massacre at al-Ahli (Baptist) Hospital. PA envoy to the UN Riyad Mansour called on the Security Council to intervene by demanding a ceasefire. (AJ 10/16; AJ, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/17; AJ, HA, WAFA, WAFA 10/18)

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Hamas political leader Ismail Haniyeh spoke with South African foreign minister Nalendi Pandor who conveyed support for Palestine and expressed sadness for the loss of innocent life in Gaza and Israel. (AJ 10/16; REU 10/18)

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The Knesset National Security Committee approved legislation to allow Israeli prisons to admit new inmates beyond their legal capacity, allowing worsening conditions for Palestinian prisoners. Since 10/7 Israeli prisons family visits have been suspended, public phones have been blocked and all electrical devices have been cut off from power. The Hadassah University Hospital refused to treat a Palestinian militant captured by Israel, saying it would “offend national feelings.” (HA, HA 10/17)

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The U.S. announced that President Biden will visit Israel on 10/18. The New York Times reported that Biden’s visit will postpone Israel’s planned ground operation in Gaza with at least 24 hours. The NYT also reported that Israel has asked the U.S. for $10 billion in emergency aid. Secretary of State Blinken said the announcement was made after Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu committed to allowing aid to enter Gaza and to establish safe-zones at an 8-hour long meeting of the war cabinet Blinken attended. New York Governor Kathy Hochul said she will visit Israel. Biden said he will visit Jordan. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he would push through an emergency aid package to Israel “as quickly as possible.” 6 Republican senators introduced legislation to end all U.S. funding for UNRWA. All senators except Rand Paul (I-KY) sponsored a resolution in support for Israel’s war against Hamas. (AJ, HA 10/16; AJ, HA, HA, REU, REU 10/17; HA 10/18)

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King Abdullah II said Jordan and Egypt would not take in Palestinian refugees from Gaza, calling it a red line. Abdullah II also met with German chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin. Scholz warned Hezbollah and Iran to stay out of this war. Scholz later traveled to Israel where he met with Prime Minister Netanyahu, invoking the German genocide of the Jewish people as a reason for Germany to “ensure Israel’s existence and security.” Lebanese Foreign Minister Abdallah Bou Habib said Israel was “pouring oil on fire” at the Lebanese border. Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said Egypt will host a summit on the situation in Gaza on 10/21. (AJ 10/16; HA, REU, REU, REU 10/17; AP, HA 10/18)

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Iranian sources told Al Jazeera that the U.S. had sent the Iranian UN representative a message warning Iran of war if it enters the conflict. (HA 10/17)

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U.S. Central Command commander Michael Kurilla arrived in Israel for meetings with Israeli military leaders. The U.S. also sent 2,000 Marines to the Middle East. (AJ, HA, HA, HA 10/16; HA, REU 10/17; AP 10/18)

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Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese president Xi Jinping discussed the Palestinian-Israeli conflict during a meeting in Beijing. (AJ, AJ, HA 10/17)

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159 U.S. citizens were evacuated from Israel headed to Cyprus on a cruise ship. Nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens have left Israel on State Department charted planes to Europe since 10/13. (AJ, HA, HA 10/16; HA 10/17)

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Japanese foreign minister Yoko Kamikawa said Japan will donate $10 million in emergency aid to Gaza. Spain said it would donate $1 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. The Netherlands pledged $10 million in humanitarian aid to Gaza. (AJ 10/16; HA, REU, REU, REU 10/17)

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The EU held a video conference for the leaders of the 27 members of the union to discuss the situation in Gaza and find a unified stance after EU member states have expressed dissatisfaction with the EU leaderships pro-Israel statements, including European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen’s failure to call on Israel to abide by international law during her visit on 10/17. Irish president Michael D Higgens called von der Leyen’s comments about Israel’s attacks “thoughtless and even reckless,” questioning where she gets the authority to speak on behalf of the EU on the issue. After the meeting the EU leader agreed to condemn Hamas’ operation in Israel on 10/7, expressed solidarity with the people of Israel, said Israel has a right to defend itself in line with humanitarian and international law, and called on Hamas to released all captives. (AJ 10/15; AJ 10/16; AJ, EU, HA, REU 10/17)
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The Mainz 05 soccer club in Germany suspended Egyptian soccer player Anwar El Ghazi for a pro-Palestinian social media post. (AJ 10/17)


October 18

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers with military escort shot and killed 1 Palestinian man during a raid in Dura al-Qara’. Israeli settlers also shot and injured 1 Palestinian in Shufa. Elsewhere, Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinians traveling near Burqa, injuring 1 Palestinian woman. Israeli settlers also opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle near Bazaria, causing damage. Meanwhile, Israeli settlers vandalized olive trees near Tell. Israeli forces shot and killed 3 Palestinians, including 2 minors, during raids in Shuqba, and Jamma’in. Israeli forces also violently dispersed Palestinian protesters in Huwwara, Tarqumiyyah, and Dar Salah, injuring 3 with live ammunition and others with tear gas. Elsewhere, Israeli forces demolished 1 Palestinian home in Beit Hanina. 65 Palestinians were arrested during late-night raids in and around Hebron, Bethlehem, and Nablus. Around 750 Palestinians have been arrested by Israeli forces since 10/7. In Jerusalem, Israeli settlers toured the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, Israeli airstrikes killed around 100 Palestinians, including several people sheltering at an UNRWA school in Khan Yunis. Rockets were fired at Israel, causing damage. In Haifa, Israeli police violently dispersed anti-war protesters, arresting 4 and injuring others with batons. In Lebanon, Hezbollah fired an anti-tank missile at Israeli soldiers in Shtula, injuring 5. Israel fired artillery shells and conducted drone strikes in Lebanon. Hezbollah said 2 of its members were killed. Protesters demonstrated outside of the German and U.S. embassies in Beirut. In Syria, Israel conducted airstrikes in the Quneitra province. In Turkey, 60 people, mostly police, were injured after protesters in Istanbul attempted to storm the Israeli consulate. There were also demonstrations in Jordan, Yemen, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Libya, Iran, and the West Bank. (AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AP, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, REU, UNOCHA WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/18; AJ, AJ, AP, HA, NYT, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 10/19)

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The Ministry of Health in Gaza said at least 3,500 Palestinians had been killed, including at least 853 children, and 12,500 had been injured in Israeli airstrikes on Gaza since 10/7 as of 5pm, including 47 entire families consisting of 500 people. In addition, it has been reported by Israeli media that 1,500 Palestinian militants have been killed near Gaza. 65 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and Jerusalem since 10/7, including 15 children. More than 1,284 have been injured, including at least 300 with live ammunition. Israeli officials recorded no new fatalities leaving the Israeli death toll at around 1,300 Israelis, including foreign nationals, 4,562 have been injured since 10/7. The UN reported that over 1 million Palestinians had been displaced since 10/7 and that since 11pm on 10/12 there had been a complete blackout of electricity due to the Israel blockade. At least 11,887 housing units have been destroyed in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7. The number is likely much higher as the latest data is from 10/14. The Palestinian civil defense team said that more than 1,000 Palestinians were under the rubble of buildings in Gaza. (AJ, AJ, HA, UNOCHA 10/18)

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Palestinians in the West Bank observed a general strike in protest over the Israeli airstrike that killed 471 people (per initial reports) at al-Ahli (Baptist) Hospital in Gaza City on 10/17. (WAFA, WAFA 10/18)

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The Israeli military again called on Palestinians in northern Gaza to evacuate south to the al-Mawasi area. (AJ 10/17; HA, UNOCHA 10/18)

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The PA leadership held an emergency meeting chaired by President Mahmoud Abbas, confirming a July 2023 decision to end security coordination with Israel and reaffirming the Palestinians people right to self-defense. (WAFA 10/18)

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The Knesset approved temporary legislation to allow Israeli prisons to admit new inmates beyond their legal capacity, allowing worsening conditions for Palestinian prisoners, including reducing living spaces and forcing prisoners to sleep on mattresses on the floor. The bill will be in effect for 3 months. Israel prisons said they had received 500 new Palestinian prisoners since 10/7, including 118 who crossed from Gaza to Israel in relation to Operation Al Aqsa Flood. The Israeli high court of justice ruled in 2017 that prisoners must be given at least 37.7 square feet of space. The Knesset ethics panel also voted to suspend Jewish Hadash MK Ofer Cassif from the Knesset over his anti-war stance. (AJ, HA 10/18)

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U.S. president Joe Biden landed in Israel for meetings with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Isaac Herzog and the war cabinet. Biden was supposed to travel to Amman for meetings with President Abbas, Jordanian king Abdullah II, and Egyptian president Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi but the meetings were cancelled by the 3 leaders after Israel bombed al-Ahli (Baptist) Hospital in Gaza killing 471 people (per initial reports). Biden told Netanyahu during a meeting that “it appears as though it was done by the other team, not you” in reference to the hospital bombing. Biden cautioned Israel not to be consumed by rage, saying the U.S. made mistakes after 9/11. Biden also announced $100 million in humanitarian aid to Palestinians, as the Senate was working on passing a $10 billion in extra aid to Israel. Biden said aid to Gaza could start arriving on 10/20, as Egypt needs to “patch the road” to the crossing. Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) blocked an attempted by Senator Rick Scott (R-FL) to prevent the Biden administration from dispersing the $100 million in aid to Palestinians. 33 Democratic senators urged Secretary of State Antony Blinken to lead efforts to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza. Around 300 Jewish Americans were arrested at the U.S. Capitol while protesting Israel’s war in Gaza. The protest was arranged by Jewish Voice for Peace. (HA 10/17; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU 10/18; AJ, AP, HA, HA, REU, WAFA 10/19)

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After President Biden’s meeting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, Netanyahu’s office released a statement saying that Israel will not allow aid from its territory to enter Gaza until the captives are returned, Israel demands that the Red Cross can visit the captives, and that Israel will not “thwart” humanitarian aid from Egypt as long as it consists of only food, water, and medicine. (AJ 10/17; AJ, HA 10/18)

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President el-Sisi said during a press conference with German chancellor Olaf Schulz that Israel could allow Palestinians in Gaza to stay in the Naqab desert until Israel “do what they wish to do with the militant operatives in the Gaza Strip.” El-Sisi also spoke with President Biden about aid coming through the Rafah crossing. Saudi foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan met with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in the sidelines of an Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meeting in Jeddah, discussing the situation in Gaza. Amir-Abdollahian called on the OIC members to sanction Israel and expel Israeli ambassadors. The OIC called for an immediate ceasefire and for Israel to lift the siege of Gaza. (AP 10/16; AJ 10/17; AJ, HA, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA 10/18)

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The U.S. blocked a UN Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for humanitarian access to Gaza, protection of civilians, and condemning Hamas’ operation into Israel. The resolution introduced by Brazil was approved by 12 members of the UNSC, while Russia and the UK abstained. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres called “for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in the Middle East.” (AJ 10/17; AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, HA, NYT, REU 10/18)

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U.S. state department director of the office of Public and congressional affairs Josh Paul resigned in protest over the Biden administration’s policy towards the Israeli assault on Gaza and its “impulsive reaction built on confirmation bias, political convenience, intellectual bankruptcy, and bureaucratic inertia.” (AJ, HA 10/18; NYT 10/19)

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Jewish Currents reported that the Palestinian academics and analysts Noura Erakat, Yousef Munayyer, and Omar Baddar had their interviews cut from segments on CBS and CNN. MSNBC last week temporarily removed 3 Muslim hosts, Mehdi Hasan, Ali Velshi, and Ayman Mohyeldin, who is Palestinian, from their programming. (JC 10/18)

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