Israel Latest: Biden Defends Hospital Raid, Says Hamas Unbowed

(Bloomberg) -- US President Joe Biden defended Israel’s decision to send forces into the Shifa hospital, saying Hamas’ use of the facility against international norms constituted a “war crime.”

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The UN and Middle Eastern countries including Jordan and Turkey condemned Israel’s raid. Israel said its soldiers found weapons and other military equipment, showing the hospital was used as a base by Hamas, which is designated a terrorist group by the US and European Union.

The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution calling for humanitarian pauses in the fighting in Gaza and the release of all hostages held by Hamas, after four similar measures were blocked since the war began. Israel’s UN envoy denounced the move, while war cabinet member Benny Gantz vowed that Israel will kill Hamas leaders “all around the world.”

For more stories on the Israel-Hamas war, click here.

All time stamps are Israeli time:

Deal to Free 50 Hostages Under Consideration: Washington Post (5:45 a.m.)

Hamas has agreed in principle to free 50 women and children held hostage in Gaza in exchange for a three-to-five-day pause in fighting and the release of some women and children held in Israeli prisons, the Washington Post reported, citing an Arab diplomat it didn’t identify.

Israel has yet to decide on whether it supports the deal, according to the Post. Biden, speaking to reporters after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping, said he was “mildly hopeful” about getting hostages released.

Biden Defends Hospital Raid, Criticizes Hamas (4:05 a.m.)

Biden defended Israel’s controversial military operation at Gaza’s largest hospital, standing behind the US ally in the face of international criticism.

Biden said Hamas headquartered its military operations underneath Shifa hospital, which he labeled a “war crime,” and added that Israel had taken precautions to limit civilian casualties in the hospital incursion. He said Israel’s military operations will conclude “when Hamas no longer maintains the capacity to murder, abuse and just do horrific things to the Israelis.”

“Hamas has already said publicly that they plan on attacking Israel again,” Biden told reporters in California after meeting Chinese President Xi Jinping. “And so the idea that they’re gonna just stop and not do anything is not realistic.”

Israel’s UN Envoy Denounces Security Council Resolution (2:18 a.m.)

Ambassador Gilad Erdan, Israel’s envoy to the UN, said the Security Council resolution is “disconnected from reality and is meaningless,” in a statement on social media.

“Regardless of what the Council decides, Israel will continue acting according to int’l law while the Hamas terrorists will not even read the resolution at all, let alone abide by it,” Erdan wrote on X, the former Twitter. “Israel will continue to act until Hamas is destroyed and the hostages are returned.”

UN Security Council Backs Gaza Truce (11:15 p.m.)

The United Nations Security Council approved a resolution that calls for humanitarian pauses in the fighting in Gaza, and the release of all hostages held by Hamas. Twelve out of 15 Security Council members voted in favor of the text proposed by Malta, with the US, Russia and the UK abstaining.

The resolution calls for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip” so that UN agencies and non-profits can get essential goods and services to civilians. It also urges the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages held by Hamas and other groups, especially children.” The vote followed four failed attempts to pass a Gaza truce resolution.

Israel Says Army Found Weapons at Shifa Hospital (8:30 p.m.)

Israeli troops found a Hamas command center, weapons and technological assets in the MRI building of the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, the Israel Defense Forces said. Soldiers are continuing to search the hospital, which they entered early Wednesday, for Hamas infrastructure and assets.

The findings confirm that Hamas used the hospital in its military operations in violation of international law, IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus said. Separately, the military also said it captured a Hamas outpost at Falestin in northern Gaza that was used to train militants and launch attacks.

White House Urges ‘Special Care’ in Hospital Raid (7:30 p.m.)

Israel’s military must take “special care” in its operations around the Al Shifa hospital, White House spokesman John Kirby said.

The facility is “an active, legitimate hospital, serving the legitimate medical needs of the people of Gaza,” Kirby said. But Israelis have the right to call for Hamas to “surrender themselves out of that hospital,” he said. “It’s a deliberate decision on their own part to put innocent people between them and the Israeli Defense Forces.”

Israel Slams Erdogan Over ‘Terrorist State’ Charge (7:15 p.m.)

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen denounced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his latest criticism of Israel’s war in Gaza. “Those who host arch-terrorists and encourage terrorist organizations should not preach morality to the State of Israel,” Cohen said in a post on X.

The Turkish president earlier called Israel “a terrorist state” in a speech to members of the ruling AK Party in Ankara. Erdogan condemned Israel’s attack on the Al Shifa hospital, and defended Hamas.

EU Speeds Plan to Help Egypt Through War Fallout (4:50 p.m.)

The European Union is speeding up efforts to help Egypt address the fallout from the Israel-Hamas war on its border. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen is set to visit Cairo this weekend to advance the plan.

The EU, already exploring a partnership, wants to accelerate the push given Egypt’s importance in the conflict, and concerns about increasing refugee flows. The EU will propose an investment plan that would aim to mobilize €9 billion ($9.8 billion) for industries including energy, agriculture and transportation.

READ: EU Speeds Up Plan to Bolster Egypt Amid Israel-Gaza Crisis

Israel Strikes Hezbollah Post Amid Missile Launches (4:12 p.m.)

The Israeli military said its tanks struck a Hezbollah observation post in Lebanon and reported multiple launches from its northern neighbor. Earlier, Iran-backed Hezbollah said it fired missiles at Israeli barracks and attacked another site, the militant group’s Al-Manar TV reported. The Israeli army reported no injuries from the launches.

Gantz Vows to Hunt Hamas Chiefs ‘Around the World’ (2:00 p.m.)

Israel will target Hamas leaders in other countries as well as in Gaza, said Benny Gantz, a member of the country’s war cabinet and a former army chief. Part of the group’s political leadership is based in Qatar.

“There will be no cities of refuge, there will be no shelters,” Gantz said. “We will go wherever we need to in order to eradicate the child killers — above and below ground, in Gaza and in the rest of the world.”

UN Says Fuel Shipment to Gaza Far From Sufficient (12:48 p.m.)

The UN said its relief agency for Palestinian refugees received around 23,000 liters of fuel from Egypt, or what amounts to half a tanker. “This is only 9% of what we need daily to sustain lifesaving activities,” Thomas White, the agency’s director in Gaza, said in a post on social media platform X.

Israel has restricted fuel supplies to Gaza since the war began, saying they’ll be used by Hamas for military activities. After the UN said its trucks ran out of fuel, Israel said it agreed earlier on Wednesday that the trucks can be refueled at the Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

Gaza Data Centers Hampered by Lack of Fuel (11:36 a.m.)

Data centers in the Gaza Strip are gradually shutting down because of a lack of fuel, according to Paltel, the main telecom provider in the territory. They are now relying on batteries, which “will lead a complete telecom blackout in coming hours,” Paltel said in a post on X.

Humanitarian organization Mercy Corps said it’s concerned about losing contact with nearly 70 staff and their families inside Gaza soon.

Iran Foreign Minister in Geneva to Discuss Gaza (11:30 a.m.)

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian was in Geneva on Wednesday to discuss the situation in Gaza with the UN’s head of humanitarian affairs and emergency relief, Martin Griffiths, the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Amirabdollahian is also scheduled to meet Red Cross officials.

UN Official ‘Appalled’ by Attacks on Hospital (11 am)

“Hospitals are not battlegrounds,” Martin Griffiths says in a post on X, in reaction to Israel’s military raid.

Jordan Condemns ‘Storming’ of Gaza Hospital (9:58 a.m.)

Jordan’s foreign ministry condemned Israeli forces “storming” Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza and called it a “violation of international humanitarian law,” state-run agency Petra reported. The ministry said they will hold Israel accountable for the safety of civilians and medical workers at the hospital, according to the report.

Israel Says Shifa Operation Won’t End Campaign (9:19 a.m.)

Entry into Gaza’s Shifa hospital compound by Israeli troops will not mark an end to military operations against Hamas, with many difficult days still to come in the conflict, an Israeli government spokesperson said.

Eylon Levy told Bloomberg Radio in an interview on Wednesday that Israeli troops had entered the hospital and begun to deliver medical aid, including incubators for dozens of premature babies in need of urgent care. US intelligence has backed Israeli claims that Hamas is operating from the hospital.

UN Cites Deaths at Shifa Before Army Entered (7:10 a.m.)

The UN said 40 patients died in Shifa hospital on Nov. 14, according to the Hamas-run Ministry of Health in Gaza, before Israel said it had entered the hospital compound. The causes of death were not specified by the UN’s Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Only one hospital in northern Gaza is reportedly still operational at a minimum level, the UN said, after the World Health Organization warned that requiring the evacuation of medical facilities in the north could be a “death sentence” for some patients, since there is nowhere for them to be taken.

“Hospitals and medical personnel are specifically protected under international humanitarian law and all parties to the conflict must ensure their protection,” the UN said.

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