As the conflict between Israel and Gaza enters its 42nd day, these are the main developments.
Nearly six weeks after the start of the war, here is the situation on Friday, November 17, 2023:
Latest on human impact and fighting
- The Syrian army announced early on Friday that the Syrian air defence shot down Israeli missiles in the surroundings of the capital, Damascus. While most of the missiles were intercepted, some caused material damage, the army said.
- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has warned that Gaza faces the possibility of immediate starvation, adding that only 10 percent of the necessary food supplies are entering the besieged enclave. Air attacks have hit bakeries and wheat mills in southern Gaza, leaving only one company able to produce flour in the enclave.
- A communications blackout in much of Gaza, as well as the attacks on Gaza’s health system, are making it difficult for the Ministry of Health to collect information about locations hit by Israeli strikes.
- The Israeli military said on Friday it retrieved the body of a soldier, Noa Marciano, who had been held captive by Hamas. The body of another Hamas captive, Yehudit Weiss was also found, the Israeli military said on Thursday.
- Gaza’s Jabalia refugee camp was hit by Israeli air strikes on Thursday, killing at least 11 people, according to Palestinian authorities.
Situation at Gaza’s hospitals
- The situation in Gaza’s hospitals continues to worsen.
- The Israeli army continues to remain at Gaza’s largest medical facility, the al-Shifa Hospital, for a third day in a row. The radiology department of the hospital has been damaged and several bodies have been removed from the medical facility.
- The Israeli military said on Thursday night that it found an operational tunnel shaft under al-Shifa Hospital. The military had insisted that Hamas was operating its command centre from under the hospital but has so far failed to show any proof to back its claims.
- Hospitals in Gaza have run out of beds to accommodate patients, forcing many to be treated on hospital floors. They are also resorting to manually performing procedures as they have run out of medical supplies and equipment.
- Malaysia’s former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Friday that a medical facility in Gaza established by his foundation has been destroyed by Israeli bombing.
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on X on Friday that he discussed the current situation with his Australian counterpart, Anthony Albanese. Trudeau has been pressured by the Canadian electorate to call for a ceasefire in Gaza. Meanwhile, Albanese’s government has resisted calling for a ceasefire.
- The US State Department released a statement on Thursday following the attack on a Jordanian military hospital in Gaza on Wednesday that wounded seven people. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller expressed concern for the wounded, commending the Jordanian government for the establishment of the hospital. Miller, however, did not condemn the strike nor did he say who was responsible.
- The State Department also said on Thursday that US Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israeli war cabinet Minister Benny Gantz, discussing the urgent need to de-escalate tensions in the West Bank, including by confronting rising levels of settler violence.
- Blinken also spoke to Egyptian foreign minister Sameh Shoukry about efforts to increase humanitarian aid in Gaza, reaffirming Washington’s rejection of the forced displacement of Palestinians. However, calls for a ceasefire in Gaza remain off the table.
- The Elders, a group of former global leaders working towards peace, sent an open letter to President Joe Biden saying that Israel’s destruction of Gaza and killing of civilians put “US credibility and interests across the world” at stake.
Updates in the West Bank
- Three Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli drone strike in Jenin in the occupied West Bank, the head of the Palestinian ambulance service told Reuters on Friday.
- Israeli forces arrested two paramedics and ordered the Ibn Sina Hospital in Jenin evacuated while launching a raid on the hospital. Ibn Sina is one of the Palestinian territory’s largest medical facilities and is considered a specialised hospital. Armoured vehicles damaged cars and roads in the raid.
- Israeli police killed three Palestinians in open fire at a checkpoint in Bethlehem.