UN hopes to deliver some more aid to Palestinians in Gaza as Israel pounds strip - as it happened

Ahram Online , Thursday 7 Dec 2023

On the 62nd day of the war on Gaza, Israeli jetfighters attacked Khan Younis, pushing thousands of Palestinians to flee far south, hampering aid deliveries and creating a dire humanitarian situation. Much of the city's population remains in place, along with large numbers who were displaced from the north, unable to leave.

South Gaza
Palestinians displaced by the Israeli ground offensive on the Gaza Strip arrive in the Muwasi area Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. AP


22:30 UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said he saw promising signs Thursday that the Karm Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing from Israel into the Gaza Strip might be opened soon to allow aid in.

The checkpoint was responsible for 60 per cent of goods getting into the besieged Palestinian territory before October 7 and the start of the Israeli war on Gaza.

Griffiths said that in recent days there had been signs that key countries have become much more open to the idea of gradually reopening Karm Abu Salem.

"We're still negotiating, and with some promising signs at the moment, access through Kerem Shalom... that that may be able to open soon," Griffiths told a press conference in Geneva.

An Israeli siege has seen only limited supplies of food, water, fuel and medicines enter Gaza, triggering dire shortages.

Currently, only the Rafah border crossing with Egypt is open for any aid to flow into Gaza.

"We have been arguing for the opening of Kerem Shalom, not just as an opening to allow trucks to go there, to then go through Rafah and then up into Gaza -- but to go straight through Kerem Shalom up into the northern parts of Gaza, or wherever the need is greatest," Griffiths said.

22:00 John Kirby, the White House National Security spokesperson, said "We are not close to reaching a deal to stop the war between Israel and Hamas."

Kirby's comments come hours before as the Arab-Islamic Group is preparing to submit a draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council calling for an immediate and complete ceasefire in the war in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Secretary-General of the UN Antonio Guterres invoked Article 99 of the UN Charter over the implications of the war in Gaza on world peace and security, warning that he expects "public order to completely break down soon due to the desperate conditions" in the under-Israeli-bombardment strip.

Guterres wrote a letter to the president of the UN Security Council invoking Article 99 of the UN's charter, which states that "the Secretary-General may bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."

The White House said it believes that Israel still has legitimate military targets in southern Gaza.

If the war stops today Hamas will continue to constitute a threat to Israel, it said.

The US has not given Israel a deadline for finishing its military operation in Gaza, added the White House.

21:00 Egypt has warned the US and Israel that if Palestinian refugees flee into the Sinai as a result of the Israeli military operation in southern Gaza, it could create "a rupture" in relations between Egypt and Israel, according to four US and Israeli officials who spoke to Axios.

Egypt has repeatedly rejected any Israeli attempt to expel the Palestinians from Gaza to the Sinai.

20:00 In a statement on Telegram, Abu Obeida, spokesman for the Al-Qassam Brigades, said: “During the last 72 hours, we were able to completely or partially destroy 135 military vehicles on all fronts of the fighting in the Gaza Strip.”

"Al-Qassam Mujahideen killed and wounded dozens of Zionist soldiers after blowing up several tunnel openings and houses belonging to enemy soldiers after booby-trapping them and targeting the Zionist forces penetrating the places of concentration and positioning with anti-fortified shells, shells and anti-personnel devices. They clashed with them from zero distance."

19:45 In a defiant message, as Israel carried out intensive airstrikes on Jabalia, Khan Younis and Rafah, Osama Hamdan, a senior Hamas official who is based in Beirut, said: "The Palestinian resistance is managing the battle against Israel with power and force."

Hamdan said "US President Joe Biden's hands are washed in the blood of Palestinians due to the political and military he is providing to the Zionist entity" in the war on Gaza.

19:30 An anti-tank missile fired from Lebanese territory killed an Israeli man in northern Israel on Thursday, according to the Israeli army and emergency medical service.

Meanwhile, Hizbullah announced targeting 10 Israeli military targets on Thursday.

19:00 The son of the former Chief of General Staff of the Israeli army Gady Eizencot, who is also a member of the current war cabinet, was among two Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza on Thursday, according to Al Arabiya.

18:00 Israel has turned the entire Gaza Strip into a battlefield, leaving no safe place for citizens, while escalating its operations in the West Bank to displace Palestinians and liquidate the Palestinian cause, stated Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt's State Information Service (SIS).

However, Rashwan asserted that Egypt will never allow Israel to expel the Palestinians frtom Gaza.

Israel wants “to push the Palestinians to leave their lands towards what it described as safe areas in southern Gaza towards Rafah. These areas lack all the services necessary for life, such as water, food, and shelter, and are not protected from bombing,” he added.

This approach “is exactly what Egypt has been warning against,” viewing this as part of an Israeli plan to deport the Palestinians, empty the Gaza Strip, and liquidate the Palestinian Cause,” he added.

Israel is also escalating its aggression against the West Bank to force Palestinians to move towards Jordan, he noted.

The occupation force continues to defy the international community with its continuous bombing of the Gaza Strip, including Khan Younis, Rashwan said.

Rashwan expressed Egypt's regret for the collapse of the week-long humanitarian truce in the Gaza Strip, which was mediated by Egypt, Qatar, and the US.

Read full statements

Palestinians mourn relatives killed in the Israeli bombardment on Rafah, Gaza Strip, Thursday, Dec. 7, 2023. AP


17:00 The Israeli army arrested Al-Araby Al-Jadeed’s correspondent in Gaza, colleague Diaa Kahlout, from Market Street in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, along with a group of his brothers, relatives, and other civilians.

Kahlout, along with the other detainees, were stripped naked in the street and taken to an unknown destination.

In scenes reminiscent of Nazi Germany, a video was circulated depicting the arrest of a group of Palestinian men by the occupation army, and them sitting in the street, most of them naked, and Kahlout appeared in the video.

Ahram Online could not independently verify the authenticity of this video.



The arrest of colleague Diaa Kahlout comes within the framework of the continuing violations carried out by the occupation army against journalists since the seventh of last October.

According to figures from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, to date, 75 journalists and workers in the media sector have been martyred, nearly 80 journalists were injured, and two journalists went missing.

The Israeli army bombed the homes of the families of 60 journalists, destroyed the headquarters of 63 media institutions, and disrupted the work of 25 local radio stations (24 in Gaza and one in the West Bank), and 3 media outlets were closed and restricted.

With Kahlout's arrest, the number of imprisoned journalists increased to 44, including 41 in the West Bank and three in Gaza.

On Wednesday, Israeli airstrikes on Jabalia killed 21 members of the family of Al Jazeera reporter Moamen Al-Ashrafi, including his parents and a number of his siblings.

Earlier in the war, Israeli airstrikes killed members of the family of another Al Jazeera reporter Wael Dahdouh, including his wife, two of his children, and his grandchild.

16:40 A Palestinian-Arab-Islamic draft resolution calling for a complete ceasefire in the war in Gaza - and not a humanitarian pause in hostilities - will be submitted for a discussion in the United Nations Security Council on Friday, informed sources told Ahram Online.

14:00 Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Russian President Vladimir Putin shared their “deep concern” about the humanitarian situation in Gaza during a meeting in Riyadh, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

They emphasized that the only way to achieve stability in Palestine was through an international resolution related to a two-state solution, according to a joint statement.

“To enable the Palestinian people to achieve their legitimate rights to establish an independent, sovereign Palestinian state on the 1967 borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital,” it said.

13:05 Israel killed 350 Palestinians in Gaza during the last 24 hours, raising the number of martyrs to 17,177 and more than 46,000 wounded, since the start of the war, the Palestinian health ministry announced.

12:45 The Israeli army announced the death of another of its soldiers, during fighting in northern Gaza, bringing the total death toll in the Israeli army since the war started to 414.

12:30 The head of Egypt's State Information Service, Diaa Rashwan, affirmed Cairo's staunch stance against the depopulation of the Gaza Strip, firmly rejecting Israel's agenda to forcibly displace Palestinians and empty Gaza, particularly in an exodus towards Sinai. "Egypt will not permit crossing this red line," he emphasized.

In an official statement, he pointed out, "Israel escalates its less visible yet lethal operations in the West Bank to force an exodus of the Palestinians towards Jordan."

Furthermore, he condemned Israel's policy of collective punishment against Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, along with "the criminal practices of the occupation army."

Rshwan added that Cairo is currently "exerting maximum efforts with its partners to swiftly return to the ceasefire, extend it for further periods, leading to a comprehensive ceasefire to stop the bloodshed of our Palestinian brothers."

He said that the Rafah border crossing is “permanently opened” by Egypt and that any obstacles at the crossing come from the Israeli side.

11:37 The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) says the heavy bombardment of the Gaza Strip has made the situation "desperate."

"Conditions required to deliver aid do not exist. UNRWA shelters are overflowing," the UN agency said in a post on X.

"There is not enough aid to meet the overwhelming needs. UNRWA operations are being strangled."

10:00 Two Israeli strikes in Lebanon on 13 October, that killed Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and injured six other journalists was an apparently "deliberate attack on civilians and thus a war crime", Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.

Witness accounts and video and photo evidence that HRW verified indicate that the journalists were well removed from ongoing hostilities, clearly identifiable as members of the media, and had been stationary for at least 75 minutes before they were hit by two consecutive strikes.

HRW found no evidence of a military target near the journalists’ location.

“This is not the first time that Israeli forces have deliberately attacked journalists, with deadly and devastating results,” said Ramzi Kaiss, Lebanon researcher at HRW. “Those responsible need to be held to account, and it needs to be made clear that journalists and other civilians are not lawful targets.”

HRW interviewed seven witnesses, including three of the injured journalists, and analyzed 49 videos and dozens of photos, in addition to satellite images. The group also interviewed a United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) representative and consulted military, video, and audio experts.

"Evidence reviewed indicates that the Israeli military knew or should have known that the group of people they were firing on were civilians," HRW concluded.

Another investigation published today by Reuters found that an Israeli tank crew killed the Reuters journalist and wounded six reporters that day by firing two shells in quick succession from Israel while the journalists were filming cross-border shelling.

A similar investigation by Agence France-Presse, jointly conducted with Airwars, an NGO that investigates attacks on civilians in conflict situations, found that the attack involved a 120-mm tank shell only used by the Israeli army in this region.

AFP said the evidence assembled by Reuters confirmed its analysis of the incident.

Two strikes hit the group of journalists in quick succession as they were working near the border village of Alma al-Shaab, AFP said.

Issam Abdallah, 37, was killed instantly. The other journalists present - two other Reuters journalists, two from Al Jazeera, and two from AFP - were all injured. AFP photographer Christina Assi, 28, was seriously wounded, later had a leg amputated and is still in hospital.

9:15 The EU's foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, threw his weight behind the UN secretary-general's decision to employ Article 99 of the UN charter, urging EU members of the UN Security Council and aligned partners to rally behind Antonio Guterres's appeal.

In a post on X, Borrell emphasized the urgent need for action from the UNSC to prevent a complete breakdown of the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

"The UNSC must act immediately to prevent a full collapse of the humanitarian situation in Gaza," Borrell stated.

He also called on Israel to enable all UN Agencies, including their Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hastings, to provide urgent support to civilians in Gaza. Israel decided to revoke the visa of Hastings, in its ongoing attacks against the United Nations and its affiliated agencies, which are criticizing Israel's genocidal war on Gaza.

On Wednesday night, Guterres invoked this seldom-used article, advocating for a ceasefire in a letter addressed to the council.

He highlighted the imminent risk of collapse in Gaza's humanitarian infrastructure following two months of war, leading to "appalling human suffering."

Article 99 of the UN Charter gives the secretary-general the power to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security" and has not been used since 1989.

Arab states seek to use this alert to push the council to call for a ceasefire within days. 

9:10 Jordan air forces carried out another airdrop mission to deliver humanitarian aid to a hospital in Khan Younis, south of the strip.

Using parachutes, the Royal Air Force unloaded boxes with medical supplies to the Jordanian Private Field Hospital, Jordan News Agency reported.

Humanitarian aid and medical supplies are in dire shortages in the besieged strip as Israel is blocking aid convoys entering the strip through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.

9:00 Israel continues its bombardment of the Gaza Strip, further intensifying attacks in the south, including in Rafah.

At least, one person was confirmed dead, with several others injured in an Israeli strike on a residential building located in the Yabna refugee camp in the Rafah area, despite being designated by Israel as a "safe zone."

About 25 percent of Khan Younis's population is under Israeli evacuation orders now, the UN says.

Israel has expanded its ground military attack since the cessation of the truce a week ago, and troops are battling Hamas resistance fighters in the centre of the city, the occupation army said.

Israeli troops, tanks, armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers rolled into Khan Yunis, forcing already displaced civilians to flee again, witnesses said.

Meanwhile, Al Jazeera reported that at least 10 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli bombing of a residential square in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in Central Gaza. Many are still under the rubble.

Hamas said late Wednesday on Telegram its fighters were engaged in fierce battles against Israeli troops "on all axes of the incursion into the Gaza Strip", and said they destroyed two dozen military vehicles in Khan Yunis and Beit Lahia in the north of the territory.

The Palestinian resistance group posted a video showing its fighters in Shujaiya moving through narrow alleys and wrecked buildings and opening fire with rocket-propelled grenades on Israel armoured vehicles. Several of the vehicles are shown bursting into flames.

This is how Gaza wakes up on the 62nd day of Israel's genocidal war.

Short link: