Violence between Israelis and Palestinians rises in West Bank
Palestinians rally in solidarity with the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip in the West Bank city of Ramallah, on October 17, 2023. Israeli air strikes on a Gaza hospital compound on October 17 killed at least 200 people, the health ministry in the Hamas-run Palestinian territory said, while an Israeli military spokesman would not immediately confirm its forces bombed the hospital. (Photo by Jaafar ASHTIYEH / AFP) (Photo by JAAFAR ASHTIYEH/AFP via Getty Images)
Jaafar Ashtiyeh | Afp | Getty Images
Violence between Palestinians living in the occupied West Bank and Israeli forces and settlers has spiked amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.
At least 61 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed and 1,250 injured, including children, since the Hamas terrorist attack in Israel on Oct. 7., according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.
More than 1,400 people have been killed in Israel, including children, during and since the Oct. 7 attacks, according to Israeli authorities. Israel has retaliated with thousands of bombings of targets in the blockaded and Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, which have killed at least 3,478 Palestinians, Gaza’s health ministry says.
On Thursday, three Palestinians in the West Bank including two teenagers were killed by Israeli forces after they stormed the village of Budrus, Palestinian official news agency WAFA reported. It also reported separate incidents of Palestinians shot and killed by Israeli forces.
There was no immediate comment from Israel and CNBC has reached out to Israel’s Defense Ministry for comment. Large and sometimes violent protests in the West Bank have taken place since Israel began its bombing of Gaza. The West Bank is run by the Palestinian Authority, a Hamas rival that has for years cooperated with the Israeli government.
— Natasha Turak
Germany’s Scholz criticizes Russia’s ‘cynical’ Israeli-Hamas casualty comments
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Thursday slammed Russian President Vladimir Putin for his “cynical” warnings over the violence and civilian casualties resulting from the ongoing war between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas.
“I am more than outraged when hearing that the Russian president is warning everywhere that there could be victims, civilian victims of military confrontations. It really doesn’t get any more cynical than that,” Scholz said in a speech to the German Parliament, according to Reuters.
German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz arrives for the weekly federal government cabinet meeting on Oct. 11, 2023 in Berlin, Germany.
Michele Tantussi | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Putin has repeatedly expressed concern over the casualties of the Israeli-Hamas conflict, urging an end to hostilities and for Israel’s military not to press ahead with a ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. Divided between its interests in Israel and Hamas-supporting Iran, Russia has addressed the violence of the recent offensives in Israel, but has so far fallen short of condemning the Palestinian militant group for its terror attacks of Oct. 7.
Russia has simultaneously been waging a full-scale invasion of Ukraine since February 2022, which the Human Rights Watch says has has “a disastrous impact on civilian life, killing thousands of civilians, injuring many thousands more, and destroying civilian property and infrastructure.”
— Ruxandra Iordache
UN envoy warns that Middle East region is at brink of a ‘deep and dangerous abyss’
The escalating conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants Hamas is pushing the Middle East region to the precipice of a “dangerous abyss,” with the risk of the conflict conflagrating, the United Nations’ Middle East envoy warned.
Tor Wennesland, the UN’s Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, fears that “the world is at the brink of a deep and dangerous abyss that could change the trajectory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
“This is one of the most difficult moments facing the Israeli and Palestinian people in the last 75 years,” he said at the at the U.N. Security Council via a video link.
—Lee Ying Shan
Israeli military and Hezbollah exchange further fire
The Israel Defense Forces recorded nine missile launches from Lebanon into Israel over the past 12 hours, the military said on social media Thursday.
Several anti-tank missiles were also fired from Lebanon toward Israel, the IDF said, adding that it responded to the hostilities by returning fire and striking against the infrastructure of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah with tank fire.
Israel and Hezbollah have been exchanging fire since last week, pushing Israel to evacuate the residents of 28 of its settlements near the border. Hezbollah has cited solidarity with the Palestinian people and retaliation for the death of group members for its ongoing offensives.
The involvement of Hezbollah — which, along with Palestinian militant group Hamas, receives support from Iran — has stoked fears of a potential spread of the Israeli-Hamas conflict to the broader Middle East region.
— Ruxandra Iordache
China supports Egyptian efforts to broker a humanitarian corridor for Gaza, Xi says
Chinese President Xi Jinping heads to a group photo session with other leaders at the Third Belt and Road Forum on Oct. 18, 2023 in Beijing, China.
Pool | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Beijing supports Egypt’s efforts to open humanitarian corridors for the Gaza Strip, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly on Thursday, according to Chinese state media outlet Xinhua.
Xi’s comments come after U.S. President Joe Biden and Egypt President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi struck an agreement to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, according to an Egyptian readout.
China is open to strengthening coordination with Egypt and Arab countries to “facilitate a comprehensive, just and lasting solution” to the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas, Xi said.
Beijing, which has fallen short of joining the international community in condemning the Hamas terror attacks of Oct. 7, supports a cease-fire and a two-state solution to the hostilities, which would create an independent Palestinian state, alongside the Israeli one.
— Ruxandra Iordache
Deal reached to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza
U.S. President Joe Biden and Egypt President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi reached an agreement to allow humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing, according to Egypt’s readout of the leaders’ phone call.
Biden told reporters aboard Air Force One that the deal will allow 20 trucks across to start.
The White House readout said the two discussed “mechanisms to ensure the aid is distributed for the benefit of the civilian population.” They also emphasized the need to preserve regional stability and prevent escalation of the conflict.
— Christine Wang
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrives in Israel
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak arrived in Israel on Thursday, according to a social media post on his official account.
“I am in Israel, a nation in grief. I grieve with you and stand with you against the evil that is terrorism,” he wrote.
U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street ahead on OCt. 18, 2023 in London, England.
Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Sunak is expected to meet with his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv. The British leader’s trip comes a day after the visit of U.S. President Joe Biden and follows several high-profile trips carried out by European Union officials since last week. British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly visited Israel on Oct. 11.
The U.K. has firmly condemned the Oct. 7 terror attacks of Palestinian militant group Hamas, which left at least seven British nationals dead, with another nine missing. London has also pushed for the opening of the Rafah crossing that bridges the Gaza Strip and Egypt to allow for evacuations and humanitarian aid.
— Ruxandra Iordache
Biden to make a speech on the ongoing conflicts at 8 p.m. ET
U.S. President Joe Biden will make a national address on Thursday on the ongoing conflicts in Israel and Gaza, as well as in Russia and Ukraine.
“Tomorrow, President Biden will address the nation to discuss our response to Hamas’ terrorist attacks against Israel and Russia’s ongoing brutal war against Ukraine,” White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said in a statement.
“This speech will be delivered from the Oval Office at 8:00pm ET.”
It comes a day after Biden’s whirlwind trip to Israel, where he met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in an effort to show “solidarity” with the country.
— Katrina Bishop
U.S. intel assessment: ‘Israel was not responsible’ for Gaza hospital strike
A view of the surroundings of Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital after it was hit in Gaza City, Gaza on October 18, 2023.
Ali Jadallah | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The U.S. government formally said it believes “Israel was not responsible” for a deadly strike at Al Ahli Hospital that killed hundreds of people in Gaza City Thursday.
“Our assessment is based on available reporting, including intelligence, missile activity, and open source video and images of the incident,” National Security Council spokeswoman Adrienne Watson said in a statement to NBC News.
Following the blast, Hamas militants blamed Israel, which has launched massive air strikes on targets in northern Gaza. The Israeli military vigorously denied that one of its rockets had hit the hospital.
Watson said the United States was still trying to determine who fired the missile. She also offered a rare public description of active intelligence being gathered.
“Intelligence indicates that some Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip believed that the explosion was likely caused by an errant rocket or missile launch carried out by Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ),” said Watson. “The militants were still investigating what had happened,” she added.
“We continue to work to corroborate whether the explosion resulted from a failed PIJ rocket.”
— Christina Wilkie and Amanda Macias
UK PM Sunak to visit Israel on Thursday
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak leaves Downing Street ahead of the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons on October 18, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will arrive in Israel on Thursday and meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Isaac Herzog, before travelling on to other regional capitals, his office said.
Sunak will share his condolences for the loss of life in Israel and Gaza as a result of the Oct. 7 attack on Israel by Gaza-based Palestinian Hamas gunmen, his office said, and warn against further escalation of conflict in the region.
“Every civilian death is a tragedy. And too many lives have been lost following Hamas’ horrific act of terror,” Sunak said in a statement ahead of his visit.
He said a deadly blast at a Gaza hospital on Tuesday which killed hundreds of Palestinians should be “a watershed moment for leaders in the region and across the world to come together to avoid further dangerous escalation of conflict”, pledging Britain would be at “the forefront of this effort”.
Sunak will also urge the opening up of a route to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza as soon as possible, and to enable British nationals trapped in Gaza to leave.
At least seven British nationals have been killed and at least nine are missing since the attack on Israel, Sunak’s spokesperson said earlier on Wednesday.
Alongside Sunak’s visit, British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, who visited Israel last week, will travel to Egypt, Turkey and Qatar over the next three days to discuss the conflict and seek a peaceful resolution, his office said.
Britain said the three countries were “vital to international efforts to uphold regional stability, free hostages and allow humanitarian access to Gaza”.
Cleverly will meet with senior leaders there to discuss efforts to prevent the conflict spreading, the urgent need to open the Rafah crossing with Egypt to let aid reach those who need it and for Hamas to release hostages, Britain said.