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A curated weekday guide to major news and developments over the past 24 hours. Here’s today’s news
Negotiators in Qatar with representatives from Israel, the US, Qatar, and Egypt are working toward extending the current pause in fighting between Hamas and Israel, an anonymous source familiar with the discussions said. It is expected that if the current agreement is adhered to today, requiring Hamas to release 10 Israeli hostages, then the pause could be extended for another 24 hours if Hamas produces an additional list of hostages for tomorrow. Negotiators believe there are enough children and women held by Hamas to extend the temporary pause by two further days; then, talks should turn to men and soldier hostages, the source said. MJ Lee and Alex Marquardt report for CNN.
The fighting pause has entered its sixth day today as 12 hostages were released by Hamas yesterday and Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners. A total of 81 hostages and 180 Palestinian detainees have been released so far. BBC News reports.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly denied accusations he allowed Qatar to fund or grow Hamas in order to cause divisions among Palestinians, labeling the claims as “ridiculous.” Political opponents in Israel have long argued that Netanyahu has boosted Hamas by allowing funding via Qatar in a “divide-and-rule” approach which was supposed to see rivalry between Isalmist militants and Hamas in the West Bank. “It’s a big lie that I wanted to build [up] Hamas…you don’t go to war three times with Hamas or do major military operations if you want to build up Hamas,” Netanyahu said in an interview yesterday. He added that Israel “wanted to avoid a civilian humanitarian collapse — disease, rampant hunger and other things that would have created an impossible humanitarian situation…that’s why successive Israeli governments allowed this money to go in, not in order to strengthen Hamas. We didn’t want to strengthen Hamas at all.” Paul Ronzheimer and Claudia Chiappa report for POLITICO.
Two Palestinians died yesterday after Israeli military vehicles blocked the entrance to Khalil Suleiman Hospital in Jenin in the occupied West Bank , according to the international president of Doctors without Borders. In a post on X, Dr. Christos Christou, said: “For two hours, we were not able to leave to provide care and people could not reach us, as Israeli military vehicles blocked the entrance of the hospital and the road, preventing ambulances from leaving. Two Palestinians died of wounds while ambulances could not reach them.” The IDF said yesterday they were “conducting counterterrorism activities in the area,” although no further details were provided. Hande Atay Alam reports for CNN.
Israel’s former ambassador to the UK Mark Regev said yesterday it is “impossible to have peace with Hamas,” and when asked whether his country will support rebuilding the Gaza Strip, he said budget funding will be focused “on rebuilding communities in southern Israel.” Regev added that he expects international partners will assist in financing Gaza’s rebuilding, saying the money “doesn’t have to be Israeli money…this is not a war that we started or that we wanted.” BBC News reports.
The Chief of the W.H.O. said more people in Gaza could die from disease than bombings. In a post on X, Tedros Ghebreyesus said more than 1.3 million people are living in overcrowded shelters without access to medication or basic supplies, adding that over 110,000 civilians are suffering from respiratory infections as well as scabies and lice. Samar Zulfaqar and Mithil Aggarwal report for NBC News.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR – INTERNATIONAL RESPONSE
Turkish President Tayyip Erodgan said yesterday that Israel must be tried for war crimes in international courts for its actions in Gaza. During a phone call with U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Erdogan discussed the “expectations of the international community regarding Israel’s unlawful attacks,” as well as humanitarian aid into Gaza, the presidency said. “President Erdogan said Israel continues to shamelessly trample on international law, the laws of war, and international humanitarian law by looking in the eyes of the international community,” it added. Tensions between Turkey and Israel remain high as Erdogan has previously labeled Israel a “terror state.” Tuvan Gumrukcu reports for Reuters.
ISRAEL-HAMAS WAR — US RESPONSE
The US delivered more than 54,000 pounds of “vitally needed medical supplies and nutrition assistance to the people of Gaza” yesterday. The U.S. Agency for International Development said it used an Air Force C-17 Aircraft to deliver the U.N. humanitarian aid supplies to Egypt, and that more flights are planned “in coming days.” Tara Suter reports for The Hill.
The White House said it is hopeful some American hostages will be released today. National Security Council coordinator John Kirby said there is “certainly hope” of such releases, and added that, “we want to see all the hostages released and so there be extended pauses beyond these two days extension then you know, we’re in favor of that. And we’re going to keep working on this, as I said, hour by hour with all our partners in the region.” Sam Fossum reports for CNN.
President Biden said that Hamas fears “nothing more than Israelis and Palestinians living side by side in peace.” In a post on X yesterday, which seems to be an extract from a previous address rather than a new statement, Biden added that “to continue down the path of terror, violence, killing, and war is to give Hamas what they seek.” Mithil Aggarwarl reports for NBC News.
IRAN AND PROXIES
Iran has finalized a deal for the delivery of Russian-manufactured fighter jets and helicopters “to join the combat units of Iran’s army,” Iran’s Deputy Defense Minister Mehdi Farahi said yesterday. Russia has not confirmed the deal as of yet, although it follows growing military relations between the countries. Elwely Elwelly reports for Reuters.
North Korea is claiming its spy satellite photographed the Pentagon and the White House, as well as Naval Station Norfolk and Newport News Dockyard in Virginia. North Korea said it launched the satellite last week, which “propelled the country into a new era of space power,” state-run news agency KCNA said. The photographs have not been released and experts are unable to verify whether the satellite can send high-resolution photographs. Tara Suter reports for The Hill.
Public authorities of E.U. member states can prohibit employees from wearing signs of religious belief, such as a hijab, the Court of Justice of the European Union ruled yesterday. The court said a strict neutral policy can be objectively justified by a legitimate aim, although it noted that any objective must be maintained in a systematic and consistent manner and must be limited to what is strictly necessary. Philip Blenkinsop reports for Reuters.
Finland is “determined to put an end to [migrant] crossings” and will close all Russian-road borders in a dispute over Moscow allegedly assisting migrants into the country in an “influence operation.” Seven of the eight road crossings have already been closed this month, and the last crossing, located in the Arctic Circle, will close tomorrow for two weeks. Around 900 asylum seekers traveled from Russia to Finland this month, an increase from less than one per day on average. The Finnish government said they are protecting national security, although Finland’s non-discrimination ombudsman has raised concerns that the border closures jeopardize the right to seek asylum under international law. Ido Vock reports for BBC News.
Polish truckers are blocking four border crossings shared with Ukraine over a dispute that they are losing out to Ukrainian companies who offer lower prices for services and transport foods within the E.U. The blockade of access started on Monday and initially blocked just one crossing. The protest started on Nov. 6 where Polish truckers demanded that the E.U. reintroduce permits for Ukrainian truckers entering the bloc and E.U. truckers entering Ukraine. Meanwhile, in Medyka truckers are protesting with farmers who demand government support to help with the continuation of low grain prices. Karol Badohal, Alan Charlish, and Pawel Florkiewicz report for Reuters.
France is proposing to ban extreme-right groups in response to violent protests sparked by the murder of a 16 year old child, the French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said yesterday. Prosecutors say the circumstances of the killing, which took place on Nov. 18, remain unclear and nine suspects are under investigation. Far-right politicians claimed there was a racial motive to the killing, but this has not been confirmed. Extremist groups rioted last week in the region of where they believe the suspects lived, and six people have been arrested in connection with the riots, with Darmanin saying the extremist groups “seek to attack Arabs, people with different skin colors, speak of their nostalgia for the Third Reich.” BBC News reports.
At least one person has died after a U.S. military aircraft carrying six people crashed near Yakushima island off southern Japan this morning, officials have confirmed. The coastguard confirmed a member of the public called the emergency services and a rescue team found “wreckage-like debris” upon arrival. Japan’s vice defense minister described the incident as an “emergency water landing” as opposed to a crash because “the US side explained to us that the pilot did his best until the very end.” There are no details on the status of the remaining five on board the aircraft. Arata Yamamoto and Patrick Smith report for NBC News.
The wife of Kyrylo Budanov, Ukraine’s military intelligence (GUR) chief, has been poisoned and is undergoing hospital treatment, a spokesperson for the agency said yesterday. The GUR has been involved in clandestine operations against Russia, and Budanov himself has been the target of several attacks, including a botched car bombing. If confirmed as deliberate, the alleged poisoning would mark the most serious targeting of a top Ukraine leader’s family member since the war between Russian and Ukraine began. Russian media also reports that Budanov was arrested in absentia in April on terrorism charges by a Moscow court. Max Hunder and Tom Balmforth report for Reuters.
Ukrainian parliamentary officials said the apparent tension between the country’s government and the military are “rumors” and nothing more than “Russian propaganda.” A former top aide to Zelenskyy added that “there has never been a single case of tension between the political and the military leadership.” Nicolas Camut and Barbara Moens report for POLITICO.
Two Jewish Democrats introduced a resolution yesterday in the House of Representatives condemning a Republican bill that would revoke visas, refugee status, and asylum for Palestinian Authority passport holders dating back to Oct. 1, 2023. Reps. Greg Landsman (D-Ohio) and Dan Goldman (D-N.Y.) introduced the two page resolution which states that the GOP bill “dangerously conflates Palestinians with Hamas” and is “un-American, bigoted, and is designed to inflame tensions which could result in violence.” Goldman added that “calls to expel Palestinians from the US are racist, xenophobic and have no place in the government of the US.” Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-Mont.) together with 10 Republican co-sponsors introduced the GOP bill, which Zinke said “is about the fact that The Biden Administration is completely incapable of vetting anyone coming into our country.” Andrew Solender reports for Axios.
Jewish groups are suing the University of California, UC Berkeley, and its leaders, over “a longstanding, unchecked spread of anti-semitism.” The lawsuit was filed yesterday by the Brandeis Center and Jewish Americans for Fairness in Education, and argues that “inaction” on discrimination against Jewish students has resulted in a rise in antisemitism violence and harassment. The lawsuit cites student demonstrations on campus that followed the Oct.7 Hamas attacks as an example of discrimination. The Jewish groups are also suing against the Berkely law student groups’ policy that excludes students from joining or presenting if they disagree to disavow Israel or identify as Zionists, arguing that anti-Zionism is a form of antisemitism and that the policy violates various Amendment rights, including freedom of religion, the Equal Protection Clause, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. “Conditioning a Jew’s ability to participate in a student group on [their] renunciation of a core component of Jewish identity is no less pernicious than demanding the renunciation of some other core element of a student’s identity — whether based on race, ethnicity, gender, or sexual identity,” the lawsuit said. Berkeley leaders argued the lawsuit is inconsistent with First Amendment protections and said the demonstrations were lawful. Bianca Quilantan reports for POLITICO.
Hunter Biden requested a public hearing before the House Oversight and Accountability Committee, which is investigating his business affairs as part of an impeachment investigation into his father, President Biden. The Committee sought a closed-door deposition but Hunter’s attorney wrote yesterday that “we have seen you use [such] sessions to manipulate, even distort the facts and misinform the public. We therefore propose opening the door,” in response to a subpoena sent by the Committee which will be led by James Comer (R-Ky). Comer responded saying, “Hunter BIden is trying to play by his own rules…our lawfully issued subpoena requires him to appear for a deposition on Dec. 13. We expect full cooperation…but also agree that Hunter should have opportunity to testify in a public setting at a future date [sic].” Emily Brooks reports for The Hill.