Israel Latest: Netanyahu Rejects Gaza Cease-Fire, Return of PA

(Bloomberg) -- Israel won’t not stop military operations in Gaza until it achieves victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, rejecting rising international calls for a cease-fire. He also dismissed the idea of the Palestinian Authority returning to govern there.

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French President Emmanuel Macron told the BBC there was “no justification” for the bombing of Gaza and urged a cease-fire, while Germany’s Olaf Scholz backed Israel’s right to defend itself.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, attending a joint Arab Islamic summit in Riyadh, called for Muslim countries to arm Palestinians if Israel’s attacks persist. Hassan Nasrallah, leader of the Hezbollah, said the Iran-backed militant group is using heavier weaponry in its exchanges with Israel across the Israeli-Lebanese border.

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

(All time stamps are Israeli time)

WHO Loses Communication with Al-Shifa Hospital Contacts (4 a.m.)

The World Health Organization said it has lost communication with its contacts at Al-Shifa Hospital, a major facility in northern Gaza that’s said to be encircled by Israeli troops.

“As horrifying reports of the hospital facing repeated attacks continue to emerge, we assume our contacts joined tens of thousands of displaced people who had sought shelter on the hospital grounds and are fleeing the area,” the WHO said in a statement. “There are reports that some people who fled the hospital have been shot at, wounded and even killed.”

Biden Adviser to Travel to Middle East (4 a.m.)

Brett McGurk, President Joe Biden’s senior Middle East adviser, is expected to travel to Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar this week to discuss the war and efforts to free hostages held by Hamas, Axios reported, citing four unidentified Israeli and US officials.

He’s expected to meet with Netanyahu, Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant and the heads of Israel’s security services and intelligence community on Tuesday, according to two Israeli officials. He is also expected to be in Bahrain next weekend for the Manama Dialogue. The White House declined to comment to Axios.

Netanyahu Pushes Back on Cease Fire Demands (10:49 p.m.)

Israel won’t stop military operations in Gaza until it achieves victory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, rejecting rising international calls for a cease-fire.

“No international pressure, or false accusations against Israel, will change our faith in the righteousness of our way and our duty to defend ourselves,” he said in a televised news conference.

Addressing French President Emmanuel Macron’s claims that Israel is killing civilians, including women and children, Netanyahu said Israel doesn’t need to be lectured.

Netanyahu Rejects Return of PA to Rule Gaza (10:49 p.m.)

The prime minister also vowed that Israel will maintain control over security in Gaza after Hamas is toppled, saying that “the day after will only come after the Gaza Strip has been demilitarized and Israel will have the ability to go in and out to strike terrorists who may resurface.”

He also ruled out the possibility of the Palestinian Authority returning to govern Gaza, saying the group hadn’t condemned Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack that killed 1,200 people in Israel. The authority was expelled from Gaza by Hamas in 2007 and now controls only parts of the West Bank.

Israeli Army to Help Evacuate Babies From Shifa Hospital (8:55 p.m.)

The Israeli Army will assist in the evacuation of babies from Shifa Hospital in northern Gaza. IDF spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, said in a televised statement that the request came up in direct talks between IDF officials and hospital staff.

Hagari also said that while there is fighting between Israeli forces and militants positioned near the hospital, there is a permanent safe passage out of the medical facility.

Hezbollah Leading Lebanon Toward War: Israel Defense Chief (5:45 p.m.)

Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon toward a possible war and Lebanese citizens will be the ones to pay, Israeli’s defense minister said during a situation assessment on Israel’s northern border with Lebanon. Yoav Gallant’s comments came during the latest day of clashes between the Iran-backed militant group and Israel’s forces.

He described Hezbollah’s actions as “aggression, no longer just provocations,” and added, “what we do in Gaza, we know how to do in Beirut.”

Israel Says ‘No Siege’ at Al-Shifa Hospital (5:30 p.m.)

Israeli’s army says anyone who wishes can leave Al-Shifa Hospital. Despite clashes between Israeli forces and Hamas around the hospital, “there is no shooting at the hospital and no siege,” said Col. Moshe Tetro, the military’s head of Gaza coordination and liaison.

Tetro said in a video statement that he was in touch the hospital’s director and offered several times to coordinate the departure of anyone who wants to leave.

Earlier, the hospital’s director said Al-Shifa had run out of water, food and electricity, and had no internet connection. He also said that a floor occupying a surgical facility was targeted by Israel and that due to power shortage four patients died in the intensive care unit. None of the claims can be independently verified.

Hezbollah Chief Says Amping Up Weaponry in Cross-Border Attacks (4:40 pm)

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said his group has started using more powerful ammunition in its almost daily cross-border attacks against Israel, including drones and larger missiles.

Nasrallah, who heads the Iran-backed militant group in Lebanon, said Hezbollah fired the so-called Burkan short-range ballistic missile that weighs between 300 kilograms and 500 kilograms.

In a televised speech, Nasrallah said the group, designated by the US as a terrorist organization, has been dispatching so-called attack drones and regular UAVs almost daily that have reached deep into Israel, including as far as Haifa.

Germany’s Scholz Pushes Back on Cease-Fire Calls (4:30 p.m.)

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz underlined Israel’s right to defend itself amid calls for a cease-fire in Gaza. Speaking to reporters in Spain, the German leader backed the EU’s call for regular pauses in the fighting to ensure that injured people can leave Gaza and that humanitarian aid can reach the coastal strip.

“But at the same time it is also right that Israel succeeds in defeating Hamas, which would otherwise only continue where it left off with its barbaric attacks on children and the elderly in Israel,” Scholz added.

Hezbollah Chief Wants Military, Political Pressure Directed at US (4:00 p.m.)

Hassan Nasrallah said the region’s military and political pressure should be directed against Washington because the US is the “one directing the battle” in Gaza.

The US was the sole decision maker in Israel’s war against Hamas and has grown isolated as the other countries see the results of the Israeli attacks on Gaza and demand a cease-fire, Nasrallah said in a televised address, adding, “The odd voice today is the American one.”

Iran’s Raisi Calls for Arming Palestinians (2:45 p.m.)

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi called on Muslim countries to take “a decisive decision” including arming Palestinians if Israel’s attacks persist, during the emergency summit on Gaza.

“The first and most important action must be an end to the killing of the people of Gaza and blind attacks on civilians, hospitals and schools,” Raisi said in Riyadh. He rejected Israel’s plan for a humanitarian pause as “a tactical break.”

“Muslim countries should aid the Palestinian people by arming them” against Israel, Raisi said, adding that Israel’s army should be branded a terrorist organization. Raisi repeated Iran’s call to “cut political and economic ties” with Israel, including the creation of an “energy embargo.”

Erdogan Calls on UN to Inspect Israel’s Atomic Weapons (2:30 p.m.)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect Israel’s atomic weapons stockpile.

“Nuclear weapons, which have been acknowledged by Israeli ministers, should be investigated, and if there are any that have escaped international control, they should be revealed,” Erdogan said during a speech at the Arab Islamic Summit.

Israel Says Hamas Fired Shots While Civilians Left Hospital (12:50 p.m.)

An army official said Hamas operatives fired shots during the evacuation of Rantisi hospital in northern Gaza in a bid to scare evacuees, and that Israel’s forces decided not to retaliate so as “to avoid further panic.” Hamas hasn’t commented on the claim, which can’t be independently verified.

Major Shay of the Givati Brigade said at a press briefing that the Israeli army had knowledge of “terrorists and their infrastructure” occupying the hospital.

“We had asked for the hospital to be evacuated for three days and after failing to achieve that, the Israeli Army surrounded the hospital and opened a safe passage for people to leave,” he said in the defense force’s first public response to reports on operations adjacent to hospitals in recent days.

Israeli Air Force Strikes Deep Into Lebanon (12:10 p.m)

The Israeli Air Force conducted its deepest strike into Lebanese territory since the start of the current conflict on Oct. 7, reaching about 40 kilometers (25 miles) into the country, army radio reported.

According to the report, launches were detected on Friday night targeting an Israeli defense force drone operating near the Israel-Lebanon border. In response, after locating the launcher near the coastal town of Sidon, an unmanned Israeli aircraft carried out a strike.

Macron Says No Justification for Gaza Bombing (2:36 a.m.)

French President Emmanuel Macron told the BBC there was “no justification” for the bombing of Gaza and a cease-fire would be in the interests of Israel. He also condemned the actions of Hamas, which France considers a terror group, and said he hoped the US and UK would join France’s calls for a cease-fire.

“De facto - today, civilians are bombed - de facto,” the BBC reported him as saying in an interview in Paris. “These babies, these ladies, these old people are bombed and killed. So there is no reason for that and no legitimacy. So we do urge Israel to stop.”

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