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The European Union's foreign policy chief on Wednesday urged EU members of the United Nations Security Council to support UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres' call for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.
Guterres on Wednesday invoked a rarely used rule to refer the situation in Gaza to the Security Council, urging members to "avert a humanitarian catastrophe."
"I ask the EU members of the UN Security Council and like-minded partners to support @UN Secretary General @AntonioGuterres’s call. The #UNSC must act immediately to prevent a full collapse of the humanitarian situation in Gaza," Josep Borrell, the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
Multiple United Nations agencies are warning of the dire situation for residents of war-torn Gaza. In separate statements Wednesday, the World Health Organization chief said Gaza's health system is "on its knees" and nearing total collapse, while the head of the World Food Programme said the humanitarian system in the strip is collapsing and, "Everyone in #Gaza is hungry."
Belgium on Wednesday announced a ban on "extremist Israeli settlers" in the occupied West Bank from entering the country, following a similar move by the United States.
Violence in the West Bank has intensified in the wake of the October 7 Hamas attack.
"Violence against civilians will have consequences," Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said. "We will work with the US on sanctions targeting individuals involved in actions that undermine peace, security, and stability in the West Bank."
It comes after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced a new policy Tuesday to prevent extremist settlers responsible for violence in the West Bank from coming to the United States.
An investigation by Amnesty International alleges that a US-made weapons guidance system was used in two Israeli airstrikes in Gaza in October in which 43 civilians are said to have been killed.
Fragments of the US-made Joint Direct Attack Munitions guidance system were found in the rubble of destroyed homes in the neighborhood of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza, according to a report released Tuesday by the human rights organization.
Israel uses a wide variety of American weapons and munitions, but Amnesty's report is one of the first attempts to tie an American-made weapon to a specific attack that left a significant number of civilians dead.
The JDAM is a “guidance tail kit that converts existing unguided free-fall bombs into accurate, adverse weather ‘smart’ munitions,” according to the US Air Force.
CNN cannot independently verify Amnesty's findings.
Amnesty said its weapons experts and a “remote sensing analyst” examined satellite imagery and photos of the homes that show the “fragments of ordnance recovered from the rubble” and the destruction, the report explains. Amnesty’s fieldworkers took the photos.
As a result of these two attacks, 19 children, 14 women, and 10 men were killed, the report claims.
The human rights organization said it “did not find any indication there were any military objectives at the sites” of the airstrikes or that the individuals living in the homes were legitimate military targets.
“The organization found that these air strikes were either direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects or indiscriminate attacks,” the report says, calling for the attacks to be investigated as war crimes.
In a statement to CNN, the Israel Defense Forces called the report “flawed, biased and premature, based on baseless assumptions regarding the IDF’s operations.”
“The assumption that intelligence regarding the military use of a particular structure does not exist unless revealed is contradictory to any understanding of military activity, and the report uses this flawed assumption to imply equally flawed and biased conclusions regarding the IDF, in line with existing biases and prior problematic work by this organization,” the IDF said.
Israeli forces breached Hamas "defense lines" in the southern city of Khan Younis, a spokesperson for the military claimed Wednesday.
Meanwhile, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has referred the situation in Gaza to the UN Security Council, urging members to "avert a humanitarian catastrophe," invoking Article 99 of the UN Charter. This gives the secretary-general the remit to "bring to the attention of the Security Council any matter which in his opinion may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security."
In his letter, Guterres said the conflict has created "appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory." Israel’s envoy called the move "a new moral low" and, along with the country's foreign minister, called on Guterres to resign.
Here's the latest on the conflict:
- The future of Gaza and its people: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) assuming power in Gaza will not happen as long as he is prime minister, underscoring the difference between the Israeli and US governments about governance of the enclave after the Israel-Hamas war. On Wednesday, Vice President Kamala Harris' national security adviser underscored the US "commitment to the future establishment of a Palestinian state and made clear that the Palestinian people must have a hopeful political horizon. To that end, (Dr. Phil Gordon) discussed the revitalization of the Palestinian Authority.”
- Civilian casualties in Gaza: US State Department spokesperson Matt Miller said Wednesday that "too many Palestinian civilians continue to be killed" in Gaza. Speaking several days into the renewed offensive by Israeli forces in southern Gaza, Miller said the US wants "to see the civilian death toll lower than it has been." The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that as of Tuesday, more than 16,000 people have been killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7.
- Aid slowly enters Gaza: The World Food Programme (WFP) Chief Cindy McCain is warning of the limited access to food and water in the Gaza strip. The humanitarian system is collapsing," McCain said in a statement on Wednesday. "Everyone in #Gaza is hungry." Meanwhile, The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said it received 80 aid trucks in Gaza through the Rafah border crossing on Wednesday. “The trucks contain food, water, relief assistance, medical supplies, and medicines,” PRCS noted in a statement. Additionally, the Israeli Security Cabinet has approved the recommendation made by the War Cabinet to allow a “minimal" increase in the amount of fuel entering daily to prevent a “humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics” in the southern Gaza Strip, the Israel prime minister’s office said in a statement Wednesday. France also announced it is sending 600 tons of food aid to Gaza.
- US Senate Republicans block Israel-Ukraine aid package: Senate Republicans blocked aid for Israel and Ukraine from advancing in a key vote on Wednesday in protest over a dispute about border security policy, a clash that threatens to derail passage of the foreign aid.
Gaza's health system is "on its knees" and nearing total collapse, the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement on Wednesday.
"#Gaza cannot afford to lose any more hospitals…and yet another one is on verge of closing," he added in another statement in reference to the Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza. "This will deprive thousands of people of essential lifesaving care."
On Tuesday, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Ramallah accused the Israeli military of placing Kamal Adwan hospital in northern Gaza under siege and bombarding it.
CNN has reached out to the Israeli military for a response. In previous statements, Israel had maintained it targets Hamas infrastructure in the strip.
The WHO has reported at least 212 attacks on Gaza's health sector since October 7. As a result, only 14 hospitals are partially functioning and three are minimally functioning in the strip, while 19 have gone out of service, the WHO chief added.
The Palestinian Minister of Health Mai Al-Kaila said on Tuesday that none of the hospitals in northern Gaza can accommodate surgical operations, while the capacity has surpassed 216% in hospitals in the south.
CNN's Kareem Khadder contributed reporting to this post.
The World Food Programme (WFP) Chief Cindy McCain is warning of the limited access to food and water in the Gaza strip.
The humanitarian system is collapsing," McCain said in a statement on Wednesday. "Everyone in #Gaza is hungry."
WFP said 97% of Palestinian households in the northern areas of the strip and 83% in the south reported inadequate food consumption — with many having spent at least one day without eating.
“Around 88 percent of the households in the Northern governorates and around 54 percent in the Southern governorates reported spending at least one full day and night without eating in the past four weeks, because there was not enough food,” WFP said in its latest report, adding that 20% in the north and 14% in the south had to do this more than 10 times.
The lack of cooking gas in Gaza has also led many to rely on waste burning, firewood and wood rubbish, which can have negative health repercussions, including high risks of respiratory diseases, according to WFP's data.
Additionally, the average daily clean water consumption levels range between 1.5-1.8 liters per person across the strip, which is way below the 15 liters minimum average volume of water for drinking and hygiene per person daily.
The Israeli Security Cabinet has approved the recommendation made by the War Cabinet to allow a “minimal" increase in the amount of fuel entering daily to prevent a “humanitarian collapse and the outbreak of epidemics” in the southern Gaza Strip, the prime minister’s office said in a statement Wednesday.
The decision comes after US pressure to allow more fuel into Gaza, which led the cabinet to meet on Wednesday night.
“The minimal amount will be determined from time to time” by the War Cabinet, the statement added.
The amount of additional fuel that will now be allowed to enter Gaza is not clear — and will be subjected to the cabinet's decision.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed Tuesday that the current limit is two fuel tankers — about 60,000 liters — per day.
Netanyahu said Israel's war efforts in Gaza are supported by its humanitarian effort, noting that Israel is allowing in the "bare minimum" of fuel trucks, and also aims to prevent disease outbreaks in Gaza that could halt the ground operation.
"The war efforts are supported by the humanitarian effort […] this is because we follow laws of war, because we know that if there would be a collapse — diseases, pandemics, and groundwater infections — it will stop the fighting," Netanyahu said in response to a question about Israel potentially losing leverage against Hamas if it allows more humanitarian aid into Gaza.
The White House said Vice President Kamala Harris’ national security adviser, Phil Gordon, met with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority and other Palestinian leaders on Wednesday.
The White House said along with Abbas, Gordon met with Hussein al-Sheikh, secretary general of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO); Head of Palestinian General Intelligence Services Majed Faraj and Palestinian business leaders while in Ramallah.
“Throughout his meetings in Ramallah, Dr. Gordon emphasized the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to support the Palestinian people and their right to security, dignity, and self-determination,” the White House said in a readout. “He underscored our commitment to the future establishment of a Palestinian state and made clear that the Palestinian people must have a hopeful political horizon. To that end, Dr. Gordon discussed the revitalization of the Palestinian Authority.”
Per the White House, Gordon discussed “the situation in Gaza,” with local officials, with the official underscoring “the imperative of increased efforts to deliver humanitarian assistance to those in need and to protect civilians” while providing updates on his meetings earlier this week with Israeli officials.
Gordon emphasized that "Hamas does not represent the Palestinian people, that Hamas poses an unacceptable terrorist threat to the Israeli people, and that Hamas cannot control Gaza when the fighting ends," the readout said.
Gordon also discussed the situation in the West Bank, including visa restrictions for Israeli and Palestinian individuals “believed to have been involved in undermining peace, security, or stability in the West Bank.”