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Israel Pulls Diplomats from Turkey, Mass Pro-Palestine Protests

October 28, 2023
Israeli tanks in Gaza
Israeli tanks in Gaza

Information from Gaza remains limited following Israel’s cutting of communications in the Strip last night, 27 October as it launched an unprecedented barrage of airstrikes and expanded its ground operations. At the same time, the United Nations General Assembly voted on a resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities and protection of civilians.

Live Updates

Update 5: Businessman and SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced on Saturday, 28 October, that SpaceX’s satellite network Starlink will help provide and support communication links in Gaza through aid organizations following Israel’s communication blackout of the Strip.

“Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza,” Musk said on X on 28 October, in response to a tweet by US member of the House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Update 4: Hundreds of Palestinians were killed by Israel’s 27 October strikes on Gaza with the deal toll reaching 7,760 and over 21,400 injured, the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza announced to the media.

Over in the West Bank, settlers and Israeli security forces have killed 111 Palestinians with over 1,950 injured.

Over 250 Palestinians were forced to flee their homes in the village of Zanuta, south of Hebron, as a result of “nonstop terror attacks by Israeli army-guarded settler militias,” according to Fayez Al-Tal, head of the Zanuta Village Council.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said that violence isn’t the answer, in a statement on 28 October, calling on states with influence over conflicting parties to work to de-escalate the conflict.

“The bombing of the telecommunications infrastructure places the civilian population in grave danger,” Türk said.

Around the world, pro-Palestine protests have been taking place in large numbers. Tens of thousands gathered in London to call for an end to Israel’s attacks.

In a pro-Palestine rally in Istanbul attended by hundreds of thousands, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called Israel an “occupier” and said that Hamas is not a terrorist organization.

“We will tell the whole world that Israel is a war criminal. We are making preparations for this. We will declare Israel a war criminal,” Erdoğan said.

In response, Israeli Minister of Foreign Affairs Eli Cohen ordered the return of his diplomatic representatives from Turkey, announcing a reevaluation of relations between the two states.

Update 3: Reports are starting to emerge from Gaza regarding the intense bombing last night and the aftermath.

BBC correspondent Rushdi Abualouf said that the scale and intensity of the bombing had never been seen before, and that it was concentrated in Northern Gaza and Gaza City, describing the situation as “total chaos.’

Mourners in Gaza gathered at Al Aqsa Martyrs’ Hospital on the morning of 28 October, CNN reports. The hospital received 22 dead and hundreds injured, Dr. Khalil Al-Dikran tells the outlet.

311 families of Israeli soldiers have been informed of their death, Israeli army spokesperson Daniel Hagari said on 28 October. He added that troops are still on the ground in Gaza.

Update 2: While Israel was intensifying its strikes on Gaza, the United Nations General Assembly issued a resolution on 27 October calling for “an immediate, durable and sustained humanitarian truce leading to a cessation of hostilities” in Gaza.

The resolution passed the required two-thirds majority with 120 votes for, 14 against, and 45 abstentions. It called upon Israel to rescind the order to evacuate northern Gaza.

The US ambassador to the United Nations, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, bemoaned the lack of mention of Hamas and hostages in the resolution, calling it “omissions of evil” in her speech to the assembly on 27 October.

The US and Canada co-sponsored an amendment to condemn Hamas’ attack on 7 October and call for the release of hostages. Though it attained a majority, the amendment failed to get the required two-thirds majority with 85 for, 55 against, and 23 abstentions.

The US ultimately voted against the resolution because it did not condemn Hamas.

Update 1: No information has so far come out of media outlets in Gaza since Israel cut communications amid its unprecedented bombing campaign and expanded ground operation on the evening of 27 October.

Hamas said that Israel’s ground operation failed and that it evacuated its dead and wounded by helicopter, in a statement on the morning of 28 October.

The militant group said that it expects Israel to attempt to “encroach upon Gaza” again.

The Israeli army said early on 28 October that it struck 150 underground targets and killed the head of Hamas’ aerial array, Asem Abu Rakaba, overnight. This followed statements that 150 underground targets It also posted a video of tanks in Gaza.

In its situation report released before communications were cut on 27 October, the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) declared that 14 more of its staff were killed, bringing the total up to 53.

A seventeen-year-old boy was shot and killed “by live ammunition fired by the Israeli Security Forces during clashes in proximity to an UNRWA school in Jalazone refugee camp, north of Ramallah,” the agency said.

The Conflict So Far

After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,405 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.

As of 27 October, more than 7,028 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including 2,913 children — and 18,482 others injured. Meanwhile 105 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and more than 1,900 have been injured. The casualty count in Gaza since then is unknown after Israel cut off Gaza’s communications and launched its most violent night of airstrikes.

The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been deescalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least four times, and three aid conveys have crossed to Gaza so far.

Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

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