October 16, 2023

Hamas-Israel conflict LIVE updates: Gaza ground invasion imminent as Biden warns Iran over possible involvement; Dutton accuses Labor of antisemitism following PM’s speech

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Malaysia says its relationship with Hamas will continue

By Latika Bourke

Not all leaders condemn Hamas.

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said he did not agree with Western pressure to condemn the organisation over the deadly massacre it waged on Israeli men, women, children and babies on October 7.

Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s prime minister, during a Bloomberg Television interview in New York.Credit: Bloomberg

He said that Western leaders had been asking him to condemn the group, which is listed as a terrorist organisation in Australia, the United States, UK and EU.

“I said that we, as a policy, have a relationship with Hamas from before and this will continue,” Anwar told parliament.

“As such, we don’t agree with their pressuring attitude, as Hamas too won in Gaza freely through elections and Gazans chose them to lead.”

Muslim-majority Malaysia does not have diplomatic relations with Israel.


China calls for UN Security Council to act on Israel

By Latika Bourke

China has called on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to take action, as it called for a ceasefire ahead of Israel’s planned air, sea and land assault on the Gaza Strip, in pursuit of Hamas.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the comments Beijing after holding talks with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

In this photo released by Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, and Chinese Communist Party’s foreign policy chief Wang Yi shake hands.Credit: Russian Foreign Ministry Press Service via AP

“The United Nations Security Council must take action, and the major powers should play an active role,” Wang told Lavrov, according to a Chinese transcript of the meeting.

“It is imperative that a ceasefire be put in place, that the two sides be brought back to the negotiating table, and that an emergency humanitarian channel be established to prevent a further humanitarian disaster.”

China is providing aid to the UN and Palestinian National Authority.

China’s call for the UNSC, on which China and Russia both sit, is in stark contrast to the position they have taken on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine where their veto votes have rendered the UNSC all but useless.

with Reuters


Israel says Hamas holding 199 hostages

By Latika Bourke

The Israeli military has upgraded the number of people it now believes Hamas is holding hostage to 199.

Previously the number had been estimated to be around 150.

Hamas captured civilians, including babies and children, during their deadly raids on southern Israel on October 7.

Late Sunday, the EU’s 27 member countries called on Hamas to “immediately release all hostages without any precondition” but Hamas has refused to heed their pleas and those of other world leaders who have made the same demand.

Hamas has also claimed that Israeli airstrikes on Gaza have killed a number of the hostages.

On Sunday, Mark Regev, an Australian and advisor to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told British television that while Israel wanted to bring all the hostages home, he could not guarantee doing so.


Palestinians trapped under rubble

By Latika Bourke

More than 1000 Palestinians are trapped under the rubble in Gaza, according to Eyad Al-Bozom, a spokesman for the Hamas Interior Ministry.

Israel has been bombarding Gaza as it seeks to eradicate Hamas.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said that at least 2750 Palestinians have been killed and 9700 wounded as a result of the Israeli air strikes since October 7.

Palestinian citizens inspect damage to their homes caused by Israeli airstrikes on October 15, 2023 in Khan Younis, Gaza. Credit: Getty


Israel evacuating communities on Lebanese border

By Latika Bourke

Hello, Latika Bourke here taking you through developments tonight.

It’s approaching 10.30am in Israel as the world watches and waits for Israel’s ground, air and sea assault on Gaza in its bid to decapitate Hamas.

A short time ago, Israel’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Ministry of Defence and the Israeli Defence Force announced they would begin evacuating residents of 28 communities living within two kilometres of the Lebanese border.

This announcement comes amid fears that Hezbollah, which like Hamas is funded by Iran, could open up a second front of fighting.


Israel denies truce

Israel appeared to deny that a truce was underway in southern Gaza, just half an hour after Reuters reported that security sources in neighbouring Egypt said a deal was likely.

“There is currently no truce and humanitarian aid in Gaza in exchange for getting foreigners out,” a statement from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.



Footage of man who threw flare at Sydney Opera House

By Olivia Ireland

NSW Police have released footage of a man throwing a flare during a pro-Palestinian protest at the Opera House last Monday night.

In the aftermath of the October 9 rally, police established a strike force to investigate reported unlawful activity including the use of flares and some people chanting antisemitic slurs.

NSW Police have released footage of a man throwing a flare at the Opera House as they call out to members of the public to assist in giving information. Credit: NSW Police

Investigators today released an image of a man they wish to speak with as part of their inquiries.

He is described as being of medium to heavy build, with short dark hair and a beard, and at the time he was wearing spectacles.

In the photo, the man is shown wearing a black hooded jacket, grey pants, black shoes and a black and white scarf.

Anyone with further information is urged to contact Sydney City Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.


Ceasefire in southern Gaza: reports

Egypt, Israel and the U.S. agreed to a ceasefire in southern Gaza beginning at 9am local time (5pm AEDT) with the re-opening of the Rafah border crossing, Reuters has reported.

Quoting two Egyptian security sources, Reuters said the ceasefire would last for several hours but they were not clear on the exact duration. They also said the three countries had agreed that Rafah would be open until Tuesday 1am (AEDT) as a one-day initial re-opening.

Rafah, which is on the border between Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Hamas-governed Gaza, is the only crossing into the territory not controlled by Israel.

Humanitarian officials have said its reopening is vital to getting much-needed supplies into the region.

Asked for confirmation, the Israeli military and the U.S. Embassy in Israel had no immediate comment.



Australians urged to be careful about travelling

By Laura Chung

Here’s a quick breakdown of places the federal government has urged Australians to avoid travelling:

Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories

The government recommends reconsidering your need to travel to Israel, and has said do NOT travel to Gaza or anywhere that borders the region.

The situation in Israel and occupied Palestinian territories could lead to increased tension. The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt – which is the only remaining exit/entry point – has been subject to air strikes during the current conflict. Australians are urged to reconsider their need to travel.


Due to Lebanon’s proximity to the current conflict, Australians are urged to reconsider their need to travel.

If you need emergency consular assistance, contact the Australian Government’s Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 (if you’re overseas) and 1300 555 135 (in Australia). For more information on travel, click here. 


How to talk to loved ones about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

By Nell Geraets

It’s a difficult time for many, so if you find yourself needing to talk about what’s going on in the world, here are some handy tips.

Before launching into a conversation with someone affected by a crisis, it’s important to assess your intentions. Psychologist and author Chris Cheers says this involves checking in on your current mindset, while being honest with yourself about whether you’re truly willing to listen.

Once the conversation has begun, the words you use matter. Cheers recommends speaking from your own perspective, which means using phrases such as “I believe”, “in my opinion” or “from my personal experience”.

Read more about how to talk about the conflict here.

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