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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Palestinians trapped under rubble

By Latika Bourke

More than 1,000 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 9,700 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 10.30 am in Israel as the world watches and waits for Israel’s ground, air and sea assault on Gaza, as it seeks to decapitate Hamas.

A short time ago, Israel’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Ministry of Defense 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.


Greens vote against PM motion to stand with Israel

By Angus Thompson

The Greens voted against Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s motion to stand with Israel after the minor party’s amendment condemning Israeli war crimes and calling for a ceasefire was rejected by parliament.

Greens leader Adam Bandt pushed to replace support for Israel’s right to defend itself with a condemnation of the bombing of Palestinian civilians, and a warning against the imminent ground invasion of the Gaza strip, in an amendment also backed by independents Dr Sophie Scamps and Kylea Tink.

That amendment was shot down before the independents sided with the government and Coalition in a final vote of support for Israel, while urging restraint in its military response, as the four Greens in the lower house opposed it.

“The Greens voted against the looming invasion of Gaza, but the rest of parliament voted to back it,” Bandt later told press. “A humanitarian disaster in Gaza can turn into a humanitarian catastrophe if the invasion proceeds.”

He said a high proportion of people in Gaza were children and “an invasion of Gaza would basically be a war crime”.


“Australia should not be siding with a military that wants to invade an occupied territory, but instead should be pursuing all efforts for a just and lasting peace, including an immediate ceasefire and stopping the invasion,” he said.

Greens foreign affairs spokesman Jordan Steele-John said the Greens would introduce a motion in the Senate condemning “in no uncertain terms the war crimes that we are seeing committed right now in Gaza by the state of Israel, including the bombing of Palestinian civilians.”

“What we are seeing … is an indiscriminate bombing campaign, targeting Palestinian civilians as they flee and attempt to seek shelter,” he said.

Scamps said she voted to condemn Hamas’ attack on Israel “while I also voted to recognise that the lives of innocent civilians, including women and children, in Gaza are also being lost.““My heart goes out to all the innocent people who are caught up in this horrendous and tragic situation instigated by Hamas,” Scamps said.

In response to the Greens’ stance, Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Alex Ryvchin said accused them of being the party of “hypocrisy and dishonour”.

“Upon witnessing jihadists commit mass rape, torture, tying up families and burning them alive, and the abduction and captivity of children and the elderly, the Australian Greens could not support a resolution condemning these crimes,” Ryvchin said.

“The only vigils or public gatherings they have attended have been to oppose Israel in its darkest hour. Let there be no doubt – the greens are the party of hypocrisy and dishonour.”


Albanese condemns Hamas attacks

By Natassia Chrysanthos

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has condemned atrocities committed by Hamas as acts of evil and declared the militant group an enemy of both Jewish people and Palestinians, in his most extensive comments on the conflict since Hamas’ surprise attack on Israel last Saturday.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said the humanitarian crisis in Gaza was deteriorating quickly.Credit: Alex Ellinghausen

In a speech in parliament on Monday, Albanese denounced the “calculated, pitiless brutality” of Hamas in the war, which has so far killed more than 1300 Israelis and 2600 Palestinians.

He again affirmed Israel’s right to defend itself but joined international calls for Israel to abide by the rules of war and protect civilian lives, as its military prepares for a ground invasion of Gaza and Palestinians flee south.

Read more here. 


Rafah crossing could open, US authorities say

By Laura Chung

The Rafah crossing point between Gaza and Egypt could be opened, meaning much-needed aid might be able to make it to hospitals.

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters he had spoken with the President of Egypt Abdel Fattah El-Sisi who have put in place material support for those in Gaza.

“Rafah will be reopened,” Blinken said. “We’re putting in place with the United Nations, with Egypt, with Israel, with others, a mechanism by which to get the assistance in and to get it to people who need it.”

The crossing is significant because it is the only way out of Gaza.

The US Embassy in Israel says the crossing could open a 9am local time (it’s currently 8am), but warned the situation remains fluid and unpredictable.

“It is unclear whether, or for how long, travelers will be permitted to transit the crossing. If you assess it to be safe, you may wish to move closer to the Rafah border crossing – there may be very little notice if the crossing opens and it may only open for a limited time,” the latest update said. 

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