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Live updates | UN resolution demanding immediate cease-fire in Gaza fails

Palestinians sit by the building of the Al-Nadi family destroyed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip in Nusseirat refugee camp, central Gaza Strip, early Friday, Dec. 8, 2023. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Original Publication Date December 08, 2023 - 1:46 AM

The United States vetoed a United Nations resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, where Israeli troops rounded up Palestinian men in the northern part of the territory for interrogation, seeking Hamas militants.

The U.N. vote came after Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for the first time invoked Article 99 of the U.N. Charter, which enables a U.N. chief to raise threats he sees to international peace and security. He warned of a “humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza.

U.S. Deputy Ambassador Robert Wood said halting military action would allow Hamas to continue to rule Gaza and “only plant the seeds for the next war.”

Around 1,200 people have died on the Israeli side, mainly civilians killed during Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack that triggered the war. The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza said the death toll in the territory has surpassed 17,400, with more than 46,000 wounded. The ministry does not differentiate between civilian and combatant deaths, but said 70% of the dead were women and children.


— U.S. vetoes U.N. resolution backed by many nations demanding immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza.

— Six Palestinians are killed in the Israeli military’s latest West Bank raid, health officials say.

— Palestinians try to survive war’s new chapter in southern Gaza.

— Man who fired shotgun outside New York synagogue cited events in the Mideast, federal agent says.

— Harvard president apologizes for remarks on antisemitism as pressure mounts on Penn’s president.

— Find more of AP’s coverage at

Here’s what’s happening in the war:


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. State Department on Friday denied an allegation that it had forbidden a visiting Palestinian official from speaking to reporters in Washington.

Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki had joined his Arab and Turkish counterparts Friday in traveling to Washington on a rare joint mission to Washington. The foreign ministers said they wanted to push the Biden administration to drop its objections to an immediate cease-fire between Israel and the Hamas militant group.

At a press conference by the Arab and Turkish diplomats, a reporter asked Malki about a Bloomberg story that quoted Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh as saying he hoped Hamas would be a junior partner to governing Palestinian officials.

But Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan quickly intervened. The U.S. government, the Saudi diplomat said, had imposed visa “restrictions on his Excellency that do not allow him to respond to media questions.”

Prince Faisal said he believed the ban was a “historical” practice with the Palestinian official in the U.S., and that violating it would bring legal repercussions.

No such thing, the State Department said in a statement later. “We have imposed no restrictions that prohibit individuals from speaking to the press.”


TEL AVIV, Israeli — A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed in central Tel Aviv on Friday, causing damage to a parked car.

Police and forensic teams were on the site to clear the road from debris and any remnants of the rocket. There were no reports of injuries.

Hamas militants have fired thousands of rockets into Israel during the two-month war. The rocket fire has continued, despite a fierce Israeli ground offensive inside Gaza.

The rocket barrages have displaced tens of thousands of people in southern Israel from their homes and set off air-raid sirens as far away as Tel Aviv, some 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of Gaza.


JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says two soldiers have been seriously wounded in a failed attempt to free Israeli hostages held in Gaza.

The military said Friday that it killed numerous militants in the overnight operation, but was unable to rescue any hostages.

Earlier Friday, Hamas said its fighters had stopped a rescue attempt and clashed with Israeli special forces. It claimed an Israeli soldier who was being held hostage was killed by Israeli air fire meant to protect the withdrawing forces. Israel’s military had no comment on the claim.

Hamas is believed to be holding some 137 hostages who were captured in the Oct. 7 cross-border attack that triggered the war.


DAMASCUS, Syria — An Israeli drone strike hit a car in southern Syria on Friday, killing four people, two Syrian pro-government media outlets reported.

A Hezbollah official in Beirut said three of the dead were members of the Lebanese militant group. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the group usually does not announce where its fighters were killed.

Hezbollah has deployed fighters in different parts of Syria over the past decade alongside government forces in the country’s conflict, now in its 13th year.

The latest deaths raise to 93 the number of Hezbollah fighters killed during battles with Israeli troops since the Israel-Hamas war started two months ago. There was no comment from Israel.

The newspaper Al-Watan and Sham FM radio said the strike targeted a car in the southern town of Baath, and that the bodies were taken to a hospital in the Syrian town of Quneitra on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Israel captured the Golan Heights during the 1967 Mideast war. It annexed the strategic territory overlooking northern Israel in 1981, a move not recognized by most of the international community.

— Associated Press writer Bassem Mroue contributed.


UNITED NATIONS — The United States is reiterating its opposition to a cease-fire in Gaza, saying it would leave Hamas in charge of the territory still holding over 100 Israeli hostages.

U.S. deputy ambassador Robert Wood’s statement to an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Friday was a strong signal that the United States will veto a draft resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza. The resolution is backed by Arab and Islamic nations, the U.N. secretary-general and many other countries.

The council has scheduled a vote for later Friday. The resolution is sponsored by the United Arab Emirates, the Arab representative on the council.

Wood said the U.S. does not believe that an immediate cease-fire would lead to “durable peace, in which both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace and security” because Hamas would remain in charge. A halt to military action would only “plant the seeds for the next war" he said, "because Hamas has no desire to see a durable peace, to see a two-state solution.”

He also called the Security Council’s failure to condemn Hamas’ cross-border attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7 “a serious moral failure.”


BRUSSELS — The European Union on Friday put two senior members of the militant group Hamas on its terrorist list over the Oct 7. attack on Israel.

EU headquarters said that it is freezing the funds and other assets in Europe of the commander general of Hamas’ military wing, Mohammed Deif, and deputy commander Marwan Issa.

The move came in “response to the threat posed by Hamas and its brutal and indiscriminate terrorist attacks in Israel.” No further details were provided.

Hamas and its military wing as organizations have been on the EU’s terrorist list for about 20 years.


JERUSALEM — The Israeli military said Friday that it found weapons and a tunnel under the campus of Al-Azhar University in Gaza.

The military said the tunnel stretched one kilometer (0.6 mile) from the university to a nearby school. It did not provide video or photo evidence of the tunnel, but released photos of weapons it said soldiers found at the university, including explosives and rocket parts.

The military said it also found a Hamas control room with cameras, phones, walkie-talkies and weapons near a hospital in northern Gaza, as well as an additional tunnel entrance. A photo released by the military showed an opening to an underground passageway with a ladder stretching downward.

Israel said the discoveries show that Hamas is embedded in civilian zones — a claim central to Israel’s justification for heavily striking civilian areas in Gaza and calling for mass evacuations. Israel says the militants use an extensive tunnel network running underneath civilian infrastructure such as schools and hospitals to conduct military operations.


RAFAH, Gaza Strip — U.N. monitors said Israeli troops reportedly detained men and boys from the age of 15 in a school-turned-shelter in the town of Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza.

Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesperson, said Friday that authorities were questioning the detainees — who he said were picked up in Hamas strongholds — to determine whether they were members of the militant group.

Those detained were “military-aged men who were discovered in areas that civilians were supposed to have evacuated weeks ago,” Levy said, indicating there would be more such sweeps going forward as troops move from north to south.

There also has been a dramatic surge in deadly military raids and an increase on restrictions on Palestinian residents in the occupied West Bank since the start of the war.

Israeli forces stormed into a refugee camp in the West Bank on Friday to arrest suspected Palestinian militants, unleashing fighting with local gunmen in which six Palestinians were killed, health officials said. The Israeli military did not respond to a request for comment on the operation.


DAMASCUS, Syria -- An Israeli drone strike hit a car in southern Syria on Friday, killing four people instantly, two Syrian pro-government media outlets reported.

The attack came a day after the Israeli military said shells were fired from Syria toward areas controlled by Israeli troops in the Golan Heights.

There was no comment from Israel on the drone strike. Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy said Friday that the Israeli military struck a number of targets in Syria in response to two launches on Thursday that fell in open areas.

The newspaper Al-Watan said the strike targeted a car in the southern town of Baath, and that the bodies were taken to a hospital in the Syrian town of Quneitra on the edge of the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Sham FM, a pro-government radio station, also reported the strike in Baath.

Israel captured the Golan Heights during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the Golan Heights in 1981, a move not recognized by most of the international community.


DEIR AL-BALAH, Gaza Strip — Friends and colleagues of a locally celebrated poet, editor and professor of English literature in Gaza say he has been killed by an Israeli strike on Gaza City.

Refaat Alareer, a 45-year-old English-language writer and activist known for poems of protest against Israel’s military campaigns, was killed Thursday.

Alareer’s death was confirmed by his colleagues at “We Are Not Numbers,” a Palestinian group he helped establish in 2015 that seeks to “tell the stories behind the numbers of Palestinians in the news.”

He was killed along with his brother, sister and her four children in a strike on their house in Gaza City where they had stayed despite Israeli military demands that the population evacuate south.

On Monday, Alareer wrote on X, formerly known as Twitter, that his walls were shaking with the thunder of bombing, shelling and gunfire that was getting closer and closer. The last poem he wrote and shared on social media read, “If I must die/let it bring hope/let it be a tale.”

Alareer taught English literature with a focus on Shakespeare at Gaza’s Islamic University and wrote and edited several books of poetry and short stories.

Alareer drew fierce criticism for his rhetorical attacks on Israel, particularly his praise of Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault on Israel that killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and abducted about 240 others, including women and children. In an interview with the BBC, he described the rampage as “legitimate and moral.”

News from © The Associated Press, 2023
The Associated Press

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