Labor Gaza ceasefire vote: Starmer braces for resignations as he instructs MPs not to back motion

Starmer says focus on Gaza aid despite Labor split over ceasefire

Keir Starmer is preparing to resign from his front bench after instructing Labor MPs not to vote for the Gaza ceasefire.

The Labor leader has called for a humanitarian pause in the war but has warned that the ceasefire will allow Hamas to regroup and plan more atrocities.

Labor MPs are under a three-line whip to support the party's amendment to the later King's Speech, which calls for longer humanitarian breaks in the besieged enclave.

This comes as Israel says its forces entered Al Shifa Hospital, Gaza's largest medical facility, as part of the IDF's ground offensive against Hamas.

The Israeli military said it had killed several fighters at the start of the raid and claimed they were confronted by “explosive devices and terrorist groups”.

Gunfire and explosions were heard inside the hospital complex, which had been surrounded by Israeli forces in recent days but continued to operate with hundreds of patients and medical staff still inside.

Israel accuses Hamas of using hospitals as cover for its fighters, claiming that Hamas has set up its main command center in and under Al Shifa Hospital. Both Hamas and hospital staff deny the Israeli allegations.

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Gunfire from Israeli raid on Gaza's biggest hospital leaves doctors ‘unable to move between buildings'

Israeli forces have stormed Gaza's largest hospital, with doctors inside al-Sifa saying it is “a gamble to move between buildings” as the shooting continues.

Witnesses say troops have been searching interrogation rooms for people inside, having surrounded the complex where more than 2,000 patients, staff and people housed are trapped without electricity and supplies.

Israeli military spokesman Vice Admiral Daniel Haggari said troops were conducting “a precise and targeted operation against Hamas in a designated area at Shifa Hospital,” which the military said was on top of a command center and network of militant tunnels. It's a charge Hamas denies.

Read the full report from international correspondent Bel Trew below

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 3:14 p.m

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A family from Pennsylvania waited weeks to be evacuated from Gaza. Then they were bombed

Pennsylvania mother Noha Abuolba and her two teenage daughters were traveling south on a bus through Gaza on their way to the border.

As the family made their way along the beach road, what they believe was an Israeli airstrike hit their vehicle, followed by gunfire. Many people died around them. Eighteen-year-old Saja Abuolba suffered shrapnel wounds to her shoulder and back. Her sister, 17-year-old Farah, lost two fingers on her left hand.

Read the full story from Richard Hall here

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 3:06 p.m

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The Extinction Rebellion holds a protest in the public gallery with “cease fire now” signs.

A group of Extinction Rebellion protesters were turned away from the public gallery of the House of Commons after holding ‘cease fire now' signs.

The group's action came during the King's Speech debate as shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper spoke about the Israel-Hamas conflict and Labour's amendment.

Extinction Rebellion said its activists held the protest in the House of Commons to call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

XR spokeswoman Rosie Merrifield said: “Parliament must today demand that the Government call for an immediate ceasefire and commit to supporting an internationally mediated resolution that ensures full human rights protection for all and lasting security and peace for the Palestinian and Israeli people. “

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 3:01 p.m

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Commons showdown looms for Sir Keir Starmer

Sir Keir Starmer is fighting to avoid a damaging Labor split as rebel MPs look set to defy him to back calls for a ceasefire in Gaza.

The SNP has tabled an amendment to the King's Speech calling for a ceasefire, which could be put to a vote by the Speaker of the Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle.

SNP Westminster leader Stephen Flynn said parliament must “show moral leadership” and vote to support an immediate cessation of hostilities.

Labor MPs were told to abstain from the SNP's move and were instead told to back Sir Keir's position calling for longer “humanitarian pauses” instead of a ceasefire.

Labor members who rebel in support of a rival amendment will normally face dismissal for cracking the party whip.

Labor leader Keir Starmer faces a party split as rebel MPs try to vote for ceasefire /British Parliament/PA)

(PA Wire)

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 2:57 p.m

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The medical charity says 300 patients and staff at the hospital

Medical charity Doctors Without Borders said there are at least 300 patients and staff inside Al-Shifa hospital, which is currently “at the mercy of gunfire, shelling and drone fire”.

Deputy medical co-ordinator Natalie Thurtle said her team was only able to establish brief communication with staff inside the hospital and said another 100 members and families were in the vicinity.

He told BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme: “We have been trying to evacuate them for three days,” he said, but action had been hampered by “prolonged” fighting around the hospital.

“It's too dangerous and there's no chance for people to leave Shifa right now.”

Medical staff inside Al-Shifa Hospital

(via REUTERS)

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 2:40 p.m

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The Turkish president calls Israel a “state of terror” in his latest speech

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has called Israel a “terror state” that is committing war crimes and violating international law in Gaza, sharpening his repeated criticism of Israeli leaders and their supporters in the West.

Speaking two days before a planned visit to Germany to meet Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Erdogan said Israel's military campaign against the Palestinian militant group Hamas included “the most treacherous attacks in human history” with “unlimited” support from the West.

He called for Israeli leaders to be tried for war crimes at the International Court of Justice in The Hague and reiterated his view – and Turkey's position – that Hamas is not a terrorist organization but a political party that won the previous election.

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 2:30 p.m

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The hospital is unable to treat patients or perform operations as the raid continues

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Dr Ahmed El Mokhallalati said he was relieved when troops finally entered the compound because the fear of it being bombed from outside was huge.

“All kinds of weapons were used around the hospital. They targeted the hospital directly. We try to avoid being near the windows,” he said, describing a large hole that had leaked through the wall of a room in an outpatient building.

“Everyone was really, really scared. It's constant gunfire from the tanks,” he said.

Dr Mokhallalati said operations had come to a standstill due to the military raid

(AHMED EL MOKHALLALATI via Reuters)

Mohalati said Israel had warned the administration in advance of the raid, but the staff did not know how it would be carried out.

“Nobody works, nobody sees anybody. We are all waiting for the end point of this, will we survive this moment or not. We can't do anything, we're all waiting for the attack to calm down or end.”

Holly Evans15 November 2023 14:00

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The doctor says that IDF tanks are parked in front of the hospital

A doctor at Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital said staff, patients and displaced Palestinians there were terrified as Israeli forces moved to storm the compound.

Dr. Ahmed El Mokhallalati said the explosions and gunfire they had been hearing for more than a month suddenly intensified early Tuesday night.

“The sound was really horrible,” he said by phone. “And then we realized that the tanks are moving around the hospital. One of the big tanks entered the hospital through the east main gate and was, just parked in front of the hospital's emergency department.”

Israel said the military launched the raid because Hamas has a command center under the hospital and uses connected tunnels to hold hostages.

Doctors move a patient through smoke-filled corridors inside Al Shifa Hospital

(via REUTERS)

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 1:28 p.m

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WHO loses contact with medical staff at Al-Shifa hospital

The director-general of the World Health Organization said they have lost contact with medical staff at Al-Shifa Hospital.

“Reports of a military incursion into Al Shifa hospital are deeply disturbing,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus wrote on social media platform X.

“We lost contact with the health staff at the hospital again. We are extremely concerned for their safety and that of their patients.”

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 13:07

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Qatar seeks Israel-Hamas deal to release 50 hostages and 3-day ceasefire

Qatari mediators are seeking to negotiate a deal between Hamas and Israel that includes the release of about 50 civilian hostages from Gaza. An official briefed on the negotiations said this would be in return for a three-day ceasefire in the besieged enclave.

The deal, which has been coordinated with the US, will also see Israel release some Palestinian women and children from Israeli prisons and increase the amount of humanitarian aid allowed into Gaza, the official said.

It would mark the biggest release of hostages held by Hamas since the Palestinian militant group stormed the Gaza border, attacked parts of Israel and took hostages in the enclave.

Hamas has agreed to the broad outlines of that deal, but Israel has not and is still negotiating the details, the official said.

Holly EvansNovember 15, 2023 12:37 p.m