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Palestinians Evacuate Northern Gaza Amid Israeli Strikes

Arab leaders and G-7 nations clash over calls for an Israeli cease-fire.

An illustration of Alexandra Sharp, World Brief newsletter writer
An illustration of Alexandra Sharp, World Brief newsletter writer
Alexandra Sharp
By , the World Brief writer at Foreign Policy.
Palestinians evacuate northern Gaza.
Palestinians evacuate northern Gaza.
Palestinians walk down a road as they flee Gaza City and other parts of northern Gaza on Nov. 8. Mohammed Abed/AFP via Getty Images

Israel-Hamas War

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at a short-term evacuation corridor out of northern Gaza, the decline of U.S.-China panda diplomacy, and heavy flooding in Somalia and Kenya.

Welcome back to World Brief, where we’re looking at a short-term evacuation corridor out of northern Gaza, the decline of U.S.-China panda diplomacy, and heavy flooding in Somalia and Kenya.


Evacuation Corridor

This week, the Israeli military allocated a four-hour daily window for Palestinians in northern Gaza to travel south to avoid being caught in ongoing fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas militants. That window was extended by one hour on Wednesday. The evacuation corridor ran along Salah al-Din Road, one of Gaza’s primary highways. But as thousands of civilians made the dangerous trek south on foot, many more remained trapped in Gaza City, which is now encircled by Israeli forces, or faced Israeli bombardments in central and southern Gaza.

Israeli troops also continued to target Hamas’s tunnel system in Gaza using rocket fire as well as carried out airstrikes against alleged militant targets. One strike on Wednesday killed Mahsein Abu Zina, a top Hamas weapons-maker, the Israel Defense Forces said.

Gaza’s humanitarian crisis continues to worsen as the death toll rises. More than 10,500 Palestinians have been killed and another 26,000 injured since Oct. 7, according to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry. More than half of those killed were women, children, or older adults. All bakeries in northern Gaza closed on Wednesday as civilians struggle to obtain basic foodstuffs, and the Committee to Protect Journalists reported that at least 39 journalists have been killed thus far.

The G-7 released a statement on Wednesday urging Israel to implement “humanitarian pauses” to allow for more aid into Gaza. However, they stopped short of calling for a cease-fire, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken warning that doing so would leave Hamas capable of repeating its Oct. 7 attack on Israel “again and again and again.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has remained adamant that his country will not accept a cease-fire until Hamas releases the hostages it is holding captive.

But Israel’s neighbors are still hoping for a breakthrough. Saudi Arabia announced on Tuesday that it will host an emergency meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation this weekend to discuss a regional response to the war. The forum’s VIP will be Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who will be making his first trip to the kingdom since Riyadh and Tehran restored diplomatic relations earlier this year. Iran has long funded Hamas and remains a key opponent of Israel.


Today’s Most Read


What We’re Following

Panda diplomacy. Say goodbye to the U.S. Smithsonian’s National Zoo’s most popular black and white furry friends. Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and their cub, Xiao Qi Ji—giant pandas on loan from China—left the United States on Wednesday, one week before the return deadline. Just four pandas now remain in the United States, both in Atlanta.

Beijing recalling its pandas signifies a dramatic decline in U.S.-China panda diplomacy as tensions between the two superpowers soar. “A deep mutual distrust has taken root across the Trump and Biden administrations, exacerbated by tariffs, export controls, investment curbs, and spy balloons,” FP’s Rishi Iyengar reported. China’s adorable ambassadors are simply “the latest collateral damage.”

Devastating floods. Intense flooding in Somalia has killed at least 29 people and displaced more than 300,000 others, the country’s National Disaster Management Agency announced on Wednesday. Mogadishu declared a state of emergency this week amid search and rescue operations. With the nation’s death toll and displacement numbers likely higher than reported, this week’s flooding is Somalia’s worst in decades.

Extreme rain has rocked the Horn of Africa in recent days. In Kenya, at least 15 people have been killed and more than 240 acres of farmland destroyed since flooding began last Friday. Climate experts suspect that the region’s record-breaking drought, which killed around 43,000 people last year, has only exacerbated the crisis.

EU expansion. The European Commission urged member states to open formal membership talks with Ukraine and Moldova on Wednesday. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen also recommended that the bloc grant Georgia candidate status once final conditions are met—stripping away some of Russia’s power over its former Soviet satellite states at a time when Moscow has increasingly threatened direct intervention in Eastern Europe.

Ukraine’s push to join the European Union, specifically, coincides with Kyiv’s effort to join NATO. Ukrainians deserve to enter the EU “both for their defense of European values and for the fact that even in times of full-scale war, we keep our word,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.


Odds and Ends

Mexican parliamentarians probably wished they had phoned home instead of going into work on Tuesday. Lawmakers in Mexico’s lower house spent hours listening to journalist José Jaime Maussan argue for the existence of “non-human beings.” Maussan gained notoriety after he presented alleged mummified aliens to Mexico’s parliamentarians in September and to Peruvian officials in 2017; prosecutors said the so-called extraterrestrial creatures were human-made dolls. Maybe Maussan should take a page out of the Coneheads’ book and try France.

Alexandra Sharp is the World Brief writer at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @AlexandraSSharp

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