Israel-Gaza conflict: 5 key developments on Wednesday 25 October

Yahoo News runs down the latest important updates from the crisis in the Middle East

Turkey's President and leader of the Justice and Development (AK) Party Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during his party's group meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, on October 25, 2023. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP) (Photo by ADEM ALTAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Turkey's Tayyip Erdogan has said the Palestinian militant group Hamas is not a terrorist organisation. (Getty Images) (ADEM ALTAN via Getty Images)

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the Palestinian militant group Hamas is not a terrorist organisation, but a liberation group fighting to protect Palestinian lands.

Nato member Turkey has previously condemned the civilian deaths caused by Hamas's attack in southern Israel, but also urged Israeli forces to act with restraint in their response.

Unlike the European Union and many of its Nato allies, Turkey does not consider Hamas a terrorist organisation and hosts members of the group in its territory.

The Israel-Hamas conflict has claimed thousands of lives since Hamas, proscribed by the UK as a terrorist organisation, launched a brutal incursion on 7 October, with Israel placing the 25-mile Gaza Strip under siege and subjecting it to a torrent of retaliatory air strikes.

Here are the main stories from Wednesday:

1. Erdogan calls Hamas fighters liberators

  • The Turkish president made his strongest comments on the Israel-Gaza conflict after saying the Palestinian militant group was not a terror group. "Hamas is not a terrorist organisation, it is a liberation group, 'mujahideen' waging a battle to protect its lands and people," he told members of his ruling AK Party, using an Arabic word denoting those who fight for their faith.

  • Erdogan also slammed Western powers for supporting Israel's bombing of Gaza and called for an immediate ceasefire, the unhindered entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza and for Muslim countries to work together to stop the violence. The Turkish president also cancelled a planned trip to Israel.

Read more: Erdogan cancels Israel visit, calls Hamas 'liberators' (AFP)

2. UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres defends remarks

  • United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres rejected accusations by Israel that, in a statement to the Security Council, he had justified attacks by the Palestinian militant group Hamas. He told reporters: "I am shocked by the misrepresentations by some of my statement... as if I was justifying acts of terror by Hamas. This is false. It was the opposite."

  • Guterres noted that in his statement to the Security Council he "condemned unequivocally" the Hamas attacks, adding: "Nothing can justify the deliberate killing, injuring and kidnapping of civilians – or the launching of rockets against civilian targets." Israel's UN ambassador Gilad Erdan described Guterres's speech as "shocking" and called on him to resign immediately.

Read more: UK government sides with Israel in furious row with UN chief over Gaza bombing (Evening Standard)

People distribute food at a makeshift camp for displaced people in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on October 25, 2023, as battles between Israel and the Palestinian Hamas movement continue. (Photo by Mahmud HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)
People distribute food at a makeshift camp for displaced people in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip. (Getty) (MAHMUD HAMS via Getty Images)

3. Oxfam claims starvation is being used as a weapon of war against Gaza civilians

  • Oxfam has claimed starvation is being used as a weapon of war against Gaza civilians, as it renewed its call for food, water, fuel and other essentials to be allowed to be brought in. It said UN data showed just 2% of food that would have been delivered has entered Gaza since the total siege began on 9 October.

  • The organisation's regional Middle East director Sally Abi Khalil said: "The situation is nothing short of horrific - where is humanity? Millions of civilians are being collectively punished in full view of the world, there can be no justification for using starvation as a weapon of war. World leaders cannot continue to sit back and watch, they have an obligation to act and to act now."

Read more: Oxfam claims starvation is being used as a weapon of war against Gaza civilians (Oxfam)

4. Starmer under pressure over Gaza stance

  • Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is meeting Muslim MPs from his party as he attempts to dampen a backlash over comments he made on the Israel crisis. He has faced criticism and tens of resignations from Labour councillors amid anger over his stance on the conflict after he refuse to call a ceasefire.

  • It comes after Labour's shadow equalities minister Yasmin Qureshi broke ranks and criticised the prime minister for not calling a humanitarian ceasefire.

Read more: Israel-Gaza conflict: The 50-second exchange that's piling pressure on Keir Starmer (Yahoo News UK)

5. Queen Rania criticises West over Gaza bombardment

  • Jordan's Queen Rania said Western nations had a "glaring double standard" over the bombardment of Gaza after they failed to condemn Israel for the strikes.

  • She told CNN's Christiane Amanpour: "The people all around the Middle East, including in Jordan, we are just shocked and disappointed by the world's reaction to this catastrophe that is unfolding. In the last couple of weeks, we have seen a glaring double standard in the world."

Read more: Queen Rania of Jordan attacks the West over 'double standards' response to Israel Gaza war (The Independent)

Where is Gaza?

Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images
Photo illustration: Yahoo News; photo: Getty Images
Map of Gaza Strip with roads and cities. (Getty)
Map of Gaza Strip with roads and cities. (Getty)

Gaza, also known as the Gaza Strip, is a densely-populated Palestinian enclave on the eastern coast of the Mediterranean, north-east of the Sinai Peninsula.

Bound by the Mediterranean Sea to the west, Israel to the north and east and Egypt to the south, it is just 25 miles long and six miles wide.

Gaza is one of two Palestinian territories. The other is the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

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