Israel-Hamas war: 5 key developments on Wednesday 1 November

Rafah crossing opens; police probe pro-Palestine activism; Starmer's ratings drop amidst Gaza stance and more

Palestinians arrive at Rafah, the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, on Wednesday, Nov. 1, 2023. (AP Photo/Fatima Shbair)
Palestinians arrive at Rafah, the border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt, which has opened to foreign nationals and injured Gazans. (AP) (Fatima Shbair, Associated Press)

The Rafah crossing in Gaza has opened for some foreign nationals and injured Gazans to leave, following a deal brokered by Qatar involving Egypt, Hamas, and Israel in coordination with the US.

Elsewhere, aid groups including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemned an Israeli airstrike on the Jabalia refugee camp, while in the UK an investigation has been launched following the release of mice in a McDonald's restaurant in Birmingham by pro-Palestine demonstrators.

Here are the main stories from Wednesday 1 November:

1. Rafah crossing reopens

  • The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt opened for some foreign nationals and injured Gazans, with a limited number of people allowed to cross on Wednesday.

  • The crossing is, crucially, the only way out of Gaza that is not controlled by Israel. Medics have reportedly set up a field hospital in Egypt's Sinai region consisting of four tents, each with 20 beds, and 12 medical caravans in Sheikh Zuweid, located 15km (9 miles) from Rafah.

Read more: Desperate scenes at Rafah crossing as trapped foreign nationals in dark over whether they can leave Gaza (The Independent)

2. Police probe into pro-Palestinian activist who released mice inside a Birmingham McDonald's restaurant

  • Authorities are conducting an investigation after a pro-Palestine activist released a box of painted mice inside a McDonald's restaurant in Birmingham.

  • A video circulating on social media shows the individual, with a Palestinian flag wrapped around his head, entering the fast-food establishment at Star City and placing the box of rodents on the floor. McDonald's said in a statement to Yahoo: "We are dismayed by the disinformation and inaccurate reports regarding our position in response to the conflict in the Middle East."

Read more: Investigation launched as pro-Palestine activist throws mice at customers in McDonalds (The Independent)

A protester threw mice into the fast food restaurant. (TikTok)
A protester throws mice into the fast food restaurant. (TikTok) (TikTok)

3. Gaza hospitals face shutdown

  • Gaza's fuel supplies are close to depletion, with the only hospital in the besieged enclave offering cancer treatment (the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital) closing its doors on Wednesday.

  • "Hospitals in Gaza are on the brink of darkness and thousands of patients' lives, including newborn babies in incubators, hang in the balance," said Riham Jafari, communications and advocacy coordinator at ActionAid Palestine.

Read more: Gaza aid distribution struggles amid overcrowding, debris, lack of fuel (Reuters)

4. Starmer poll rating drops

  • Sir Keir Starmer has seen his ratings drop in a new poll amid controversy over his stance on Gaza. The Labour leader has so far resisted pressure from some members within his own party to join UN-backed calls for a ceasefire.

  • Several Labour politicians – including Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and London mayor Sadiq Khan – are at odds with Starmer over the issue, while one Labour MP (Andy McDonald) has been suspended from the party over his comments on Gaza. Starmer has instead called for a humanitarian pause to allow more aid into the region and for people to leave.

Read more: Keir Starmer poll rating drops amid criticism over Gaza stance (Yahoo)

5. Humza Yousaf's family remain trapped

  • Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf's in-laws are still trapped in Gaza, despite the Rafah crossing opening for a limited number of foreign nationals and injured Gazans.

  • A spokesman for Yousaf said his family were struggling with limited supplies, adding:"This is obviously a developing situation but our understanding at this stage is that UK nationals are not at present included in this initial list of countries whose nationals can cross."

Read more: Humza Yousaf's family 'remain trapped' as crossing out of Gaza opened (The National)

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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