January 22, 2024 Israel-Hamas war

By Kathleen Magramo, Christian Edwards, Caitlin Danaher, Antoinette Radford, Leinz Vales and Elise Hammond, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, January 23, 2024
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6:02 a.m. ET, January 22, 2024

Israel’s opposition to a two-state solution is "unacceptable," says EU’s top diplomat

From CNN’s Xiaofei Xu in Hong Kong

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, on January 22.
European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell arrives for a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, on January 22. Virginia Mayo/AP

The Israeli government’s opposition to a two-state solution is “unacceptable” and Israel cannot expect countries to drop the issue, the European Union’s foreign policy chief said Monday.

“It’s unacceptable [for Israel] to say I don’t want this solution,” Josep Borrell told reporters ahead of a meeting of EU and Middle East foreign ministers in Brussels, adding, “the whole international community is behind" a two-state solution.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected calls from the international community for a two-state solution, but Borrell questioned what alternatives remain.

“Which are the other solutions they have in mind? To make all the Palestinians leave? To kill off them?” Borrell asked. He said a two-state solution with an independent Palestinian state is the ultimate goal of the 27 members of the EU.

Borrell said that Hamas is part of the problem but that the way Israel has been trying to destroy the militant group was “certainly” wrong and was seeding hate “for generations.”

Israel Foreign Minister Israel Katz and his Palestinian Authority counterpart are attending the meeting in Brussels.

4:26 a.m. ET, January 22, 2024

Communications restored in Gaza following longest blackout

From CNN's Celine Alkhaldi in Abu Dhabi

Displaced Palestinians using eSIM cards attempt to get a signal on January 19 on a hill in Rafah, on the southern Gaza border with Egypt.
Displaced Palestinians using eSIM cards attempt to get a signal on January 19 on a hill in Rafah, on the southern Gaza border with Egypt. AFP/Getty Images

Communication networks have been restored across Gaza following the longest near-total blackout in the coastal enclave since the start of the war.

The outage, which lasted over a week, was the ninth communications blackout in Gaza since Israel’s war against Hamas began on October 7, according to internet monitoring site Netblocks.

Fares Samer, head of Palestinian telecommunications provider Ooredoo, told CNN on Monday: "Network is back in southern and central Gaza, and is operating in the north. This includes mobile phone communication and internet."
12:01 a.m. ET, January 22, 2024

Gaza death toll passes 25,000 as Netanyahu rejects Hamas hostage deal to end war. Catch up here

From CNN staff

The death toll in Gaza has surpassed 25,000 people since the start of the Israel-Hamas war, the Hamas-controlled health ministry in the enclave said Sunday.

The Palestinian toll includes 25,105 killed and 62,681 injured, according to the ministry. CNN cannot independently verify the figures.

Israel's military said Sunday that military activities in Gaza were continuing, with "dozens of terrorists eliminated and large quantities of weapons located."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday he would not accept Hamas' demand for an end to the war in exchange for the release of hostages held in Gaza.

Here's what you need to know:

  • Netanyahu rejects hostage plan: The Israeli leader said Hamas has demanded an end to the war, the release of Palestinian prisoners and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza in exchange for the release of hostages. "I work on this around the clock," he said. "But to be clear: I reject outright the terms of surrender of the monsters of Hamas."
  • Two-state solution: Netanyahu's remarks come after the Israeli prime minister on Saturday again rejected calls for Palestinian sovereignty following talks with US President Joe Biden about Gaza’s future, suggesting Israel’s security needs would be incompatible with Palestinian statehood. "I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over all the territory west of Jordan - and this is contrary to a Palestinian state," Netanyahu said in a post on X.
  • International reaction: Biden has indicated he still believes Netanyahu can be convinced of a two-state solution to the conflict as the two remain at odds over plans for post-war Gaza. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called opposition to a two-state solution "unacceptable," while UK Defense Secretary Grant Shapps called Netanyahu's comments "disappointing."

  • On the ground: Israel's military reported more fighting around the southern city of Khan Younis, where it claims to have uncovered a tunnel used by Hamas to hold hostages. Soldiers found booby traps, explosives and other obstacles, Israel said. More than 100 hostages are believed to be alive in Gaza, according to Israel.
  • Cemeteries desecrated: The Israeli military has desecrated at least 16 cemeteries in its ground offensive in Gaza, a CNN investigation has found, leaving gravestones ruined, soil upturned and, in some cases, bodies unearthed. CNN has reviewed satellite imagery and social media footage showing the destruction of cemeteries — and witnessed it firsthand while traveling with the IDF in a convoy. Together, the evidence reveals a systemic practice.
  • Lebanon strike: An Israeli drone strike killed one person and injured five others near a military checkpoint in Kafra, southern Lebanon, on Sunday, Lebanon's National News Agency (NNA) reported. The Israeli military said it would release a statement later.
12:32 a.m. ET, January 22, 2024

Netanyahu rejects Hamas' conditions for release of hostages

From CNN’s Amir Tal and Mitchell McCluskey

Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on January 7.
Benjamin Netanyahu heads the weekly cabinet meeting at the Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv on January 7. Ronen Zvulun/AFP/Getty Images

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will not accept Hamas' demand for an end to the war in exchange for the release of hostages held in Gaza, he said Sunday.

“I work on this around the clock. But to be clear: I reject outright the terms of surrender of the monsters of Hamas,” he said.

Netanyahu said Hamas has demanded an end to the war, the release of Palestinian prisoners and the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza in exchange for the release of the hostages.

“If we agree to this, our soldiers fell in vain. If we agree to this, we will not be able to guarantee the security of our citizens,” the prime minister said. 

Some context: Netanyahu's comments come amid a report in the Wall Street Journal that the US, Egypt and Qatar want Israel to join a new phase of talks with Hamas that would start with the release of hostages and lead to the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza.

Netanyahu said he communicated these points to US President Joe Biden over the weekend, and reiterated comments he made last week about Israel controlling all territory west of Jordan. 

12:33 a.m. ET, January 22, 2024

Images reveal at least 16 Gaza cemeteries desecrated by Israeli forces

From CNN's Jeremy Diamond, Muhammad Darwish, Abeer Salman, Benjamin Brown and Gianluca Mezzofiore

Palestinians check damaged graves at a cemetery following an Israeli raid in Khan Younis, Gaza, on January 17.
Palestinians check damaged graves at a cemetery following an Israeli raid in Khan Younis, Gaza, on January 17. Ahmed Zakot/Reuters

The Israeli military has desecrated at least 16 cemeteries in its ground offensive in Gaza, a CNN investigation has found, leaving gravestones ruined, soil upturned and, in some cases, bodies unearthed.

In Khan Younis, southern Gaza, where fighting escalated in recent days, Israeli forces destroyed a cemetery, removing bodies in what the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told CNN was part of a search for the remains of hostages seized by Hamas during the October 7 attacks.

CNN has reviewed satellite images and social media footage showing the destruction of cemeteries — and witnessed it firsthand while traveling with the IDF in a convoy. Together, the evidence reveals a systemic practice.

The intentional destruction of religious sites, such as cemeteries, violates international law, except under narrow circumstances relating to that site becoming a military objective, and legal experts told CNN that Israel’s acts could amount to war crimes.

A spokesperson for the IDF could not account for the destruction of the 16 cemeteries CNN provided coordinates for, but said the military sometimes has “no other choice” but to target cemeteries it claimed Hamas uses for military purposes.

Read the full report.

12:34 a.m. ET, January 22, 2024

Israeli military releases footage of Khan Younis tunnel where it says around 20 hostages were held 

From CNN’s Lauren Izso in Tel Aviv and Teele Rebane

An alleged Hamas tunnel in Khan Younis, Gaza, is seen in this screengrab from video released by the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday.
An alleged Hamas tunnel in Khan Younis, Gaza, is seen in this screengrab from video released by the Israel Defense Forces on Sunday. Israel Defense Forces

The Israel Defense Forces released footage Sunday of a tunnel in the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza where it said Hamas held around 20 hostages at different times. 

The tunnel was located in the center of Khan Younis and ran about 830 meters (0.51 miles) at a depth of 20 meters (66 feet), the IDF said.

There were booby traps, explosives and various obstacles inside the tunnel, according to the IDF, which said it encountered and killed several Hamas operatives as it entered the tunnel.

The IDF found no hostages in the tunnel but said, based on testimonies from former hostages and DNA evidence, that about 20 hostages were held there at different times, some of who have been released while others remain held in Gaza. 

Videos shared by the IDF show long tunnels, some of which lead to rooms with mattresses, blankets and food wrappers scattered on the floor, and kitchen and bathroom areas. 

An estimated 104 hostages are believed to be alive in Gaza, according to the latest Israeli figures, which have fluctuated at times based on intelligence.

12:36 a.m. ET, January 22, 2024

Netanyahu rejects calls for Palestinian sovereignty after talks with Biden on post-war Gaza

From CNN’s Abeer Salman and Mitchell McCluskey

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 7.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a cabinet meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, on January 7. Ronen Zvulun/Pool/Reuters

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday rejected calls for Palestinian sovereignty following talks with US President Joe Biden about Gaza’s future, suggesting Israel’s security needs would be incompatible with Palestinian statehood.

“I will not compromise on full Israeli security control over all the territory west of Jordan - and this is contrary to a Palestinian state,” Netanyahu said in a post on X

The Israeli leader did not provide any other details in his one-line post in Hebrew. The territory west of Jordan encompasses Israel, the occupied West Bank, and Hamas-run Gaza, where Israel is battling the militant group following the October 7 attacks.

Biden and his top officials — including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who visited Israel and the region last week — have said the creation of a Palestinian state with guarantees for Israel’s security is the only way to finally bring peace and stability to the Middle East.

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Sunday called opposition to a two-state solution “unacceptable.”

Read more on the global calls for a Palestinian state.

7:24 p.m. ET, January 21, 2024

Palestinians are documenting the war on social media. Their followers see them as family

 From CNN's Harmeet Kaur

Early on Christmas Day in the central Gazan city of Deir al-Balah, Motaz Azaiza shared a terrifying update on X.

A quadcopter was flying low above the door of his house, he said, and he feared he was about to be targeted in an Israeli airstrike. As a highly visible Palestinian online who had received threats before, Azaiza believed he had reason to be afraid.

Hundreds of people flooded the replies with concern for the 24-year-old photojournalist, who has been documenting Israel’s military assault on Gaza on social media since Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7.

I’m so scared for Motaz,” the replies read.
I hope Motaz is okay.”
Pray for Motaz.

Noor, a medical student in California who asked to go by her first name for safety reasons, was one of the people worrying. For months, she’s been following Azaiza’s dispatches from Gaza, broadcast to his millions of followers: images of his once vibrant neighborhood transformed into a gray wasteland, raw glimpses of carnage in the ashes, and reflections on his own feelings of rage and exhaustion.

Noor refers to Azaiza with the familiarity of his first name. She gets notifications on her phone each time he posts, and worries when too much time passes.

“For so many of us, it almost feels like he’s a brother. He’s a friend, and we’re seeing him suffer in real time,” she told CNN.

Read more.