December 6, 2023 Israel-Hamas war

By Chris Lau, Antoinette Radford, Aditi Sangal, Leinz Vales, Elise Hammond and Maureen Chowdhury, CNN

Updated 12:00 a.m. ET, December 7, 2023
19 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
1:08 p.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Netanyahu says Palestinian Authority will not govern Gaza as long as he’s Israel's prime minister

From Tamar Michaelis in Tel Aviv and Sugam Pokharel in London

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as the US Secretary of State gives statements to the media inside The Kirya, which houses the Israeli Defense Ministry, after their meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 12, 2023.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu looks on as the US Secretary of State gives statements to the media inside The Kirya, which houses the Israeli Defense Ministry, after their meeting in Tel Aviv, Israel, on October 12, 2023. Jacquelyn Martin/Pool/AFP/Getty Images/FILE

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that the Palestinian Authority (PA) assuming power in Gaza will not happen as long as he is prime minister, underscoring the difference between the Israeli and US governments about governance of the enclave after the Israel-Hamas war. 

“As long as I am Prime Minister — this will not happen. Whoever educates their children for terror, funds terror and supports families of terrorists, could not control Gaza after we eradicate Hamas,” Netanyahu wrote on X, the social media platform formerly called Twitter. 

His comment came after Sky News Arabia reported on Wednesday that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the PA, has expressed the body’s readiness to assume power in Gaza and the West Bank. 

US President Joe Biden said last month that the PA should govern the Gaza Strip and the West Bank following the war. "As we strive for peace, Gaza and the West Bank should be reunited under a single governance structure, ultimately under a revitalized Palestinian Authority, as we all work toward a two-state solution," Biden said in an op-ed published in the Washington Post. 

However, Netanyahu has repeatedly rejected the idea of a PA-led government in Gaza after the war. "I think that the Palestinian Authority in its current forms is not competent to take responsibility over Gaza," Netanyahu said at a news conference on November 18.

Some background: The Palestinian Authority is a government body with limited self-rule in the West Bank. It was established in the 1993 Oslo Accords, a peace pact between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization that saw the PLO give up armed resistance against Israel in return for promises of an independent Palestinian state. It has recognized Israel and engaged in multiple failed peace initiatives with it. Hamas controls Gaza and presents itself as an alternative to the PA.

11:26 a.m. ET, December 6, 2023

There is a "heightened risk of atrocity crimes" in Gaza, UN official says

From CNN’s Catherine Nicholls in London

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on December 6.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk attends a news conference at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on December 6. Denis Balibouse/Reuters

There is a “heightened risk of atrocity crimes” in Gaza, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk said at a news conference on Wednesday. 

The “catastrophic situation” in Gaza was both “entirely foreseeable and preventable,” Türk said in Geneva. “My humanitarian colleagues have described the situation as apocalyptic. In these circumstances, there is a heightened risk of atrocity crimes.”

All parties involved and “those with influence” should take measures to prevent such crimes, he added.

Türk also said he was gravely concerned about the “dehumanizing” statements made by political figures in both Israel and in the Hamas ranks.

“History has shown us where this kind of language can lead. This is not just unacceptable, but a competent court may view such statements, in the circumstances in which they are made, an incitement to atrocity crimes,” he said.

9:37 a.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Audio of meeting between freed Israeli hostages and Netanyahu shows considerable anger at government role

From CNN's Irene Nasser, Tim Lister and Richard Greene

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pictured during a press conference at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv , Israel, on October 28
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is pictured during a press conference at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv , Israel, on October 28 Abir Sultan/Pool/Reuters/File

Leaked audio recordings of Tuesday's meeting between freed Israeli hostages, relatives of some still being held and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reveals considerable anger at the government’s conduct, as well as the enduring terror of captivity by Hamas in Gaza. Some of the leaked audio was published on Israeli website ynet.

It comes amid building pressure on Netanyahu to secure the release of the remaining captives, and scrutiny of Israel’s intensifying military campaign in Gaza.

A female abductee freed with her children — but without her husband, who remains in captivity — said she was in a "hiding place that was shelled and we had to be smuggled out and we were wounded. That’s besides the helicopter that shot at us on the way to Gaza."

“You have no information. You have no information," she added. "The fact that we were shelled, the fact that no one knew anything about where we were. … You claim that there is intelligence. But the fact is that we are being shelled. My husband was separated from us three days before we returned to Israel and taken to the (Hamas) tunnels” under Gaza.

"You want to topple the Hamas government, to show that you have bigger balls? There is no life here that is more important than others. None of us there deserve any less treatment than any resident of Israel. Return them all and not in a month, two months or a year," she said. 

"You put politics above the return of the kidnapped,” she added.

According to the ynet account of the meeting, one man related what his family members had told him after being freed.

“They were under constant threat from the IDF shelling. You sat in front of us and assured us that it does not threaten their lives. They also roam the street and (are) not only in the tunnels. They are mounted on donkeys and carts. You will not be able to recognize them on the street and you are endangering their lives. It is our duty to return them now," he said, according to ynet.

Another woman who had been a hostage said those remaining in captivity were living “on borrowed time. All day, they lie on a mattresses, most of them need glasses and hearing aids that were taken from them when they were kidnapped, they have difficulty seeing and hearing, which affects their functioning even more,” the woman said, according to the audio released.

She issued an appeal to Israel's war cabinet to release all Palestinian prisoners and bring back the hostages. "Release them all and bring them back. They live on borrowed time. Their lives are in your hands,” she said.

At one point, some of the people present in the meeting heckled at Netanyahu and others from the war cabinet by saying "shame."

What Netanyahu said, according to the report: Comments at the meeting by Netanyahu have not been released but were reported by ynet. CNN cannot verify they are accurate.

According to ynet, Netanyahu said it was only when Israel launched its ground operations when the pressure was built on Hamas to release hostages. When Netanyahu said Hamas was to blame for the end of the truce, an individual identified by ynet as a family member of a released hostage replied, "Nonsense."

Netanyahu responded: "No bulls***. What I'm saying here are clear facts. I respect you too much. I heard your heartbreak. We couldn't release everyone at once. The price they want is not prisoners. The price they want is not only the prisoners.”

Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the leaked recordings.

Read more about the tense meeting between Israeli officials and hostages.

11:20 a.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Analysis: Calls for "balance" blunt the horrific human toll of rape and destruction in Israel-Hamas war

Analysis from CNN's Stephen Collinson

It should not be hard to categorically condemn Hamas terrorists’ depraved use of rape as a weapon of war against Israeli women and girls.

And the idea that Israel could think that a ratio of two civilians killed for every Hamas fighter in Gaza would be a “tremendously positive” result is callous.

But raging disputes on both these issues underscore the extreme politicization of the conflict and, more importantly, threaten to downplay the inhumanity of a war exerting a horrific toll on defenseless civilians.

The first episode concerns Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal, who was forced on Tuesday to issue a long statement walking back her comments to CNN’s Dana Bash on Sunday that “horrific” rapes need to be “balanced” against civilian deaths in Gaza.

The second drama stems from comments by Israel Defense Forces spokesman Jonathan Conricus, also on CNN, about Palestinian civilian deaths that the lieutenant colonel was also forced to clarify.

The controversy over Jayapal’s remarks follows a period, predating the most recent Hamas attacks, in which some on the left have been criticized for seeming to be less inclined to condemn crimes against humanity carried out against Jews than other ethnic groups. And progressives across the Western world, many of whom are supportive of Palestinians, have sometimes been less strident than they might have been in trying to eradicate antisemitism.

Days of footage of the murderous Hamas rampage through kibbutz communities and grieving Palestinians pulling dead children from the rubble of their homes is hard to watch. But if the world tunes out, the reality of the carnage risks being overshadowed by arguments about the relative weight of horror suffered by either side or related diplomatic and political point-scoring typical of Middle East conflicts.

Read Collinson's full analysis:

11:22 a.m. ET, December 6, 2023

UN calls Gaza one of world's "most dangerous" places as refugee camp hit by alleged IDF strikes. Catch up here

From CNN staff

A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with Gaza shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment of Gaza on December 6.
A picture taken from southern Israel near the border with Gaza shows smoke billowing during Israeli bombardment of Gaza on December 6. Jack Guez/AFP/Getty Images

There are reports of a high number of casualties overnight after the Israeli military launched strikes on targets in and around the Jabalya refugee camp in northern Gaza.

The reports cannot be substantiated because access to the area is challenging and communications are poor. The alleged strikes come as the UN's main agency operating in Gaza said the enclave has now become "one of the most dangerous places in the world."

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said the situation was "getting worse each minute" with a new wave of refugees in the south displaced by Israeli bombardment on Wednesday.

CNN has reached out to the Israel Defense Forces for comment on its operations in the Jabalya area.

Here are today's main headlines:

  • Refugee camp struck: The Palestinian official news agency WAFA quoted witnesses as saying that the Israeli military “targeted an entire residential square in 'Block 2' in Jabalya camp, killing and wounding dozens, including children and women.” CNN cannot independently verify the reports because of challenges with access and lack of communications in the area.
  • Death toll in Gaza surpasses 16,000: The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported that as of Tuesday, more than 16,000 people have been killed in Israeli attacks in Gaza since October 7. In its latest update on the health situation of Gazans, the ministry said about 41,000 people had been wounded, with thousands more thought to be missing or buried under rubble. The ministry, based in Ramallah in the West Bank, compiles its reports with data from hospitals in Hamas-run Gaza.
  • Targets hit: Israel's air force struck about 250 Hamas targets in Gaza over the past 24 hours as troops continued to locate the militant group's weapons, underground shafts, explosives and military infrastructure, the Israeli military has said.
  • Weapons found: The IDF claimed it found a large weapons stockpile near a clinic and school in northern Gaza. It said the weapons cache “contained hundreds of missiles and RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) launchers of various types, dozens of anti-tank missiles, dozens of explosive charges, long-range missiles aimed at the center of the State of Israel, dozens of grenades and unmanned aerial vehicles.” CNN cannot independently verify its claims or whether the weapons stockpile exists.
  • Humanitarian organizations call for an end to attacks: In addition to UNRWA noting the danger to life in the Gaza Strip, humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) called for an immediate end to "indiscriminate and relentless attacks," on Gaza. They also said medical supplies were critically low at central Gaza's Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital.
  • 76-year-old hostage in critical condition: The daughter of an elderly Israeli woman who was released after being held hostage in Gaza says her mother’s condition is “serious” and that she has been hospitalized again. Carmit Palty Katzir, daughter of 76-year-old Hana Katzir, told Israel Army Radio (GLZ) that “my mother is hospitalized in serious condition."

7:25 a.m. ET, December 6, 2023

German state will require applicants for citizenship to declare support for Israel 

From CNN's Sophie Tanno

Applicants for citizenship in the eastern German state of Saxony Anhalt are now required to declare their support for Israel’s right to exist.

The new legislation comes in the aftermath of Hamas’ cross-border terror attack on October 7 and amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

The decree states that Israel’s right to exist is Germany’s “Staatsräson” or “reason of state,” according to German news agency DPA, who has seen the document.

“Acquiring German citizenship requires a commitment to Israel’s right to exist,” the decree states. It adds that applicants must confirm in writing “that they recognize Israel’s right to exist and condemn any efforts directed against the existence of the State of Israel.”

Saxony-Anhalt’s Interior Minister, Tamara Zieschang, said in the letter to the state’s cities and districts that, during the naturalization process, attention should be paid to “whether there are indications that anti-Semitic attitudes exist,” German newspaper Tagesspiegel reported.

Citizenship must be denied if applicants have made efforts that go against the free, democratic order, including anti-Semitic crimes and the denial of Israel’s right to exist, the letter says.

Since October 7, German officials have repeatedly stated that Israel’s security is Germany’s “reason of state.”

In an address to the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, in the aftermath of the attacks, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said: “At this moment, there is only one place for Germany. That is the side of Israel.

“That’s what we mean when we say the security of Israel is Germany’s raison d’etre [reason of state].”

7:52 a.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Daughter of 76-year-old freed hostage says her mother is in hospital in a "serious" condition

From CNN’s Amir Tal in Jerusalem

An undated photo of Hana Katzir is projected onto a building in Tel Aviv, Israel, following her release by Hamas on November 24.
An undated photo of Hana Katzir is projected onto a building in Tel Aviv, Israel, following her release by Hamas on November 24. Alexi J. Rosenfeld/Getty Images

The daughter of an elderly Israeli woman who was released after being held hostage in Gaza says her mother’s condition is “serious” and that she has been rehospitalized.

Carmit Palty Katzir, daughter of 76-year old Hana Katzir, told Israel Army radio (GLZ): “My mother is hospitalized in serious condition. There was a deterioration in her condition, which is directly related to captivity. The time she was there, when she did not receive medication, [but] she did receive drugs or other things she obviously should not have received, [as well as] conditions of starvation, conditions of nutritional deficiencies.”

Hana Katzir became one of the most recognized hostages during her captivity because she appeared in a hostage video and then later Palestinian Islamic Jihad announced that she had died. There was surprise and joy in Israel when she appeared in the first group of hostages to be freed. 

Her daughter now says her health has deteriorated.

“A woman who left without any heart problems came back with serious heart problems and her medical condition is serious,” Katzir said. “The deterioration is the last two days, but already when she arrived at Wolfson medical center from Gaza, they saw her poor physical condition, they recognized the heart problems, which again I say, she had no heart problems before.”

Wolfson said Katzir had been discharged and is now hospitalized elsewhere.

Her daughter also spoke of abuse of the hostages.

“I want to say that everything is abuse: Abducting people from their homes is abuse, not providing them with food, this is abuse, committing psychological terror to them, pulling them out for filming at 2 a.m., making them wait four and five hours until they can, or can't go to the toilet.”

2:31 p.m. ET, December 6, 2023

Gaza Strip is now "one of the most dangerous places in the world," UN agency says

Palestinians inspect the destruction caused by air strikes on homes in Khan Younis, Gaza, on December 4.
Palestinians inspect the destruction caused by air strikes on homes in Khan Younis, Gaza, on December 4. Ahmad Hasaballah/Getty Images

The situation in Gaza is "getting worse each minute" with a new wave of refugees in the south displaced by Israeli bombardment, the main United Nations agency operating in the strip said Wednesday.

"There is no 'safe' zone, the entire #GazaStrip has become one of the most dangerous places in the world. There is nowhere to go as shelters, including @UNRWA, are overflowing," the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East said on X, formerly known as Twitter. 

Humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) also called for an immediate end to "indiscriminate and relentless attacks" on Gaza.

"Forcible displacement must stop now. Assaults on hospitals and medical staff must stop now. Restrictions on aid and the siege must stop now," it posted.

6:36 a.m. ET, December 6, 2023

IDF says it found weapons stockpile near clinic and school in northern Gaza

From CNN’s Benjamin Brown in London

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) claimed on Wednesday to have found a large weapons stockpile near a clinic and school in northern Gaza.

The IDF said the weapons cache “contained hundreds of missiles and RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) launchers of various types, dozens of anti-tank missiles, dozens of explosive charges, long-range missiles aimed at the center of the State of Israel, dozens of grenades and unmanned aerial vehicles.”

It said some of the weapons were taken away for further investigation, while others were destroyed in a nearby field. 

Footage shared by the IDF showed the weapons and ammunition and soldiers loading rockets onto a truck.

CNN is unable to verify the size of the stockpile of weapons seized by the IDF, or where they were found.