Palestinians inspect the damage following an Israeli airstrike on the El-Remal aera in Gaza City on October 9, 2023. Credit: Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages > CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED, via Wikimedia Commons.

On the ground

  • The IDF is gaining control over the northern Gaza Strip, and early on the morning of 15 November entered Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
  • The White House has confirmed, based on its own intelligence, that Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad members operate a command-and-control node from the hospital.
  • The IDF reported finding weapons and Hamas assets inside, with five Hamas gunmen killed in a gun battle outside the facility as forces entered.
  • Israeli troops entered the hospital with medical staff and Arabic speakers, and brought incubators, baby food and medical supplies. No soldiers or staff were injured in this “focused” search, which was reportedly conducted with “discretion, patience and thoroughness”.
  • BBC journalists, entering Shifa with the IDF, reported that among the items discovered by Israeli troops was a laptop containing photos and videos of hostages, taken since 7 October. In the hospital’s MRI room were reportedly found “more than a dozen Kalashnikovs, grenades, personal protective equipment, some of it with the Hamas military brigade insignia on it” which were “hidden under these bags of medical supplies”.
  • Earlier in the week, the IDF entered Al-Rantisi children’s hospital, and showed journalists a basement with weapons and evidence that hostages had been held there, later providing photos of suicide vests, rockets, and anti-tank missiles.
  • Under International Humanitarian Law, civilian hospitals in a war zone lose their protected status if they are used to hide fighters or store weapons. Earlier in the week, Israel released footage from Hamas prisoners confirming the use of hospitals and ambulances by Hamas.


  • Intense diplomatic activity continues around potential agreements to release hostages. President Biden told reporters on 14 November that he was hopeful of progress, with the US National Security Agency Middle East Coordinator, Brett McGurk, the latest US official to tour the region, and Israeli internal intelligence chief Ronen Bar visiting Egypt.
  • Reports suggest a deal to release 70 women and children from Gaza in return for the release of some Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and longer pause in the fighting could be on the horizon. However, there is no confirmation of details.
  • Family members of hostages in Israel are increasing their protests and demands for the government to prioritise a deal to release their loved ones.

Humanitarian pauses

  • Israel is continuing to implement daily humanitarian pauses of up to seven hours to allow civilians to leave specific areas of the northern Gaza Strip and move south.
  • Humanitarian aid for the south of the Gaza Strip is increasing steadily. On 12 November, 143 truckloads entered, the highest daily total so far. Israel also agreed for fuel to enter the Gaza Strip on 15 November for the first time since 7 October, for the purposes of fuelling UN aid trucks. Several international field hospitals are in preparation and a French ship is expected to reach the Sinai coast in the coming days to function as a floating hospital.
  • Gaza’s health ministry, which is run by Hamas, has claimed that around 11,250 Gazans have died since the start of the operation – many of whom were Hamas terrorists according to the IDF – with around 28,200 injured. A significant number of the casualties are thought to be women and children.
  • Figures issued by the Gazan health ministry cannot be independently verified, and are believed to include both civilians and Hamas members killed in Gaza and Israel, including as a consequence victims of terror groups’ own rocket misfires. There are estimated to be around 40,000 Hamas fighters in Gaza in the form of Hamas’ Al-Qassam Brigades.

In Israel

  • The figures for victims of the October 7 attack are being updated as more remains are identified, with 1,280 Israelis now known to be killed, 7,266 injured and around 239 abducted.
  • Twelve British nationals were killed in the attacks, with five more believed to be held hostage.
  • 19-year-old corporal Noa Marciano’s dead body was featured in a propaganda video released by Hamas on the evening of 13 November, which also featured footage of her seemingly in captivity in Gaza.
  • The remains of 74-year-old peace activist Vivian Silver, who had been thought to be among the hostages, were discovered at her home in kibbutz Be’eri. Furthermore, the IDF reported that at least one of the hostages – a pregnant woman – will now have given birth in captivity. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis remain displaced from border communities in the north and the south.
  • Sporadic rocket fire continues from the southern Gaza Strip, with a rocket fired from Gaza causing severe injuries to a man in Tel Aviv on 14 November.

In the north and West Bank

  • Israel continues to come under fire from Hezbollah and Palestinian groups in south Lebanon, with a high risk of further escalation.
  • Attacks on Israel spiked on 12 November with 18 Israelis wounded by anti-tank missiles and rockets fired at the Western Galilee region for the first time. Israel continues to hit the squads involved in the firing and other Hezbollah targets in response.
  • For now, both sides are keeping the intensity of the exchanges below a certain threshold. Israel’s current approach is to contain the threats on the northern front and focus on Gaza, but calls are growing to confront the Hezbollah threat directly, and the risk of intended or unintended escalation on either side is high.
  • Violent clashes continue in the West Bank. Israeli raids against armed groups are leading to exchanges of fire and fatalities, amid Palestinian attacks on soldiers and civilians, and acts of violence by extremist settlers. UN agencies report 182 Palestinian fatalities since 7 October.
  • On 16 November, 6 people were injured in a Palestinian terror attack at a checkpoint in the West Bank near Jerusalem.

In the UK

  • Last night, the House of Commons voted to reject calls for an immediate ceasefire, with a number of Labour MPs defying the whip to back an SNP amendment calling for a ceasefire.
  • Labour put forward its own amendment, which condemned Hamas and called for the release of hostages, reaffirmed Israel’s right to defend itself, expressed concern that too many civilians had died in Gaza, reaffirmed support for international humanitarian law, called for more humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza, condemned the expansion of settlements and violence by settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank, and called for “an enduring cessation of fighting as soon as possible and a credible, diplomatic and political process to deliver the lasting peace of a two-state solution”.
  • Responding to the results of the vote, a statement by Labour leader Keir Starmer made clear his view that “no government would allow the capability and intend to repeat [the Hamas attacks] to go unchallenged” and reasserted his position that the UK should “stand by the right to self-defence of any nation which suffers terrorism on this scale, alongside the basic human rights and dignity of innocent Palestinians caught, once again, in the crossfire”. He also expressed regret “that some colleagues felt unable to support the position tonight” and insisted that “leadership is about doing the right thing. That is the least the public deserves. And the least that leadership demands”.
  • On 12 November, leaders from the PES grouping of 32 European socialist parties including Labour voted for a resolution demanding “Hamas releases the hostages immediately and unconditionally” and affirming that “Israel has a right to defend itself” as well as a duty to “fully comply with international law and international humanitarian law and to protect civilian lives.” The parties passed the resolution after hearing from Israeli Labor party leader Merav Michaeli. The resolution called for “humanitarian pauses to achieve the provision of basic necessities such as water, food, electricity, fuel and medical supplies.”
  • Israel is reportedly seeking to appoint Tony Blair as a humanitarian coordinator for the Gaza Strip. A spokesman for the former prime minister said, “He is obviously discussing the situation with a number of people in the region and elsewhere to see what can be done. But there is no ‘role’ offered or taken.”
  • Saturday 11 November saw clashes and arrests between protestors and police in central London as a pro-Palestine demonstration on Armistice Day triggered a turnout by far right groups claiming to ‘protect’ monuments. The Met reported that they detained around 150 pro-Palestinian demonstrators in Grosvenor Place in the evening. Those detained were from a breakaway group firing fireworks and wearing face coverings. Some were arrested after fireworks struck officers in the face.
  • From 7 October to 15 November, CST recorded at least 1,324 antisemitic incidents across the UK, the highest-ever total recorded. Many involved verbal abuse, but also include 64 assaults, 92 cases of damage and desecration of Jewish property, and 120 direct threats. More than half of these incidents took place in Greater London.

The coming days

  • The fighting capability of Hamas’ two brigades in the northern Gaza Strip has been substantially damaged. However, Israel is yet to operate in the centre and east of Gaza City, and three other brigades in the refugee camps in the centre of the Gaza Strip and in Khan Yunis and Rafah, remain intact. The IDF will continue to destroy Hamas’ underground infrastructure in the north, and the war cabinet will have to decide shortly its next steps regarding the rest of the territory.
  • Whilst some, including defence minister Yoav Gallant, have argued for the operation to be expanded, Israel is under pressure from the US to move towards a more pinpointed phase of operations, and is aware of growing concern at the humanitarian fallout from its allies.
  • Public remarks from political leaders and press reporting suggests a momentum towards a deal for the release of at least some hostages in return for a temporary pause in fighting and perhaps the release of some Palestinian prisoners, but this is far from certain.
  • In the context of this growing international pressure, the uptick in humanitarian assistance in the south in terms of supplies and medical care can be expected to increase.
  • The risk of wider escalation, including an intensification of fighting with Hezbollah, is ever present. Houthi leaders in Yemen have also continued their threats, including to target Israeli shipping in the Red Sea.