Image caption, The latest developments from the conflict in Gaza lead many of Wednesday’s front pages. The Financial Times reports on comments by UN Secretary General António Guterres, who told a meeting of the body’s Security Council on Tuesday that Israel had committed “clear violations” of international law. “Protecting civilians does not mean ordering more than 1 million people to evacuate to the south [of Gaza], where there is no shelter, no food, no medicine and no fuel, and then continuing to bomb the south itself,” he said. The paper says the remarks “triggered a furious response from Israeli officials”.
Image caption, The i further quotes Mr Guterres describing the Hamas attacks as “appalling” but adding that they did not “happen in a vacuum” and do not justify the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.
Image caption, Gilad Erdan, Israel’s ambassador to the UN, has described Mr Guterres’s remarks as “shocking” and called on him to resign, the Daily Mail reports. “The UN Secretary General, who shows understanding for the campaign of mass murder of children, women, and the elderly, is not fit to lead the UN,” Mr Erdan said.
Image caption, Israel’s foreign minister cancelled a meeting with Mr Guterres because of the comments, asking him, “In what world do you live?”, the Daily Telegraph reports. The paper also notes that French President Emmanuel Macron dropped calls for a ceasefire during a visit to Israel. It says that, ahead of the trip, Mr Macron’s aides had briefed the press that he planned to call for a “humanitarian truce” during a speech alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but that during the actual address he said only that the “first goal” should be the release of all hostages.
Image caption, The Guardian is one of a number of papers to carry a picture of 85-year-old Yocheved Lifschitz, one of two hostages released by Hamas on Monday, shaking the hand of one of her captors as she is freed. The paper says Ms Lifschitz told the man “Shalom” – a Hebrew word meaning “peace” and often used as a salutation – and later said at a press conference that, after some initial violence, she had been treated with “care” and “gentleness”.
Image caption, Ms Lifschitz is described as a “symbol of humanity” by the Daily Express. The paper calls the handshake a “peace gesture in the face of evil” and says it was “fitting for a woman who, along with her still-captive husband Oded, 83, has been a peace activist all her life”. Ms Lifschitz and Oded are known activists who have helped transport sick people out of Gaza to hospitals in Israel, their families have said, while Oded is a journalist who has supported the rights of Palestinians for decades.
Image caption, The Times reports that, while Ms Lifschitz spoke positively about the way she was treated once in captivity, she also said the Hamas militants had gone “wild” during the actual kidnapping, according to the Times. “They attacked our houses. They killed and kidnapped both old and young with no distinction,” she said.
Image caption, In comments quoted by the Sun, Ms Lifschitz says she spent her 16 days of captivity in a “spider’s web” of underground tunnels and describes the experience as a “nightmare”.
Image caption, The Metro reports on the sinking of a British-flagged cargo ship, the Verity, following a collision with a larger ship, the Polesie, off Germany’s North Sea coast in the early hours of Tuesday morning. The paper says at least one sailor is known to have died but that rescuers are “clinging to hope” that four missing crew members will still be found alive.
Image caption, Kenneth Noye, who served almost 20 years in prison for killing a man in a road rage incident in 1996, has links to a multi-million pound scheme which is at the centre of claims about land-grabbing in the Amazon, the Daily Mirror reports. It says Mr Noye lives at a property that is also the headquarters of Amazon Forest People, a project set up by his son to protect Brazil’s rainforests which, according to the paper, is being sued for £800,000 for illegal use of public land. It adds that sources close to Mr Noye have insisted he is not involved in the project.
Image caption, And the Daily Star says that Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to exploit a rise in bedbugs in the West by “planting fake news” stories on the issue. “It’s bad enough without your help,” the paper says.