ISRAEL IS FACING PRESSURE
Israel is currently under pressure from its close allies due to the situation of civilians in Gaza. Thousands of people are leaving the northern part of the enclave on foot due to a shortage of food and water and increased fighting in urban areas.
More than 70% of the population in Gaza, which amounts to 2.3 million people, have already evacuated their homes. However, there has been an increase in the number of individuals heading south as Israeli troops engage in combat with Hamas militants within Gaza City, leading to an increasingly critical humanitarian situation.
The Group of Seven wealthy industrial nations reached a collective position on the Israel-Hamas conflict following extensive discussions in Tokyo.
They denounced Hamas while expressing support for Israel’s self-defense rights.
Additionally, the group urged the uninterrupted provision of essential supplies such as food, water, medicine, and fuel and the implementation of humanitarian ceasefires to alleviate the ongoing hostilities.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that while small pauses for delivering humanitarian aid are a possibility, a broader ceasefire will only be considered once all hostages are freed.
The war initiated by Hamas’ deadly October 7th assault inside Israel shows no signs of ending. Israel has indicated that the mission to dismantle Hamas’ rule and eliminate its military capabilities will be a challenging and protracted endeavor.
It intends to retain some control over the coastal enclave, although the specific methods to achieve this objective are uncertain.
The war is widely supported within Israel, with particular emphasis on the fate of over 240 hostages held by Hamas and other militant organizations.
THE ROAD OUT OF THE NORTH
On Tuesday, approximately 15,000 individuals escaped from northern Gaza, three times the number who fled on Monday, as the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported.
Furthermore, on Wednesday, thousands more headed south on Salah al-Din Street, the main north-south thoroughfare in Gaza. Israel permitted this movement during a daily timeframe, which has now been extended to five hours.
Many families, mostly on foot, filled the road. Men and women carried young children or pushed older people on makeshift carts. These families had limited belongings in backpacks, while a few rode on donkey carts, waving white flags as they neared Israeli tanks. According to the U.N., there were reports of people being arrested at Israeli checkpoints while crossing.
Abeer Akila, who had to flee her home in Gaza City with her family and neighbors due to heavy bombardment overnight, expressed the dire situation in Gaza with limited access to food and drinking water and struck bakeries. Life in Gaza is severely impacted.
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There were reports from residents of loud explosions occurring overnight into Wednesday in Gaza City and the nearby Shati refugee camp. This camp is home to Palestinian families who were displaced during the 1948 war when Israel was established.
THE ISRAELI ARMY’S TOP SPOKESPERSON, REAR ADM.
Daniel Hagari, announced on Tuesday night that ground forces had successfully reached the heart of Gaza City. On Wednesday, the army confirmed the elimination of a prominent Hamas weapons developer, withholding the location of the operation.
Hamas has refuted claims of Israeli troops making significant gains or entering Gaza City. Independent confirmation of battlefield claims from either side is currently unavailable.
Israel is directing its operations towards the city, previously inhabited by approximately 650,000 people, and is considered the central command center of Hamas, along with a complex network of tunnels, as stated by the military.
Many Palestinians have followed Israeli orders in the past few weeks and evacuated the northern areas. However, many individuals, numbering in the tens of thousands, are still present. These remaining individuals seek shelter in hospitals or U.N. schools.
U.N. AID OFFICE
Due to restrictions, the aid reaching Gaza from the south is mostly prevented from reaching the north. As a result, the northern region has been deprived of running water for several weeks.
The scarcity of supplies has forced hospitals to conduct surgeries, including amputations, without anesthesia, according to the U.N. aid office. Furthermore, the last operational bakeries closed on Tuesday due to the need for more fuel, water, and flour.
Some individuals traveling south have resorted to surviving on just one piece of pita bread per day.
Majed Haroun, a teacher currently residing in Gaza City, reports that women and children who have lost their families are going from door to door begging for food. According to him, the situation is indescribable, and words cannot fully capture the gravity of what they are going through.
CONDITIONS LITTLE BETTER IN THE SOUTH
Many new arrivals from the north seek shelter in homes with extended family or U.N. schools-turned-shelters. In some cases, hundreds of thousands of individuals are taking refuge in these facilities. The situation has become so dire that at one of these shelters, as many as 600 people have to share a single toilet, as reported by the U.N. office.
AL-AQSA MARTYRS HOSPITAL
A series of Israeli airstrikes persist in the southern zone. On Wednesday, an airstrike targeted a residential home in the Nuseirat refugee camp, resulting in the loss of at least 18 lives and injuring numerous others.
According to Iyad Abu Zaher, the director of Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital, where the casualties were transported, the number of deaths may increase as medical professionals and first responders continue to search through the debris.
Since October 21st, numerous aid trucks have been granted permission to enter Gaza from Egypt. However, the extent of the needs in Gaza is vast, and the aid that has made it through so far is only a fraction of what is required.
Fuel, water, food, and medical supplies are urgently necessary, as stated by Dominic Allen of the United Nations Population Fund, who spoke from the West Bank.
Doctors at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis have observed a significant increase in premature births in the maternity ward, which they attribute to the traumatizing effects of the war.
Shouq Hararah, who recently gave birth to premature twins – a boy and a girl, shared her experience of inadequate birth procedures. She mentioned the absence of anesthesia, painkillers, and proper medical assistance during the delivery.
According to the Health Ministry in the Hamas-run territory, over 10,500 Palestinians, including two-thirds of women and minors, have lost their lives in Gaza during a month of intense bombardment following the Hamas attack.
The strikes have caused significant destruction, with entire city blocks demolished and an estimated 2,300 people believed to be buried under the rubble.
Since the commencement of the conflict, over 1,400 individuals have lost their lives in Israel. The majority of these casualties were innocent civilians tragically killed by Hamas militants during their invasion.
Israel has reported the loss of 32 soldiers in Gaza since the initiation of the ground offensive, while Palestinian militants persistently launch rockets into Israel daily.
According to Israeli officials, a significant number of Palestinian militants have been killed, with the blame for civilian casualties placed on Hamas. Israeli officials accuse Hamas of operating in residential areas. However, Gaza’s Health Ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants in its reports on casualties.
The ongoing conflict has also heightened tensions between Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah militant group, resulting in exchanges of fire along the border.
Since the beginning of the war, over 160 Palestinians have lost their lives in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, predominantly during violent protests and clashes with Israeli forces during arrest raids. Additionally, approximately 250,000 Israelis living in border communities with Gaza and Lebanon have been compelled to evacuate.