Hamas is at war with Israeli forces in Gaza City
Gaza Strip, Palestinian Territory, November 8, 2023 (Bass Desk): Israel’s ground operation to eliminate Hamas entered its second month on Wednesday. Despite calls for a global ceasefire, Israel continues its destructive operations in Gaza. Israeli forces are fighting Palestinian resistance fighters Hamas in Gaza City.
Defense Minister Yoav Galant described Gaza as the ‘biggest terror base ever built’, stressing Israel’s determination to destroy Hamas. “We are in the heart of Gaza City,” he told reporters on Tuesday.
According to the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza, Israel’s relentless bombardment has killed more than 10,300 people, most of them children.
Ignoring calls for a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted there would be no ceasefire until more than 240 hostages held by Hamas were freed.
UN human rights chief Volker Turk said the past month had been one of ‘murder, unrelenting suffering, bloodshed, destruction, anger and despair’.
Israelis lit candles in Jerusalem on Tuesday night to commemorate the victims of the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. 1400 Israelis died in that attack by Hamas.
Israel launched devastating airstrikes on Gaza in retaliation for Hamas attacks. The attack unleashed a ferocious ground offensive in densely populated Gaza, flattening Gaza to the ground. More than 1.5 million people have lost their homes and become refugees in Gaza. Israel has cut off all essential facilities including electricity and water supply to Gaza, causing a terrible humanitarian disaster.
Entire city blocks have been razed to the ground and white-shrouded corpses are piling up outside hospitals, where surgeons work on bloody floors by cellphone light.
According to the World Health Organization, an average of 160 children are killed every day in the war in Gaza.
“The scale of death and suffering is hard to fathom,” said Christian Lindmeyer, a spokesman for the World Health Organization.
Hamas’s media office said in a telegram that several cemeteries in Gaza had ‘no more room for burials’, while the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said most of the region’s sewage pumping stations were closed.
Israel has ordered the evacuation of patients from 13 hospitals still operating in northern Gaza, OCHA said.
Netanyahu said there would be no fuel deliveries to besieged Gaza, but a possible ‘strategic pause’ to free hostages and provide aid.
Israel is expected to back down from Netanyahu’s statement that “his country will accept ‘total security’ in Gaza after the end of the war” after Washington opposed the long-term occupation of Gaza.
US State Department spokesman Vedanta Patel said, ‘Our view is that the Palestinians have to stay ahead of these decisions and that Gaza is Palestinian land and will remain Palestinian land.’
“Generally speaking, we do not support the reoccupation of Gaza and neither would Israel,” he said.
Ron Dermer, Israel’s strategic affairs minister and part of Netanyahu’s war cabinet, told the BBC that Israeli forces would not retake Gaza, but would carry out security operations against anyone they saw as a threat.
In 2005, Israel withdrew its troops from territories captured in the 1967 Six-Day War.
In the occupied West Bank on Sunday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken suggested that the Palestinian Authority should regain control under Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Palestinian Authority only exercises limited autonomy in parts of the West Bank and Abbas said it could return to power in Gaza only if a ‘comprehensive political solution’ to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is found.
A senior Hamas official, Ghazi Hamad, rejected the suggestion, telling Al-Jazeera Arabic that the militants were “part of the national Palestinian fabric.”
“After failing in Iraq and Afghanistan, now the Americans are dreaming that they can reconfigure Gaza as they see fit,” he said.
Blinken is in Japan for a meeting of G7 foreign ministers to find a common line on the diplomatic crisis over Gaza after a tour of the Middle East.
The ministers are expected to call in a joint statement for a ‘humanitarian pause’, refraining from calling for a ceasefire in line with US policy in Gaza.
Medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said ‘Across Gaza, helpless people are losing their family members, homes and their own lives, while world leaders fail to take meaningful action.
MSF’s statement detailed how a bomb attack in the Shati refugee camp area of Gaza killed one of their staff members along with his family on Monday.
Israel has pounded Gaza with more than 12,000 air and artillery strikes and sent in ground forces that have effectively reduced half of Gaza to rubble.
Israel ordered civilians in northern Gaza to flee south through leaflets and text orders dropped from the air in Gaza. But a US official said on Saturday that at least 350,000 civilians remained in the worst-hit areas.
The International Committee of the Red Cross said one of its humanitarian convoys in Gaza came under fire on Tuesday. The organization demanded an end to the suffering of civilians.
“Children are being separated from their families and held hostage,” said the organization’s president, Mirjana Spoljaric. In Gaza, ICRC surgeons treat children with severe skin burns.’
Military analysts have warned of weeks of fighting ahead in Gaza, with around 30 Israeli soldiers already killed in the attack.
The operation is extremely complicated for Israel, as the hostages include very young children and frail elderly people, who are believed to be held within a vast tunnel network.