Sunday, November 5, 2023

Gaza’s Intense Conflict Amidst US Envoy’s Arab Criticism | TOME


Israel Continues Battle Against Hamas in Fifth Week of Conflict
Israel is entering its fifth week of fighting against Hamas in an effort to crush the militant group. Despite rising anger from Arab foreign ministers, Israel shows no signs of letting up. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting to provide aid to desperate civilians, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has dismissed the idea. However, US President Joe Biden has stated that progress has been made on securing a “humanitarian pause,” although he did not provide further details.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry has called for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire, while Hamas has suspended the evacuation of dual nationals and foreigners from Gaza until wounded Palestinians can receive treatment in Egypt. Israeli chief of staff Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi visited troops inside Gaza after they completed the encirclement of the largest city in the territory. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has confirmed that Israeli forces are fighting hard inside Gaza and have entered populated areas.
The conflict has resulted in a high number of casualties, with the health ministry in Gaza reporting that over 9,480 Gazans, mostly women and children, have been killed in Israeli strikes and the intensifying ground campaign. The ministry also reported that at least 12 people were killed when Israel struck a United Nations school where displaced Palestinians were seeking shelter. The fighting has sparked anti-Israeli protests worldwide and has led to political opposition from key regional powers, including Turkey, which has recalled its ambassador from Israel.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has held Netanyahu personally responsible for the growing civilian death toll in Gaza and stated that Netanyahu is no longer someone they can talk to. In response, the Israeli foreign ministry criticized Turkey’s move, calling it a step that sides with the Hamas terrorist organization. Hamas has welcomed Turkey’s decision and urged Ankara to pressure President Joe Biden and his administration to provide humanitarian and medical aid to the people of Gaza.
Despite Israel’s description of Gaza City as the center of the Hamas terror organization, the US special envoy for aid assistance, David Satterfield, has stated that between 350,000 and 400,000 civilians remain in the city and adjacent areas. Israeli ground forces launched a targeted raid to map tunnels and clear explosive traps in southern Gaza, where they rarely send troops. Israel has targeted 12,000 locations across the Palestinian territory since the start of the conflict.
During Blinken’s visit to Israel, one of the main objectives was to convince Netanyahu to enact humanitarian pauses. However, Netanyahu rejected the proposal, stating that he would not agree to a temporary truce until Hamas releases more than 240 Israeli and foreign hostages abducted during their attack on October 7. Pressure is mounting on Netanyahu within Israel as thousands of people protested over the government’s lack of preparedness for the attacks and its handling of the hostage crisis.
In Gaza City, an Israeli strike hit an ambulance convoy near the largest hospital, Al-Shifa, killing 15 people. Israel claimed that the ambulance was being used by a Hamas terrorist cell and that they had neutralized those inside. The Palestinian Red Crescent and the Hamas-run health ministry reported multiple bodies beside the blood-splattered vehicle. The Red Crescent stated that the convoy was headed for the Rafah border crossing with Egypt when it was struck multiple times.
Blinken held talks with his counterparts from Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates in Amman to address the crisis. King Abdullah II of Jordan emphasized that the only way to end the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is through a political solution based on the two-state solution. While the US administration supports a Palestinian state alongside Israel, Netanyahu’s hard-right government is strongly opposed. Arab anger over the civilian death toll in the war is mounting, with Jordan recalling its ambassador from Israel for the first time since 2019.

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