/ 04 December 2023

Back to war in Gaza

Image source: Unsplash
Image source: Unsplash

The Squiz

By now, you’ve likely heard that the fighting has resumed in Gaza after an impasse over hostage negotiations led Hamas and Israel to restart their military actions on Friday. Each blamed the other for the breakdown – Israel said Hamas failed to find 10 new hostages to release, while Hamas said they offered alternative ways to extend the truce. Over the 7 days of the truce, 105 hostages taken from Israel on 7 October were released, while 240 Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons. James Elder from the United Nations’ children’s agency UNICEF said the end of the ceasefire was “the nightmare that everyone utterly feared”.

What’s happened since then? 

In the 24 hours after the truce ended, Israel said it launched 400 missile strikes into Gaza – including into the south of the Palestinian territory where it had initially ordered residents to evacuate. Especially hard-hit has been the southern city of Khan Younis, with residents saying they have nowhere safe to go. The city of Rafah, which is on the border with Egypt, was also hit with heavy air strikes. Meanwhile, Israel’s army airdropped Gazans a map that divides the territory into blocks so there is clarity when it alerts locals to the areas it is targeting. Those on the ground say that the map can’t be accessed without reliable internet, and there’s not a lot of that going around… The UN estimates that 75% of Gaza’s residents have been displaced since the war kicked off almost 2 months ago, and the Hamas-led health ministry says the death toll stands at 15,500 Palestinians

Will things get back on track? 

Signs point to no… at least for now. Hamas has said it won’t release any more hostages until there is a ceasefire, while Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel’s army must now “finish the job” and achieve “total victory”. Netanyahu also said that the Palestinian Authority (which currently administers the West Bank) will not run Gaza after the war – that’s notable because it resurfaced questions about Israel’s long-term plans for the territory. US Vice President Kamala Harris is in the Middle East at the moment – she said that “under no circumstances will the United States permit the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank”. But for now, Israelis remain concerned for the estimated 137 hostages who remain in Gaza. And Palestinians are worried about a potential ground invasion of southern Gaza, where Israel now believes Hamas’s top leadership is hiding. 

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