Efforts Heighten to Halt Hostilities as Israeli Forces Approach Gaza City

by Ryan Lee
Israel-Gaza Conflict

On Thursday, Israeli forces advanced in the direction of Gaza City, coinciding with the Palestinian casualty count surpassing 9,000. Given the continued weeks of intense conflict, international mediators, including those from the U.S. and Arab nations, have redoubled their efforts to alleviate the Israeli blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory. They are also advocating for a temporary cessation of hostilities to provide relief to civilians.

In an effort to provide humanitarian relief, President Joe Biden proposed a brief “pause” the previous day. Consequently, an agreement appeared to have been reached between the U.S., Egypt, Israel, and Qatar – who has mediation ties with Hamas. This allowed numerous Palestinians holding foreign passports and several injured individuals to exit Gaza for the first time. Further evacuations continued on Thursday.

Several Arab nations, even those maintaining peace agreements with Israel and aligned with the U.S., have voiced increasing concerns regarding the ongoing conflict. As a sign of protest, Jordan withdrew its ambassador from Israel and instructed the Israeli envoy to stay out of Jordan until the war halts and the ensuing humanitarian crisis is addressed.

The conflict has had devastating repercussions for civilians. Over the span of 25 days, more than 3,700 Palestinian children lost their lives. The continual bombardments have displaced over half of the 2.3 million Gaza residents, with resources like food, water, and fuel dwindling rapidly.

Following three weeks of significant airstrikes, Israeli forces entered Gaza in increased numbers during the weekend. These strikes resulted in the destruction of whole neighborhoods. This latest conflict, the deadliest in Gaza so far, was triggered by a violent incursion by Hamas into Israel on October 7th, resulting in the death of hundreds, including civilians, with around 240 taken captive.

While the U.S. remains a staunch supporter of Israel in its mission to overthrow Hamas from Gaza and diminish its military strength, the subsequent steps remain unclear.

Officials from the White House have stated that a temporary cessation of hostilities could pave the way for an increased flow of aid and potentially help in the release of captives. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is anticipated to revisit the region this Friday.

The movement of Palestinians through the Rafah crossing into Egypt on Wednesday was a result of protracted negotiations. Excluding four hostages released by Hamas and another individual rescued by Israeli forces, this marked the first departure of people from Gaza. Israel has permitted over 260 trucks, laden with food and medicine, to pass through the crossing. However, humanitarian workers argue that this is insufficient.

Wael Abu Omar, the spokesperson for the Palestinian Crossings Authority, reported that around 335 individuals holding foreign passports exited on Wednesday, with approximately another 100 on Thursday. Seventy-six Palestinian patients and their companions were also evacuated.

The U.S. is actively working to safely evacuate around 400 Americans and their families from the area.

However, Egypt has clarified that it will not accept a surge of Palestinian refugees, fearing that post-conflict, Israel might prevent their return to Gaza.

Despite Israel’s urgent calls for evacuation, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians remain exposed to the ongoing conflict in northern Gaza. Even the southern parts of the territory are under bombardment.

Israeli forces seem to be progressing towards Gaza City from multiple directions. However, definitive details regarding their movements remain ambiguous.

Recent airstrikes targeted apartment buildings in the Jabaliya refugee camp near Gaza City. While the exact casualties are unknown, Israel maintains that these airstrikes targeted militants and destroyed Hamas tunnels.

During a nocturnal clash, Palestinian militants employed antitank missiles, detonated explosive devices, and threw grenades at Israeli forces. The Israeli military responded with artillery, helicopter, and naval ship strikes, although independent verification of these events is not available.

The impending Israeli advancement into Gaza City’s densely populated regions is anticipated to result in increased casualties. Israel contends that Hamas’ military apparatus, including tunnels, is centralized in the city and accuses Hamas of using civilians as shields.

The Gaza Health Ministry reported on Thursday that the conflict has resulted in the death of at least 9,061 Palestinians, predominantly women and children, with over 32,000 injured. This toll is unparalleled in the historical context of Israeli-Palestinian confrontations, and is quadruple the casualties from the 2014 Gaza war, which spanned more than six weeks.

In the occupied West Bank, four Palestinians, including three teenagers, were fatally shot early Thursday in various locations. Since the onset of the conflict, violent protests and skirmishes during Israeli arrest raids in the West Bank have resulted in the death of over 130 Palestinians.

On the Israeli side, the death toll has exceeded 1,400, predominantly civilians who perished during the initial Hamas assault. This number is also unprecedented. Seventeen Israeli military personnel have lost their lives in Gaza since the ground operations commenced.

Rocket attacks from Gaza into Israeli territories and regular confrontations between Israeli forces and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon have disrupted daily life for millions in Israel. This has led to the evacuation of approximately 250,000 people from towns near the northern and southern borders. A majority of the rockets are either intercepted or land in uninhabited areas.

The humanitarian situation in Gaza continues to deteriorate. Basic necessities are scarce, and the masses are seeking refuge in hospitals and shelters run by the U.N.

Emergency generators in hospitals are nearing depletion of fuel amidst a territory-wide power outage. The World Health Organization has warned that this fuel shortage endangers patients reliant on kidney dialysis, premature infants in incubators, cancer patients, and individuals on life support.

Israel has denied fuel entry, expressing concerns over its potential misappropriation by Hamas for military endeavors. The Israeli military released an audio recording allegedly capturing a Hamas commander coercing a hospital to surrender some of its fuel. This audio’s authenticity remains unverified.

Gaza City’s principal hospital, Shifa, is on the verge of exhausting its electricity supply, as stated by its director, Mohammed Abu Salmia, who urged anyone with diesel fuel to donate.

Due to a fuel shortage, the Turkish-Palestinian Hospital, Gaza’s sole facility offering specialized cancer treatments, ceased operations on Wednesday. This has placed 70 critical cancer patients in jeopardy. Similarly, the Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, treating many injured from the Jabaliya strikes, had to disable most of its lights and morgue refrigeration.

Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, cautioned that if they cannot secure electricity or fuel soon, the medical sector would confront a catastrophic situation.

Reported by Chehayeb from Beirut, with contributions from Wafaa Shurafa in Deir al-Balah, Gaza Strip, and Amy Teibel in Jerusalem.

For comprehensive coverage, visit: https://bigbignews.net/israel-hamas-war.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Israel-Gaza Conflict

What is the current status of the conflict between Israel and Gaza?

Israeli troops are advancing toward Gaza City, with significant Palestinian casualties reported, including more than 9,000 deaths. The conflict has lasted for weeks, leading to extensive damages and displacements within the Gaza Strip.

What are international mediators proposing to ease the situation?

U.S. and Arab mediators are intensifying efforts to ease Israel’s siege of the Hamas-ruled Gaza enclave. They are calling for a temporary halt to the hostilities to aid civilians. President Joe Biden has also suggested a humanitarian “pause.”

Have there been any efforts to allow Palestinians to leave Gaza?

Yes, an agreement among the U.S., Egypt, Israel, and Qatar has enabled hundreds of Palestinians with foreign passports, as well as the injured, to leave Gaza. The departures mainly occurred through the Rafah crossing into Egypt.

How have other Arab countries reacted to the conflict?

Arab nations, even those at peace with Israel or allied with the U.S., have expressed increasing concern about the war. Jordan, for instance, recalled its ambassador from Israel and asked Israel’s envoy to stay out of the country until the war halts.

What are the reported impacts on the civilian population in Gaza?

More than 3,700 Palestinian children have been killed in 25 days of fighting. Over half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been displaced from their homes, and there’s a severe shortage of essentials like food, water, and fuel.

Why did Israeli troops enter Gaza?

Israeli troops moved into Gaza following three weeks of heavy airstrikes. The current conflict, recognized as the deadliest in recent times, began when Hamas initiated an attack into Israel on Oct. 7, leading to several casualties.

What is the U.S.’s stance on the conflict?

The U.S. has expressed unwavering support for Israel as it aims to end Hamas’ rule in Gaza and neutralize its military capabilities. However, there seems to be no clear plan for the aftermath.

How severe is the humanitarian situation in Gaza?

The humanitarian situation in Gaza is deteriorating. Basic supplies are dwindling, with hospitals warning of running out of fuel amid blackouts. The World Health Organization highlighted that the fuel scarcity endangers patients on kidney dialysis, premature babies in incubators, cancer patients, and those on ventilators.

Has Israel permitted any humanitarian aid to enter Gaza?

Israel has allowed more than 260 trucks carrying food and medicine through the Rafah crossing. However, they have refused the entry of fuel, citing concerns that Hamas might divert it for military use.

What are the reported casualties on both sides?

As of the latest reports, at least 9,061 Palestinians, mostly women and minors, have been killed, and over 32,000 people have been wounded. On the Israeli side, over 1,400 people, mainly civilians, have died, with 17 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza since the start of the ground operation.

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Mike Harrington November 2, 2023 - 8:03 pm

The situation in Gaza is just heart-wrenching. its hard to read about the kids especially… why can’t world leaders just sort this out and stop the killing?

Samuel T. November 2, 2023 - 10:37 pm

this article is so in depth, thanks for sharing. but its heartbreaking to see so many innocent lives lost. war is never the answer.

Linda Farrow November 3, 2023 - 11:15 am

I’ve been following this for weeks now. It’s always the innocent civilians who suffer the most…when will this end?


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