Growing concerns from allies over Israel’s approach to fighting Hamas as civilian casualties mount

by Sophia Chen
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Israel-Hamas Conflict

The text you provided discusses the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, as well as the international concerns regarding Israel’s approach to fighting Hamas, particularly as civilian casualties mount. Here’s a paraphrased and completed version:

Escalating Concerns Over Israel’s Tactics Amid Rising Civilian Casualties in Gaza

On Saturday, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, pushed back against mounting pressure from Western allies calling for greater protection of Palestinian civilians. This comes as Israeli troops advance toward Gaza’s largest hospital, which Israel alleges serves as Hamas’ central command post but also provides care for thousands of patients and shelter for civilians.

Netanyahu reiterated Israel’s stance that any harm to civilians is the responsibility of Hamas, accusing the militant group of using Gaza’s civilian population as human shields. He emphasized that Israel has been urging civilians to evacuate combat zones but claimed that Hamas is actively obstructing their efforts to leave.

French President Emmanuel Macron has called for a cease-fire and urged other world leaders to join his appeal, stating that there is “no justification” for Israel’s ongoing airstrikes.

While initially, Israel’s allies supported its right to self-defense following Hamas’ deadly attack on October 7th, there are now increasing differences in opinion on how Israel should conduct its military campaign, which has entered its second month.

The United States has been advocating for temporary cease-fires to allow the distribution of much-needed aid to civilians in Gaza, where conditions are deteriorating rapidly. However, Israel has only agreed to short daily pauses during which civilians can leave the northern combat zone and head south on foot.

Since the announcement of these evacuation windows a week ago, over 150,000 civilians have fled the north, according to U.N. monitors, but tens of thousands more remain, seeking refuge in hospitals and overcrowded U.N. facilities.

Critics, including Palestinian civilians and human rights advocates, dispute Israel’s portrayal of the southern evacuation zones as “relatively safe.” They point out that Israeli airstrikes have continued across Gaza, including in the south, resulting in civilian casualties, including women and children.

Furthermore, the U.S. and Israel have diverging views on the post-war future of Gaza. Israel’s leadership insists on determining Gaza’s future based solely on its security needs, including preventing any threats from emerging in the territory. Israel’s primary goal in the conflict is to weaken and defeat Hamas, which has governed Gaza for 16 years.

In contrast, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a tour of Asia, outlined fundamental principles for a post-war Gaza that appear to differ from Israel’s approach. These principles include preventing the forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza, ensuring Gaza is not used as a base for launching attacks on Israel, preserving Gaza’s territorial integrity, and advocating for Palestinian-led governance in both Gaza and the West Bank in a unified manner.

Concerns have escalated in recent days as fighting has drawn closer to Gaza City’s densely populated neighborhoods and hospitals. Israel contends that Hamas fighters are using hospitals, a claim denied by Hamas and hospital staff.

On Saturday, Palestinians reported that Israeli troops were approaching Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest medical facility. Israel maintains that Hamas’ central command center is located beneath the hospital. While thousands of civilians had sought refuge in the Shifa compound in recent weeks, many fled after nearby airstrikes on Friday.

The situation is dire, with civilians caught in the crossfire. Thousands have left hospitals that have come under attack, but not everyone can evacuate. Doctors Without Borders reported that some hospital staff have also fled for their safety, emphasizing the need to protect all medical facilities.

The casualty toll continues to rise, with over 11,070 Palestinians killed, primarily women and children, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry. It’s challenging to differentiate between civilian and militant deaths. Approximately 2,700 people are missing and are feared trapped or dead under rubble.

In Israel, at least 1,200 people have been killed, primarily in the initial Hamas attack, and 41 Israeli soldiers have died in Gaza since the ground offensive began. The Israeli Foreign Ministry revised the civilian death toll from 1,400 to the current figure after a meticulous process of identifying bodies, many of which were severely damaged during the conflict. The final death toll could still change.

As the conflict rages on, the situation remains highly complex, with civilian lives hanging in the balance.

Please let me know if you need any additional information or have specific questions related to this topic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Israel-Hamas Conflict

What is the main cause of concern in the Israel-Hamas conflict discussed in the text?

The main cause of concern in the Israel-Hamas conflict is the increasing risk to Palestinian civilians in Gaza as the conflict intensifies.

What has been the response of Western allies, including France, to the conflict?

Western allies, led by French President Emmanuel Macron, have been calling for a cease-fire and expressing concerns about Israel’s ongoing airstrikes, emphasizing that there is “no justification” for these actions.

How has the United States been involved in the conflict, and what has been its stance?

The United States has been advocating for temporary cease-fires to allow the distribution of humanitarian aid to civilians in Gaza. It has also outlined principles for the post-war future of Gaza that differ from Israel’s approach, emphasizing the need to prevent the displacement of Palestinians and ensure Palestinian-led governance.

What are some of the challenges faced by Palestinian civilians in Gaza as a result of the conflict?

Palestinian civilians in Gaza are facing challenges such as displacement, overcrowded shelters, and the risk of harm due to ongoing Israeli airstrikes. There are also concerns about access to medical care and the safety of hospitals.

How has the casualty toll been reported in the text, and what are the figures?

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, over 11,070 Palestinians have been killed, with a majority being women and children. The text also mentions approximately 2,700 people missing and feared trapped or dead under rubble. In Israel, at least 1,200 people have been reported killed, primarily in the initial Hamas attack, along with 41 Israeli soldiers in Gaza.

Why was there a revision in the civilian death toll in Israel, and what is the current explanation for this change?

The revision in the civilian death toll in Israel was due to a meticulous process of identifying bodies, many of which were severely damaged during the conflict. The Israeli Foreign Ministry updated the figure from 1,400 to the current number, with the possibility of further changes.

What are the differing views between the U.S. and Israel regarding the post-war future of Gaza?

The U.S. and Israel have differing views on the post-war future of Gaza. Israel emphasizes that its security needs should solely dictate Gaza’s future, while the U.S. advocates for principles that include preventing forced displacement of Palestinians, ensuring Gaza is not used for launching attacks, preserving Gaza’s territorial integrity, and supporting Palestinian-led governance.

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