Israel orders mass evacuations as it widens offensive; Palestinians are running out of places to go

by Andrew Wright
Gaza Offensive

On Monday, the Israeli military escalated its operation, urging significant evacuations from the southern town of Khan Younis. This town has become a refuge for a large number of Palestinians displaced by the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The intensification of Israel’s ground assault and bombardments across Gaza follows the breakdown of a weeklong truce.

This escalation aims to dismantle the governance of Hamas in Gaza, triggered by their incursion into Israel on October 7, sparking the most severe violence seen between Israelis and Palestinians in many years. The conflict has resulted in the death of thousands of Palestinians and the displacement of a vast majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million inhabitants, leaving them with dwindling safe havens.

Under increasing pressure from the United States, its principal ally, Israel is hastening its efforts to decisively strike at Hamas. This urgency comes amidst an increasing human toll from the conflict, with Palestinian health officials reporting hundreds of civilian deaths since the recent ceasefire collapsed. This mounting civilian toll is adding pressure for a return to peace negotiations.

The ongoing conflict has drastically transformed parts of northern Gaza, including significant areas of Gaza City, into ruins. With many seeking refuge in the south, the same fate may befall this region. Both Israel and Egypt are not accepting refugees.

In Khan Younis, residents reported hearing overnight airstrikes and explosions following the military’s warnings to evacuate. The Israeli military reiterated evacuation orders for numerous neighborhoods around Khan Younis.

Despite these warnings, some, like widow Halima Abdel-Rahman, no longer heed these evacuation orders. Abdel-Rahman, who relocated near Khan Younis with her family in October, expressed her belief that no place in Gaza is truly safe from the conflict.

The Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza reports over 15,500 deaths and more than 41,000 injuries since October 7. The Ministry does not distinguish between civilian and combatant casualties but notes that a significant portion of the deceased are women and children.

The Palestinian Civil Defense and the Palestinian Red Crescent have also reported casualties among their personnel due to Israeli strikes.

Meanwhile, hopes for another ceasefire are dimming. Hamas insists on linking negotiations for the release of hostages taken on October 7 with discussions for a permanent ceasefire.

During the earlier truce, there was a mutual release of captives – around 240 Palestinians held by Israel and 105 Israelis and foreigners taken to Gaza during the October 7 attack.

The United States, along with Qatar and Egypt, is working towards a more lasting truce. The U.S. has been pressing Israel to minimize civilian casualties and displacement. However, the extent of the Biden administration’s influence on Israel’s military actions remains unclear.

The U.S. has supported Israel since the October 7 incident, providing aid and munitions. Israel, however, has dismissed U.S. suggestions regarding the postwar governance of Gaza.

Amidst the continuous bombardments, Palestinians are struggling to find safety and meet basic needs.

Israel maintains that it does not target civilians and takes steps to protect them, including evacuation orders and warnings. Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian casualties, accusing them of using residential areas for military operations. Israel asserts it targets Hamas operatives, claiming to have killed thousands, a figure that remains unverified. Israel has also reported the deaths of at least 81 of its soldiers.

Reported by Magdy from Cairo.

For full coverage, visit Big Big News.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Gaza Offensive

What prompted the Israeli military to call for mass evacuations in Khan Younis?

The Israeli military called for mass evacuations in the southern town of Khan Younis as part of its widened ground offensive in Gaza. This move came following the collapse of a weeklong ceasefire and was aimed at eliminating Hamas rulers in the region.

How has the conflict affected the population in Gaza?

The conflict has led to the death of thousands of Palestinians and displaced over three-fourths of Gaza’s population of 2.3 million people. Many displaced individuals are running out of safe places to seek refuge.

What are the challenges faced by civilians in Gaza?

Civilians in Gaza are struggling with the constant threat of aerial bombardment, leading to a lack of safe havens. Additionally, there is an increasing toll of civilian casualties and challenges in accessing basic necessities due to the ongoing conflict.

What is the stance of the United States regarding the conflict?

The United States, Israel’s top ally, has been pressing Israel to avoid mass displacement and civilian casualties. The U.S. is also involved in efforts to mediate a longer ceasefire and has consistently supported Israel since the conflict’s escalation on October 7.

Has there been any progress in ceasefire negotiations?

Hopes for another temporary truce have faded after Israel called its negotiators home. Hamas has stated that any discussions regarding the release of hostages must be tied to a permanent ceasefire. The earlier truce facilitated the exchange of captives between Israel and Hamas but did not lead to a lasting peace agreement.

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CuriousCat December 4, 2023 - 6:23 pm

no ceasefire soon, hostages part of talks. israel-u.s. ties strong, but tough choices ahead

Peace4All December 4, 2023 - 11:50 pm

civilians sufferin, many killed. US say stop, but israel not listen

NewsJunkie December 5, 2023 - 5:20 am

ceasefire broke, israel tryna wipe out hamas. big pressure from US, no easy solution


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