Gaza has been under the yoke of a heavy bombardment which continued through the night across the region, adding to the ever-increasing death toll. According to the Hamas controlled Gaza Health Ministry, more than 9,700 Palestinians have lost their lives in the month-long conflict.
This figure includes roughly 4,000 children and minors, who ended up becoming collateral damage.
For the third time since the conflict began, Gaza is experiencing a complete communications blackout. Israel has divided the Gaza Strip into two distinct portions and announced that its forces have encircled the region.
According to Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, this is an important development in Israel’s bid to rid Gaza of Hamas’s influence definitively.
Reports suggest that Israeli troops will be fully immersed in the conflict as they enter Gaza in numbers within the next 48 hours. The loss of communication was first reported by NetBlock.org and was later corroborated by Paltel, the Palestinian telecom company.
President Mahmoud Abbas of Palestine, belonging to the Fatah party, has weighed in, calling Israel’s offensive a “barbaric war of extermination.”
He has repeatedly called upon the international fraternity to broker a ceasefire by pressuring Israel, bringing the war to an end in the process.
The spokesperson for the U.N. Palestinian refugee agency, Juliette Touma, has stated that communications have ceased with most UNRWA team members in the region.
Prior to these developments, on Sunday, Israeli airstrikes ended up killing 53 and injuring dozens as they struck two refugee camps in Gaza. Having said that, these camps are placed in areas that Israel has asked to be evacuated, so as to prevent collateral damage.
Despite the fact that the United States asked Israel to pause the offensive, so aid could be supplied to the civilians in the area, Israel made it clear that they would continue with their offensive as planned.
This is huge failure in the management of a humanitarian crisis which has left civilians in Gaza desperate for food, medical aid and basic supplies.
The death toll is also expected to shoot up significantly as Israeli forces venture further into densely populated regions within Gaza.
Reports from Gaza’s Health Ministry suggest that the airstrike on the Maghazi Refugee Camp alone, resulted in the deaths of 40 people and left 34 injured.
From the Israeli side, 29 soldiers have lost their lives in the operations conducted.
Anthony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, met Arab Foreign Ministers in Jordan, following which, he had a meeting with the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in the occupied West Bank.
Abbas has had no control over Gaza since Hamas’s take over of the region in 2007. He has categorically stated that Palestine will take control of Gaza only if it is part of a “comprehensive political solution” which allows for the formation of an independent state in the West Bank and East Jerusalem territories.
Both these regions were taken over by Israel during the 1967 war. This further complicates the issue as peace talks with Israel imploded over a decade ago and the current government is firmly against recognizing Palestinian statehood.
This leaves Gaza with very few viable options for governance, if the eventuality of Hamas being removed from the region comes to pass.
The Prime Minister of Iraq brought up the abysmal amount of aid being allowed to enter the region, while Jordan airdropped medical aid to a field hospital in Northern Gaza, as mentioned by King Abdullah II on social media platforms.
Blinken’s meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to bear fruit as he stated that there is no chance of a ceasefire until the civilians that were abducted from Israel by Hamas, are returned safe and sound.
The US representative warned Netanyahu of the possibility that such an approach could allow Hamas to regroup and repeat the October 7th offensive once again, escalating the conflict in the process.
In the back drop of this violent conflict, 18 UN and non-UN humanitarian organisations have come together to issue a joint statement, seeking a ceasefire in Gaza. This is seen as a concerted effort at pressurizing Israel into taking a step back from its aggressive stance.
The situation being as fluid as it is, it would be hard to predict the effects of international efforts to bring an end to the conflict. As of now though, Israel seems intent on seeing its offensive through and has warned civilians in northern Gaza to evacuate the region before the conflicts shifts gears.
The stakes continue to heighten as Israel prepares to initiate an all-out ground offensive, bringing the battle into the streets of Gaza.