Israeli troops and fighters from the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas continued their intense fighting in the main cities of the Gaza Stripespecially in the south, while The United States vetoed a resolution in the UN Security Council calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.
After a first phase of offensive focused on the north of the Strip, The Israeli Army expanded its operations to the south, where almost two million displaced civilians take refugetrapped in an increasingly slim territory.
Israeli soldiers fight Islamist militants in Khan Yunisthe most important city in the south of the Strip, but also in the north, in Gaza City and in the neighboring sector of Jabaliya.
Exactly two months after the Hamas attacks, which left 1,200 dead, the toll of the Israeli offensive reached almost 17,500 deaths, 70% of them women and children under 18 years of age, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health, which governs the Gaza Strip.
Israel promised to dismantle Hamas for its October attacks and release dozens of hostages the group took to Gaza, including about twenty Argentines..
The situation in Israel
Traumatized by the October 7 attack and amid the hostilities of war, Israel began celebrating the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah on Thursday.
In Tel Avivfamilies and friends of hostages taken by Hamas lit candles on a giant 138-branched candelabra in memory of the number of people still held captive in Gaza after the release of 80 of them during a truce in the last week of November.
The situation in the Gaza Strip
In addition to the bombings and the ground operation, Israel imposes a total siege on the Gaza Strip since October 9which causes serious shortages of water, food, medicine and electricity.
“Civil order is crumbling in Gaza: the streets seem wild, especially at dusk, some aid convoys are being looted and UN vehicles stoned. Society is on the brink of total collapse,” warned the agency’s director. of the UN for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarinion the social network X.
Also The director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that the health system is “on its knees” in Gazawith the majority of hospitals in the north inoperative and those in the south overwhelmed with thousands of injured to care for.
The very intense fighting is making it increasingly difficult to run any health… pic.twitter.com/HxeohVVZuG
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) December 7, 2023
Fuel, necessary to operate hospital generators and water desalination equipment, is also in short supply.
The Israeli government authorized this week the delivery of a “minimum supplement” of fuel to avoid a “humanitarian collapse” and epidemics in the Gaza Strip.
According to the UN, 1.9 million people (80% of Gaza’s population) were displaced by the warwhich destroyed or damaged more than half of the houses in the territory.
In the West Banka, a Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, the Palestinian National Authority Israeli forces shot dead six people in a refugee campbut the Israeli army did not comment on what happened at the moment.
A similar serious picture was outlined by the Secretary General of the United Nations, António Guterres, before the Security Council, when he defended his unusual decision to invoke Article 99 of the UN Charter to promote a ceasefire for Gaza personal title.
Treatment at the UN
The resolution calling for a ceasefire, drafted by the United Arab Emirates and which had the support of 100 countries, had 13 votes in favor and the United States, which has the right to veto as a permanent member of the Council, voted against.while the United Kingdom abstained.
During the debate in the highest body of the UN, the deputy representative of the United States, Robert Wood, had said that he opposed the ceasefire because “it would end the war today, but the conflict would continue forever.”
“While the United States supports a lasting peace, we will not support a call for an immediate ceasefire because Hamas is seeking neither a lasting peace nor a two-state solution,” Wood said.which made clear that its stance “does not change the American notion that how Israel defends itself matters, and it must respect international law and minimize harm to civilians.”
Guterres, for his part, had warned that UN agencies can no longer fulfill their humanitarian mandate in the enclave due to the enormous violence prevailing.
UN Security Council / Photo. AFP
“I unreservedly condemn” the Hamas attacks of October 7, but “the violence perpetrated by Hamas cannot under any circumstances justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people,” he declared.
“While Hamas’s indiscriminate firing of rockets into Israel and its use of civilians as human shields are violations of the laws of war, such behavior does not absolve Israel of its own violations,” he insisted, once again describing a humanitarian situation “at breaking point” in the Gaza Strip.
“The world and History are watching us. It is time to act”he added before the members of the Council, asking them to “press for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.”
After recalling that the Security Council called in Resolution 2712 to “increase supplies to meet the humanitarian needs of the civilian population, especially children”Guterres lamented that “under the current conditions on the ground, the fulfillment of this mandate has become impossible.”
Guterres’ decision to invoke Article 99 of the United Nations Charter to request a ceasefire, an exceptional measure, was questioned by Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, who ironically said that this step was not applied. in other conflicts such as Ukraine and Yemen.
“Article 99 was never invoked for Ukraine, Yemen, or Syria, but it turns out that Israel’s defensive war has ended up being the catalyst for its invocation, when the irony is that we can only achieve peace and security once Hamas be eliminated,” Erdan remarked, according to the Europa Press agency.
For the diplomat, “The only path to peace is to support Israel’s mission, not to call for a ceasefire”.
“Isn’t the war in Ukraine a threat to international security, or the suffocated children in Syria, or the thousands of Yemeni children killed in the war?” asked Erdan, who expressed that “there was a ceasefire in force on October 6, one that Hamas broke on October 7, with a massacre never seen since the Holocaust.
On the other hand, the Palestinian ambassador to the UN, Riyad Mansour, cried: “The time for courage has come; you must act now”.
From Washington, meanwhile, Foreign ministers of several Arab countries called for an “immediate” end to the war in the Gaza Strip.
“Our message is that we believe it is absolutely necessary to end the fighting immediately,” said Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan, on behalf of the group, which called on the Security Council for a resolution on a ceasefire. the humanitarian fire in Gaza.
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