Israeli Offensive in Gaza Continues Despite Calls for Cease-Fire
RAFAH, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli forces carried out strikes across Gaza overnight and into Tuesday as they pressed ahead with an offensive that officials say could go on for weeks or months, even as global calls for a cease-fire left both Israel and its main ally, the United States, increasingly isolated.
The war ignited by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack into southern Israel has already brought unprecedented death and destruction to the impoverished coastal enclave, with much of northern Gaza obliterated, more than 18,000 Palestinians killed, and over 80% of the population of 2.3 million pushed from their homes.
Strikes and Raids Across Gaza
Israeli forces carried out strikes overnight and into Tuesday in southern Gaza, resulting in the death of at least 23 people, including seven children and six women. These strikes targeted an area where civilians have been advised to seek shelter. The bodies of the victims were seen arriving at a hospital. Islam Harb, a local resident, tragically lost his three children in the airstrikes, as their home was flattened along with four other residential buildings.
In central Gaza, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital received the bodies of 33 people killed in overnight strikes, including 16 women and four children. The strikes primarily hit residential buildings in the Maghazi refugee camp.
In northern Gaza, Israeli forces stormed the Kamal Adwan Hospital, ordering all men, including medics, into the courtyard. This action has further strained the already collapsing health care system in the besieged enclave. The hospital currently houses 65 patients, including 12 children in intensive care and six newborns in incubators. Additionally, 3,000 displaced people are sheltering there, awaiting evacuation due to severe shortages of food, water, and electricity.
Calls for a Cease-Fire
The United Nations and several Arab states have been leading the efforts to secure an immediate cease-fire. However, both Israel and the United States have opposed these calls, arguing that any cease-fire that leaves Hamas in power would be a victory for the militant group. Israel blames Hamas for civilian casualties, asserting that the group deliberately positions fighters, tunnels, and rocket launchers in densely populated areas, using civilians as human shields. The U.S. has vetoed these cease-fire efforts at the U.N. Security Council.
Crushing Hamas Seen as ‘Tall Order’
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has indicated that the current phase of heavy ground fighting and airstrikes could last for weeks, with further military activity potentially continuing for months. However, many experts believe that Israel’s goals are unrealistic. They point to the deep support that Hamas enjoys among Palestinians in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, who view the group as resisting Israel’s long-standing military rule. The International Crisis Group, a think tank, has called for an immediate cease-fire, arguing that even just destroying Hamas’ military capability would be extremely challenging without causing significant harm to the remaining population of Gaza.
Despite international efforts for a cease-fire, the offensive continues to ravage Gaza, causing immense suffering and devastation. It is crucial for the international community to work towards a peaceful resolution that prioritizes the well-being and safety of all civilians involved.
For full AP coverage of the situation, visit https://apnews.com/hub/israel-hamas-war.
Read More of this Story at apnews.com – 2023-12-12 11:26:15
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