Jerusalem — Despite growing pressure, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has categorically rejected calls for a ceasefire in his country.refusing to accept even a vaguely defined humanitarian “pause” in the fighting, which the United States has called for, unless and until Hamas releases the more than 240 hostages it is holding in the Strip. Gaza.
The incessant airstrikes launched by Israel immediately afteron southern Israel on October 7 have only intensified since Israeli ground forces entered the densely populated Palestinian territory. Israel was shocked by the scale of the attack, in which Hamas fighters killed more than 1,400 people.
Night after night, bombs continued to rain down on Gaza in response, including a barrage of some 450 strikes in the past 24 hours, according to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). The Israeli military said over the weekend that it had surrounded Gaza City, the decimated metropolis from which Hamas has ruled the strip for nearly 20 years, and reports indicated that troops could enter the city – what Hamas did.— within 48 hours.
But people around the world are horrified by the staggering number of civilian casualties and calls for a ceasefire are growing louder, not only in the Palestinian territories, but also in capitals around the world. and the United Nations.
In a sign of growing anger at the scale of civilian deaths in Gaza, the South African government announced on Monday that it would withdraw all its diplomats from Tel Aviv “for consultation”.
America’s top diplomat, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, continued his frenetic shuttle diplomacy around the Middle East on Monday after a visit the day before with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, based in the city of Ramallah, in the largest region occupied by Israel. Palestinian territory in the West Bank.
On the streets of Ramallah, Blinken’s visit sparked growing anger against the United States for supporting the Israeli offensive, with which Netanyahu has vowed to “destroy Hamas.” As the Hamas Health Ministry in Gaza claims, more than 9,000 people were killed by Israeli bombing, but the crowd in Ramallah chanted that Blinken had Palestinian blood on his hands.
The United Nations estimates that 1.5 million Palestinians have been displaced inside Gaza, and many civilians are trying to heed repeated warnings from the Israeli military to flee to the southern part of the enclave. But the journey south can be just as perilous.
People are so terrified of being caught in the crossfire that everyone, young and old, is walking with their hands in the air, according to a Palestinian heading south.
“We saw bodies lying around, many of them decomposing,” he shouted. “Please have mercy on us!”
But mercy is rare in Gaza, where packed ambulances continue to stop every day outside overcrowded and underfunded hospitals.
The UN World Health Organization says more than a third of Gaza’s 35 hospitals are not functioning at all and those still operating are facing severe fuel shortages. Yet medical personnel are racing to do their best to care for the thousands of wounded children and others who find themselves caught in the middle of this war.
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