The Gaza Strip has been cut in half, with the Israeli army encircling Gaza City to root out the “evil”, that is, to exterminate Hamas.
When the relentless shelling began, the 1.1 million residents of northern Gaza were ordered to move to the south for safety. But when they reached Khan Younis, they were again faced with constant air attacks. The civilians of the Palestinian enclave are absolutely trapped. “No place is safe. The area has been turned into a children’s cemetery,” the UN constantly reports.
Israel’s government has vowed to wipe out the terrorist group Hamas, which a month ago killed more than 1,400 Israelis and took about 240 hostages. Israel’s strategy focuses on a bombing campaign of extreme ferocity, even near hospitals (which it claims Hamas has turned into hideouts). The shelling, according to the Hamas-controlled health ministry, has killed more than 10,000 Palestinians and made Gaza unbearable for the living.
Children with their names carved into their legs and bellies, dozens of mass graves
At least 4,000 of the dead are children. Many are still buried under the rubble created by the collapsed buildings. Children arrive at hospitals with their names carved into their arms, legs and bellies so that someone can identify them if their parents do not survive. Dozens are buried in mass graves, as Bloomberg reports.
The death tolls in Gaza cannot be independently verified and do not distinguish between civilians and active members of Hamas. But aid groups operating in the region say they are relatively accurate, although Israeli officials say Hamas is inflating them. In response, authorities in Gaza released the names of the dead along with their identification numbers. Two-thirds of the people were killed in the north, but the rest in places that were supposed to be safe.
Gazans who spoke to Bloomberg said they had to make calculations about their safety in a place where food and water supplies are rapidly dwindling. While on Nov. 6 the United Nations said 451 aid trucks had been allowed into the besieged enclave that relies on such donations to survive in the weeks since hostilities began, compared with the 500 that delivered daily before the war — and not one carried fuel. Israel says Hamas has 500,000 liters of fuel at its disposal, which it is keeping for its own operations rather than supplying hospitals.
A problem in the US as well
After US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken’s four-day trip to the Middle East, US officials told the Washington Post that Israel’s counter-offensive against Hamas was too fierce, cost too many civilian casualties and lacked a coherent end goal. Blinken, however, was unable to influence Israel enough to change its course.
“For so many ordinary citizens of the Hamas-run region, this is not their struggle. However, they are trapped in him. Finding a way to escape Israel’s bombs has become even more dangerous since last week, when its army advanced west under a hail of shelling and airstrikes, effectively splitting the Gaza Strip in two. And with missiles targeting residential areas along their length, people say they have nowhere to go and no means of getting there,” Bloomberg reports.