Friday, June 21, 2024
HomenewsMiddle East Roundup: Heading for tunnels – is Israeli assault faltering?

Middle East Roundup: Heading for tunnels – is Israeli assault faltering?

Hamas pushes back against Israel’s ground invasion | Looking at Gaza, as seen by the rest of the Arab World. Here is the Middle East this week:

What is Israel’s ground invasion endgame?

There have been some stumbles since Israel’s land incursion into the Gaza Strip began nearly two weeks ago.

It is still too early to say how the war on Gaza will end but experts say Hamas’s fighting abilities have improved, which means fighting on the ground will be much more vicious.

Israel has said it will soon split the Gaza Strip in two and surround Gaza City, but to achieve that it will have to engage in urban warfare that is expected to be bloodier than it has been so far.

Especially if the battle goes underground, into Hamas’s feared tunnels.

Israel imposed a complete siege on the enclave a month ago. In that time, what little food, water, fuel and medicine Gaza had stored has been all but used up. Our graphics team visualised what it means to be without enough food and water for a month.

Municipal freshwater for bathing, washing clothes and running household plumbing has also dried up, which means people have to bathe their children in the highly polluted sea off of Gaza, resulting in sores and other ailments.

The people lost to the war

Ahmed was an aspiring dentist with a ready smile who was always happy to give his friends free treatments (he also needed the practice). Yosep, on the other hand, was considered a tech genius whose last message to his wife was, “I love you,” followed by a heart emoji.

Ahmed, a Palestinian,  and Yosep, an Israeli citizen, both died recently. Ahmed in the Israeli bombardment of civilian homes in the Gaza Strip, and Yosep in the Hamas attack on October 7.

In Gaza, the bombardment has not let up, with children making up nearly half of the more than 10,000 people who have been killed. This makes the current conflict possibly the most deadly for children in modern times.

In addition to bombing residential areas, Israel is bombing hospitals even though it is known that tens of thousands of families have fled to them to seek safety.

Governments have been trying to evacuate their nationals from the war-torn region, and some have had to make the difficult decision to leave family members behind. Some made it out of Gaza with their Palestinian family members only to get stuck elsewhere as they waited for their governments to give non-national spouses visas to accompany them home.

What next?

While there were many relieved listeners by the time Hassan Nasrallah finished his speech on Friday, it remains to be seen whether his organisation, Hezbollah, will stay out of the fighting or come to Hamas’s aid.

Rumours have started to swirl around a possible post-war political arrangement in the Gaza Strip, which is said to involve the Palestinian Authority, which governs in the occupied West Bank. But many Palestinians are not happy with the PA, especially the people living in Gaza.

In the meantime, the Arab Street has made its view clear as huge demonstrations in support of Gaza were staged in Turkey and Iran.

Tunisia also saw large demonstrations, and open expressions of distrust for the West and Western influence have proliferated as a result of people fed up with what they call Western indifference to Israel’s actions in Gaza.

Seemingly capitalising on that sentiment, the Tunisian government is working on a number of laws that would severely curtail the activity of NGOs.

Briefly

One month of war: What’s happening to Palestinians outside Gaza?Family, including three children, killed by Israeli attack in south LebanonIn Israel’s Eilat, people fear war from the north and southChina takes cautious approach to diplomacy over Israel-Gaza warProtesters block US military ship allegedly carrying weapons for Israel

Quote of the Week

“Our hearts burn over our lands … We wait all year long for the olive season, which is the most beautiful season, but the Israelis have deliberately burned our trees using their missiles and tank shells.” | Nisreen Abu Daqqa, a farmer from Gaza’s town of Khuza’a.

Source: Al Jazeera

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