Israel is facing increasing international pressure, including from the United States, to take greater measures to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza. This comes as the death toll rises and fighting intensifies between Israeli forces and Hamas militants near hospitals. The number of Palestinians killed has surpassed 11,000 in the five-week Israeli bombardment that was launched in retaliation for Hamas’ deadly rampage in southern Israel on October 7.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, during a visit to India, made his strongest comments yet on the situation, expressing concern for the civilians caught in the crossfire. He stated that far too many Palestinians have been killed and have suffered in recent weeks. Blinken welcomed Israel’s daily four-hour humanitarian pauses but emphasized that more action is needed to protect Gaza’s civilians. However, he also reiterated U.S. support for Israel’s campaign to prevent Gaza from being used as a platform for terrorism.
French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview with the BBC, called on Israel to stop bombing Gaza and killing civilians. While condemning the actions of Hamas, Macron recognized Israel’s right to self-defense but urged them to halt the bombing.
In response, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu argued that world leaders should be condemning Hamas instead of Israel. He warned that the crimes committed by Hamas in Gaza could happen anywhere in the world.
Israel has justified its actions by claiming that Hamas militants, who are holding hostages from last month’s attack, would take advantage of a ceasefire to regroup.
Saudi Arabia will host an extraordinary joint Islamic-Arab summit in Riyadh on Saturday. The summit aims to address the exceptional circumstances in Gaza and unify efforts to establish a collective position.
The fighting has intensified near Gaza City’s overcrowded hospitals, with reports of explosions and gunfire. Al Shifa hospital’s director, Mohammad Abu Selmeyah, accused Israel of launching a war on Gaza City hospitals. He later reported that at least 25 people were killed in Israeli strikes on Al-Buraq school, which was serving as a shelter for those whose homes had been destroyed.
Missiles have landed in the courtyards of Al Shifa hospital, the Indonesian Hospital, and the Nasser Rantissi pediatric cancer hospital. Israel’s military claimed that a misfired projectile launched by Palestinian militants hit Shifa hospital. The hospitals are located in northern Gaza, where Hamas militants are concentrated, and are currently housing displaced people, patients, and doctors.
Israel’s government spokesperson argued that Hamas has its headquarters in Shifa hospital’s basement, potentially compromising its protected status. Israel accuses Hamas of hiding weapons in tunnels beneath hospitals, a charge that Hamas denies.
Israeli tanks have positioned themselves around the Nasser Rantissi hospital and the Al-Quds hospital. The Gaza health ministry reported that Shifa hospital buildings have been bombed five times, resulting in casualties.
The World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, addressed the United Nations Security Council, stating that a child is killed every 10 minutes in Gaza. He emphasized that nowhere and no one is safe.
Israel’s U.N. Ambassador, Gilad Erdan, announced the establishment of hospitals in southern Gaza to address the healthcare crisis. On October 12, Israel ordered 1.1 million people in Gaza to move south in preparation for a ground invasion.
According to Palestinian officials, 11,078 Gaza residents have been killed in air and artillery strikes since October 7. Israel’s Foreign Ministry revised its death toll to around 1,200, mostly civilians, from the Hamas attack on October 7. However, this number may change as all the bodies are identified. Israel has also reported the deaths of 39 soldiers in combat since October 7.
The Palestinian Red Cross reported that Israeli forces were shooting at Al-Quds hospital, resulting in violent clashes and casualties. The Israeli army spokesperson stated that they do not fire on hospitals but will take action if Hamas terrorists are using them as cover.
In conclusion, Israel is under increasing pressure to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza as the death toll rises and fighting intensifies near hospitals. International calls for restraint have grown, with the United States and France urging Israel to halt the bombing. The situation has prompted Saudi Arabia to host an Islamic-Arab summit to address the crisis. The overcrowded hospitals in Gaza City have been hit by explosions and gunfire, leading to further casualties. The conflict shows no signs of abating, and the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate.
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