Tel Aviv: The war between Israel and Hamas, the Islamist movement that rules the Gaza Strip, has entered its 33rd day with no sign of a ceasefire. The conflict, which started with a surprise attack by Hamas on October 7, has claimed the lives of more than 10,500 Palestinians and 1,400 Israelis, according to official sources. The humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated as Israel has imposed a total blockade on the coastal enclave and targeted its civilian infrastructure, health facilities, and power supply. Hamas has also accused Israel of preventing the evacuation of the wounded and foreign nationals from Gaza through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt.
The war began when Hamas launched a large-scale operation to breach the Gaza-Israel barrier and infiltrate southern Israel, killing and capturing hundreds of Israeli civilians and soldiers. Hamas said the attack was in response to Israel’s continued occupation and siege of Gaza and its violations of the rights of the Palestinians. Israel retaliated with a massive aerial and artillery bombardment of Gaza, followed by a ground invasion of the northern part of the strip, where most of Hamas’s leadership and military wing are based. Israel said its aim was to destroy Hamas’s rocket arsenal, tunnel network, and command and control centers.
The international community has expressed alarm and concern over the escalating violence and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, where more than 1.5 million people have been displaced and are in urgent need of food, water, medicine, and shelter. Several countries and organizations have called for an immediate ceasefire and a political solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, based on the two-state formula and the 1967 borders. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected any ceasefire until Hamas releases all the hostages it holds and stops firing rockets at Israel. Hamas has also refused to lay down its arms and demanded an end to the Israeli blockade and aggression on Gaza and the West Bank.
The war has also sparked protests and clashes in the occupied West Bank, where more than 140 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers since October 7. The war has also spilled over into neighboring countries, such as Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq, where pro-Palestinian groups have fired rockets and drones at Israel or clashed with Israeli forces along the borders. Israel has responded with airstrikes and artillery fire, killing dozens of militants and civilians. The war has also increased regional tensions and instability, especially between Israel and Iran, which backs Hamas and other armed groups in the region.