Israel urges Gazans to leave in 24 hours, Hamas says not to fall for 'propaganda’text_fields
Israel’s warning to civilians to evacuate Gaza in 24 hours has left the global community in a concerning situation considering the short time span and the movement of over one million people amid reports of Israel’s potential ground invasion of Gaza.
UN officials expressed concerns about the impracticality of evacuating such a large number of people on short notice, particularly considering the challenges faced by hospitals and medical personnel.
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) says it has relocated its centre of operations and international staff to southern Gaza.
Amid the Israeli warning, Gaza residents fear permanent displacement if they heed calls to leave, warns Michael Omer-Man, Director of Research for Israel-Palestine at Democracy for the Arab World Now. Most are refugees or descendants displaced in 1948.
Talks of leaving trigger trauma, fearing an inability to return amid ongoing bombings. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, advocating safe passage, aims for Egypt. Residents weigh the risk of leaving against the potential loss of homes and the challenge of returning to a territory under attack.
Veteran Egyptian politician Mustafa Bakri accused Israel of attempting to drive Palestinians into Egypt, signalling a potential forced displacement strategy. The clock was ticking on the Israeli military's 24-hour deadline for the evacuation of northern Gaza, with reports of chaos and confusion among the affected population.
Iran's Minister of Foreign Affairs issued a warning that if Israel's attacks on Gaza persisted, it could lead to war on "other fronts." The potential involvement of Hezbollah, with its substantial arsenal of rockets, was highlighted, posing a significant threat to regional stability.
Meanwhile, a Hamas official dismissed the UN statement regarding the Israeli warning to move out of Gaza as 'fake propaganda,' urging Palestinians not to fall for it.
Israeli fighter jets launched a barrage of 750 attacks on the densely populated Gaza Strip overnight, targeting purported military installations and high-rise buildings. The airstrikes raised concerns about civilian casualties, with no official mention of deaths or injuries.
As tensions heightened, there were indications of a potential Israeli ground invasion of Gaza over the weekend. Former Australian ambassador to Lebanon, Ian Parmeter, warned of heavy casualties, both military and civilian if such an operation were to take place.
Israel's call for the evacuation of 1.1 million Palestinians from the northern part of the strip further fuelled speculations of an impending ground offensive, though the feasibility of evacuating such a large population within 24 hours was questioned.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Jordan, where he planned to meet with Jordan's King Abdullah and Mahmoud Abbas, the head of the Palestinian Authority in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
The U.S. reaffirmed its support for Israel, condemning terrorist attacks and expressing solidarity with the Israeli government.
In response to the evacuation order, Gaza woke up to a state of panic and uncertainty. The Israeli military issued a statement urging civilians to move southwards for their safety, citing the presence of Hamas terrorists using civilians as human shields. The statement emphasized the ongoing military operations in Gaza City and assured efforts to minimize harm to civilians.
The international community's response to the situation was mixed, with the Israeli envoy to the UN deeming the UN's reaction to the evacuation demand as "shameful."
As the crisis deepened, concerns grew about the limited options for Palestinians in Gaza, given the densely populated nature of the territory. An annotated map revealed the challenges posed by a potential ground operation, emphasizing the vulnerability of civilians amid the ongoing conflict.
The US President, meanwhile, reaffirmed unwavering support for Israel, sharing an image of the White House bathed in the Israeli flag's blue and white hues. He condemns Hamas' "acts of sheer evil," emphasizing the enduring solidarity between the United States and Israel in the face of ongoing tensions.
In conclusion, the Gaza crisis entered a critical phase with Israeli airstrikes, the possibility of a ground invasion, and a controversial evacuation order. The international community faced challenges in addressing the escalating conflict, with the humanitarian impact on the civilian population taking centre stage.