In a harrowing turn of events, Israel continues its assault on the Gaza Strip, ignoring international calls to minimize civilian casualties. The relentless bombardment, aimed at Hamas, has left a devastating impact on the region, triggering a surge in deadly diseases among displaced residents.
The conflict stems from the incursion by Hamas fighters on October 7, resulting in 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, losing their lives and 240 hostages being seized. Since then, Israel has laid waste to much of Gaza, with a staggering toll of 18,608 dead and 50,594 injured, according to Gaza’s health ministry.
Juliette Touma, the director of communications at the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), highlighted the severity of the situation: “What’s happening is that people are fleeing, people are being displaced constantly, some of them are being displaced multiple times, many of them don’t have the hygiene supplies that they need, many of them don’t have the winter clothes.”
The conflict’s repercussions extend beyond Gaza, with a tanker in the Red Sea off Yemen’s coast targeted by gunmen, escalating fears of the conflict spreading in the volatile region. Additionally, a study commissioned by the U.N. Development Programme estimates a potential loss of $10.3 billion or 2.3% of GDP for neighboring Lebanon, Egypt, and Jordan, doubling if the conflict persists.
In a significant move, the Biden administration is delaying the sale of more than 20,000 U.S.-made rifles to Israel, expressing concerns about increasing attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians in the West Bank.
The toll on human lives is staggering, with 271 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank this year, including 69 children. In Gaza, at least 288 displaced people in shelters run by the U.N. have lost their lives since October 7.
As protests and vigils unfold globally, urging a ceasefire, some Biden administration staffers took a stand in front of the White House, demanding action. The protesters emphasized the horrifying civilian casualties and displacement caused by the conflict.