As the conflict between Israel and Hamas escalates, the decision by Israel to cut food, water, fuel, and electricity supplies to Gaza has brought new dimensions to an already volatile situation. This report explores the context, consequences, and international reactions to Israel’s response to Hamas attack.
Escalation of conflict
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas has reached a grim milestone, with the death toll surging above 1,100 people. This escalation was triggered by a surprise assault launched by the Palestinian militant group Hamas from Gaza, resulting in Israel declaring war on the organization. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu prepared the nation for what he called a “long and difficult” war in the aftermath of a barrage of thousands of rockets fired by Hamas, which led to civilian casualties and hostage-taking.
Humanitarian crisis unfolding
Amid the ongoing conflict, healthcare professionals inside Gaza’s besieged hospitals are grappling with another crisis. Since the early hours of Saturday morning, the Gaza Strip has experienced a complete electricity blackout as Israeli authorities cut power supplies to the already impoverished territory. This move has left the region in darkness for the past 24 hours.
Israel’s Energy Minister, Israel Katz, confirmed that he had ordered the state-run electricity company to halt its power supply to Gaza, marking a significant escalation in the conflict. “What was will no longer be,” he stated on social media.
Defence Minister Yoav Gallant said Israel would impose a “complete siege” on the long-blockaded enclave. The impact on its 2.3 million people will be “No electricity, no food, no water, no gas — it’s all closed”, he said.
No Nagas have reached out so far: Y Patton
Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Minister of Nagaland, Y Patton, informed local media that the state government has not received any information regarding people from Nagaland stranded in Israel and added that the government is seeking information. In the event that there are any students or individuals from Nagaland, Patton said they will initiate efforts to bring them home safely.
The international community has reacted with concern and differing opinions regarding the ongoing conflict. The United States, in a show of support for Israel, announced the dispatch of additional munitions and the movement of Navy warships closer to Israel. Defense Secretary Lloyd J Austin III emphasized the United States’ unwavering support for the Israel Defense Forces and the Israeli people.
Meanwhile, Iran has denied any involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel, dismissing allegations as politically motivated. Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, stated that Iran does not interfere in the decision-making of other countries and emphasized that the Palestinians have the capacity and will to defend themselves without Tehran’s assistance.
Egypt, a mediator between Israel and Hamas, revealed that it had repeatedly warned Israel of the possibility of a significant Hamas assault, but these warnings were allegedly ignored. Israel’s focus on the West Bank and the government’s response to rising violence in that region may have contributed to this intelligence failure.
At the United Nations Security Council, numerous members denounced Hamas for its assault on Israel, while the United States expressed regret over the lack of unanimity. Russia and China had differing stances on the issue, with Russia advocating for a broader focus on unresolved issues and China supporting a joint statement condemning Hamas.
UN Chief “distressed” by Israel’s siege of Gaza
Israel’s vow to reduce Hamas sites in Gaza to “rubble” has raised concern in the UN. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said military operations “must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law.”
“While I recognize Israel’s legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with international humanitarian law,” said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
While I recognize Israel’s legitimate security concerns, I also remind Israel that military operations must be conducted in strict accordance with int'l humanitarian law.
Civilians must be respected & protected at all times.
Civilian infrastructure must never be a target.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) October 9, 2023
Hamas, meanwhile, has threatened to kill hostages if the Israeli army carried out air strikes without prior warning targeting residents of the Gaza Strip, as per an NDTV report.
“Every targeting of our people without warning will be met with the execution of one of the civilian hostages,” said Ezzedine al-Qassem Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas.
As per the report, Israel has counted over 800 dead over the last three days. Palestinian officials said Israel’s barrage of air strikes on Gaza has raised the toll there to 560. The US has confirmed that nine of its citizens have died. Israel’s army said it has regained control of southern areas near the Gaza Strip taken over by Hamas.
Palestinians in the impoverished and crowded coastal territory are bracing for an Israeli ground attack aiming to defeat Hamas and liberate at least 100 hostages.
“On Day 3 of the war, skies over Gaza were blackened by plumes of smoke as fighter jets roared above. Hamas kept firing rockets as far as Jerusalem, where air raid sirens blared and detonations were heard,” it was reported.
“Overnight IDF fighter jets, helicopters, aircraft and artillery struck over 500 Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorist targets in the Gaza Strip,” said a statement by the Israeli Defense Forces.
Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Gaza civilians to get away from all Hamas sites which he has vowed to turn “to rubble.”
On Saturday, more than 1,000 Hamas troops broke through the border fence in Gaza and swarmed to nearby Jewish communities. There gunmen went house to house, mowing down people or abducting them back into Gaza.
(Mokokchung Times, with inputs from agencies)