100 days of horror, destruction and displacement not enough for Netanyahu
RAMALLAH, Sunday, January 14, 2024 (WAFA) – In the wake of a hundred days marked by relentless killings, destruction, and despair, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refuses to halt the war on Gaza. Facing charges of genocide by the International Court of Justice, Netanyahu defiantly declares, "No one will stop us, neither The Hague nor anyone else," intensifying the urgency for immediate global intervention to stop Israel's appetite for bloodshed.
The toll of this genocide is staggering: a hundred thousand martyrs, wounded, and missing, coupled with unprecedented devastation of buildings, infrastructure, and a collapsed healthcare system. The Israeli occupation's systematic genocide against the people of Gaza by land, sea, and air since October 7th has left an indelible mark.
Preliminary statistics reveal a harrowing reality: 24,000 martyrs, over 60,000 wounded, and 8,000 missing. Among the victims are 7,000 women and 10,300 children. Journalists, healthcare professionals, UN staff, students, teachers, and administrators have not been spared, with over 100 journalists, 373 healthcare workers, 148 UN employees, 4,257 students, and 227 educators losing their lives.
Unparalleled scale of destruction
A recent report by the UK-based Save the Children organization sheds light on the dire situation, highlighting that at least 10 children lose their limbs daily in Gaza. Most pediatric surgeries are conducted without anesthesia due to a lack of essential medical supplies.
The scale of destruction is unparalleled. The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reports that 290,000 homes have been affected, with 65,000 rendered uninhabitable and 25,010 structures reduced to rubble. The Israeli offensive also targeted and destroyed 145 mosques, 3 churches, 30 non-functional hospitals, and damaged 26 others. Ambulances, too, were destroyed, hampering emergency services.
Only 15% stayed at home
The displacement crisis is staggering, with around 1.93 million Gazans (85% of the population) forcibly displaced. The exact number of internally displaced persons is challenging to ascertain amidst the ongoing aggression.
Recent eviction orders issued by the invading Israeli military in the Mawasi area and several residential blocks near Salah al-Din Road in southern Gaza are expected to affect over 18,000 individuals and disrupt nine shelters hosting an unknown number of forced evacuees.
According to the Ministry of Health, obtaining an accurate count of the total displaced population remains difficult amid the continuing aggression and its repercussions. Estimates suggest that approximately 1.93 million citizens (85% of Gaza's population) are internally displaced, many of them having experienced multiple displacements in search of safety.
Rafah, the primary hub for the displaced
Rafah has become the primary hub for the displaced, accommodating over a million people in densely populated environments. UNRWA estimates indicate that the number of displaced individuals in its 156 facilities in Gaza has reached 914,000, including 5,000 pregnant women and over 2,000 persons with disabilities.
As winter sets in, dozens of shelters housing tens of thousands of displaced individuals in northern and southern Gaza have been inundated by rainwater mixed with sewage, further exacerbating the plight of the residents.
A siege on the sieged
Israeli War Minister Yuval Galant announced on October 9th that he had ordered a "complete siege" on the besieged Gaza Strip, which had already been under a blockade for 17 years. The blockade includes cutting off all vital supplies such as water, electricity, food, and fuel. Consequently, Gaza's crossings were closed.
Amid international pressure, the first aid convoy entered Gaza on October 21st, 2023, marking the first since the onset of the conflict. The convoy, comprising 20 trucks carrying medicine, medical supplies, and a limited quantity of food, entered through the Rafah crossing.
At the beginning of the following month, the crossing opened for the first time, allowing the exit of some wounded individuals, patients, and foreign passport holders.
The blockade on fuel imports to Gaza continued until November 24th, when a "humanitarian truce" was declared for four days, extended for an additional three days. This included the release of 240 child prisoners and female detainees from Israeli prisons.
In recent times, between 80 and 120 aid trucks enter Gaza daily, falling short of the 600 trucks needed daily, as confirmed by humanitarian organizations. The United Nations asserts that Israeli authorities create obstacles to the delivery of humanitarian aid to northern Gaza, resulting in additional loss of lives.
Stefan Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, clarified that between January 1st and 10th, only 3 shipments out of 21 humanitarian aid shipments were delivered to northern Gaza.
International and Arab action to halt the aggression
The United Nations Security Council held six sessions addressing the ongoing Israeli aggression on Gaza. The first four sessions failed to adopt any resolutions due to the use of the veto or insufficient votes. In the fifth attempt, Resolution 2712, presented by Malta, was adopted, calling for urgent humanitarian truces and corridors throughout Gaza.
It received support from 12 members, while the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom abstained.
Resolution 2720 was also adopted by a significant majority in the Security Council. Thirteen out of the fifteen Council members voted in favor of the resolution presented by the United Arab Emirates, while the United States and Russia abstained.
The resolution calls for all parties to allow immediate, secure, and unobstructed humanitarian aid to Gaza, urging "urgent" measures to facilitate a sustainable cessation of hostilities.
The United States used its veto power against a Russian attempt to add a call for an "urgent and sustainable ceasefire" to the resolution.
In Saudi Arabia, an extraordinary joint Arab-Islamic summit took place in Riyadh, responding to the exceptional conditions in Gaza and the Palestinian territories.
The summit urged the UN Security Council to make a decisive, binding resolution compelling an end to Israeli aggression, restraining the occupying authority, and considering any hesitation as complicity allowing Israel to continue its brutal onslaught.
International Court of Justice: A glimpse of hope
After 100 days of genocide and continuous attacks by land, sea, and air, the world awaits the International Court of Justice's decision in The Hague, Netherlands, on the case filed by South Africa against Israel. The accusation claims Israel committed "genocide" against Gaza's citizens.
The court held its first session on January 11, hearing arguments presented by South Africa's state attorney and Justice Minister Ronald Lamola. In its second session on the following Friday, Israel presented its arguments.
The court is expected to issue an expedited decision, calling for an immediate halt to the aggression on the people of Gaza, ensuring the flow of humanitarian aid, and definitively condemning Israel for committing the crime of genocide in the Gaza Strip.