Israel’s military chief, Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, has declared that “now is the time for war” in response to a series of deadly attacks by the Palestinian group Hamas.

The conflict has deepened as Israel witnessed a surge in attacks by Hamas, culminating in the deadliest attack in its history. With public broadcaster Kan reporting an Israeli death toll of more than 1,300, the situation has turned increasingly dire.

Israel’s military chief stressed the importance of learning from the security lapses around Gaza that facilitated the recent attack. He said, “We are committed to learning from these lapses, conducting a thorough investigation, but at this moment, we are resolved to engage in war.”

Hamas’s attacks have resulted in Israeli and foreign hostages being taken back to Gaza, with Israel identifying 97 of them. In response, Israel has imposed a siege on Gaza and initiated a relentless bombing campaign, causing widespread destruction in the region. 

According to Gaza authorities, over 1,500 Palestinians have lost their lives.

The conflict has also taken a toll on Gaza’s critical infrastructure. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has warned that fuel for emergency generators in Gaza’s hospitals could run out within hours, while the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) highlighted the acute shortage of food and fresh water in the region.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has asserted jurisdiction over potential war crimes committed by both Hamas and Israelis in the Gaza Strip, raising concerns about possible investigations into the events.

Israel’s government, in a bid to gain international support for its actions, presented graphic images of children and civilians allegedly killed by Hamas in a weekend rampage. 

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken reacted with shock, describing the images as “simply depravity in the worst imaginable way.”

As the crisis deepens, the Israeli military chief’s call for war and a planned ground invasion to eliminate Hamas has become a central point of discussion. In response, US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin has said that the US places no conditions on its security assistance to Israel, expressing expectations that Israel will “do the right things” in prosecuting its war against Hamas.

The conflict has also prompted international concerns and safety measures. In Europe, civil unrest has erupted, with police in Paris using tear gas and water cannons to disperse a banned rally in support of the Palestinian people. Additionally, Jewish schools in Amsterdam and London have temporarily closed due to safety concerns.

The situation remains extremely fluid, with many across the world urging restraint but also recognising the dire need for a solution to prevent further loss of life and suffering.


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2023-10-13

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