Israel is preparing a ground invasion of Gaza, according to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who made the announcement on Wednesday as more Palestinian civilians were murdered by Israeli fire and as international pressure increased to deliver relief and protect prisoners held by Hamas.
The future should include a two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinians, said U.S. President Joe Biden made remarks that looked beyond the conflict that started with a Palestinian Hamas attack on Israel on October 7. He argued that Israel should blend in with its Arab neighbors.
At a joint news conference in Washington with visiting Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, Biden stated that “Israelis and Palestinians equally deserve to live side by side in safety, dignity, and peace.”
Biden asserted that he thought one reason Hamas militants invaded southern Israel, murdering 1,400 people and kidnapping over 200 individuals of various nationalities, was to prevent normalization of relations between Saudi Arabia and Israel.
According to the health ministry in the Gaza Strip, controlled by Hamas, approximately 6,500 civilians have died as a result of Israeli reprisal attacks. The fatality totals reported by either side have been unable to be independently verified by Reuters.
Biden stated that he had no idea whether the Palestinians were speaking the truth regarding the number of deaths. “I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war.”
A Security Council resolution crafted by the United States calling for pauses in hostilities so that much-needed food, water, and medical supplies may be delivered to Palestinian civilians was vetoed by Russia and China at the UN. Ten members voted against it, including the United Arab Emirates, while two members abstained.
Russia put out a competing proposal that supported a broader ceasefire, but it did not receive the required number of votes. Both have been rejected by Israel, which has argued that Hamas would just exploit them and pose further dangers to Gaza’s residents.
Limited shipments of supplies from Egypt, including food, medication, and water, resumed on Saturday through Rafah, the sole crossing not under Israel’s control.
Netanyahu refused to disclose any information about the timeframe or other aspects of the operation, saying in Jerusalem that the government’s secret war council would decide when soldiers would enter Gaza.
In a statement shown on television, Netanyahu said, “We have already killed thousands of terrorists, and this is only the beginning.”
“Simultaneously, we are preparing for a ground invasion. I will not elaborate on when, how, or how many. I will also not elaborate on the various calculations we are making, which the public is mostly unaware of, and that is how things should be.”
In part because of the captives, there is increasing international pressure to postpone any attack on Gaza. According to the Israeli authorities, more than half of the approximately 220 captives held by Hamas had foreign passports from 25 different nations.
According to the Wall Street Journal, which cited American and Israeli sources, Israel had decided to postpone its invasion of Gaza for the time being so that the United States could send missile defenses to the area to shield American personnel there. This decision was made in response to American concerns that the Middle East may get engulfed in the Gaza conflict.
According to the Journal, U.S. officials have so far convinced Israel to wait until American air defense systems can be deployed in the area, possibly this week.
Casualties from airstrike launched by Israel
As the Israeli military increased bombings on the Palestinian enclave in preparation for what its spokesman termed the “next stage” of its attack on the Islamist group, Hamas fighters and Israeli soldiers sparred briefly inside Gaza on Sunday.
In an ambush outside the Gazan city of Khan Younis, according to Hamas, its forces damaged two Israeli military bulldozers and a tank, forcing Israeli troops to flee without their vehicles. The Israel Defense Forces stated that its troops were in Gaza at the time of the event and claimed that a tank from the IDF targeted terrorists who had fired on its soldiers.
Several hospitals in Gaza reported being overrun by victims on Sunday, with one hospital calling it a “bloody day” and another cutting back on dialysis treatments due to fuel and energy shortages. According to the Gazan health ministry, more than 4,600 people have died in Gaza since Israel’s response to the Hamas offensive got underway more than two weeks ago. In order to help identify their kids in the event that they or the kids are murdered, some parents in Gaza are now writing their kids’ names on their legs.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, as of Sunday, Israeli airstrikes had killed 4,651 Palestinians in Gaza, including more than 1,900 children and 1,023 women. It further said that there had been more than 14,245 injuries.
Israel has instructed over a million people in northern Gaza to abandon their homes and relocate to the south.