9th December 2023 – (Gaza) Israel conducted airstrikes in Gaza on Saturday, following the United States’ veto of a United Nations resolution calling for a ceasefire in the ongoing conflict with Hamas. The war has raised concerns about a looming humanitarian crisis described as “apocalyptic” by aid workers.
The Palestinian Authority and Hamas swiftly condemned the US veto, with Hamas’s health ministry reporting a death toll of 17,490 in Gaza, primarily women and children. The ministry stated that six people were killed in an Israeli strike on the southern city of Khan Younis, while five others died in a separate attack in Rafah.
Over a 24-hour period, Al-Aqsa hospital in Deir al-Balah city received 71 dead and 160 wounded individuals as a result of persistent bombings. Live footage aired by AFPTV captured repeated volleys of automatic weapons fire in Gaza’s north.
Hamas’s armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, claimed responsibility for firing rockets towards Reim in southern Israel. Israel alleges that Hamas gunmen killed 364 people at a musical festival on 7th October and has vowed to eradicate the organisation.
The conflict has left vast areas of Gaza in ruins, with the United Nations reporting that approximately 80 perc ent of the population has been displaced. Severe shortages of food, fuel, water, and medicine have been reported.
The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, invoked a rarely used measure to call for a ceasefire, citing the deteriorating conditions that hinder meaningful humanitarian operations and pose irreversible implications for regional peace and security.
However, the United States vetoed the Security Council resolution, with U.S. envoy Robert Wood stating that it was divorced from reality and would allow Hamas to repeat its actions from 7th October. Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen argued that a ceasefire would prevent the collapse of Hamas and enable the organization to continue ruling Gaza.
The U.S. veto drew criticism from Iran, which supports Hamas, warning of a potential uncontrollable explosion in the region’s situation.
Guterres expressed deep concern over the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, with many of the 1.9 million displaced Gazans seeking refuge in Rafah near the Egyptian border.
The World Health Organisation’s executive board is set to convene to discuss Gaza’s health situation and express grave concern about the catastrophic humanitarian conditions. The draft resolution calls on Israel to protect aid workers in Gaza and urges respect for international law in safeguarding medical and humanitarian personnel and facilities.
With the civilian toll rising, the U.S. National Security Council emphasized the need for Israel to do more to protect civilians in the conflict. Israel reported the deaths of 93 soldiers and two severely injured soldiers in a failed hostage rescue attempt.
The conflict has also seen strikes in neighbouring countries, raising fears of a wider war. Israel’s army stated that it fired towards the source of unspecified launches from Lebanon towards Israeli territory. Fighter jets also targeted the Iran-backed Hezbollah movement in Lebanon. In south Syria, an Israeli drone strike resulted in the deaths of three Hezbollah fighters and a Syrian.
In Baghdad, rockets were fired at the U.S. embassy and facilities hosting American troops. Iran-aligned militias were blamed for the attack, which marked the first such attempt against the U.S. embassy. No casualties or damage were reported.