The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza has announced that the number of people killed in the besieged enclave since the start of the Israeli offensive on October 7 has reached 10,328, including 4,237 children. The ministry also said that more than 40,000 people have been injured, many of them critically.
The humanitarian situation in Gaza has deteriorated dramatically, as the Israeli occupation continues to target civilian infrastructure and vital services. The Gaza Interior Ministry said that all bakeries in Gaza City and in the northern Gaza governorates have stopped operating due to the lack of fuel and flour, as well as the systematic bombing of bakeries and flour mills. The ministry warned of a looming bread crisis that would affect millions of people in Gaza.
Meanwhile, the political and diplomatic efforts to end the war have shown little progress, as the parties involved have different visions for the future of Gaza. Far-right Israeli politician Simcha Rothman, a member of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, said that after the war, Gaza must not be under the control of the Palestinian Authority, which he accused of being corrupt and weak. He said that the Israeli occupation should either annex Gaza or create a “humanitarian protectorate” there. However, former Israeli Justice Minister Yossi Beilin, who was involved in the Oslo peace process, told Al Jazeera that it was “premature” to say what happens in Gaza after the war, and that the priority should be to reach a ceasefire and address the humanitarian crisis.
On the other hand, Hamas, the Palestinian faction that controls Gaza, has expressed its readiness to release 12 Israeli captives that it has taken into Gaza during the war, but said that the Israeli air and land attacks were “what hinders this from being completed”.
The international community has expressed its concern over the escalating violence and the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, and has called for an immediate cessation of hostilities. The United Nations said that Gaza’s health, sanitation, water and food services were nearing a “breaking point”, and that more than 1.5 million people were in need of urgent assistance. The UN also said that more than 300,000 people have been displaced from their homes, and that more than 100 UN facilities have been damaged by the Israeli attacks.
The US secretary of state, Antony Blinken, has discussed the situation in Gaza with his Japanese counterpart, Toshimitsu Motegi, in advance of the G7 meeting in Tokyo, where he is hoping that the members of the group will agree on a unified response to the war in Gaza. Blinken said that the US was working with its partners to achieve a “lasting and sustainable” ceasefire, and to address the underlying causes of the conflict.
The Israeli attacks have also provoked a response from Hezbollah, the Lebanese movement that is allied with Hamas. Hezbollah has promised to “double” the death toll from any Israeli attacks on civilians in Lebanon, after a recent attack killed three children and their grandmother in the southern village of Qana. Hezbollah said that it had fired several rockets at northern Israel in retaliation, and that it was ready to escalate the confrontation if Israel continued its aggression.