Friday is a historically very tense day in the Middle East in times of crisis and war, as is the case now. On Friday, Hamas called for an international day of rage in response to the Israeli bombing and siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, which is home to more than two million people.
According to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the Israeli National Security Council fears that this will lead to more violence against Israelis and Jews. They ask their citizens to stay away from demonstrations around the world on Friday.
At the same time, there is great fear in the Gaza Strip that things will get worse. At least 1,537 people have been killed, and the healthcare system is on the verge of collapse. Israel has imposed a blockade, and there are shortages of food, water and electricity.
– It’s time for war
Now Gazans fear a ground operation. Israel has mobilized an army of at least 300,000 soldiers around the Gaza Strip.
– Israeli Defense Minister Herzi Halevy said on Thursday that the time for war has come.
Meanwhile, Israel received a clarification from the United States. The support provided by the state is without restrictions. US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin says the United States expects Israel to do what is right.
The International Criminal Court has made clear that it can investigate any war crimes committed by Israel and Hamas.
I got to see horrible pictures
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken was in Israel on Thursday. He says he saw horrific images of civilian deaths when Hamas attacked. Blinken says he saw images of a bullet-riddled infant, beheaded soldiers, and burned young men in their cars.
– It is immorality in the ugliest way possible. Blinken says it’s actually beyond what we can understand.
Hamas said it did not try to kill civilians and children, but a series of videos and witness testimonies tell a different story.
Horrific images and accounts of civilian killings mean many fear Israel will act more harshly. They have already imposed a blockade which means Gaza lives largely without electricity, food and water. Palestine warns of genocide.
According to the United Nations, at least 423,000 people in Gaza are now internally displaced. The United Nations says the situation is critical. The health care, water supply and sanitation system is collapsing.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for the establishment of a humanitarian corridor from Egypt. This matter is being negotiated, but Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi made it clear that his country will not accept civilians from Gaza.
Al-Sisi says that the people of the Gaza Strip must stand firm and remain in their lands.
The International Committee of the Red Cross warned on Thursday that only a few hours remain before electricity generators in Gaza hospitals run out of fuel.
The human suffering created by this escalation is abhorrent. “I ask both sides to reduce civilian suffering,” says Fabrizio Carbone, regional director of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Hamas’s call for a global day of anger was supported by the Fatah movement, which rules the occupied West Bank.
There are fears of unrest in several European cities. In Paris, police have already used tear gas and water cannons to disperse pro-Palestine demonstrations. Jewish schools in Amsterdam and London are temporarily closed.
In New York, Gov. Kathy Hochul says parents should decide for themselves whether to keep their children home from religious school or skip going to synagogue on Friday.
I can’t think about the future
In the Gaza Strip, there is sadness, despair and anger at the same time. People try to help as much as they can.
– The situation is critical. Ambulances do not reach the wounded and the wounded do not reach the hospital. Ashraf Al-Qudra, spokesman for the Ministry of Health in Gaza, says that we cannot transport the dead to the morgues.
Meanwhile, funerals are being held in Israel and the Gaza Strip. In Gaza City, the morgue of the largest hospital is now full. Bodies are piled up in the hallways and parking lots.
-The body bags kept coming. Now it is a cemetery. I am emotionally and physically exhausted. “I just have to stop thinking about how bad it is,” says nurse Abu Elias Al-Shobaki.
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