Israeli forces are carrying out airstrikes and a ground invasion in the southern region of Gaza.

Israeli forces are carrying out airstrikes and a ground invasion in the southern region of Gaza.

48-hour ultimatum

On Monday, Israeli military planes carried out extensive bombings in the vicinity of Khan Younis, located in the southern region of Gaza. This occurred as the military issued a 48-hour ultimatum for mass evacuations to take place in the town.widening ground offensive
This action is leading Palestinians to occupy a continuously diminishing area within the besieged region.

The expanded assault posed a deadly choice

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are faced with the difficult decision to either remain in harm’s way from Israeli forces or seek refuge in the southern Gaza area where safety cannot be guaranteed. Humanitarian aid workers have expressed concern that this mass displacement will only add to the already dire humanitarian crisis in the region.

Thomas White, the Gaza chief of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, stated on X that a new round of displacement is occurring and the humanitarian crisis is deteriorating with each passing hour.

The attack on October 7th in Israel resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 individuals, primarily civilians. This event sparked the most severe violence between Israel and Palestine in many years. The ongoing war has caused the deaths of thousands of Palestinians and forced over three-fourths of the population, which totals 2.3 million people, to flee their homes. According to Palestinian health officials, hundreds of civilians have been killed by bombardment since the end of a week-long ceasefire on Friday.

Despite facing pressure from its main ally, the United States, Israel seems to be in a hurry to attack Hamas in order to defeat them, although it may be difficult due to the group’s strong ties with Palestinian society. This could happen before a new agreement for peace is reached. However, as the number of casualties rises, there will likely be more pressure from the international community to resume negotiations.

The airstrikes and ground attack in the northern part of Gaza have caused extensive damage to Gaza City and its surrounding areas, leaving them in ruins. As a result, hundreds of thousands of people were forced to evacuate to the southern region during the attack.

Currently, approximately 2 million individuals – the majority of the region’s inhabitants – are densely packed into the 230 square kilometers (90 square miles) of southern and central Gaza. This is where Israel’s ground attack is currently advancing, posing a risk of making even more extensive areas unlivable.

After the truce ended, the military instructed the residents to leave a designated area of approximately 62 square kilometers (24 square miles) in and around Khan Younis, as shown on the evacuation maps provided by the Israeli military. This decreases the land accessible to Palestinians by over 25%.

Conflict erupts in the heart of Gaza

Continuous attacks at the borders of Khan Younis, the second-largest city in Gaza and the residence of Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, illuminated the town on Monday night. A constant flow of ambulances, transporting injured individuals including multiple women and children, made their way to the main hospital.

Adnan, who was two months old, was struggling for survival at a hospital in the city after an airstrike. According to his father, they followed Israel’s instructions to flee south, but unfortunately ended up being caught in the bombing.

The Israel Defense Forces have released a map that allows residents to access “evacuation zones” through a QR code. However, due to lack of electricity and internet access, many Palestinians are unable to determine their designated evacuation area.

Forced displacement of Palestinians in Gaza

On December 4, 2023, Palestinians are seeking refuge in the southern regions of Khan Yunis, Gaza, as a result of Israeli aggression.

Mustafa Hassona/Anadolu via Getty Images

In the last few days, Mohammed Aghaalkurdi, an aid worker with the organization Medical Aid for Palestinians in Khan Younis, reported that Israeli attacks have been extremely intense. He also stated that very little aid has been distributed to the people and that there is a shortage of food in local shops.

According to reports, individuals are leaving their neighborhoods and shelters as they escape the area. The Israeli military has distributed leaflets advising individuals to head south towards the Egypt border, but individuals are unable to do so due to the refusal of both Israel and Egypt to accept refugees from Gaza.

According to a CBS News interview, Dalal, a Palestinian youth, shared that her family was compelled to relocate south from Gaza City to Rafah due to circumstances, and they are currently residing in a temporary shelter alongside the road.

Israel has instructed for a section of Khan Younis to be cleared, which makes up approximately 20% of the total area. Prior to the conflict, this area was inhabited by around 117,000 individuals, but it currently also accommodates over 50,000 people who have been forced to flee from the northern region and are now residing in 21 shelters, according to the U.N.

The number of people fleeing was unknown. Certain Palestinians have disregarded previous orders to evacuate, claiming that they do not feel any more secure since the designated areas have also been targeted by bombings. Additionally, many are concerned that they will never be able to return to their homes.

The precise location of the Israeli soldiers entering southern Gaza was unknown, but the military advised individuals to avoid using the main route between Khan Younis and Deir al-Balah. This implies that troops were traveling between these two towns.

According to reports from Israeli media, there was a lot of fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters in the northern part of Gaza. This took place in the Jabaliya refugee camp and the Shijaiya district of Gaza City, where there have been heavy bombings and ongoing battles in recent weeks.

According to Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the spokesperson for the Israeli military, the army is using “maximum force” to pursue Hamas in both the northern and southern regions, while also attempting to minimize harm to civilians.

The individual referred to a map that separates the southern region of Gaza into multiple sections in order to provide specific directions to residents on where to evacuate. While the majority are advised to go south, a map shared by the military on X on Monday instructed people to go to Fakhari, which is located east of Khan Younis and was previously ordered to be evacuated by the military a day prior.

According to Mirjana Spoljaric, the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, the amount of human suffering in Gaza is unbearable. She expressed concern over the fact that civilians have no safe haven and the military blockade makes it difficult to provide necessary aid.

Additionally, she demanded the prompt release of numerous hostages who are still being held by Palestinian militants following the October 7th attack.

A group of Israeli hostages, who were recently released, wrote a letter to the Red Cross leader requesting a meeting during her visit to the area. They also urged for increased assistance from the organization to secure the release of the remaining 137 captives.

The eight individuals who were freed, along with 102 family members of those still held captive, stated that each passing day could potentially be the end for them, and the pain they experience is inhumane.

There are still eight Americans being held hostage, one of whom is a 19-year-old citizen of both the United States and Israel named Itay Chen.

“I have no evidence of life, even after 59 days,” stated Ruby Chen, the father, in an interview with CBS News.

Itay Chen is an IDF soldier who was serving in a tank unit when he was taken hostage during Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault, his father said. 

“You wake up and you get that slap in the face. You spent 18, 20 hours a day to find a way to get a chance to see my son and hug him again,” Ruby Chen said. 

Both he and his wife, Hagit Chen, are concerned that the resumption of conflict has placed their son at risk.

Hagit Chen expressed her desire to have her son return home, where he rightfully belongs.

Rising death toll

According to the Health Ministry in Gaza, the number of individuals who have died in the region since October 7th has exceeded 15,890, with 70% of them being women and children. Additionally, over 42,000 people have been injured. The ministry does not distinguish between deaths of civilians and those involved in combat.

According to Ashraf al-Qidra, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry, numerous individuals have been fatally injured or harmed in the recent events.the cease-fire’s end

Numerous individuals are still unable to escape from the debris.

According to Omar al-Darawi, an administrative employee, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah received 32 bodies overnight as a result of Israeli attacks in central Gaza. Video from the Associated Press captured women crying and grieving over their loved ones’ bodies, kneeling and kissing them.

Hamas Israel Conflict

On December 4, 2023, individuals grieving the loss of life from an Israeli airstrike in Deir el-Balah, located in the central Gaza Strip, were reciting prayers over the bodies of the victims.

The image above is from Majdi Fathi/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

The Israeli army reported that they carried out airstrikes on approximately 200 Hamas targets during the night, while also conducting ground operations. They did not give any further details. They also stated that soldiers in the northern region of Gaza found two tunnel entrances containing weapons and explosives in a school after being attacked.

It is not feasible to verify combat updates from either party on our own.

Death toll rose to 15,523 in Gaza
Infographic created in Ankara, Turkey, on December 4, 2023.

Elif Acar/Anadolu via Getty Images

The country of Israel claims to focus on attacking members of Hamas and puts the blame for civilian deaths on the militants, stating that they are operating in areas where people live. However, Israel does not give details about their specific targets during each attack.

Israel has stated that they have eliminated numerous militants, but have not offered proof. The military reports that 81 of its soldiers have lost their lives.

U.S. pressure

The United States is urging Israel to prevent further large-scale displacements and casualties among civilians, a statement emphasized by Vice President Kamala Harris during her trip to the area.

Harris stated during her visit to Dubai that there have been numerous casualties among Palestinians who are not involved in the conflict. She expressed her concern about the immense harm being inflicted upon civilians and the distressing footage being shared from Gaza. While acknowledging Israel’s military goals in Gaza, Harris believes they must prioritize the safety of innocent civilians.

She also stated that the United States would not permit the compulsory moving of Palestinians from Gaza or the occupied West Bank, nor the alteration of Gaza’s boundaries.

Lloyd Austin, the Secretary of Defense, acknowledged that global forces implemented measures to safeguard civilians during their battle against ISIS.

According to Austin, similar to Hamas, ISIS was heavily situated within urban regions. The global coalition against ISIS made great efforts to safeguard civilians and establish humanitarian routes, even amidst the most challenging conflicts. Therefore, the takeaway is not that one can achieve victory in urban warfare by safeguarding civilians, but rather that protecting civilians is imperative in winning urban warfare. Austin made these statements during a weekend event in California.

During this type of conflict, the civilian population is the main focus,” he stated. “If you push them towards the enemy, you exchange a tactical win for a strategic loss.”

I have consistently communicated to the leaders of Israel the importance of safeguarding Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as it is both a moral obligation and a strategic necessity.

It is uncertain to what extent the Biden administration is prepared or capable of urging Israel to control their offensive, despite increasing pressure from congressional allies.

Since the October 7th attack, the U.S. has promised to provide steadfast assistance to Israel, including quickly sending weapons and other forms of aid.

Israel has declined the United States’ proposal to transfer control of postwar Gaza to the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority in an attempt to resolve the larger conflict and establish a Palestinian state.