Amid escalating conflict in Gaza, Israel has intensified attacks on Khan Younis in southern Gaza and deployed tanks to the west. This has led to accusations from Jordan that its field hospital in the city suffered significant damage due to nearby shelling, with the Jordanian army holding Israel accountable for breaching international law.
Escalation in Khan Younis
The recent escalation saw people at and around Nasser Hospital forced to flee as Israeli tanks approached the district, following a statement from the Israeli army claiming to have come under fire in the area. Palestinian health officials reported casualties from Israeli air raids that damaged homes near the hospital, resulting in the loss of at least seven lives. The Palestinian health ministry has stated that the Israeli assault on Gaza
has claimed the lives of at least 24,448 individuals, with a large number of them being civilians.
Humanitarian Crisis and Aid Delivery
In a bid to address the dire humanitarian situation, a deal brokered by Qatar and France facilitated the delivery of 61 tonnes of much-needed aid and medication to the Egyptian city of El Arish near the Gaza border. The International Committee of the Red Cross has hailed this development as a “much-needed moment of relief.” Aid agencies have pointed out the crisis levels of hunger and the growing risk of disease faced by Gaza’s population as supplies continue to dwindle. The head of the Palestine Investment Fund, Mohammed Mustafa, emphasized at the World Economic Forum in Davos the necessity of at least $15 billion to rebuild houses in Gaza, not accounting for basic infrastructure and hospitals, acknowledging the looming threat of hunger and famine.
Israeli Responses and Continued Conflict
Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy mentioned the expectation of extra field hospitals in the coming days, citing the strategic militarization of Gaza’s existing hospitals by Hamas as a reason. However, Hamas has repeatedly denied using hospitals for cover. Furthermore, Israel announced the killing of six Palestinian fighters in southern Gaza and emphasized its operation’s impact on the capacity of the “terrorist organisation” to develop and enhance its capabilities. Despite Israel’s announcement of scaling back operations in northern Gaza and embarking on a new phase of lower-intensity bombing, reports from the ground suggest that the strikes have persisted, resulting in a rising death toll and casualties among civilians.
The intensification of Israeli strikes on Khan Younis, alongside the humanitarian crisis faced by Gaza’s population, underscores the pressing need for a resolution to the conflict. The delivery of aid is a step towards alleviating the dire situation, but a sustainable and comprehensive approach is imperative to address the underlying causes and effects of the Gaza conflict
. As the international community continues to respond to the crisis, concerted efforts are necessary to ensure the protection of civilians and the establishment of lasting peace in the region.