Gaza conflict intensifies, UN delays aid vote

On Wednesday, Israeli troops and Hamas militants clashed fiercely in Khan Younis, Gaza's second-largest city, exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave and coinciding with the United Nations' delayed vote on a resolution to increase aid to Gaza.

Publication: 20.12.2023 - 11:09
Gaza conflict intensifies, UN delays aid vote
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Israeli troops and Hamas militants engaged in intense gun battles in Khan Younis, Gaza's second-largest city, on Wednesday. The violence escalates amid a deepening humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian enclave. Concurrently, the United Nations faced another delay in voting on a resolution to enhance aid deliveries to Gaza.

Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

The Israeli military campaign, initiated in response to an October 7 massacre attributed to Hamas, has devastated Gaza. The coastal enclave is now grappling with widespread destruction, hunger, and homelessness. The Palestinian health ministry reports nearly 20,000 Gazan casualties.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, under international pressure to minimize civilian casualties, has vowed to continue the operation until Hamas releases the remaining 129 hostages and is completely dismantled.

Delayed UN Resolution and Global Implications

The United Nations Security Council's decision on establishing aid channels was postponed as the United States and United Arab Emirates struggled to finalize the resolution's language. The delay highlights ongoing diplomatic efforts to address the two-month-long conflict and its broader implications.

The conflict's ripple effects have reached the Red Sea. Iran-aligned Houthi forces in Yemen have targeted commercial vessels, leading to a multinational naval operation to safeguard vital trade routes. U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced joint patrols in the southern Red Sea and Gulf of Aden to counter this emerging threat.

Escalating Violence in Gaza and Israeli Losses

In Gaza, Israeli forces encountered fierce resistance from Hamas fighters. An Israeli airstrike in Khan Younis reportedly killed 12 Palestinians. Israel has suffered significant military losses, with 132 soldiers killed since the invasion following the October 7 Hamas raid.

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement released a video featuring two Israeli hostages, highlighting the ongoing hostage crisis. Gaza's health ministry underlined the dire situation, with substantial casualties and extensive damage to infrastructure.

Diplomatic Efforts Amid Continued Struggle

Israeli President Isaac Herzog indicated a willingness to negotiate a humanitarian pause, reflecting previous efforts that facilitated a temporary exchange of hostages and prisoners. However, senior Hamas official Basem Naem dismissed the possibility of negotiations amid the ongoing conflict.

Diplomatic sources reported tentative discussions involving Qatari, U.S., and Israeli officials, but immediate resolutions seem unlikely. The situation remains tense, with global attention focused on finding a path to de-escalate the conflict and address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

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