Israel Continues Gaza Bombardments on Christmas Eve Despite Biden’s Caution

Sun Dec 24 2023
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GAZA CITY: On Christmas Eve, Israel continued with its military campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip, focusing the deadly offensives on southern Gaza, where a large number of displaced Palestinians are trapped. US President Joe Biden emphasized the “critical need” to protect civilians in a phone call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. However, Netanyahu vowed to continue the military campaign until all goals were achieved.

Hamas denounced the Israeli military operations as massacres of innocent civilians and a destructive aggression that has severely impacted the entire infrastructure in the already blockaded Gaza Strip.

Israel’s withering military campaign, including massive aerial bombardment, has killed more than 20,424 Palestinians, mostly women and children, since October 7, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

Gaza, with vast areas in ruins, has been grappling with dire shortages of water, food, fuel, and medicine due to the Israeli siege, only marginally eased for the limited arrival of aid trucks. The United Nations reports that 80% of Gazans have been displaced, seeking shelter in makeshift tents, with many forced to the south of Gaza as ground fighting intensifies.

The plight of Palestinian civilians continues to worsen, with reports of injuries and deaths in Israeli strikes on residential areas. Near Rafah in southern Gaza, Umm Amir Abu al-Awf, 27, expressed her frustration, stating, “Nothing has been achieved except killing civilians. They keep saying Rafah is safe. It is not safe. Nowhere is safe. Every house has a martyr and injured.”

UN Calls for Humanitarian Ceasefire in Gaza

The head of the UN refugee agency, Filippo Grandi, has called for an end to the suffering, urging a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza as the only way forward to deliver aid, release hostages, prevent further displacement, and halt the loss of lives.

Amid the ongoing Israeli brutalities, Christmas celebrations in the occupied West Bank, traditionally a festive occasion, are subdued this year. Church leaders decided to forego “any unnecessarily festive” celebrations in solidarity with Gaza residents.

As the Israeli military campaign enters its third month, a displaced Gazan, Ahmad al-Burawi, living in Rafah, expressed a simple desire: “We just want to return to our lands, that is all. We want a solution… People are dying.”

Earlier on Friday, the United States allowed the passage of a UN Security Council resolution calling on Israel to permit “immediate, safe and unhindered” deliveries of life-saving aid to Gaza. The resolution, however, stopped short of explicitly demanding a ceasefire.


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