Israel restarts genocidal war on Palestinians in Gaza on Friday

Ahram Online , Friday 1 Dec 2023

Israeli fighter jets pounded the Gaza Strip on Friday shortly after a week-long truce expired with no agreement to extend it. The number of Palestinians killed and injured is rising by the tens every hour. Israel and Hezbollah resume trading attacks

Khan Younis
Palestinians evacuate survivors of the Israeli bombing In Khan Younis refugee camp in Gaza Strip on Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. AP

19:45 Egypt deeply regrets the breach of the temporary humanitarian ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the head of Service Information System Diaa Rashwan said on Friday. 

Rashwan added that Egypt is exerting maximum efforts currently with its partners to swiftly return to the ceasefire and extend it further to address the critical humanitarian conditions faced by Palestinians in Gaza that reached catastrophic levels.

18:00 Doctors Without Borders (MSF) called on Israel to rescind its evacuation orders to Palestinian civilians immediately, saying there is no place in Gaza that is safe because of the ongoing indiscriminate bombing of the strip.

On Friday afternoon, the Israeli army issued evacuation orders for residents in the northern parts of the Gaza Strip to move to central areas in the strip.

This came as Israeli jetfighters pummeled various areas across the north of the strip.

The Israeli army ordered the residents of Jabaliya, Al-Shujaiya, Al-Zeitun, and Al-Tufa7 to evacuate their homes and head south of the Valley of Gaza in the center of the strip.

Earlier today, the Israeli army dropped leaflets in Arabic ordering civilians in the villages around Khan Younis to Rafah in the southmost of the Gaza Strip.

Many in Khan Younis who were ordered to evacuate on Friday were people who fled previous bombings in the north before the truce.

17:50 Qassam Brigades announced targetting Tel Aviv with a barrage of rockets on Friday evening.

Earlier today, Palestinian factions launched rockets at various Israeli settlements in the Envelope of Gaza as well as at Ashdoud and Ashkelon north of the Gaza Strip.

17:30 The Israeli army issued evacuation orders for residents in the northern parts of the Gaza Strip to move to central areas in the strip amid its vicious bombing campaign.

The Israeli army ordered the residents of Jabaliya, Al-Shujaiya, Al-Zeitun, and Al-Tufa7 to evacuate their homes and head south of the Valley of Gaza.  in the central parts of the strip.

Earlier today, the Israeli army dropped leaflets in Arabic ordering civilians in the villages around Khan Younis to Rafah.

Medicins Sans Frontieres (MSF) called on Israel to rescind the evacuation orders immediately, saying there is no place in Gaza that is safe because of the ongoing indiscriminate bombing of the strip.

16:50 Hours after the resumption of the Israeli bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip, Israel and Hezbollah resumed hostilities on the northern front.

Israeli artillery targeted the vicinity of the Naqoura in south Lebanon while Hezbollah said it targeted several Israeli soldiers along the Lebanese-Israeli border.  

16:35 "The humanitarian situation in Gaza is so perilous that anything other than sustained peace and at-scale emergency aid will mean catastrophe for the children of Gaza," UNICEF spokesman James Elder told reporters in Geneva via video link from the besieged Palestinian enclave.

Elder said the "dire" state of health, nutrition, water, and sanitation there threatened to trigger "a disaster of unparalleled magnitude for the children of Gaza".

"Inaction, at its core, is an approval of the killing of children," he said, calling it "reckless to think more attacks on the people of Gaza will lead to anything other than carnage."

"It's deeply unsettling to hear how some have been able to overlook the tragic deaths of these children; and now, today, are seemingly comfortable with the horrors -- the attacks -- starting again," he said.

"To accept the sacrifice of the children in Gaza is humanity giving up."

"This is our last chance before we delve into yet again explaining why another entirely avoidable tragedy was not stopped."

Elder said that he visited children in the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip as hostilities resumed on Friday.

He said that during the truce, "slowly, slowly, glimpses of childhood started to come back" to traumatized and wounded children.

However, as the explosions began, "in an instant... you saw fear return and childhood retreat," he said.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) called for a ceasefire in Gaza that would lead to peace.

The WHO said that before Israeli bombardment resumed in Gaza on Friday after a week-long truce the health system in the strip was on its knees, with hospitals resembling a "horror movie".

16:20 Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan said that his group is open to swapping more Israeli captives for Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, but rebuffed a demand to free female Israeli soldiers.

Hamdan, who is based in Beirut, told the Associated Press that several ideas for captive releases were put forward by mediators and that Hamas accepted three of them.

He said the “Israeli side said no, no, no every time.”

Hamdan added that Israeli officials put forward a list of 10 names of women they wanted to be released but that Hamas rejected them, saying they were female soldiers. 

The Hamas official said Israel’s military would not be able to release any of the hostages by force, adding that the only way to win their freedom is through negotiations.

Israel said Friday that 137 captives remain held in Gaza, including 115 men, 20 women and two children. Of this group, 126 are Israeli and 11 are foreign nationals.

15:45 Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu says: "Israel will continue working to achieve its goals of returning its kidnapped citizens, destroying Hamas, and making sure that Gaza will not threaten Israel, according to Al Arabiya.

Meanwhile, the Israeli army continued dropping ethnic-cleansing leaflets in Arabic on villages around the under-heavy-bombardment city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza ordering civilians to immediately evacuate to Rafah in the deep south of the strip or face the consequences.

"We have warned and therefore we have been absolved," the Israeli army warned.

15:30 The death toll among Palestinian civilians from half a day in the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip on Friday has climbed over 109 and hundreds more injured - with most of the victims women and children, according to the Palestinian health ministry.

"Those who were not moved by the blood in Gaza will drown in their blood soon". Palestinians raise placards during a rally in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah in support of the Gaza Strip on December 1, 2023. AFP

Meanwhile, the White House said Friday that the United States will continue to press for extending a truce in Gaza. 

"We continue to work with Israel, Egypt, and Qatar on efforts to extend the humanitarian pause in Gaza," a National Security Council spokesperson said, according to AFP.

A week-long truce between Israel and Hamas ended on Friday morning as Israel resumed its bombing campaign on Gaza.

In 48 days of bombing before the truce, Israel killed more than 15,000 and injured more than 50,000 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Israeli airstrikes destroyed or damaged more than 50 percent of homes in Gaza, leaving 1.8 million out of the 2.4 million population internally displaced.

Palestinian child wounded in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip is brought to al Aqsa Hospital on Deir al Balah, Gaza Strip, Friday, Dec. 1, 2023. AP

14:45 Israel is planning a campaign against Hamas in Gaza that will stretch for a year or more -with the most intensive phase of the ground offensive continuing into early 2024, according to the Financial Times, citing several people familiar with the preparations.  

A person familiar with Israel’s war plans said the military still considers operations in northern Gaza to be incomplete.

“Gaza City isn’t finished yet, nor fully conquered. It’s probably 40 percent done,” the person said.

“For the north as a whole, it will probably require another two weeks to a month.”  

 An Israeli ground offensive into south Gaza, which up until now has been hit only by sporadic air strikes, is expected to begin in parallel, according to FT sources.

14:30 Palestinian factions relaunched rockets at various targets in the Envelope of Gaza and other cities in the south of Israel including Ashdoud Israel.

This came after Israel resumed indiscriminate bombing across the Gaza Strip on Friday morning after it ended a 7-day truce with Hamas.

Meanwhile, Saraya Al-Quds, the military wing of Hihad, announced the downing of an Israeli drone in central Gaza.

Meanwhile, five Israeli soldiers were injured in a mortar attack near Nirim, a kibbutz in the northwestern Negev Desert, according to Al Arabiya.

The Israeli army also announced that it has carried out 200 airstrikes on various targets in Gaza.

It added that nine soldiers were injured in battles in Gaza on Friday.

14:20 The Palestinian health ministry said more than 60 people had been killed on Friday after a truce expired and Israeli strikes resumed.

The ministry has also tallied "dozens of wounded in air strikes on civilians," it said in a statement.

13:45 Khalil Al-Hayeh, a member of the political bureau of Hamas, accuses Israel of premeditation in the resumption of its crimes against women and children in Gaza, according to Al Jazeera.

"Israel did not find anyone in the international community to deter it from killing women and children, Al-Hayeh told the Qatari news outlet.

"Israel has refused several offers and proposals to conclude new truces to exchange prisoners because it was determined to restart its crimes."

12:50 The Palestinian Presidency issued a statement saying the Israeli resumption of the bombardment on Gaza is a continuation of the crime of ethnic cleansing and mass extermination of the Palestinian people.

The Jordanian foreign ministry called on the international community to push for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations Antonio Guterres said the resumption of hostilities in Gaza underscores the need for a permanent ceasefire.

A Palestinian man carries an injured boy following the resumption of Israeli bombardment in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, on December 1, 2023. AFP 

12:00 Qatar on Friday urged swift international action to stop violence in the Gaza Strip after renewed Israeli bombardment of the territory at the end of a truce which the Gulf emirate helped mediate.

The Qatari foreign ministry, in a statement, said it stresses that continued bombing at the end of the pause "complicates mediation efforts and exacerbates the humanitarian catastrophe in the Strip, and... calls on the international community to move quickly to stop the violence."

It added "its condemnation of all forms of targeting civilians, the practice of collective punishment, and attempts to forcibly displace and displace citizens of the besieged Gaza Strip, and its demand for an immediate ceasefire."

Qatar has been engaged in intense negotiations, with support from Egypt and the United States, to repeatedly prolong a truce in Gaza that had lasted a total of seven days after two extensions.

A plume of smoke rises during an Israeli strike on the Rafah refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip on December 1, 2023. AFP 

11:00 Israel drops leaflets telling Gaza residents to leave parts of southern Gaza, signaling a widening offensive as its fighter jets resumed striking the Strip minutes after a week-long truce expired on Friday.

In the leaflets it dropped in southern Gaza, Israel urged people to leave homes east of the city of Khan Younis. The leaflets also warned that Khan Younis was now a “dangerous battle zone.”

Hundreds of thousands of people fled northern Gaza earlier in the war, with many taking shelter in Khan Younis and other places in the south.

Only hours into the renewed offensive, the Palestinian Health Ministry said 32 people had been killed and dozens wounded.

One of the first airstrikes Friday destroyed a large building in Khan Younis. Moments later, residents were seen frantically searching the rubble for survivors as medics approached. One wounded person was carried away on a stretcher.

09:00 Airstrikes hit southern Gaza, including the community of Abassan east of the town of Khan Younis, the Interior Ministry in the Hamas-run territory said. Another strike hit a home northwest of Gaza City.

Loud, continuous explosions were heard coming from the Gaza Strip, and black smoke billowed from the territory.

The Palestinian health ministry said 29 people had been killed Friday in the initial hours after the truce expired and hostilities resumed.

Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra told AFP the dead included 10 people killed in al-Maghazi in central Gaza, nine in Rafah in the south, and five in Gaza City in the north, following the expiring of the truce at 7:00 am local time (0500 GMT).

In Israel, sirens blared at three communal farms near Gaza warning of incoming rocket fire, suggesting Hamas had also resumed its attacks.

The Israeli military's announcement of the strikes came only 30 minutes after the cease-fire expired at 7 a.m. (0500 GMT) Friday.

Earlier Friday, Israel accused Hamas of having violated the terms of the cease-fire, including by firing rockets toward Israel from Gaza.

However, a source briefed on talks told AFP that talks between Israel and Hamas aimed at renewing a Gaza truce by mediators Qatar and Egypt are continuing despite renewed fighting.

"Negotiations are still ongoing with Qatari and Egyptian mediators despite the resumption of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza," the source said asking to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the talks after intense overnight discussions failed to secure an eighth ceasefire day.

During the week-long truce, Hamas and other groups in Gaza released more than 100 captives, most of them Israelis, in return for 240 Palestinians freed from prisons in Israel.

Israel has been under growing pressure from its main ally, the United States, to do more to "protect Palestinian civilians" when it resumes its strikes.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other top officials on his third visit to the region since the start of the war two months ago.

While expressing hope at the time that the cease-fire could be extended, Blinken said that if Israel resumed the war and moved against southern Gaza to pursue Hamas, it must do so in “compliance with international humanitarian law” and must have “a clear plan in place” to protect civilians. He said Israeli leaders understood that ”the massive levels of civilian life and displacement scale we saw in the north must not be repeated in the south.”

Most of Gaza’s population is now crammed into the south with no exit, raising questions over how an Israeli offensive there can avoid heavy civilian casualties.

Israel’s bombardment and invasion in Gaza have killed more than 13,300 Palestinians, roughly two-thirds of them women and minors, according to the Health Ministry.

More than three-quarters of the population of 2.3 million have been uprooted, after weeks of Israeli bombardment and a ground campaign, leading to a humanitarian crisis.

The toll is likely much higher, as officials have only sporadically updated the count since 11 November.

The ministry says thousands more people are feared dead under the rubble.

Palestinians in Gaza have called for a permanent end to the war, saying the temporary truces don’t resolve the humanitarian catastrophe in the territory.

Over 1.8 million people have fled their homes, with more than 1 million sheltering in UN schools and struggling to find basic items including cooking gas and flour.

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