Middle East, Netanyahu challenges Hamas. Then the UN-Israel confrontation breaks out

Israel remains determined to begin the ground operation in the Gaza Strip, while Washington’s fears remain, which is pressing for the initiative to be postponed. Former US President Barack Obama echoes Joe Biden’s concerns, warning that “any Israeli military strategy that ignores the human costs could ultimately prove counterproductive.” But Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking to the soldiers, assures that “we are close to the next phase of the operation, it is coming”. The Chief of Staff of the IDF, Israel Defense Forces, Herzi Halevi, stressed that the troops are “ready” and a decision on the “form and timing of the next phase” will be taken “with the political leaders”. The bombings in recent days are increasingly intense, in the latest wave of attacks the IDF claims to have hit more than 400 Hamas targets and eliminated three of the group’s deputy commanders. Attacks that worsen the humanitarian emergency in the Strip and increase the death toll, reaching almost 6,000 according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, with 700 deaths recorded in just 24 hours. All this while essential services are on the brink of collapse. According to the World Health Organization, 12 hospitals out of a total of 35 in Gaza have stopped functioning. Overall, according to the WHO, 46 of the 72 health units are not operational. The functioning of hospitals also depends on the resumption of fuel supplies, in which the exchange of attacks between Hamas and Israel continues. “There is no shortage”, according to the IDF, which accuses the militiamen of retaining “half a million liters of diesel” for their own purposes. The situation in the Palestinian enclave remains desperate, despite a new aid convoy through the Rafah crossing announced by the Red Crescent.

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, opening the session dedicated to the Middle East of the UN Security Council, said he was “deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law” in Gaza. Guterres once again reiterated the call for “a humanitarian ceasefire”, and then stated that “Hamas’ attacks did not come out of nowhere”, recalling how the Palestinian people were “subjected to 56 years of suffocating occupation”. Words that aroused Tel Aviv’s anger:; the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, went so far as to ask for Guterres’ resignation, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eli Cohen, said he did not want to meet with the secretary general, stressing that “Hamas must be erased from the world”. Meanwhile, Israel received renewed support from French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited the country with his counterpart Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Although the parallel between Hamas and the Islamic State is increasingly recurring, Macron proposed that the anti-ISIS coalition could also fight against Palestinian militias. The French president also met with the president of the ANP, Mahmoud Abbas, in Ramallah, who spoke of “savage aggression on the part of Israel”, asking him to work to stop it.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in turn, during a phone call with Vladimir Putin, denounced “the silence of Western states”, which led the humanitarian crisis in Gaza “to assume unprecedented proportions”. And the approximately 220 hostages captured by Hamas in the October 7 attack are in the Strip. Yocheved Lifshitz, one of two Israeli women released by Hamas, said she was beaten, driven through “spider webs” of tunnels and experienced “a hell we never thought could come to this.” According to a militiaman detained and interrogated by Israeli authorities, the Palestinian organization promised its affiliates “10 thousand dollars and an apartment” to encourage them to take hostages. Negotiations for the release of another 50 people that had been discussed slowed down. Hamas would have imposed access to fuel and other aid to the Strip as a condition, but Israel would have refused. Farnesina, in turn, continues to work for the exit of Italian citizens from the Strip. There are 19 people, 7 with only Italian passports, 7 with Italian and Palestinian passports, and their Palestinian family members. “We intend to remove them as quickly as possible”, assured the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani.

Source: IL Tempo