Aid groups warn Israeli ground offensive could hasten humanitarian crisis
More than a million people have fled their homes in the Gaza Strip ahead of an expected Israeli invasion that seeks to eliminate Hamas’ leadership after its deadly incursion. Aid groups warn an Israeli ground offensive could hasten a humanitarian crisis.
Israeli forces, supported by U.S. warships, positioned themselves along Gaza’s border and drilled for what Israel said would be a broad campaign to dismantle the militant group. A week of blistering airstrikes have demolished neighborhoods but failed to stop militant rocket fire into Israel.
The war that began Oct. 7 has become the deadliest of five Gaza wars for both sides, with more than 4,000 dead. The Gaza Health Ministry said 2,750 Palestinians have been killed and 9,700 wounded. More than 1,400 Israelis have been killed, and at least 199 others, including children, were captured by Hamas and taken into Gaza, according to Israel.
Palestinians lacking food and water
Across besieged Gaza, food shortages are causing desperation. With trucks full of humanitarian goods idling at the Rafah border, unable to get through, many in Gaza not only have no running water but also don’t have enough food.
Residents said they ate whatever morsels they could find in their fridge from before the war and were scared about the coming days. The worsening shortages were most visible in U.N. shelters, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians have taken refuge after fleeing intensifying bombardment, and in houses where dozens of family members were sheltering.
Hourslong lines snaked from bakeries, where Palestinians waited anxiously to get whatever basic food they could to distribute among their relatives.
“I have been waiting for 10 hours to get bread … and of course this amount is not enough,” said Ahmad Salah in Deir al-Balah, where he said he had to feed 20-30 family members. “This is a painful suffering for us.”
Two proposed resolutions go to the UN Security Council
The U.N. Security Council is set to vote Monday evening on dueling proposed resolutions on the Israel-Hamas war. A Russian proposal calls for a cease-fire while a Brazilian draft seeks “humanitarian pauses” to let aid flow and urges Israel to rescind its order for the evacuation of northern Gaza.
Either draft, if adopted, would mark the first collective statement on the war from the U.N.’s most powerful organ.
Both draft resolutions, obtained by The Associated Press, call for releasing all hostages. In somewhat different language, both also condemn violence toward civilians, express concern about the humanitarian situation in Gaza and seek the provision of food, fuel and other aid.
But the differences are significant. Ahead of an expected Israeli ground offensive in response to Hamas’ attack earlier this month, Russia’s proposed resolution calls for a “humanitarian cease-fire.” The Brazilian draft instead calls for “humanitarian pauses” and encourages establishing aid corridors and a notification mechanism to protect U.N. facilities and humanitarian sites and aid convoys.
Brazil’s draft presses Israel to call off its evacuation order – which the U.N. and aid groups have said would cause immeasurable human suffering – while Russia’s proposal speaks of “creating conditions for the safe evacuation of civilians in need.”
The council has become increasingly divided amid Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia is a veto-wielding member. Brazil, a two-year member without a veto, currently holds the rotating presidency.
Trucks cross into Egypt to load up with fuel for Gaza
Oil tankers bearing United Nations flags have crossed into Egypt from Gaza to pick up fuel supplies for the besieged enclave.
The trucks were led across the Rafah border by a U.N. escort vehicle as people stood in line in hopes of crossing.
Hospitals in Gaza are expected to run out of generator fuel in the next 24 hours, endangering the lives of thousands of patients, according to the U.N. Gaza’s sole power plant shut down for lack of fuel after Israel completely sealed off the 40-kilometer (25-mile) long territory following the Hamas attack.
France accuses Hamas of not allowing Gaza residents to leave
France says Gaza residents must be allowed to leave, accusing Hamas of preventing them from doing so, and wants the blockade of Gaza eased to allow in humanitarian aid.
The message was delivered Monday by French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna on a visit to Egypt, following talks the previous day with officials in Israel. “The blockade doesn’t respect humanitarian law,” she said. “Humanitarian aid must be permitted to enter Gaza, because it’s unacceptable to leave women, men, children who aren’t responsible for Hamas’ crimes suffering like this.”
Sen. Chuck Schumer meets with Israeli officials, holds press conference from Tel Aviv
Senator Chuck Schumer met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other officials to discuss how the U.S. can further support Israel.
On Sunday, the U.S. Senate Majority Leader reaffirmed that support during a press conference alongside Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Mitt Romney (R-UT), and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) in Tel Aviv.
“In the face of this horrific attack, we’re here to share a message of resolute solidarity,” said. Schumer. “We have a lot of partisan divisions in America, but this isn’t one of them.”
Schumer, who was rushed to a shelter in Tel Aviv amid rocket attacks, also noted that the presser had also been delayed due for the same reason.
“We also experienced what Israelis experience almost every day,” he said. “We’re having a lunch up in the hotel, and the sirens went off. We heard them and we were all rushed into a shelter and had to stay there until the coast was clear. And then a few minutes ago, this press conference was delayed for the same reason.”
I’m leading a bipartisan Senate delegation to Israel to show America’s unrelenting support.
We’re having good, productive meetings with Israeli leaders. I'll lead the effort in the US Senate to provide Israel with the support required to defend itself from this monstrous attack. pic.twitter.com/Q50J6queIc
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 15, 2023