Israel has firmly rejected the United Nations’ call for a ceasefire in Gaza, with Israeli Ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, criticizing UN Secretary-General António Guterres for his perceived lack of understanding of the ongoing hostilities. The refusal to accept a ceasefire comes as the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) announced their readiness to potentially launch a ground invasion in Gaza.
The current conflict, sparked by unprecedented attacks by Hamas on October 7, has entered its nineteenth day. Israel’s rejection of the UN’s ceasefire proposal underscores the complexities of the situation.
US President Joe Biden, when questioned about whether the United States was pressuring Israel to delay a potential ground invasion, emphasized Israel’s autonomy in making its decisions. This declaration highlights the sensitivity and importance of allowing Israel to determine its course of action during the ongoing hostilities.
IDF Chief-of-Staff, Lt.-Gen. Herzi Halevi, confirmed the military’s readiness for a ground invasion and stated, “I want to be clear, we are ready to invade.” He emphasized that tactical and strategic factors were guiding their approach, allowing them more time to prepare and ensuring they exploit every minute to enhance their readiness. Discussions regarding the precise timing of a ground invasion are ongoing at the highest levels of Israel’s leadership.
Israel’s Foreign Minister, Eli Cohen, dismissed calls for “proportionality” in the country’s response to the Hamas attacks. He questioned the feasibility of a ceasefire with an entity that has sworn to annihilate Israel, leading to calls for a “total destruction” of Hamas in response to the October 7 attack.
The situation remains volatile, with hostilities expanding beyond Gaza. On Wednesday, Israeli military jets struck Syrian army infrastructure and mortar launchers in response to rocket launches from Syria into Israeli territory. In the West Bank’s Jenin, Israeli forces conducted a drone strike during clashes with armed Palestinians.
Additionally, the IDF has offered financial incentives to Gaza residents for sharing information about hostages being held, with promises of confidentiality and security for informants and their homes.
As the conflict continues, the United Nations agency responsible for providing aid to Palestinian civilians has faced fuel shortages, necessitating a halt in operations. Israel has indicated that fuel supplies could be sought from Hamas, as they claim the organization has ample fuel reserves within Gaza.
The White House, amid escalating tensions in the region, has disclosed the development of contingency plans for the potential evacuation of Americans from the Middle East, should the Israel-Hamas war escalate into a broader regional conflict. Currently, charter flights are the primary means of assisting Americans in the region.
The situation in the region remains fluid and unpredictable, with the fate of the conflict and its impact on the wider Middle East hanging in the balance.
Sources By Agencies