Israeli Defense Minister Vows to Continue Gaza Offensive Despite Pressure
December 13, 2023 | by b1og.net
In the midst of international calls for a cease-fire in Gaza, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant remains steadfast in his commitment to continue the military offensive against Hamas. Despite growing criticism over the extensive damage and loss of civilian lives, Gallant insists that the operation will “take time” and refuses to commit to any firm deadlines for its conclusion. With battles still raging in parts of Gaza City and the Jabaliya refugee camp, and thousands of civilians still trapped by the fighting, the defense minister’s determination to defend Israel’s future remains unwavering.
Gaza Offensive Continues
The Israeli Defense Minister, Yoav Gallant, has vowed to continue the offensive in Gaza despite international pressure to halt the campaign. Gallant stated that the current phase of the operation against the Hamas militant group would “take time”. This comes in response to growing criticism over the widespread damage and heavy civilian death toll caused by the two-month military campaign.
International Criticism and Calls for Ceasefire
There have been increasing international calls for an end to the offensive in Gaza. The U.N. Secretary-General and several Arab states have called for an immediate ceasefire, while the United States has urged Israel to reduce civilian casualties. However, despite these calls, Israel has received unwavering diplomatic and military support from the United States.
Background of the Offensive
The offensive was launched by Israel after Hamas militants stormed across the southern border on October 7. This resulted in the deaths of approximately 1,200 people and the kidnapping of around 240 others. Two months of airstrikes and a ground invasion have led to the deaths of over 17,000 Palestinians, according to health officials in the Hamas-run territory. While the breakdown of civilian versus combatant casualties is unknown, it is estimated that around two-thirds of the dead are women and minors. The conflict has also resulted in the displacement of nearly 85% of the territory’s 2.3 million people.
No Firm Deadlines for Ceasefire
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has refused to commit to any firm deadlines for a ceasefire. He has signaled that the current phase, characterized by heavy ground fighting supported by air power, could last for weeks. Gallant also suggested that further military activity could continue for months. He emphasized that Israel is determined to defend itself and is fighting for its future.
Lower-Intensity Fighting Against Pockets of Resistance
The next phase of the offensive will involve lower-intensity fighting against “pockets of resistance.” It will require Israeli troops to maintain their freedom of operation. Gallant has stated that the start of the next phase will be signaled by this continued freedom of operation.
Ongoing Battles in Gaza
Currently, battles are ongoing in Khan Younis and Gaza City. The urban Jabaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza has also experienced significant destruction, with many thousands of civilians trapped in the area. The situation remains dire, with widespread destruction and a high number of civilians affected by the fighting.
Objectives of the Offensive
The main objectives of the Israeli offensive are to remove Hamas from power and dismantle its military capabilities. Israel is also aiming to recover hostages that were taken by Hamas during the initial attack. Significant progress has been made in achieving these objectives, with heavy damage inflicted on Hamas and half of the group’s battalion commanders killed. However, Hamas remains organized militarily in southern Gaza.
Claims and Impact on Hamas
Israeli officials claim that they have inflicted heavy damage on Hamas, resulting in the deaths of many militants and the destruction of tunnels, command centers, and weapons facilities. They assert that Hamas has been reduced to “islands of resistance” in the northern Gaza Strip, while remaining organized in the southern region. Israel has also recovered valuable information about Hamas from the computers seized during military operations.
Continued Rocket Attacks from Hamas
Despite the Israeli offensive, Hamas has continued to launch rocket attacks, including on Tel Aviv. These attacks have caused civilian casualties and significant damage to buildings and infrastructure. Hamas remains an ongoing threat, and Israel’s objective is to eliminate its ability to launch such attacks.
Humanitarian Situation in Gaza
The humanitarian situation in Gaza is dire, with severe shortages of food, water, and basic goods. Aid convoys face challenging conditions, with reports of shelling and live ammunition targeting hospitals. The Israeli offensive has resulted in the displacement of a significant portion of the population and has heavily impacted the ability to provide necessary humanitarian aid.
In conclusion, the Israeli offensive in Gaza continues despite international criticism and calls for a ceasefire. The campaign is expected to take time, with no firm deadlines for a ceasefire. The ongoing battles have resulted in significant damage and civilian casualties, raising concerns about the humanitarian situation in Gaza. The objectives of the offensive include removing Hamas from power, dismantling its military capabilities, and recovering hostages. While progress has been made, Hamas remains a threat, as evidenced by continued rocket attacks. Efforts to provide humanitarian aid face significant challenges due to the ongoing conflict.