Intense Israeli Strikes Unleashed on Gaza Strip and West Bank
In the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli military has launched new airstrikes targeting the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. Expressing determination to continue the fight against the Palestinian Islamist movement, the Jewish state directed its attacks at three towns in the enclave – Gaza, Nuseirat, and Rafah. Additionally, the West Bank city of Jenin was a focal point for Israeli military operations.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, asserting an unwavering commitment to victory, declared on Thursday, December 14, that the nation will persist in its campaign against Hamas despite the significant toll, both in terms of military losses and international pressure for a ceasefire. On the ground, the Israeli army conducted strikes in the Palestinian enclave, as reported by the Ministry of Health of the Hamas administration. The ministry also confirmed an airstrike in Jenin, a stronghold of armed factions in the occupied West Bank.
Following these attacks, the death toll rose to more than 20, with 19 Palestinians reported dead on Wednesday, according to the Hamas Health Ministry. However, these figures must be approached with caution, as independent confirmation is challenging. In Jenin, two fatalities and multiple injuries were reported by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Health. On the Israeli side, the army announced the death of a soldier in the south of the Gaza Strip, bringing the total number of soldiers killed since the offensive against Hamas began to 116, including ten on Tuesday – the highest single-day casualty count for Israel.
In response to the conflict, Ismaïl Haniyeh, a key Hamas leader, expressed readiness for discussions on a political path that ensures the Palestinians’ right to an independent state with Jerusalem as its capital. Haniyeh, currently in Qatar, emphasized that any arrangement related to Gaza or the Palestinian cause without the involvement of Hamas or the resistance movements is an illusion.
Against this backdrop, Jake Sullivan, the White House national security adviser, is set to visit Israel for talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Discussions will include the necessity for more surgical and precise strikes to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza, as indicated by John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House National Security Council. President Joe Biden has raised concerns about indiscriminate bombings and the potential erosion of Western support for Israel. The situation remains tense, with international efforts underway to address the escalating crisis and find a path toward peace.