Israel Palestine Conflict: Israel has escalated its ground operations in the Gaza Strip to the “second phase” following an overnight barrage of artillery and shelling that nearly caused a communication blackout in Palestinian territory. The struggle for Israel’s survival has been characterised as “long and difficult” by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The international network monitor Netblocks reported on Sunday that internet access was once again available in the Gaza Strip.
UN Security Council to Convene on Israel-Hamas Conflict
The Spectator Index reports that the UN Security Council will convene on Monday to deliberate on the Israel-Hamas conflict. Israel announced on Saturday that it was pulling its diplomatic personnel out of Turkey following President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s harsh criticism of its military campaign in Gaza against Hamas militants. After a decade of almost frozen relations, the news struck a mortal blow to the parties’ fledgling attempts to rebuild political and economic ties.
Israel and Turkey’s Recent Thaw
Only last year had Israel and Turkey, the predominantly Muslim country that serves as the cornerstone of NATO’s fortifications along the Mediterranean coast, decided to reassign their ambassadors. A major controversy has arisen over the presence of a Hamas leader at an event in Kerala. The organisers of the event have justified it as “nothing unusual,” while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has said that the incident demonstrates “the failure of the Pinarayi Vijayan government.”
Warning of a ‘Long and Difficult’ Campaign
As cries to halt the carnage grew and the Red Cross issued a warning about “intolerable” suffering, Israel stepped up its attacks on Gaza on Sunday and warned that its campaign against Hamas would be “long and difficult.” As Israel said the battle had entered a “second stage,” with ground forces continuing to operate inside the region controlled by Hamas more than 24 hours after entering it on Friday, the UN warned that hundreds more people could perish in Gaza.
Air Assault and Mission to Free Captives
According to Israeli sources, after Hamas terrorists broke through the Gaza border on October 7, murdering 1,400 people—mostly civilians—and taking 230 prisoners, Israel launched a huge air assault. The Israeli military has made an effort to reassure the public that it can defeat Hamas’ militant leaders and free the approximately 230 captives who have been kidnapped from Israel in the same day. However, as the army intensifies its airstrikes and ground incursions into the blockaded enclave, destroying entire neighbourhoods in order to prepare for a larger assault, the bewildered relatives of the prisoners are becoming more and more concerned that these objectives may clash, with disastrous results.