The upcoming stage of the conflict in Gaza poses the potential for an unparalleled humanitarian crisis

The upcoming stage of the conflict in Gaza poses the potential for an unparalleled humanitarian crisis

While talks persist on extending the truce in Gaza, the Israeli Defense Forces are actively preparing for a potential resumption of hostilities within days. This raises concerns of triggering an unprecedented humanitarian crisis among an already desperate population.


Israel’s determination to assert control over the southern part of the strip, particularly Khan Younis, where Hamas’s leader, Yahwa Sinwar, is believed to be based, is a driving force behind the risk of renewed conflict. The goal remains the destruction of Hamas’s military and political capacity.


After demanding the evacuation of northern Gaza, it’s acknowledged that the strategy needs adjustment. With two million people in the south, one million having relocated since the start of the attacks, the Israeli Defense Forces recognize the challenges. The air force continues to bomb the south, but the north has faced more extensive destruction.


Proposals are emerging, albeit not publicly, suggesting that Israel may need to organize local evacuations of civilians on a village-by-village or district-by-district basis before launching ground and tunnel control operations. Such a strategy could prolong the conflict significantly, indicating an overarching plan for a very long war.


If this model proves viable, the IDF anticipates that the fighting could extend for months, possibly into January. However, this prospect raises concerns among aid agencies, suggesting the potential for further evacuations and a shrinking strip population, prompting fears that Israel’s ultimate objective might be to depopulate the area.


Despite a pause in fighting, aid delivery remains challenging in the south. Oxfam and its partners face difficulties due to the lack of restored water, electricity, and full telecoms. Humanitarian workers and machinery face entry denials, impacting rubble removal.


The humanitarian situation in the south is already challenging, and concerns persist about Israel’s intentions. The US has signaled its reluctance to support southern operations until Israel ensures the welfare of internally displaced people in Gaza. This stance underscores the need for accountability and safeguards for the affected population.


As Israel maintains its determination to defeat Hamas militarily, the complexity of the situation raises questions about how it can proceed in the south without severe consequences for the two million or more people living there. The unfolding events underscore the delicate balance between military objectives and the well-being of the civilian population.

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