Day 79-85

Photo Source: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa, Reuters
   NIAS Course on Global Politics
National Institute of Advanced Studies (NIAS)
Indian Institute of Science Campus, Bangalore
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Day 79-85
NIAS-Conflict Weekly Special Alert | The War in Gaza: Eleventh Week

  IPRI Team

Israel Hamas War Day 85
Rosemary Kurian, Nuha Aamina, Rishita Verma and Gananthula Uma Maheshwari

On 30 December, BBC quoted Juliette Touma, a member of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), who said that a large number of displaced Gazans were living “in the open, in the parks, in their cars.” According to Touma, 1.4 million people reside in UNRWA facilities, but some were making their home “anywhere they can find.” 100,000 Palestinians moved to the southern border city of Rafah in recent days in search of protection, according to the UN. In southern Gaza’s Khan Younis, which Israel regards as a Hamas stronghold, Israeli tank fire and airstrikes were ongoing. 

On 30 December, Hezbollah announced that four operatives were killed in Israeli airstrikes. More than 160 members have been killed since the beginning of war in Gaza.
On 29 December, Abdullah II, the King of Jordan, in his phone call with Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada, called for international pressure for a permanent ceasefire in the Gaza strip. He spoke on the importance of protecting civilians and providing sustainable humanitarian aid delivery. 

On 30 December, Reuters reported that the licence of McDonald’s in Malaysia was suing the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for “false and defamatory statements,” and had made MYR six million worth of damage claims. The former alleged that the movement published a series of social media posts which link the fast-food chain and other companies to the “genocidal war against Palestinians in Gaza.”

On 29 December, South Africa filed a genocide case against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ), for breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention due to its onslaught against Hamas in Gaza. South Africa asked the ICJ to make short-term provisions to stop Israel’s militancy in Gaza, emphasising the need to “protect against further, severe and irreparable harm to the rights” of Palestinians. A statement released by the Department of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa stated that since & October, Israel has failed to “prevent genocide” and “prosecute the direct and public incitement to genocide.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel, responded by calling it “baseless.” 

On 29 December, the US approved a sale of emergency weapons to Israel for the second time, bypassing the US Congress. Antony Blinken, the US Secretary of State, said to the Congress that the sale covered military equipment worth USD 147.5 million, adding that “he had exercised his delegated authority to determine an emergency existed necessitating the immediate approval of the transfer.”

Israel Hamas War Day 81
Rosemary Kurian, Nuha Aamina, Rishita Verma and Gananthula Uma Maheshwari

On 26 December, BBC reported that after visiting the Al-Aqsa hospital that was facing difficulties in  treating the injured, a UN official told the BBC that there was no halt in Israeli airstrikes in Gaza. Gemma Connell, a member of the UN humanitarian organisation Ocha, added that the hospital was going through “absolute carnage.”  She further stated that the hospital  was "absolutely overloaded", and many severely injured persons could not be treated. 

On 26 December, Al Jazeera reported that the Israeli airstrike on the Maghazi refugee camp resulted in the deaths of over 100 individuals overnight. 250 people were said to have been killed over the course of a 24-hour period on 25 December as a result of Israeli shelling, according to Palestinian authorities. The strikes happened in the Bureij and Nuseirat camps, Juhor ad-Dik in central Gaza, and the al-Amal neighborhood in the southern city of Khan Younis.

On 26 December, Reuters reported that Ebrahim Raisi, the President of Iran, is set to meet with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, in Ankara. Both leaders are expected to talk about the ongoing conflict in Gaza and Syria.

On 25 December, Bechara Al-Rahi, Maronite Patriarch, pleaded with Lebanon to remain neutral in the wake of rising hostilities between Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Israeli forces. He spoke on the destruction of life and livelihood of the people in Gaza and southern Lebanon because of the Israel-Hamas war. In his Christmas sermon, he condemned the “genocide” in Gaza. 

On 26 December, Japan imposed sanctions on three senior members of Hamas. Hayashi Yoshimasa, the Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, stated that the assets of these individuals will be frozen and there will be restrictions on their payments and capital transactions. Yoshimasa explained that these measures were taken as the individuals were allegedly  involved in the 7 October attacks, and are potential sources of funding for similar acts in the future.

On 26 December, there was an explosion near the embassy in New Delhi. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Israel said that the staff members were safe, and Israeli and Indian authorities were investigating the incident.

On 25 December, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), stated that the accounts of the “health workers and victims of the suffering” post the attacks on a refugee camp in Gaza were “harrowing.” The incident was being reviewed by the Israeli government.

Israel Hamas War Day- 80
Rosemary Kurian, Nuha Aamina, Rishita Verma and Gananthula Uma Maheshwari

On 25 December, BBC quoted the Health Ministry of the Hamas-run Gaza, which said that at least 70 persons were killed in the center of the strip in the Al-Maghazi refugee camp by an Israeli airstrike. A spokeswoman stated that because there were so many families in the region, the death toll was likely to increase. The Israeli military informed the BBC that it was investigating the strike reports. 

Subsequently, the Egyptian media, which borders the Gaza Strip, claimed to have proposed a fresh cease-fire between Israel and Hamas. 

On 25 December, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran rejected Washington’s claims that Iran was behind the drone attacks targeting a tanker off the western coast of India. It described these claims as “worthless”. Nasser Kanani, the spokesperson of the ministry, stated: “aimed at projecting, distracting public attention, and covering up for the full support of the American government for the crimes of the Zionist regime (Israel) in Gaza.”
On 25 December, two Egyptian security sources told Reuters that Hamas and their allied Islamic Jihad, refused to give up their power in return for a permanent ceasefire. The proposal was put forward by Egypt amid the separate talks being held with both parties in Cairo. The “vision” was also supported by Qatari mediators.

On 25 December,  Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church, expressed his concern and lamented over the war in the land of the birth of Christ on Christmas, as the war intensified in Gaza. He described the children dying in wars as the “little Jesuses of today,” calling for peace in lands “where war is devastating the lives” of people.

On 25 December, t Egypt proposed a plan to end the war in Gaza to the US, European government, Israel and Hamas. As per the proposal, the first phase would take place over seven to ten days, during which Hamas would have to release captives and Israel in exchange would have to release Palestinian prisoners. In the second stage, all-female Israeli soldiers are to be released by Hamas in exchange for more prisoners. In the last phase, Israel is to pull back from Gaza’s territory, and both parties are to engage in a month-long negotiation where they discuss the release of hostages and prisoners.

Israel-Hamas War: Day 79
Rosemary Kurian, Nuha Aamina, Rishita Verma and Gananthula Uma Maheshwari

On 24 December, Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, said that his side has paid a "very heavy price" in the Gaza War. Since 22 December, 14 more Israeli soldiers died in Palestinian land, according to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), increasing the total number of soldiers killed in the ground assault to 153. However, according to  Netanyahu, his men had "no choice" but to continue fighting. 

On 24 December, Arab News reported that the churches in Syria cancelled the Christmas festivities, limiting the celebrations to religious ceremonies. Mor Dionysius Antoine Shahda, the Catholic Archbishop of Syria, said that this was done “in solidarity with the victims of the bombing on Gaza” by Israeli forces.” 

On 23 December, Nawaf al-Moussawi, a senior official in Hezbollah, said that his organisation was ready to launch an all-out war against Israel. He said that he asked Hamas if both organisations should start a war against Israel to end the war in Gaza. In response, al-Moussawi said that Hamas believes that the fighting in Gaza would cease “only with a victory over Israel within Gaza.

On 24 December, according to Al Jazeera, David Cameron, the Foreign Secretary of the UK, called Iran a “malign influence” in the context of assumed backing of Houthi militants. He further stated that the escalation in such attacks by the Yemen-based militants backed by Iran cannot be tolerated.

On 24 December, protests took place in Rabat that were organized by leftist groups and Al-Adl wal-Ihsan Islamists. The majority of the roughly ten thousand protesters were Islamists, who waved Palestinian flags and held up signs with messages such as "persist until triumph," "oppose the Moroccan government's normalization with Israel," and "liberate Palestine."

On 23 December, the US announced that it shot down four drones that were launched by the Houthi militants of Yemen in the Red Sea. The attack was made towards USS Laboon, whose missile destroyer shot the drones down, according to the US Central Command (CENTCOM).

About the Authors
Rosemary Kurian and Nuha Aamina are undergraduate scholars from St Joseph's University, Bangalore. Rishita Verma and Gananthula Uma Maheshwari are postgraduate scholars from Pondicherry University.

Curated by Dhriti Mukherjee and Shamini, Research Assistants at NIAS.

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