After warning that the war will escalate, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu emphasized that peace in the Gaza Strip will be reached only and only until Hamas is destroyed, the region is demilitarized and the Palestinian society is completely deradicalized. The comments come as the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed on December 25, 2023, harrowing stories of entire families being murdered in Christmas Eve attacks on a Gaza Refugee camp.
Conditions for Truce
Israeli strikes have wreaked havoc on Palestinian land and the war has heightened tensions all across West Asia (a new term for the Middle East) with global pressure increasing for a truce, Netanyahu on the other hand promised to stick his guns in an opinion published on an American Media agency.
“Hamas must be destroyed Gaza must be demilitarized and Palestinian society must be deradicalized. These are the three prerequisites for peace between Israel and its Palestinian neighbors in Gaza,” he said. The demilitarization will require establishing a temporary security zone on the perimeter of the territory.
For the foreseeable future, Israel will have to retain overriding security responsibility over Gaza. Earlier on December 25, 2023, Netanyahu visited Gaza and told a meeting of the Likud party after his return: “We are not stopping.” As per a party statement, “We are intensifying the fighting in the coming days,” he said.
The war in Gaza erupted when Palestinian militants crossed through the militarized border and attacked southern Israel on October 7, 2023, killing about 1,140 people, mostly civilians according to Israeli media figures. About 240 Hostages were seized. Israel responded and vowed to crush Hamas launching a retaliatory strike including extensive aerial bombardment and a siege of the territory. The campaign has killed 20, 674 people mostly women and children according to Hamas-run health ministry.
On December 25, 2023, some residents of the Al-Maghazi refugee camp returned to the ruins of their homes after the strikes the previous day that Gaza’s Health ministry said killed at least 70 people. An international media agency was unable to independently verify the toll.
Zeyad Awad said that there was no evacuation before striking. “What Should We Do? We are civilians living peacefully and wanting only peace and security. Yet we are suffering attacks by warplanes without any warning. The WHO Staff visited a hospital treating the victims of the Al Maghazi refugee camp which was targeted by an aerial strike, The team there heard harrowing accounts shared by health workers and victims.
Vast areas of the Gaza Strip lie in ruins and its 2.4 million people are enduring the dire shortages of water, fuel, food, and medicine alleviated only after the arrival of emergency trucks. Grasping empty containers, dozens of Gazans waited on a street in Rafah in Southern Gaza. According to a man named Noor Ismail “Now there is real hunger, My children are dying of hunger.” An estimated 1.9 million Gazans have been displaced and according to the UN, many have fled south and crowded in winter shelters in the cold winter.
Free Our Hostages
On December 25, 2023, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, in a special session about the 129 hostages Israel says remain in Gaza. He was booed by families awaiting their loved ones’ return after 80 days of captivity. Now! Now!” relatives chanted as Netanyahu said Israeli forces needed “more time” to increase military pressure on Hamas, which he argued would help to secure the captives’ release.
The number of Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza has risen to 158, with an army spokesman announcing two more deaths early Tuesday morning. Meanwhile, fears of regional escalation only increased on December 25, 2023.
Alleged Strike on Iran
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said an Israeli air strike in Syria had killed Razi Moussavi, who state media described as “one of the most experienced advisers” of the military force’s foreign arm. There was no immediate comment from Israel, which has intensified strikes on targets in Syria since the Israel-Hamas war began. Yemen’s Houthi rebels, also Iran-backed, have fired at cargo vessels in the Red Sea, leading the United States to build a naval task force to deter the missile and drone strikes.