Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas

Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas - Business and Finance - News

Title: US President Joe Biden Urges Ceasefire in Gaza, Announces Humanitarian Aid Port and New Land Crossing

US President Joe Biden acknowledged the prolonged and devastating conflict in Gaza during his State of the Union address on Thursday, expressing concern over the escalating humanitarian crisis. He called on Hamas to release all hostages and urged Israel to enhance humanitarian aid deliveries to the Palestinian enclave.

Biden stated, “Israel has a right to defend itself against Hamas attacks, but it also bears a fundamental responsibility to protect Palestinian civilians in Gaza. This war has taken an unbearable toll on innocent lives, surpassing the losses from all previous wars in Gaza combined.”

Amid ongoing efforts to broker a ceasefire, US Central Intelligence Agency Director Bill Burns recently traveled to the Middle East to engage with key regional interlocutors. The trip comes as negotiations have stalled, and a ceasefire deal appears unlikely before Ramadan’s start. Burns met with the Qatari prime minister earlier this week, as Qatar and Egypt serve as primary intermediaries in negotiations with Hamas.

Biden announced plans for the US military to establish a temporary port along the Gaza coast, allowing large ships carrying food, water, medicine, and temporary shelters to bring additional humanitarian aid into the strip. No US troops will be deployed on the ground in Gaza. The port is expected to come contact following the announcement, with initial aid shipments arriving via Cyprus.

Israel has also prepared a new land crossing directly into northern Gaza to facilitate humanitarian assistance, following increasing pressure from the US and other international actors. This comes after Israel allowed only a quarter of planned UN and humanitarian partner aid missions to enter northern Gaza in February, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Incidents of violence against civilians in Gaza continue to escalate. Witnesses reported Israeli tank fire at a civilian gathering at the Kuwaiti roundabout in Zaytoun, resulting in injuries to journalist Khader Al Za’anoun and his children. He was seeking aid when Israeli tanks resumed fire, preventing him from receiving the much-needed supplies for his family.

The United Nations Special Coordinator for Middle East Peace Process condemned Israel’s plan for new housing units in West Bank settlements, which have been advancing toward final approval stages. The UN also urged Israeli authorities to halt all settlement activity, reiterating that such constructions are illegal under international law.

Settler violence in the occupied West Bank has intensified since the war began, with settlers targeting Palestinians through assaults, infrastructure damage, and vehicle arson. The US responded by imposing sanctions on Israeli settlers responsible for perpetrating violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, marking a significant move by President Biden.

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza continues to unfold, with at least 20 reported deaths due to malnutrition and dehydration since the war began. The UN has warned about the worsening hunger situation in Gaza, which is subjected to a tight Israeli siege.

The international community continues to call for increased humanitarian aid and access to the people of Gaza, as both Israelis and Palestinians grapple with the complexities and consequences of this prolonged conflict.