Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas

Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas - International News - News

Urgent Discussions Between Biden Administration and Israeli Officials on Alternatives to Rafah Offensive in Gaza

The Biden administration is set to engage in discussions with Israeli officials imminently in Washington, D.C., to explore alternatives to a planned military ground offensive in the southern city of Rafah, Gaza, where approximately 1.5 million Palestinians have taken refuge from the conflict in northern areas. The discussions come after President Joe Biden expressed deep concerns to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Israel’s potential major operation in Rafah, which he believes could result in a catastrophic loss for Palestinian civilians.

In their phone conversation, Netanyahu reaffirmed Israel’s commitment to achieving its war objectives, including eliminating Hamas and freeing hostages. However, Biden emphasized the potential devastating consequences for civilians if the Rafah offensive were to proceed as planned. In response, Netanyahu agreed to send a delegation of military leaders to Washington to discuss alternative strategies for targeting key Hamas elements and securing the Egypt-Gaza border without resorting to a major ground operation.

Key Developments in the Conflict:

1. US Forces Strike Targets in Yemen: On March 6, 2023, US forces carried out strikes on Houthi-controlled territories in Yemen, destroying seven anti-ship missiles, three drones, and three weapons storage containers. The strikes took place between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. (Sanaa time) and were characterized as acts of “self-defense.” The US has been conducting similar strikes in the region amid escalating tensions with Iran-backed militant groups.

2. Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza: The conflict has resulted in a severe humanitarian crisis in Gaza, particularly in the northern region, where malnutrition among children is on the rise. Doctors report that 5%-15% of children arriving at clinics are malnourished, and malnutrition complicates their recovery process. Additionally, a recent report by the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) found that 88% of Gaza’s population faces emergency or worse food insecurity, with famine projected to occur in northern Gaza between March and May.

3. Al-Shifa Hospital under Attack: Doctors Without Borders (MSF) reported heavy fighting around Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on March 6, 2023. Israeli forces announced a military operation inside and around the facility, leading to clashes and mass arrests in the area surrounding it. MSF staff reported that one of their team members is currently unreachable. Israeli Defense Forces spokesperson Daniel Hagari claimed that over 200 “terror suspects” were arrested during the operation.

Alternative Approaches for Targeting Hamas in Rafah:

The Biden administration’s engagement with Israeli officials aims to explore alternative approaches for targeting Hamas in Rafah without resorting to a major ground operation. The leaders also discussed the urgent need to increase humanitarian aid, especially in the northern regions of Gaza, and ongoing hostage negotiations in Qatar.

As the situation unfolds, it is essential to monitor developments closely and support international efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict while addressing the urgent humanitarian needs. Stay informed for more updates from this evolving situation.