As international alarm grows over the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, Israeli forces have stepped up their military offensive in an effort to suppress the Hamas-backed attacks that are causing devastation in the region. Reports from within Gaza reveal a shocking extent of destruction caused by the conflict, with tens of thousands of homes either partially or totally destroyed, millions of people without access to basic necessities such as food, water, and electricity, and hundreds of innocent civilians killed in the crossfire.
Israel’s military campaign has been fiercely criticised by the international community, who point to the high civilian death toll as evidence that the systematic campaign has gone too far. But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has defended the action as a necessary response to the intensifying rocket attacks coming from Gaza. Israeli officials have blamed Hamas for endangering the lives of Israeli civilians by launching the rocket barrages, while Hamas has denied responsibility and accuses Israel of an overly severe response.
The severity of the conflict has been laid bare in recent weeks, with reports of Hamas militants launching rocket attacks from residential areas, prompting airstrikes and artillery barrages that have left large parts of Gaza in ruins. The attacks have also put key infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools and water treatment plants, at risk of destruction. The United Nations estimates that at least 350,000 Palestinians have been displaced due to the conflict, with some 90,000 of these people having fled their homes since the latest escalation of violence.
In a bid to protect innocent civilians, the UN Security Council has voted unanimously in favour of a resolution calling for an immediate end to all hostilities in Gaza, and a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. However, despite repeated attempts, the parties remain at a stalemate, with no sign of a resolution in sight.
The brutality of the conflict has provoked outrage around the world. Protests have been held in cities from London to New York in support of the Palestinian people, with calls for an end to the suffering growing increasingly loud. Despite this, the Israeli government remains defiant and, with new reports of an attack in Jerusalem, has further stepped up its offensive against Hamas. It remains to be seen if diplomatic efforts will be enough to bring an end to this devastating conflict.