Gaza war diary: Mayhem, deaths and more talks

Israel Gaza Tank

As Israel is allowed to run scot-free in its killing rampage in Gaza, it’s leaving no stone unturned. Its brand name should be called killing and destroying, or is it the other way around. But that doesn’t matter, for the number of daily deaths and injured speak for themselves on both sides.

America is sanctioning the murderous actions of the Israeli state in the hope of destroying Hamas and its military infrastructure as Tel Aviv promises it would do. But what is happening is the other way round.

It is Israel that is getting kicked by Palestinian resistance fighters in different areas of Gaza from the north of the Strip to its lower south. Whilst Israeli soldiers are encroaching on such areas as Jabalia, Shiekh Radwan, Shujaiya, Gaza City, Johr Al Diek, Al Zaytoun, Dier Al Balah, Nuseirat Camp, Khan Younis and Rafah, they are meeting stiff armed resistance.

After 76 days

After 76 days since it started its war on Gaza, not only its objective is nowhere near being done, its soldiers are being killed on a daily basis. They are in such twists and turns, soldiers are shooting each other in so-called friendly fire nervousness and this is done on a daily basis. This is not to mention that at least 3000 Israeli soldiers are handicapped and no longer fit for the army.

The latest blunder which everybody is still talking about is the shooting and killing of three captives who managed to escape from the Hamas hold. Although, they held white flags, trigger-happy Israeli soldiers shot at them point a blank. Although a third captive fled in one of the destroyed buildings, he was chased, shot and killed. Only later did the Israeli army realize their blunder and now say they are opening an investigation.

As well, Izz Al Din Al Qassam and Saraya Al Quds fighters are targeting Israeli military hardware with missiles. And so Israeli tanks, troop carriers, trucks and bulldozers are being hit every single day. This is not a good land war for Israel many analysts say.

Israeli firepower is destructive from the air and the sea, and then again, its on homes, squares of houses, communities and neighborhoods with the total death toll standing at 20,000 killed, not to say anything about the over 52,000 injured. Israel’s self-declared war have displaced 1.9 people from their homes with the total population of the Gaza Strip at 2.2 million.

This is not to say anything about the fact that Palestinians in Gaza continue to be starved to death with little food and no fresh water with the minuscule aid coming in from the Rafah border barely trickling down to people, 75 percent of whom living in makeshift UNRWA schools’ accommodation. The rest are barely surviving either in either sheet tents and/or literally on roads and street corners in Khan Younis and Rafah, thanks to the Israeli big guns, who since 7 October have been dropping leaflets on Gazans telling them to move from their homes and go south.

Israeli ghost towns

But the war has been hard on Israelis as well especially in the areas surrounding the enclave, in the so-called Gaza envelope, where many Israeli towns, cities, settlements and Kibbutzim’s have been hit daily with missiles to the point where today they stand as ghost towns and many were evacuated and put in tents and hotels.

Further still, Palestinian missiles reached Tel Aviv and its greater vicinity, bombarding other smaller cities, town and Jewish villages. The Tel Aviv city is daily shelled with incoming missile so is the areas surrounding it like Khdeira, Holon and the Ben Gurion Airport causing much distraction and disruption with sirens going off all hours of the day.

Thousands of missiles have already been launched on these areas and Tel Aviv city in particular, making people fed up and frustrated with what’s going on because each time the sirens go off, workers, professionals, desk-job employees and so on have to leave whatever they are doing and rush to the downstairs bunkers.

On different days, the sirens became so bad an estimated more than 1.5 million Israelis huddle themselves in underground shelters. And when sirens go off multiple times, as they did earlier this week, these numbers of people come in-and-out of bunkers several times a day, making life unbearable.

Bombed day-and-night

But not as unbearable as the Gazans bombarded in their beds at night – with total deaths now estimated at 10,000 people whose bodies lie decaying under the rubble – Israelis are asking how much longer do we have to bear this and why doesn’t the government reach a deal with Hamas on Gaza and stop the war.

According to the polls they no longer care whether Hamas is regarded as a terror organization or not, they want to get back to their daily lives. But the pressure is also coming from the relatives of hostages which Hamas fighters snatched on 7 October. They want the Benjamin Netanyahu government to reach a deal and bring the rest of the hostages – estimated at 138 from the original number of 240 – and bring those held in captivity back home.

Up till now however, the war cabinet in Israel, led by Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz, as an outsider, can’t agree among themselves with the first two, wanting the war to continue to end Hamas. But the problem is this is not happening.

Despite the American military lift – which according to Hamas official Osama Hamadan in Beirut saying 60 US aeroplanes with supplies land in Israel daily – the war on Gaza is going badly. Israeli’s superiority, and as can be expected, is primarily from the air and not on the ground.

Because of this, the Israeli government and against Netanyahu’s belief, and mainly because he is facing corruption charges and due to appear in court, is once again pursuing a diplomatic approach through Qatar, Egypt and the United States to see whether, a lull in the fighting can be achieved with the release of more hostages. Israeli Mossad Chief David Barnea is doing the travelling rounds first in Europe and then to Doha in Qatar.

This time however, Hamas is not budging. Its officials say this is not going to be like the last temporary truce made at the end of November in which up to 100 hostages were released, including foreigners as well as Israelis. Hamas officials now say a new deal has to mean first, a permanent ceasefire, and then negotiating on the release of the rest of those held captive.

And they have already said, the Americans led by President Joe Biden, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and Netanyahu can stop talking about post-war Gaza without Hamas because this is not going to happen. 

But in politics one never knows how things develop.

Marwan Asmar is a journalist from Amman, Jordan

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