In the midst of a rapidly escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas, a new emergency government was established in Jerusalem. Following days of negotiations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached an agreement with the centrist opposition party, National Unity, in an effort to address the crisis.
Under this agreement, former Defense Minister Benny Gantz, alongside colleagues Gadi Eisenkot, Gideon Sa’ar, Hili Tropper, and Yifat Shasha-Biton, will become ministers in the new government. The primary objective of this emergency government is to manage the ongoing conflict with Hamas and potentially other regional actors. It does not possess the authority to legislate on matters unrelated to the war.
The formation of this broad emergency government has been widely welcomed by a significant portion of the Israeli population. In a joint statement following its establishment, Netanyahu emphasized, “We set aside every other consideration because the fate of the country is at stake.”
Benny Gantz echoed this sentiment, stating, “Us standing here shoulder-to-shoulder is a clear message to our enemy, and more importantly, a message to all the citizens of Israel – we are all together, we are all mobilizing, we are all being mobilized.”
Furthermore, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant declared that the new Israeli government’s goal is to “wipe Hamas out.”
The situation in Gaza has escalated, with Defense Minister Gallant ordering a blockade, including restrictions on food, electricity, water, and fuel. The power plant in Gaza has stopped working due to a lack of fuel, leading to a widespread electricity outage in the region.
The Rafah border crossing between Gaza and Egypt was closed after Israeli airstrikes targeted it, reportedly to prevent fuel smuggling into Gaza. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres criticized Israel for the blockade, emphasizing the need for immediate humanitarian access.
Meanwhile, European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell accused Israel of violating international law with its blockade of Gaza, seen by many as a form of collective punishment.
As the conflict continues, Egypt is working with the United States to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, while rejecting the idea of a “safe corridor” for Palestinians to leave Gaza.
On the ground, the Palestinian Ministry of Health reports over 1,200 deaths and nearly 6,000 wounded, with a significant portion of Gaza’s population displaced. Reports indicate extensive damage to residential units, health facilities, and schools in the area.
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Tensions have also escalated in northern Israel, with reports of a siren sounding in Haifa for the first time in the current escalation. There were concerns of possible infiltration by Hezbollah fighters, raising fears of attacks in the city.
US President Joe Biden has warned Iran against escalating the conflict, as both Hamas and Hezbollah are believed to be Iranian proxies.
Amidst these developments, allegations of early warnings about the Hamas attack have emerged. While the US House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair claimed that Egypt had warned Israel, the Israeli government vehemently denies receiving such advanced notice.
The situation remains fluid and challenging, with the region on edge as it grapples with the ongoing crisis and its far-reaching consequences.
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