Israel has stepped up its offensive against Hamas in Gaza after the United States blocked a United Nations resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire after more than two months of war. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is under pressure to do more to protect civilians as it pursues its mission to “eradicate” Hamas from the Strip. Even its main ally, the United States, says there is a “gap” between what Israeli authorities say and what they are doing. However, last night the United States vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for an “immediate ceasefire”. A further 13 Council members supported the resolution, while the UK abstained, reflecting growing international concern over the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza. Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, which govern Gaza and the West Bank respectively, condemned the American veto at a time when, according to the Islamist movement, 17,487 people have been killed by the Israeli offensive, the majority of them women and minors. In southern Gaza, an Israeli bombing in Khan Younis this morning left six people dead and another five people were killed in another attack in Rafah, Hamas’ health ministry said. Israel has been bombing Gaza since October 7, in response to the attack launched by Hamas militiamen against its territory in which around 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and another 240 kidnapped. Of the total number of hostages, around 138 remain prisoners. The offensive, which has also included ground operations since 27 October, has reduced the Palestinian enclave to rubble where, according to the secretary,
UN general, Antonio Guterres, the entire aid system
humanitarian “risks collapse”. According to the United Nations, more
half of the homes have been destroyed or damaged and 1.9 million people, 85% of the population, have been displaced.