Israel-Hamas War: The Offensive Intensifies, Can Netanyahu Eradicate Hamas?

Israel continues its ground offensives and is now extending its field of action to the entire Gaza Strip.

Israel-Hamas War: The Offensive Intensifies, Can Netanyahu Eradicate Hamas?

Israel continues its ground offensives and is now extending its field of action to the entire Gaza Strip. During the night from Sunday to Monday, 200 Hamas targets were targeted from the air according to the Israeli army.

Since the end of the truce and the resumption of bombings, the Gaza health ministry administered by Hamas has recorded 184 new people killed, and at least 589 people injured in the Palestinian enclave. The Israeli army also announced that it would strike “military targets” of the Palestinian armed movement “across the entire Gaza Strip,” said Jonathan Conricus, spokesperson for the Israeli army, on Saturday morning. On the night of Friday December 1 to Saturday December 2, the IDF also carried out military operations in Damascus in Syria, according to the Syrian Ministry of Defense. “The Israeli enemy carried out an aerial assault from the occupied Syrian Golan targeting different locations near the capital, Damascus,” the ministry said in a statement. Nighttime strikes in various areas of the occupied West Bank were also noted by the Palestinian news agency WAFA.

Israel and Hamas blame each other for the end of the humanitarian truce. Strikes and clashes resumed with force in the first hours after the fighting stopped. The Israeli army says it has bombed more than 200 targets in the Gaza Strip. Several Hamas hostages were also killed, five, according to the IDF. The Palestinian Islamic Jihad also claimed responsibility for rocket attacks towards Jerusalem, but the Israeli press did not report any damage or casualties.

The spokesperson for the Israeli government, Eylon Levy, declared during a press briefing on Friday December 1 that "Hamas will now receive the worst beating." The man accused the Islamist group of violating the truce by not providing the new list of hostages for release and firing a rocket at Israel before the break ended. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, for his part, indicated that Hamas "did not fulfill its obligation to release all the female hostages."

For its part, Hamas assured on the Al-Jazeera channel that it had “proposed an exchange of prisoners and elderly people” as well as the handover of the bodies of hostages “who lost their lives in the bombings”. The group then accused Israel of refusing the offer after "making the decision to resume its aggression." This resumption of fighting is denounced by the entire international community, particularly the UN, which "deeply regrets" the resumption of hostilities. Especially since more than a hundred hostages are still being held by Hamas, including women and children, according to figures from the Israeli army. Several countries have called for the negotiation of a new “indispensable” truce according to Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna and above all a ceasefire.

Negotiations on a next humanitarian pause are still ongoing despite the failure of the night's discussions, an anonymous source close to the discussions told AFP: "The negotiations on the truce in Gaza with the mediators from Qatar and the Egypt continue." Hamas declared on the Qatari channel Al-Jazeera that it was "still interested in a truce, despite the new Israeli aggression" but must "continue to oppose the aggression and strengthen its military apparatus" always in a logic of war communication with Israel.

In a week of truce, 105 hostages were released by Hamas in addition to around twenty foreigners and dual nationals working in Israel in exchange for 240 Palestinian prisoners. This is more than what was provided for in the initial agreement with 50 hostages returned against 150 prisoners. 49 women, 28 men, all adults, and 33 minors were released. "136 hostages, including 17 women and children" are still in the hands of Hamas, according to the spokesperson for the Israeli army.

The latest releases occurred on Thursday, November 30 with the release of eight hostages including a Franco-Israeli woman, the young woman Mia Schem. The ex-hostage was reunited with his family upon his arrival in Israel, notably at Sheba hospital in Tel Aviv, to be taken care of and treated by doctors and psychologists. Emmanuel Macron shared "great joy (...) with the family and all French people", after the release of this young woman. Catherine Colonna, Minister of Foreign Affairs, expressed her "happiness" and spoke with Mia Schem's mother. Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne recalled that “four of our compatriots are still hostages” after the release of four French nationals. “Their release is our top priority.”

Before the end of the truce, Hamas said it was ready to extend the duration of the humanitarian pause to free more hostages and find more Palestinian prisoners. On November 29, a senior official in Hamas's political office, Ghazi Hamad, said on behalf of the Islamist group that it was seeking to expand the terms of the initial agreement so that hostages other than women and children would be released. An agreement that has not yet seen the light of day.

The results of the war taking place in Gaza are difficult to establish, as the figures provided by Hamas cannot be independently verified and therefore distinguished from propaganda. According to the latest report from the Hamas Ministry of Health communicated Thursday, November 23, 14,854 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including more than 6,150 children, since the start of the conflict on October 7. The Palestinian movement also reported more than 36,000 injured. Questioned about this toll several weeks ago, the Pentagon spokesperson admitted that, concerning civilian victims in Gaza, "it [had] to be counted in the thousands."

On the Israeli side, the death toll from the Hamas attack was revised downwards on Friday, November 10, from 1,400 to 1,200 dead. According to the spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, after identification of the bodies, it appeared that many of them belonged to Hamas men. Before that, the Israeli army had also specified that 46 soldiers had died since the attack on October 7, according to its latest report.

On the French side, 40 people were killed in Israel during Hamas attacks on October 7, according to the latest report communicated by Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne on Monday November 6. While eight French people had been missing since October 7, Monday November 27, three young Franco-Israeli people were released by Hamas. This is Eitan Yahalomi, 12 years old. His father is still missing. Sahar (16) and his brother Erez Kalderon (12) were also released on Monday. Their father is also still missing. The three teenagers lived with their families in the Nir Oz kibbutz, located less than two kilometers from the border with the Gaza Strip and victim of the Hamas attack on October 7. On November 30, Franco-Israeli Mia Schem was also released after 55 days of captivity. She was captured during the music festival which took place a few kilometers from the border with Gaza. Four French nationals are still missing and possibly held hostage according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

1,132 humanitarian aid trucks have entered the Gaza Strip through the Rafah border crossing since the start of the truce, the Palestinian Red Crescent indicated on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, November 30. But while the aid is welcome, it is not enough to meet all the needs of Gazans, especially now that the entry of humanitarian aid will become more difficult again with the end of the truce.

The threat of famine hovers over the Gaza Strip where the population finds itself in a dramatic humanitarian situation, despite the sending of aid facilitated by the truce. With the end of the fighting, the World Food Program (WFP) teams were able to go to areas where it was impossible to go during the clashes and “what we are seeing is catastrophic,” warned the WFP director for the Middle East. Orient, Corinne Fleischer, in a press release. And to the risk of famine is added a strong risk of an "explosive epidemic of infectious diseases", fears the WHO, which has counted hundreds of thousands of cases of acute respiratory infections and thousands of cases of scabies, jaundice or even of chickenpox.

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