Israel has warned the United Nations that of Gaza City’s roughly 1.1 million citizens to South of Wadi Gaza must leave within 24 hours—an impossible task and one that will likely lead to sizable civilian casualties.
“Whoever wants to save his life should go South,” said Israeli Defense Minister in a press conference on Friday. Earlier this week Gallant announced plans to cut off water, food, and electricity from Palestine, saying “we are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.”
Now, after a week of constant airstrikes which have killed at least 1,799 people, and wounded an additional 6,388, Gallant insisted that Israel does not want to harm civilian Palestinians. “Hamas is camouflaging itself inside civilian population and we are going to go in and dismantle its infrastructure,” he said. The airstrikes came after Hamas militants slaughtered hundreds of Israeli civilians in surprise attacks over the weekend.
It’s not clear what “infrastructure” Gallant was referring to, but in a statement to the residents of Gaza City the IDF said that they believed Hamas was hiding in tunnels beneath the homes of Palestinians. The Israeli military did not specify what its plans for Gaza City were, but it’s likely that this warning could signal that the Israeli military is planning a ground operation.
UN spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric voiced the UN’s disapproval of Israel’s plan.
“The United Nations considers it impossible for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences,” Dujarric said. On Thursday, UN independent experts condemned Israel’s indiscriminate military attacks against Palestinians, as well as Hamas’ deadly attacks against Israelis.
In a statement, Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan said that the “UN’s response to Israel’s early warning to the residents of Gaza is shameful!”
This ultimatum from the Israeli military only emphasizes the power differential between Israeli and Palestine. Israel has acted with impunity as a U.S. backed superpower, and now expects to remove one million people from their homes with limited warning after a week of deadly siege.
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