Bloody Christmas in Gaza, massacre in the refugee camp. Israel: “The war will last many months”

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By John

A Christmas of war, a Christmas of blood. The fighting against Hamas in Gaza has not stopped and Israeli bombings continued to hit the Strip heavily. Among the hardest was the one on Al-Maghazi refugee camp, in the center of the Strip, where around 70 people have died, according to the Hamas-led Ministry of Health. The American news agency Associated Press, citing records from the nearby Al-Aqsa hospital, put the death toll at 106. Figures impossible to verify independently. The WHO reported “heartbreaking” testimonies collected by its teams in the hospital where the wounded from the raid were hospitalized. «The WHO team listened to the heartbreaking stories of medical staff and victims of the suffering inflicted by the explosions», wrote the head of the organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on X, according to whom «this latest attack against a community in Gaza shows clearly because an immediate ceasefire is necessary.” The Israeli army announced that it had opened an “investigation” into the entire affair, without providing any further information for now. The Red Crescent then announced that the upper floors of its headquarters in Khan Yunis, in southern Gaza, had been hit by Israel and that there were “some victims among the displaced people who were inside”. Precisely around the refugee camps – where Israel denounces the presence of strongholds of the Islamic faction – the IDF is developing the greatest military pressure, which for days has also extended to the southern part of the Palestinian enclave. In this regard, the army underlined that there is “a Gaza above” but above all “a Gaza below”, referring to the extensive network of tunnels which, according to analysts, are largely still to be explored. The hopes of a possible truce and a new exchange of hostages (around 130 are still held in Gaza) appear almost nil at the moment. Egyptian mediation which included a long-term plan to restore calm to Gaza and build its future was rejected by Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The leader of the Islamic faction in the Strip Yahya Sinwar, whom Israel has been hunting for some time, once again spoke about this for the first time since 7 October. Hamas, he said, is facing a “fierce and “unprecedented” battle against the Jewish state, but will never submit to the “conditions of occupation.” Words to which Benyamin Netanyahu replied, indicating “three preliminary requirements for peace with the Palestinians in Gaza”.

The first, the Israeli prime minister listed, is the defeat of Hamas; the second is the complete demilitarization of the Strip; the third is the end of “incitement by the Palestinian National Authority” against Israel. “The expectation” that the PNA will govern the Strip, Netanyahu further warned, evidently also addressing his American ally, “is an unachievable dream”. The fact is that the conflict appears increasingly destined to last and the deaths in Gaza – according to Hamas which does not distinguish between killed civilians and militiamen – they are now close to 21,000 people. Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi left no room for illusions: «The war – he warned – will continue for many more months because it has necessary and not easy to achieve objectives, and it takes place in a complex territory. We must ensure that the results obtained can be maintained for a long time.” Israel essentially does not want to allow a return to the situation before 7 October, not only on the border with Gaza. Defense Minister Yoav Gallant recalled that the country was attacked from 7 sides: Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank, Iraq, Yemen and Iran. “We have reacted against six of those fronts,” he added, without specifying which of these is the seventh still to be faced. In the evening, the military spokesman announced that Israel had foiled a Houthi air attack by shooting down a “hostile aircraft” headed towards Eilat from Yemen. While a reaction is expected from Iran and Hezbollah’s Lebanon after the killing, attributed to the Jewish State, of a senior member of the Pasdaran in Damascus.