The Israeli Defence Forces are now encircling Gaza city to ‘eliminate’ Hamas. The subsequent devastation of Gaza will create an upswing in anti-American sentiment in the Arab and Muslim world. The American foreign policy establishment realizes the changed nature of asymmetric warfare and the salience of nationalism as a potent force in global politics. Global public opinion is already shifting against Israel. The UNGA overwhelmingly has called for a pause in the war. The public in the US and the UK also want it now.
The war started after Hamas attacked Israel on October 7. It has escalated beyond expectation. A month of heavy bombardment of Gaza has claimed 10,022 lives, including at least 4,104 children, and injured about 25,000. Another 2,000 people were trapped under the rubble. At least 1,411 Israelis have been killed, including 326 soldiers. Hamas militants held 240 people captives. Four of those have been released.
The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) are now encircling Gaza City, effectively splitting the territory in two. Shortly before the strikes, internet and telephone lines were cut.
On November 5, 2023, US Central Command, which covers the Middle East, said that an Ohio-class nuclear missile submarine had arrived in the region. The Biden administration had also sent messages to Iran and Hezbollah that the US would be prepared to intervene militarily if attacks were launched against Israel. On November 5, 2023, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin reiterated the US position that it was committed to deterring “any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this conflict”.
World Health Organization director Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said he was “very concerned” about the reports of connectivity outages in Gaza, as well as “heavy bombardments” of the territory, and called for all channels of communication to be restored “immediately”. “Without connectivity, people who need immediate medical attention cannot contact hospitals and ambulances,” he said.
International concern is growing at mounting casualties. The heads of all major United Nations agencies and international charities issued a joint statement calling for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire” in Gaza, calling the situation “horrific” and “unacceptable.”
The UN said on November 5, 2023, that 88 staff members from its Palestinian refugee agency have been reported killed, which it said was “the highest number of United Nations fatalities ever recorded in a single conflict”.
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About the author
Sohail Mahmood is an independent global affairs analyst and the author of several books, monographs, and research articles on the Middle East and South Asian politics, governance, and development issues. He has taught for about 30 years in various universities of Pakistan and the US and has worked as a consultant for the World Bank, CIDA, SDC, IUCN, and UNDP. Sohail lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, United States.