Three weeks ago the world was shocked at the terrorist attacks by Hamas. Since then, Israel has been defending itself with new attacks on the Gaza Strip. A UN resolution has little more than symbolic effect.
Three weeks after the devastating massacre by Islamist terrorists, new counterattacks by the Israeli army indicate an intensification of the Gaza war. After a number of air raids during the night, suspicions grew that the expected ground offensive might have begun.
Israel’s army did not initially confirm this – but had previously announced that it would expand its ground operations against Hamas, which rules in the Gaza Strip. The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to improve the humanitarian situation and call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. The situation there has worsened again with the collapse of the communications network.
Germany abstains from UN resolution
The UN resolution adopted yesterday (local time) in New York achieved the necessary two-thirds majority in the General Assembly. 120 countries voted in favor, 14 against – Germany was one of the 45 that abstained.
UN General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding; they are seen as having more of a symbolic signaling effect – and in this case the vote also provides information about the mood of the global community in the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The more powerful UN Security Council, whose decisions are binding, had previously failed several times to pass a resolution focusing on the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip.
The resolution that has now been adopted condemns, among other things, all violence against the Israeli and Palestinian civilian population, calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all “illegally detained” civilians and demands unhindered access for humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip. It also calls for an “immediate permanent and sustainable humanitarian ceasefire” that should lead to a “cessation of hostilities”.
Israel reacts with outrage, Hamas welcomes UN decision
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock justified Germany’s abstention by saying that the paper was not balanced enough. “Because the resolution does not clearly name Hamas terror, does not call for the release of all hostages clearly enough and does not affirm Israel’s right to self-defense, we and many of our European partners decided not to agree to the resolution in the end,” she said after the Vote with.
As expected, the conflicting parties themselves reacted very differently to the vote in New York. “We firmly reject the UN General Assembly’s despicable call for a ceasefire,” said Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen. “Israel intends to eliminate Hamas.” This is what the world did with the Nazis and the Islamic State (IS) terrorist militia. Israel’s UN ambassador Gilad Erdan spoke of a “dark day for the UN and for humanity” that will go down in history with shame. Hamas, however, welcomed the adoption of the resolution and called on the UN to take immediate measures to implement it.
Hamas speaks of Israeli ground operations
The Islamist organization’s military wing claimed there were ground operations by the Israeli army and violent clashes in Beit Hanun in the north of the Gaza Strip and east of the Al-Bureij refugee camp. Both places are close to the border. The information provided by the Al-Kassam Brigades from late Friday evening could not be independently verified. Israel’s army had previously announced that it would expand its ground operations in the densely populated coastal area.
It was initially unclear whether the announcement marked the start of the expected ground offensive. The army had previously made isolated, time-limited advances on the ground. Jordan’s Foreign Minister Aiman Safadi expressed his conviction: “Israel has just launched a ground war against Gaza,” he wrote on X. “The result will be a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions for years.”
No communication in the Gaza Strip – concern about reporting
The humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip is already catastrophic – and could become even worse in the event of a ground offensive with bloody street battles between residential buildings, even more air strikes and possibly artillery fire. The Palestinian Telecommunications Company also stated that all communications services and the Internet were now out across the board. The West Bank-based company Paltel said the heavy bombing by the Israeli army was to blame.
Several aid organizations reported losing contact with their employees. The Palestinian Red Crescent lost contact with all operations centers and teams in the Gaza Strip. It is feared that the emergency services will no longer be able to provide emergency medical services. The emergency call center was also affected by the outage. The World Health Organization (WHO) also says it no longer has contact with its employees and facilities.
The situation in the combat zone is also extremely dangerous for journalists who risk their lives to report from there. The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said more than 29 media workers had been killed since the Hamas terror attack three weeks ago. The organization also warned that a failure in the communications network could also prevent further messages from being spread from there.
Solidarity with Palestinians and protests for a ceasefire
In Jordan, thousands of people protested in solidarity with the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. In the capital Amman, crowds marched through the city center after Friday prayers, Al-Ghad television reported.
In the evening, demonstrators also gathered in front of the Israeli embassy after Israel announced its expanded ground operations. Police used tear gas to disperse them, as seen in videos on social media. There were also expressions of solidarity for the Palestinians in other Arab countries.
Numerous Palestinians also protested in the West Bank yesterday evening, Israeli media reported. In Ramallah, Hebron and many other places in the West Bank, people also took to the streets to show their solidarity with the majority of Gaza Strip residents. Hundreds of people demonstrated for a ceasefire at Grand Central Station in New York.
This will be important today
It remains to be seen whether and when the Israeli army will officially announce the start of its ground offensive. Meanwhile, people in the Gaza Strip continue to endure the most miserable conditions. Rallies on the Middle East conflict have also been announced for this weekend in several German cities. One focus is Berlin, where various demonstrations, rallies and vigils are registered today and tomorrow – both pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.