Infostani International: In recent Middle East updates, Israel floods Gaza tunnels, Hamas mulls truce, and over half of Gaza’s buildings are destroyed. Ongoing military actions, UN Security Council talks, and humanitarian concerns shape the situation. Notably, the Gaza ambulance crew’s fate, aid system collapse risk, and Iraq’s Kataib Hezbollah suspending military operations add complexity. This brief report highlights key dynamics in the evolving regional landscape.
Developments in Israel-Gaza Conflict: Military Actions, Diplomacy, and Humanitarian Concerns
Tuesday’s confirmation from the Israeli army revealed ongoing efforts to flood tunnels in Gaza with seawater. Meanwhile, Hamas acknowledged studying a proposed three-stage truce with Israel. Analysis verified by the BBC on Tuesday indicated that over half of the buildings in Gaza have been destroyed since October 7.
Evacuation orders in western Gaza City were reiterated by Israel, affecting 88,000 Palestinians living in shelters, as reported by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on Monday.
In the Red Sea, a US warship, according to the United States Central Command (CENTCOM), intercepted a Houthi antiship cruise missile on Tuesday. US-based think tanks, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and the Critical Threats Project (CTP) suggested on Wednesday that Palestinian armed groups are likely in the early stages of rebuilding in the north of Gaza. Their assessment downplayed the notion of Hamas preparing for an offensive campaign.
Israeli Military Operations, UNRWA Funding, and Allegations Against Staff
Wednesday saw the Israeli military announcing three soldiers killed in Gaza combat, with five more seriously injured. The fate of an ambulance crew and a six-year-old girl, attempting rescue from an Israeli-shelled car in Gaza City, remains unknown, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) on Tuesday.
Concerns over the aid system in Gaza surfaced as UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres appealed for key donors to resume funding UNRWA in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday. Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opposed the immediate closure of UNRWA, fearing a potential humanitarian catastrophe. UN’s undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, warned on Tuesday that suspending UNRWA funding would lead to the collapse of the aid system in Gaza.
Allegations against 12 UNRWA staff members’ involvement in Hamas’s October 7 attacks prompted the US to seek more information from Israel, as stated by Washington’s ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, on Tuesday.
Diplomatic Concerns in the Middle East
UN Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese criticized governments suspending funds to UNRWA, highlighting double standards when continuing to support Israel, whose actions plausibly constitute genocide, in a post on X on Wednesday.
In diplomacy, the UN Security Council is expected to discuss the International Court of Justice’s interim ruling on Israel’s war in Gaza on Wednesday at 11 am New York time (16:00 GMT). The UN’s human rights office, in a statement on Tuesday, condemned the planned extrajudicial execution of three Palestinian men inside Ibn Sina Hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin as unlawful.
In Iraq, the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah group announced on Tuesday the suspension of all military operations against US forces in the region to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government.