The Gaza Strip today remains mired in a catastrophic humanitarian situation, following heavy Israeli airstrikes and the US veto of a draft UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.

Nearly 1.5 million Palestinians, according to the UN, or more than half the enclave’s population (2.4 million), have flooded Rafah, on the border with Egypt; the number of Gazans there has doubled since the outbreak of the Israel/Hamas war on October 7 as hundreds of thousands of forcibly displaced persons resorted to it.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has declared that an attack will soon be launched on Rafah, according to him the “last stronghold” of Hamas, where aerial bombardments are already taking place daily, and that the operation will continue “until total victory” and until everyone is freed the Israeli hostages.

The prospect of an attack on Rafah is worrying much of the international community as hopes of a ceasefire are fading.

The head of Hamas’ political office, Ismail Haniya, based in Qatar, arrived in Cairo yesterday for new talks on a possible truce with Egyptian officials.

At the same time, the US exercised its right of veto in the United Nations Security Council to prevent the adoption of a decision that called for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”.

Israel’s main ally, Washington, said that approving the decision would jeopardize negotiations to secure a “cease” in operations in exchange for the release of more hostages in the hands of Hamas.

Palestinian Authority Ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour criticized the “dangerous” US decision. Hamas saw a “green light” in Israel to continue committing “massacres”.

At least 15 people were killed overnight Tuesday when “Israeli shelling” hit “a house in Deir al-Bala”, in the central part of the enclave, according to the Palestinian Islamist movement’s health ministry.

Earlier, an AFP journalist found shelling taking place in Khan Younis, a few kilometers from Rafah, where the Israeli army is engaged in fighting with Hamas rebels in the rubble.

The non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders (Médecins sans Frontières, MSF) expresses concern about the situation at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis. He points out that medical staff and patients have been trapped there since a raid by Israeli special forces on February 15. He called for their “urgent and safe removal”.

“Humiliated and devastated”

“We don’t know where to go,” said Abdullah al-Qadi, 67, who lives in Zaitoun, a neighborhood of northern Gaza City that is also under shelling. “We will die in our home and that will be better than the humiliation that our displaced relatives tell us about. The world is humiliated and destroyed.”

International organizations and NGOs have been raising the alarm in recent days about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip, besieged and largely leveled after twenty weeks of war, where 2.2 million people are facing the threat of starvation, as the UN does not stop warning.

Food and drinking water are now “extremely” hard to come by in the Gaza Strip, according to international agency services that stress the risk of an immediate “explosion” in the number of child deaths.

The World Food Program (WFP) on Tuesday again suspended the distribution of aid in the northern part of the enclave, which has been given over to “chaos and violence”.

This development means “a death sentence and the death of 750,000 people”, will lead to an “international disaster”, was the reaction of the press service of the government in Gaza, which called on the PEP to “immediately review this disastrous decision”.

Humanitarian aid, which continues to be insufficient, enters the Gaza Strip mainly from Rafah via Egypt, but its distribution in the north is almost impossible due to shelling, hostilities and destruction.

“The people in the north are dying of hunger, we are dying of shelling,” said Ayman Abu Samali, who was injured when he was shot dead in Zawayda, in the central part of the Gaza Strip, yesterday.

The war was sparked by an unprecedented attack launched on October 7 by Hamas’ military arm against southern Israel, killing more than 1,160 people, mostly civilians, according to an AFP tally based on official Israeli data.

Israel’s civil-military leadership has vowed in retaliation to “wipe out” Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip since 2007, which it labels a “terrorist” organization, as do the US and the EU.

The Israeli military’s retaliatory operations have killed at least 29,195 people in the Gaza Strip, the vast majority of them women and children, according to Hamas’ health ministry.

According to Israeli sources, more than 130 Israeli hostages remain in the hands of Hamas in the Gaza Strip — although an army spokesman recently said that at least 31 of them are believed to be dead — of the approximately 250 kidnapped on October 7.


In New York, the US presented an alternative draft resolution, after vetoing the one drawn up by Algiers. Although the US government has so far systematically opposed the use of the term “ceasefire”, the text actually favors exactly that — but not directly, and conditionally.

No vote is planned at this stage on the US draft resolution, which opposes a “wide-scale ground attack” on Rafah because it “should not take place under the current circumstances”.

An Israeli attack on Rafah would turn the city into a “cemetery”, the American branch of the non-governmental organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) warned yesterday, recalling, along with other collectives, that the Palestinians in the enclave are threatened with starvation.

On Tuesday, Colombian President Gustavo Petro and his Bolivian counterpart Luis Arce said Israel was committing “genocide” of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, as did Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on Sunday, who compared the Israeli operation in the enclave with the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis of the Third Reich.

Lula, who was declared persona non grata on Monday by the head of Israeli diplomacy Israel Katz, who accused him of an “anti-Semitic attack”, was defended yesterday by Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira, calling the Israeli’s statements “unacceptable” and “false”. his counterpart.

Brett McGurk, US President Joe Biden’s adviser on the Middle East, is traveling to the region — today he is expected in Egypt, tomorrow Thursday he will go to Israel — to discuss the attack with Israeli officials and try to advance the conclusion of an agreement for the hostages, according to the White House.

In Israel, families of hostages continue to pressure the Netanyahu government to cut a deal to free their loved ones.

“We are desperately calling on the decision-makers in Israel and around the world to negotiate and bring them home immediately,” Ofri Bibas, whose brother Jarden was abducted along with his wife and two children, said yesterday.

Medicines sent to the Gaza Strip under a deal brokered by Qatar and France have also reached the hostages who need them, according to Doha.