The Israeli military, on Friday, warned more than a million residents of Gaza City received an urgent evacuation notice advising relocation to the south within 24 hours.
The development comes as Israel amasses tanks close to the Gaza Strip, heightening anxieties over a potential expansive ground assault. The Defense Minister of Israel, Yoav Gallant, declared, “Now is a time for war.”
The Israeli military emphasized its intention to execute “significant” operations in Gaza City soon. It stated that the residents would be given the green light to return only after a subsequent official statement.
UN and Global Responses
The United Nations disclosed to Reuters about the Israeli evacuation directive, stirring concerns among Palestinians about a possible impending ground invasion by Israel. The UN spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, expressed grave concerns, saying that executing such a mass movement could lead to “devastating humanitarian consequences.”
Furthermore, Dujarric confirmed that the directive extends to all UN personnel and those taking refuge in UN establishments like schools and healthcare facilities. However, Israel’s UN ambassador, Gilad Erdan, criticized the UN’s stance, suggesting that the focus should be censuring Hamas and endorsing Israel’s defensive rights. Conversely, Salama Marouf, the spokesperson for Hamas, described Israel’s warning as deceptive propaganda aimed at unsettling and dividing the citizens of Gaza.
Humanitarian Crisis Looms
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) highlighted the critical fuel shortage needed for emergency generators at Gaza’s hospitals, warning of a potential power cut-off within hours. The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) raised the alarm about depleting food supplies and dwindling freshwater reserves.
ICRC’s regional director, Fabrizio Carboni, fervently appealed to all involved parties, saying, “The human misery caused by this escalation is abhorrent.” According to Gaza’s official reports, the ongoing Israeli airstrikes have resulted in over 1,500 Palestinian casualties, with a significant number being children.
The Palestinian Red Crescent also reported the deliberate killing of four medical personnel by Israeli forces. As tensions escalate, Gaza, with its 2.3 million inhabitants, continues to suffer due to Israel’s blockade and extensive bombing operations.