Women and children in Gaza City begin evacuating following Israel's warning of a ground invasion in northern Gaza on October 13,2023. EFE/MOHAMMED SABER

International community fears the fate of civilians if Israel enters Gaza

International Desk, Oct 13 (EFE).- The international community has expressed concern for the fate of more than a million civilians living in the Gaza Strip, given what appears to be an imminent land incursion by the Israeli army to fight the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which holds more than a hundred people, hostage.

Israel on Friday gave a 24-hour ultimatum for civilians to evacuate northern Gaza, including Gaza City, and urged them to move south, a move that would involve more than a million people.

UN has tried to dissuade Israel without success

The UN and international humanitarian organizations have spent the last few hours trying to dissuade Israel, so far without success, warning that said action would have unimaginable humanitarian consequences.

“Gaza is fast becoming a hellhole and is on the verge of collapse,” said UNRWA Secretary General Philippe Lazzarini.

A description very similar to that of the World Health Organization (WHO), which also stated that the evacuation of hospitals in northern Gaza is impossible.

Western and Islamic countries clash at UN over war

On Friday, the UN Human Rights Council became the scene of a confrontation between Arab and Muslim countries on the one hand and Western countries on the other over the war between Israel and Hamas.

The United States, France, and the United Kingdom, like the other Western countries that intervened in the Council, declared their unconditional support for Israel and condemned the attacks by Hamas, which they consider a terrorist group.

On the other hand, countries such as Iran and Pakistan – on behalf of the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation – denounced the large-scale destruction of Gaza, with attacks that do not distinguish between civilians and combatants, but failed to mention the crimes committed by Hamas against Israeli civilians during the last week.

Borrell considers ultimatum “unrealistic”

The European Union’s representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell, said on Friday that the ultimatum issued by the Israeli army was “unrealistic.”

Borrell told the press in Beijing after co-chairing the EU-China Strategic Dialogue with the Chinese Foreign Minister that “it is unrealistic that 1 million people can move in 24 hours” and stressed that “it is good to have a warning, but the warning has to be realistic to avoid devastating humanitarian consequences.”

US affirms that “it is not the time for neutrality.”

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in Tel Aviv that the Pentagon is “ready to send more support to Israel if necessary.”

The Secretary of Defense stressed that “this is not the time for neutrality” and that anyone who wants a lasting peace in the region, “anyone who wants lasting peace and security for this region, must condemn and isolate Hamas.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, visiting the region on Friday, thanked Qatar for its efforts to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas after a meeting with Qatari Emir Tamim Al Thani. However, he made no mention of the Israeli request.

UK stresses Israel’s right to defend itself

British Defense Minister Grant Shapps reiterated that Israel has the “right to defend itself” and supported the order given by the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to evacuate northern Gaza before entering to “pursue” the “terrorists.”

Speaking to ITV, Shapp argued that Israel has the right to “go after” Hamas while stressing that it must act following international law.

Jordan’s king warns of mass displacement

King Abdullah II of Jordan warned Blinken against any attempt to displace Palestinians from Gaza, stressing that the crisis must not spill over into neighboring countries and exacerbate the refugee problem.

Abdullah II reminded Blinken of the urgent need to open humanitarian corridors to bring needed aid into the Palestinian enclave, home to more than 2.2 million people and on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.

Palestinian President Calls for “Release of Prisoners

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Friday called for the “release of prisoners” and condemned the killing of civilians by “both sides,” referring to Israel’s attacks against the population of the Gaza Strip and those of the Islamist movement Hamas against the Jewish state, which have killed a total of more than 2,800 people.

Abas said during his meeting with Blinken in Amman, the capital of Jordan, that “practices related to killing civilians or abusing them on both sides,” according to the official Palestinian agency Wafa.

“The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) renounces violence and adheres to international legitimacy, peaceful popular resistance, and political action to achieve our national goals,” he added.

Putin affirms that the casualties the Israeli operation may cause will be “unacceptable.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned this Friday that the civilian casualties an Israeli ground operation in the Gaza Strip would cause would be “unacceptable.”

“The ground operation in Gaza and the use of heavy weapons in residential neighborhoods will have serious consequences for all parties,” Putin said at a summit of leaders of the post-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Bishkek.

Egypt denounces “Israeli intransigence

Egyptian authorities remain in contact with Israel and its Western allies to reach a ceasefire but denounced Israeli “intransigence” as well as American and British support for the measures taken by the Jewish state, including its call for Gazans to evacuate northern Gaza, Egyptian security sources told EFE today.

These sources, who requested anonymity due to the issue’s sensitivity and because Cairo is the primary mediator in this new war between Hamas and Israel, assured that Egypt is trying to “prepare the ground” for a possible ground attack by Israel. EFE