The escalating Israel-Hamas war has raised concerns about heavy Palestinian casualties and the potential for wider tensions in the region, prompting the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, to make a last-ditch effort to limit the death toll and prevent Iranian intervention.
In recent days, the conflict between Israel and Hamas has reached a critical point, with an impending Israeli ground assault on Gaza. The US, fearing a rise in Palestinian casualties and the possibility of Iran or its proxies intervening, has deployed a second aircraft carrier group to the Mediterranean as a deterrent.
Blinken has been engaged in shuttle diplomacy, holding talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other regional leaders. He has been working on a plan to establish safe spaces for Palestinian civilians both inside Gaza and on its borders. There are some signs that Israel may be willing to listen to US entreaties, as limited water supplies are being restored to southern Gaza and the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza is set to reopen for aid and evacuation purposes.
However, it is unlikely that Israel will abandon its mission to “demolish Hamas” after the group’s attacks on Israel. The situation in Gaza has already reached a humanitarian crisis, with over 600,000 Gazans seeking refuge near the Egyptian border. International aid workers describe the situation as an “unprecedented humanitarian collapse.”
In response to Israel’s potential full-scale assault, the UN and Arab leaders have warned of multiple casualties, breaches of humanitarian law, and further deepening of divisions in the Middle East. The Palestinian death toll from Israeli bombardment has already reached 2,670.
During Blinken’s talks with regional leaders, he received a stern lecture from Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, who criticized Israel’s disproportionate response and described it as collective punishment for the people of Gaza. Al-Sisi highlighted the decades-long accumulation of hatred and anger due to the lack of a viable solution to the Palestinian question, emphasizing the need to contain the situation and prevent other parties from joining the conflict.
In conclusion, as the US makes a last-ditch attempt to limit the impact of an all-out Israeli land assault on Gaza, concerns about heavy Palestinian casualties and wider tensions in the region continue to mount. The situation remains precarious, and the international community is closely watching the developments in hopes of finding a peaceful resolution to the Israel-Hamas war.