After three weeks under Israeli siege, and a bombing campaign which has been unprecedented in its intensity, Gazans are getting increasingly desperate. The Strip is almost completely enveloped in darkness, also with communications cut, which happened Friday, and the United Nations is now warning of a total breakdown in civic order.
UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in Gaza has said that thousands of Palestinians have broken into several of its warehouses in the Strip, raiding wheat, flour, and hygiene stores – among other basic necessities stored there.
“This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege,” UNRWA director Thomas White told press agencies.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has also in fresh Sunday statements called the crisis a “nightmare” and again urged a ceasefire. “The situation in Gaza is growing more desperate by the hour. I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations.”
Over the weekend the Gazan death toll surpassed 8,000 – with Gaza’s Health Ministry saying that most of these are women and young people. The Biden administration, which has repeatedly affirmed that it “stands with Israel,” has also said that it doesn’t trust casualty figures being issued by Hamas or Palestinian sources.
There are reports that communications were restored to much of the Gaza Strip as of Sunday, possibly the result of growing international pressure on the Israelis. Ten more aid trucks have also reportedly crossed from Egypt on Sunday.
According to Al Jazeera, “The Israeli military said on Sunday it had struck more than 450 targets over the past 24 hours, including Hamas command centres, observation posts and antitank missile launching positions. It said more ground forces were sent into Gaza overnight.” The Israeli ground offensive has continued expanding, with The Guardian observing, “Under the cover of strikes and artillery, Israeli ground troops have begun moving into the north of the strip in Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun in what the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, described as the “second stage” of the war triggered by Hamas.”