Israel: Netanyahu forms a national unity government before ordering the invasion of Gaza | International

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Israel faces the bloodiest war in 50 years, since the Yom Kippur conflict that it almost lost, with a Government of national unity starting this Wednesday. After having remained hidden behind the statements of his press service in the first days after the unexpected Hamas offensive, the Prime Minister, the conservative Benjamin Netanyahu, has stopped dragging his feet and has fulfilled the tradition of forming broad governments. wartime base in the Jewish State. Two former generals who served as chiefs of the General Staff of the Armed Forces and directed Gaza operations, centrist political leaders Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, join the hard core of the War Cabinet. The leader of the opposition, former liberal Prime Minister Yair Lapid, has refused to be part of a grand coalition as long as far-right parties and xenophobic anti-Arab forces remain within it. In principle, Gideon Saar, dissident conservative leader of Netanyahu's Likud party, also joins the Executive.

The new Government of national unity will have a central objective: to avenge the attack by the Islamist militia, which since Saturday has caused the death of 1,200 Israelis and injured another 2,700, in addition to having taken more than a hundred hostages. civil and military. After having eliminated the Hamas commandos infiltrated into its territory, Israel has launched hundreds of waves of air strikes and artillery barrages against the Palestinian coastal enclave. The bombings are paving the way for an army ground operation, which Hebrew press analysts consider inevitable to respond to the unprecedented aggression of the Islamic resistance movement. Both Gantz and Eisenkot steered the course of the 2014 war from the command post.

The Israeli army, which bombed some 200 targets in Gaza during the early hours of Tuesday, has deployed 300,000 soldiers to the border with the Strip, according to the Ministry of Defense. The delay in deployment has been criticized in the Hebrew press. “Netanyahu dreamed for years that he was Winston Churchill. “He is now carrying out this war like Neville Chamberlain, the British Conservative prime minister who was taken by surprise by the Second World War,” the columnist warned. Yediot Ahronot Nadav Eyal. “Just like what happened to Chamberlain, he still hasn't come to his senses. “More Jews have now been murdered in Israel in a single day than any other in recent history,” this analyst added.

The war is already having other political consequences. The Israeli Ministry of the Interior announced this Wednesday that the municipal elections scheduled for October 31 are postponed indefinitely. The last time an election was postponed in Israel was during the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Nullifying the war capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad for many years was also the goal of the Israeli invasions in operations Cast Lead (between 2008 and 2009) and Protective Edge (which lasted for more than two months in the summer 2014). The cycle of violence is now repeating itself, but if in the first of the operations the number of dead Israeli soldiers was limited to nine, in the second it rose to 66. The Ezedín al Qasam brigades, the armed ship of the Islamist movement, have shown now its strength, by striking mercilessly in Israeli territory, and level of training, in an unprecedented and surprise operation carried out in a few hours. The invasion of Gaza will now not be as accessible a mission for the Israeli Army as it was 15 years ago. The presence of such a high number of hostages also represents a nightmare for the plans of the Jewish General Staff. Netanyahu himself was forced to release a thousand Palestinian prisoners in 2011 in exchange for the release of soldier Gilad Shalit, who was held hostage by Hamas for five years in the Strip.

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From Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health has counted 1,055 deaths in combat and raids and 5,184 injuries in just four days, which has collapsed the hospital system in the Strip. The same source assures that 60% of the casualties registered within the territory of the enclave correspond to women and children.

Forced blackout

After the announcement of a total siege on Gaza launched on Monday, the only power plant in the Strip, which operated at half capacity after suffering damage in the 2014 bombings, stopped operating this Wednesday due to lack of fuel. Since Saturday, Gaza had suffered more than 600 power outages. The enclave depends on Israel to receive electricity supplies, as well as to import fuel to power its only plant, but since Saturday it has not received one thing or the other. The complete blockade exercised by Israel began on Monday in Gaza, where 2.3 million inhabitants live in 365 square kilometers. The supply of fuel, food, water and energy has been completely cut off following Saturday's attack.

An Israeli bombing against the Islamic University of Gaza, the most important in the Strip, has practically destroyed the main campus of the institution, as can be seen in a video broadcast by the Arab television network Al Arabiya. The X (formerly Twitter) account of the Israeli army has confirmed the attack, stating that “Hamas had transformed an institute of knowledge into an institute of destruction.” The message defines that university as “an important operational, political and military center of Hamas in Gaza” and assures that its facilities served as a “training camp for engineers” of the fundamentalist group.

The number of Palestinians displaced in the Gaza Strip due to Israeli bombings is now 263,934 people, with 175,486 housed in schools run by the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), according to data from the UN.

The Egyptian Red Crescent has announced the dispatch of a humanitarian aid convoy to the Rafah border crossing, which connects the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula with the Gaza Strip, to receive critical cases that require transfer across the Egyptian border. Sources from the Egyptian Red Crescent have confirmed to the Efe agency that they have sent "a humanitarian aid convoy to the Palestinian land border crossing to receive critical cases that require transfer across the Egyptian border", without giving more details until today. moment.

In the north, Israeli troops and the Lebanese Shiite Hezbollah militia have exchanged attacks on Lebanon's border. Early on Wednesday morning, an Israeli army position stationed next to the border came under attack with an anti-tank missile from Lebanese territory. Shortly after, the Shiite group claimed responsibility for the attack, ensuring that it caused "a large number of casualties." The Israeli Government has not specified whether there have been any deaths in its ranks. The response has not been long in coming and Israeli forces have bombed positions in southern Lebanon.

Israel has only stated that its detachment has been attacked near the Bedouin village of Araba Al Aramshe, located on the Israeli side of the border, opposite the Lebanese village of Dhayra. The army reported that “the air force has attacked Hezbollah reconnaissance positions in retaliation for the firing from across the border.”

So far, the various incidents have resulted in the death of three members of Hezbollah, in addition to some casualties in the ranks of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and in the Israeli Army, on the other side of the border during an infiltration carried out from Lebanon for this pro-Iranian movement.

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