Thousands of Israeli troops are currently waiting on the border of Gaza for an order to invade this enclave.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, visited the troops on the front lines near Gaza and urged them to “fight like lions” and “win with full force”. The troops are currently waiting for the order to start a ground attack in Gaza.
Yoav Gallant, Israel’s defense minister, told some of the troops on the border that new orders would come “soon”.
“At the moment you see Gaza from afar, soon you will see it from the inside. The order will come soon,” Gallant said.
Pres. Meanwhile, Joe Biden has made a request to the American government for urgent funding to help Israel with the war. In a speech on Thursday evening in the White House, he said that history is at a “turning point” and that the USA must make a “smart investment” of billions of rands in war aid to both Israel and Ukraine. The White House has not yet disclosed any details about a possible aid package, but a source told the news channel CBS that it could involve as much as $14 billion to Israel and $60 billion to Ukraine.
Humanitarian emergency looms
By Friday morning, the need in Gaza was great. More than 1 million displaced Palestinians urgently need food, water, medicine and blankets at this stage.
However, a lack of donations does not appear to be the problem. Desperate humanitarian aid is indeed piling up at the nearby El Arish International Airport in Egypt.
Ahmed Ali, head of the Egyptian Red Crescent, says he gets “two to three planes a day” with humanitarian aid from other countries.
Satellite images also show dozens of trucks carrying fuel and humanitarian goods parked on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border post, waiting for it to open. The trucks belong to, among others, the United Nations and the Egyptian Red Crescent.
However, the Rafah border post – currently the only route to Gaza – is still closed.
The Egyptian state-affiliated broadcaster Al Qahera News reports that the border post is expected to be opened on Friday. However, the Egyptian authorities say they need more time to repair roads due to the recent weeks of bombing in the area.
During a short visit to Israel earlier this week, Biden entered into an agreement so that 20 trucks with humanitarian aid are allowed to enter Gaza as soon as the Rafah border post is opened.
Only food, water and medicine will be allowed through. Fuel urgently needed to power hospitals and water filtration systems is not part of the deal.
However, it appears unlikely that the first 20 aid trucks earmarked for Gaza will be able to pass through Egypt’s Rafah border post on Friday due to ongoing logistical issues on both the Israeli and Palestinian sides.
Michael Ryan, Director of Emergencies of the World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile says that the agreement that Biden concluded is “a drop in the ocean of need”.
“It should be 2,000 trucks.”
The situation in Gaza is “more than catastrophic”, says Sara Alzawqari, Unicef spokesperson for the Gulf region. “Time is running out and the death rate among children is increasing.”
BBC reports that Juliette Touma, communications director of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, says Gaza has “become a den”.
On BBC Newsday, Touma called for the siege on Gaza to be lifted so that humanitarian supplies could reach civilians in Gaza.
“Time is running out. It’s been almost two weeks. Two very long weeks during which we could not get any supplies in Gaza.”
Touma says it is uncertain when the Rafah border post will be opened.
When asked how it will be ensured that the humanitarian aid does not end up in the hands of Hamas, Touma replied that the UN agency for Palestinian refugees “has strict investigations and monitoring systems ready”.
In Israel, 1,400 people have already been killed by Hamas and 3,500 injured. Many are also still being held hostage by Hamas in Gaza.
More than 3,700 Palestinians, mainly civilians, have already been killed in Gaza.
Sources: AFP, Washington Post, BBC.