As of Friday, December 1, 2023, the fragile ceasefire in the Gaza Strip has collapsed, leading to a resumption of hostilities between the Israeli military and Hamas. The week-long truce ended at approximately 7am local time (05:00 GMT), marked by the Israeli army's return to combat operations and a series of air strikes across Gaza.
This military action follows accusations by Israel that Hamas violated the ceasefire terms by firing toward Israeli territory. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has stated that Hamas's failure to release additional captives was a key factor in the breakdown of the truce.
Despite the resumption of conflict, Netanyahu affirmed Israel's commitment to achieving its objectives. Meanwhile, the prisoner exchange facilitated by the truce has seen thirty Palestinian prisoners released from Israeli jails and eight Israeli captives freed in Gaza.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) reported its involvement in the transfer of 19 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli detention centers to Ramallah. Additionally, Thai captives, held for weeks in Gaza, expressed their relief upon returning to Bangkok, where they were received by their families.
Escalating Violence and Diplomatic Efforts
On-the-ground reports from Al Jazeera journalists in the Gaza Strip indicate a resumption of air raids, with aircraft audible overhead. Heavy clashes between Palestinian fighting groups and Israeli troops have been reported in Gaza City.
The southern Gaza Strip, particularly Khan Younis, has experienced heavy shelling, as evidenced by social media imagery showing large plumes of smoke over areas like Jabalia camp. The government media office in Gaza reports that approximately 60 percent of homes in the region have been destroyed due to Israeli bombardment.
In the diplomatic arena, efforts to extend the humanitarian pause faltered. Israel and Hamas had agreed to a seventh day of truce, with Egyptian and Qatari mediators working towards a potential two-day extension. However, these efforts were unsuccessful.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, on his third visit to the Middle East since the onset of the war, acknowledged that the aid flow into Gaza was insufficient. He emphasized to Netanyahu the importance of protecting civilians in any further military operations, a stance reportedly supported by Netanyahu and his cabinet.
Blinken's discussions with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas focused on increasing humanitarian aid to Gaza and addressing concerns over Jewish settler attacks in the occupied West Bank.