The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza

Following a temporary pause in hostilities, questions are growing about the fate of Palestinians displaced by the war in Gaza and their hopes of returning home if a permanent cessation of hostilities is announced. Israel’s military has destroyed northern Gaza, leaving neighbourhoods ravaged, and the remaining homes, hospitals, and schools are unfit for return, necessitating a detailed reconstruction plan for the region.

Yossi Mekelberg, professor of international relations and associate fellow of the MENA Program at Chatham House, said questions about Palestinians’ return were “heart-breaking” due to the level and sheer scale of the destruction. Over the course of this latest eruption of violence in the over 75-year-long conflict, it is believed that in excess of one million Palestinians have fled the north of Gaza, including from Gaza City.

UK-based conflict monitor Airwars called the air campaign the most intense since the Second World War, comparing it to the nine-month Battle of Mosul between 2016 and 2017. If the initial IDF statement of 6,000 munitions dropped in the first week to 10 days holds true, it is likely that the IDF has dropped more munitions than the coalition in any month of the campaign against Daesh by the time of the temporary pause last week.

Despite the extensive damage caused by the ongoing conflict in Gaza, many Palestinians remain wary of leaving their homes, fearing that it could be seen as a threat to their safety. The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights reported that around 45% of housing stock had been destroyed in the second week of November. Despite the damage, many Palestinians remain cautious about leaving their homes, fearing that it could be seen as a sign of Israel’s intent to ethnically cleanse Gaza.

Oxfam reports that those who have stayed in northern Gaza number in the hundreds of thousands, despite repeated Israeli warnings for civilians to abandon the northern regions and head south. Oxfam policy lead Bushra Khalidi criticized Israel’s calls for civilians to relocate south without guarantee of safety or return, stating that there are not enough resources to host over 1.1 million people in other governorates. Shelters, aid, and water are already in low supply in the south, and there is no guarantee that civilians will find refuge in other parts of Gaza.

The US, UK, EU, and other Western and Arab countries with influence over Israeli political and military leadership must demand Israel rescind the order to relocate. The Israeli Defense Forces have urged those who have already relocated to relocate again, this time to Muwasi on the coast.

The Israeli intelligence service has reported plans to send 70 percent of Gaza’s prewar population to Sinai, causing concern among Palestinians and Egypt. This has led to the question of where to next for Palestinian civilians, as 70% of Gaza’s prewar population has already been classified as refugees. The proposal, which was denied by the Israeli government, has sparked condemnation from Palestinians and Egypt.

The reality of Palestinians being displaced in 1946 and still in other countries is compounding the difficulties of housing refugees. Arab leaders, such as Jordan’s King Abdullah, have also expressed concerns about the situation. Mekelberg believes that governments who suspect the war is an Israeli effort to ethnically cleanse Gaza would be less keen to help.

The speaker emphasized the importance of finding safe harbor for civilians in conflict situations, but emphasized the challenges posed by politics and lack of humanitarian aid. He emphasized the need for a rethink on managing such situations and the obligations and rights of those involved in conflict.

The speaker emphasized the need for international efforts to establish refugee camps, provide necessary supplies, and ensure safety. He acknowledged the current situation as unhappy but emphasized the importance of international support after the fighting ends, helping Gazans rebuild their homes and ensuring their return to their original homes.

GazaHumanitarian crisisIsraelIsrael-Gaza ConflictPalestinian-IsraeliPalestinian-Israeli ConflictThe Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: A Humanitarian Crisis in Gaza