The Israeli government is vowing to resume the war in Gaza:
“In recent days I’ve heard a question: Will Israel return to fighting after this stage of returning our hostages is over? My response is an unequivocal yes,” the premier [Netanyahu] says. “There is no way we won’t return to fighting until the end.”
The Biden administration is reportedly asking the Israeli government to fight the war in a “more targeted” way in the future, but there is no reason to expect that Netanyahu and his coalition allies will pay any attention to this. The U.S. isn’t trying to use any leverage to pressure them, and the Israeli government knows that it will face no consequences if it ignores this request. A few senators are finally entertaining the idea of putting conditions on US assistance to Israel, but it is hard to imagine that this administration would ever do that. Regardless, the people of Gaza need an end to the war and not just a “more targeted” continuation of it.
Any resumption of fighting will be a disaster and a death sentence for a huge number of Palestinian civilians. The current pause in fighting must not be allowed to end. Humanitarian conditions in Gaza are extraordinarily bad and getting worse. According to the U.N. relief coordinator, Martin Griffiths, the conditions there are the worst he has ever seen in his career. The Guardian reported yesterday that UN officials are warning that the death toll from disease may soon exceed the death toll from bombing:
“It is not just the hospitals, everybody everywhere has dire health needs now, because they are starving, because they lack clean water, they are crowded together, they are in terror so they have massive mental health needs. And there is a continuing rise in outbreaks of infections disease,” [WHO spokesperson] Harris said.
“Eventually, we will see more people dying from disease than we are even seeing from the bombardment, if we are not able to put back this health system and provide the basics of life. Food, water, medicines and of course fuel to operate hospitals.”
Diarrhea increased by 45 times compared with the same period last year, and other communicable diseases, from respiratory infections to hygiene issues such as lice, have risen, she said, but people had little hope of getting treatment.
Daniel Larison is a contributing editor for Antiwar.com and maintains his own site at Eunomia. He is former senior editor at The American Conservative. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.