Israel continues to expand its ground operations on the 23rd day of the War on Gaza, with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing a “second stage of the war.” Al-Quds Hospital is under the threat of bombardment, with the Palestine Red Crescent announcing receiving “serious threats” from Israeli authorities to evacuate.
Update 9: Aid into Gaza will be “increased significantly” according to Elad Goren, head of COGAT, the defense ministry agency that coordinates aid with the Palestinians.
Goren said that a “humanitarian zone” has been marked in the south of Gaza.
““We recommend that the civilian population evacuate to this zone, with a plan to route the humanitarian aid that arrives and is delivered there through the Rafah crossing,” he explained.
Update 8: Simly, a tech startup, has partnered with various influencers and journalists to provide free eSIM cards for people in Gaza who are struggling to connect after the internet blackout.
With an eSIM, people in Gaza can connect to a network without a physical SIM card because it is a digital SIM card that is embedded directly into the phone.
“I have just teamed up with @simlyapp to provide thousands of eSIMs to Gaza. We will make sure everyone gets stable and consistent internet access there,” Mirna El Heblawi, writer and influencer, said.
Update 7: Any use of SpaceX’s Starlink satellite in Gaza will go through the US and Israeli governments first, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in a tweet on 29 October.
“We will take extraordinary measures to confirm that [Starlink] is used *only* for purely humanitarian reasons,” Musk wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“Moreover, we will do a security check with both the US and Israeli governments before turning on even a single terminal,” he added.
The businessman had announced that “Starlink will support connectivity to internationally recognized aid organizations in Gaza,” on X on 28 October, in response to a tweet by US member of the House of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Ocasio-Cortez had criticized the Israeli communications blackout of Gaza.
Update 6: United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres continued to urge for a ceasefire during his visit to Nepal, highlighting the rapid decline in humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.
“The situation in Gaza is growing more desperate by the hour,” stated Guterres. “I regret that instead of a critically needed humanitarian pause, supported by the international community, Israel has intensified its military operations.”
Update 5: The Palestine Red Crescent announced receiving “serious threats” from Israeli authorities demanding immediate evacuation of Al-Quds Hospital due to the threat of bombardment. The announcement came on Sunday, 29 October on their official Instagram account.
“Since this morning, there have been raids 50 meters away from the hospital,” the post added.
On 20 October, the Palestine Red Crescent received the first bombing threat for Al-Quds Hospital. At the time, the hospital was accommodating more than 400 patients and over 12,000 displaced civilians.
Update 4: The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in the Gaza Strip reported that thousands of Palestinians broke into several of its warehouses in an act of desperation, taking commodities such as wheat, flour, and other basic goods.
“This is a worrying sign that civil order is starting to break down after three weeks of war and a tight siege,” said UNRWA chief in Gaza, Thomas White.
“The current system of convoys is geared to fail,” White said in reference to “very few trucks, slow processes, strict inspections, supplies that do not match the requirements of UNRWA and the other aid organizations, and mostly the ongoing ban on fuel.”
The Gaza Strip continues to suffer from a complete blockade on fuel and severe restrictions on food and medical aid. Communications were cut from the night of 27 October and have only started to return on 29 October.
Update 3: Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesman Daniel Hagari said that there are at least 230 Israeli hostages being held in the Gaza Strip, in a video posted on Sunday, 29 October. He said that the number is not final as the military continues to investigate new information.
Hagari assured that the Israeli military will do everything in its power to rescue the soldiers.
The Israeli government’s aim is to destroy the “military and governing capabilities” of Hamas and to rescue the 230 hostages abducted from Israel, Hagari said, echoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statements.
Update 2: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced the “second stage of the war” on Gaza with the goal of “destroying Hamas’ military and governing capabilities, and bringing the captives back home,” in a joint statement with war cabinet ministers Yoav Gallant and Benny Gantz on 29 October.
“This our second war of independence,” Netanyahu said, framing it as a “war of humanity against barbarism.”
“We will destroy the enemy above ground and below ground,” he added.
Israel has expanded its ground operations and intensified aerial bombing since 27 October, bringing the number of Palestinians it killed in Gaza since 7 October to 7,650. On the night of 27 October, it cut off communications from the Strip amid repeated warnings by UN bodies of an impending humanitarian catastrophe. Communications have started to return today, 29 October.
Update 1: Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi warned that the Middle East is a “ticking time bomb” and cautioned against the escalation of the conflict, warning that it would harm all countries in the region. The president made his remarks during the inauguration of the International Manufacturing Convention Exhibition on Saturday, 28 October.
“We are capable of protecting our homeland, and we are making significant efforts to achieve de-escalation,” the president added, in reference to the recent attacks against Egypt. He also added that Egypt’s foreign policy does not seek to conspire against other nations, but underscored that Egypt’s sovereignty should not be undermined.
“We welcome the decision of the United Nations General Assembly calling for a ceasefire,” he added.
THE CONFLICT SO FAR
After a surprise attack conducted on 7 October by Hamas on a number of southern Israeli towns which resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1,405 people and more than 220 being taken hostage by Hamas, Israel launched a retaliatory bombing campaign against what it describes as ‘terrorist targets’ in the Gaza Strip.
At least 7,650 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip — including over 3,000 children — and 19,450 others injured. Meanwhile, 111 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank and at least 1,950 have been injured.
The priority of the Egyptian government since the beginning of the conflict has been de-escalation and the securing of a path for aid to enter the Gaza Strip through the Rafah crossing. Israel bombed the crossing at least six times, and 80 aid trucks have crossed to Gaza so far, which UN officials warn is insufficient amid dire humanitarian conditions.
Most Western countries, with the United States at the forefront, have expressed unconditional support for Israel, despite the steadily rising death toll in Gaza. Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly has issued a resolution calling for a ceasefire.