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Latest Updates on the Israel-Hamas Conflict: Famine in Gaza, Israel’s Economy Collapses, and More


Tommy Patrio Sorongan, CNBC Indonesia


Wednesday, 21/02/2024 22:00 WIB

Photo: Black smoke and flames rise from a burning warehouse, hit by Israeli strikes, in an industrial area, in the southern coastal city of Ghazieh, Lebanon, Monday, February 19, 2024. (AP/Mohammad Zaatari)

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – The bloody conflict between the Palestinian militant group, Hamas, and Israel is still ongoing. The escalation became sharper after Israel launched repeated retaliatory attacks on the Gaza area.

The number of victims continues to increase, especially on the Palestinian side.

The following are the latest developments as quoted from various sources by CNBC IndonesiaWednesday (21/2/2024):

1. Gaza is threatened by famine

The UN food agency, WPF, on Tuesday (21/2/2024) stopped sending aid to North Gaza. This is due to Israeli attacks which have destroyed civil order in the region.

The latest suspensions raise fears of famine in Northern Gaza, which has been almost completely cut off from aid since late October amid Israel’s devastating war in the territory.

“This decision cannot be taken lightly because it risks causing many people to die of hunger. Safety and security in the distribution of food aid is important, and for those who receive it, it must be guaranteed,” he was quoted as saying. Al Jazeera.

The agency said it first stopped deliveries to the North three weeks ago after an attack hit an aid truck. . They tried to resume deliveries this week but convoys faced gunfire and hungry crowds stripped of goods and beat drivers.

Footage from the operation site, verified by Al Jazeera, showed Palestinians fleeing for cover amid the sound of gunfire and smoke bomb smoke after bomb smoke. Witnesses said one person was killed and many others were injured in the attack.

The video also shows Palestinian children scooping up flour that spills from the ground after one of the sacks is opened.

The suspension of aid to the Northern region comes amid a sharp decline in the influx of aid trucks throughout Gaza. The UN Office of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said the average number of aid trucks entering Gaza had decreased from 140 trucks per day in January to 60 trucks per day in February.

“When supplies reached Gaza, UN staff and aid groups were unable to pick them up at crossing points due to a lack of security and violations of law and order”, according to Eri Kaneko, an OCHA spokesperson.

2. Israel’s economy collapses

Israel’s gross domestic product (GDP) shrank by almost 20% in the fourth quarter of 2023. This decline occurred amidst its attack on Gaza which is still ongoing to this day.

The contraction was even bigger than expected, with analysts estimating a contraction of around 10%. This reflects the number of casualties in the war against Hamas in Gaza, which is now entering its fifth month.

“(The decline in GDP) primarily shows a contraction in private sector consumption and a deep contraction in investment, especially in real estate,” wrote analysts at Goldman Sachs in a research note based on Israeli economic data quoted Wednesday (21/2/2024).

“The deep GDP contraction occurred despite a strong surge in public sector consumption as well as a positive net trade contribution, with the decline in imports outstripping the decline in exports,” he added, as quoted CNBC International.

Official figures show a 26.9% quarter-on-quarter decline in private consumption. Investment continues to fall by almost 68% due to the halt in housing construction amid a shortage of workers in Israel due to military mobilization and Palestinian workers, most of whom have been banned from entering Israel since October 7.

Previously, more than 150,000 Palestinian workers from the occupied West Bank entered Israel every day to work in various sectors. They spread mainly in construction and agriculture.

“Israel’s GDP contraction was much worse than expected and highlights the magnitude of the impact of Hamas attacks and the war in Gaza,” said Liam Peach, senior emerging markets economist at London-based Capital Economics, in an analysis note.

Israel’s high-tech economy is greatly affected by the fact that it has mobilized 300,000 men and women as military reservists to be stationed in Gaza and on the northern border with Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The mobilization was sparked by an initial attack on October 7 by the Palestinian militant group Hamas that killed around 1,200 people in Israel. Israel’s subsequent attacks on the Gaza Strip and relentless bombing campaign have killed more than 29,000 people in the blockaded territory.

3. Europe Sends Warships to the Red Sea

The situation in the Red Sea, a world shipping area that carries 12% of global logistics, is getting hotter. The European Union (EU) will reportedly send its warships to the region to protect ships passing through.

This was emphasized by the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. Not only the Red Sea, the military will also operate in the Gulf of Aden and surrounding waters.

“Europe will guarantee freedom of navigation in the Red Sea, working together with our international partners,” he stressed, quoted on Wednesday (21/2/2024).

“Beyond the crisis response, this is a step towards a stronger European presence at sea to protect European interests,” he added.

This was also confirmed by Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani. He confirmed the launch at a meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels, Belgium.

“An important step towards the common defense of Europe,” he said.

Since November, the Houthis have attacked commercial and military ships in the Red Sea. The Yemeni ruler targeted ships linked to Israel as a show of solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which Israel has attacked since October.

The group later said that it was expanding its targets to include ships linked to the United States (US) and Britain. This was after Washington and London carried out air strikes on Houthi sites in Yemen in response to attacks on the ships.

4. Israel’s trial at the ICJ

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) heard arguments from 52 countries and three international organizations this week. This is the largest number of parties participating in a single World Court case.

The 15-judge panel was asked to review Israel’s “occupation, settlement and annexation” as well as policies “aimed at changing the demographic composition, character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem”.

On the agenda, there are 10 countries that will express their views, namely the United States (US), United Arab Emirates (UAE), Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, Russia, France, Gambia, Hungary and Guyana.

The United States (US) had the opportunity to express its views regarding Israel’s annexation today. Washington considers that it has engaged intensively with Palestine, with Israel and with other countries in the region to achieve peace in the region.

“There is broad international support for reaching a negotiated solution to the conflict that would give rise to a Palestinian state,” said US representative Richard Visek.

Apart from the US, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) also has a platform for opinion. Abu Dhabi’s representative to the UN, Lana Nusseibeh, outlined how the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories has deteriorated rapidly over the past year.

“The level of human suffering in Gaza is at levels rarely seen in human history. Israel has implemented a policy of collective punishment against the Palestinian people,” he said.

Last year was by far the deadliest for Palestinians in the occupied West Bank. This is seen from the highest level of Jewish settler violence recorded by the UN.

“I raise this latest development to underscore that the violations at the heart of the questions raised by the General Assembly are not static. After decades of violent dehumanization, deprivation and despair, the violations resulting from the Israeli occupation are worsening at a rapid pace which is worrying,” he said.

Not only the US and UAE, Egypt also got a platform to express its views. Egypt’s legal representative, Jasmine Moussa, asked the court to recognize that Israel, as an occupying power, is obliged to make improvements and immediately end the occupation and unlawful practices including settlements.

“There will be no prosperity, no security, no stability, no peace in the Middle East without the establishment of justice and the rule of law.”

Meanwhile, from Latin America, Colombia and Cuba were also involved in expressing their opinions. Bogota considers the occupation of Palestinian territories to be a violation of international law and contrary to the principles stated in the UN Charter.

“Colombia highlights the need to redouble efforts to push for a negotiated solution based on international law, and with the aim of establishing a fully viable Palestinian state, alongside Israel and its neighboring countries, promoting peace and security throughout the region,” said Colombia’s representative, Andrea Jiménez Herrera.

Cuba also expressed views regarding Israel’s violations on Palestinian land. Cuban diplomat Anayansi Rodriguez Camejo told the court that the entire world bears a moral responsibility to speak out about the “despicable situation that the Palestinian people are experiencing”.

“Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories is an international wrong and is getting worse. We reaffirm the responsibility of the occupying power and the international community,” he stressed.

5. Israel Responds to the ICJ Hearing

Israel rejects accusations of apartheid against Palestinians and considers UN bodies and international courts to be unfair and biased towards the current trial.

Israel sent a five-page written statement stating that the advisory opinions of several countries at the ICJ would be “dangerous” for efforts to resolve the conflict with Palestine.

“The hearings were designed to harm Israel’s right to defend itself from real threats and dictate the outcome of a diplomatic settlement without any negotiation,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said.

Watch the video below:

Video: UN Pushes for Gaza Ceasefire, US Prepares to Take Veto


2024-02-21 15:00:00
#Facts #Gaza #War #Israels #Economy #Collapses #Stops #Aid

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