Protests continued in cities around the world this weekend, denouncing Israel’s bombing of densely populated Gaza. Major cities in Europe, Asia, and the US saw thousands march in protest against the humanitarian toll the Israeli siege of Gaza has taken. Notably, protesters also demonstrated outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s home, calling for a return of the hostages in Gaza and his resignation. The Arab world has called for a pause in the war, but Israel has refused that request. The US has supported Israel in that refusal.
Nearly 10,000 Palestinians have been killed since the October 7 Hamas invasion. The number of dead children in Gaza has now surpassed 4,000. Israel’s ground war is entering an acute phase as forces approach deeper concentrations of civilian population centers. This means the civilian death toll will surge even more if the fighting continues. The hospital system in Gaza is nearing a state of total collapse.
Hamas announced that 60 Israeli hostages are now missing following Israel’s air strikes.
Before October 7, as many as 18,000 Palestinians living in Gaza were allowed to cross into Israel and the West Bank to work in various jobs, mainly in the construction and agriculture sectors. These workers made as much as 10x what they could make working in Gaza. It was a scene very typical of other apartheid regimes in which the lower caste party could quietly work among the higher caste for higher pay. Since the Hamas invasion, these workers were detained in Israel and viewed as potential spies for Hamas. At the end of last week, they were returned to Gaza and expelled from Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu announced, “There will be no more Palestinian workers from Gaza. Those workers from Gaza who were in Israel on the day of the outbreak of the war will be returned to Gaza.”
The violence and atrocities have spread beyond Gaza to the West Bank. Since October 7, violence by Israeli settlers in the West Bank has displaced more than 800 Palestinians and killed at least 120. Before October 7, many experts believed the West Bank would see an outburst of violence as Israeli violence against the Palestinians there had reached its highest level in years.
The leader of Hezbollah in Lebanon held off on calling for a wider war, suggesting Israel will not be diverted to major fighting to a front in the northern part of the country – yet.