Israel to impose total blockade of Gaza as air strikes continue

Photo: Community members gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse for a 2021 rally demonstrating solidarity with Palestine. Credit: ANSWER Indiana

Editorial note: This article was originally published in Peoples Dispatch. The Indy Liberation Center is sharing it to provide further context for the October 12 “Day of resistance” being held by Students for Justice in Palestine – Butler University, PSL Indianapolis, Jewish Voice for Peace – Indiana, the Indianapolis Liberation center, and ANSWER Indiana at 5:30 pm at Monument Circle to demonstrate our support for Palestine. You can also learn more by listening to Liberation Media’s free audio book, Palestine, Israel, and the U.S. Empire.

Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced a “complete blockade” of Gaza on Monday October 9 and said that “there will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed.” In his announcement Gallant stated: “We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly.” Gaza is one of the world’s most densely populated areas with a population of 2.3 million. The defense minister’s declarations come just one day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu formally declared war on Hamas.

Meanwhile, Israeli warplanes have continued to carry out indiscriminate bombings across the Gaza strip, targeting schools, mosques, civilian buildings. Israeli media reported on Monday that at least 1,000 tons of explosives have been dropped on Gaza, targeting 500 locations, mostly civilian residential areas.

According to latest from the Palestinian Ministry of Health, a total of 560 Palestinians have been killed in the Israeli airstrikes in Gaza since Saturday, including at least 91 children. Over 2,900 Palestinians, including 244 children, have also been injured.

The Israeli bombings in Khan Younis and Rafah in the early morning of Monday have led to the death of entire families.

The United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA) claimed that Israel targeted a school run by them in the Gaza strip which was used as a shelter for people displaced due to the Israeli airstrikes.

According to the UN, over 123,000 Gazans have been displaced following Israeli attacks. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) stated that around 73,000 Palestinians have taken shelter in school buildings inside Gaza.

There were also unverified reports of Israeli forces allegedly using white phosphorus during the bombings on Monday. The use of the substance is banned under international law.

Meanwhile, Palestinian resistance groups continue to advance with Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. The total number of Israelis killed since the operation was launched early on Saturday has crossed 800, with over 2,243 injured. 

Fighting in multiple locations

Several Israeli settlements are witnessing heavy fighting between the Palestinian resistance and the Israeli ground forces. According to the Times of Israel, fighting was ongoing in at least seven or eight locations inside the 1948 borders early Monday morning. The newspaper later reported Israeli forces claim that they had taken control of all these towns and settlements from the Palestinian fighters.

Fighting was still ongoing in Sderot, which was first attacked by the Palestinian resistance on Saturday, with several Israeli casualties reported.

According to Al-Jazeera, Israel has amasses over 100,000 reserve troops in preparation for a ground offensive in Gaza.

Palestinian resistance forces claimed on Monday that they have captured at least 130 Israeli troops and citizens who are being held hostage and may be exchanged for Palestinian prisoners inside Israeli jails.

There are over 5,000 Palestinians are currently being held in different Israeli jails.

World community cannot ignore Israel’s colonial and racial agenda

During a special session of the UN Security Council on Sunday, Palestinian ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour questioned the stance taken by some countries and media houses regarding Israel’s so-called “right to defend,” saying that it was a wrong understanding of history which only starts when Israelis are hurt. 

The UNSC did not decide on any immediate course of action due to disagreements among the permanent members. While the US demanded condemnation of Hamas’ actions, the Russian and Chinese ambassadors refused to issue any blanket condemnation naming Hamas and instead demanded an immediate ceasefire and the start of a peace process which has been stalled for decades. 

Mansour reiterated that Palestinians have been enduring Israeli atrocities for decades, which is never acknowledged, while repeated Palestinian pleas to the UN are ignored. “When Israel now tries to justify yet another assault (on Gaza) by the same faulty premise, no one should say or do anything to encourage it down this path. We know only too well that the messages about ‘Israel’s right to defend itself’ will be interpreted by Israel as a license to kill, to pursue the very path that led us here,” he added.

Mansour also demanded accountability from international organizations who he said have repeatedly failed to hold Israel accountable for violating international laws. “You cannot say ‘nothing justifies killing Israelis’ and then provide justifications for killing Palestinians. We are not sub-humans. We will never accept rhetoric that denigrates our humanity and reneges our rights. A rhetoric that ignores the occupation of our land and oppression of our people.”  

He also questions countries like the US which have expressed support to Israel, asking them how they could ignore Israel’s colonialist and racist agenda. 

Meanwhile, the US has decided to move its USS Gerald R Ford carrier strike group closer to the Mediterranean to provide support to the Israeli armed forces.