“Explain to the world that we fight against animals.” The request of an Israeli citizen, made this week next to the Western Wall in Jerusalem, remains half-finished for a few minutes when this chronicle is written. The alarms ring in Tel Aviv and we have to go to the nearest shelter, where a baby cries in the arms of his father while he waits for the danger to pass. It's Shabbat Eve.
Five minutes later, the Iron Dome - the Iron Dome, Israel's anti-missile system - has completed its mission by neutralizing the projectiles sent from Gaza in the air and Tel Aviv returns to normal within the abnormality that this city has become. cosmopolitan and modern since the Hamas attack of October 7. It doesn't matter if it is on the façade of a skyscraper, on a balcony, on the promenade, at a bus stop, in a store, on the giant screen of a shopping center, on a street bench or on a lamppost... There are two elements that predominate: the Israeli flag and the photos of the 240 hostages that the Islamist organization is holding captive in Gaza.
Against animals. The animals would be Hamas fighters, who since the atrocities against civilians on October 7 cannot be considered anything other than terrorists. The tactic of dehumanizing the adversary is older than the conflict between Israel and Palestine and is not something that only this citizen of Jerusalem thinks about. Many Israelis throughout the country have repeated that idea since Defense Minister Yoav Gallant launched it on October 9, two days after the attacks that sparked this war. "We are fighting with human animals and we will act the same way," Gallant said.
It had been three days since the alarms had sounded in Tel Aviv or in the central area of the country and they did so again just the day after Gallant announced control of the western sector of Gaza City and the beginning of a “new phase”; the second phase of the land invasion of the strip that began three weeks ago.
With the usual military opacity, the minister did not clarify what the phase of the offensive consisted of, but it is evident that it includes the advance of the troops towards the south after that entire area of the strip has also been bombed since the beginning of the conflict, even though Israel asked northern Gazans to move south to safety. However, Israel does not yet control the north and the launch of rockets this Friday from Gaza against the center of the country makes it clear that Hamas continues to represent a threat not only within the strip.
This Friday, the director of Israel's National Security Council, Tzachi Hanegbi, offered more information on this new phase when taking stock of the first three weeks of the ground offensive. “We are in the heart of Gaza City and we have attacked all the places we marked as targets or eliminated them. Thousands of terrorists have been killed. The heads of terrorist organizations will never again carry out horrible atrocities,” said Hanegbi, explaining that the War Cabinet will continue to resist international pressure to declare a ceasefire.
“The established rule is: when we know that the hostages can be released, and it is not a question of manipulation or public relations purposes of Hamas but of a mass release of our hostages, only then will we accept a ceasefire. And even then, it will be very brief," added Hanegbi, one day before the four-day march ends in Jerusalem this Saturday - it began on Tuesday in Tel Aviv, covering the 70 kilometers - of the relatives of the hostages to ask for his release.
The national security advisor confirmed that, at the request of the US, two fuel tankers per day will enter Gaza with the sole objective of reestablishing wastewater treatment – managed by the UN – to prevent the spread of diseases. , as alerted by Doctors Without Borders and other humanitarian organizations. “We do not need epidemics that harm civilians or our soldiers. If there is an epidemic, the fighting will stop. If there is a humanitarian crisis and an international outcry, we will not be able to continue the fight under these conditions," was the justification offered by Hanegbi, who clarified: "We will not stop until the military and government capabilities of Hamas and Islamic Jihad are destroyed. Palestine".
Also this Friday, Hizbullah fired again against northern Israel, wounding four civilians in a kibbutz - after the eight attacks on Thursday -, while Israeli aircraft bombed Shiite guerrilla positions in Lebanon. And in Jenin, in the West Bank, five Palestinians were shot dead by Israeli soldiers.
On the other hand, the army already fully controls the Al Shifa hospital, the largest health center in Gaza, but there is no evidence that it has found under the medical complex the large network of tunnels that supposedly hid the Hamas headquarters. The troops only found what they called an “operational tunnel” where there were weapons.
Israel accuses Hamas of having held some hostages in the hospital but the fundamentalist organization denied it this Friday, although it acknowledged that there were kidnapped people in Al Shifa and other health centers because "a number of them were transferred to receive treatment due to the severity." of their health conditions.” In a statement, the Al Qasam Brigades – the armed wing of Hamas – also announced the death of another hostage who received “intensive care” in a hospital and, after recovering, was taken back to his place of captivity where he died from of "the panic attacks he suffered as a result of the repeated bombings around the place where he was detained." On Thursday, Israel announced the discovery, in buildings adjacent to the Al Shifa hospital, of the bodies of two other hostages it claims were “murdered”: a 19-year-old soldier and a 65-year-old woman.
Prime Minister Beniamin Netanyahu, responding to a question from the American network CBS, spoke this Friday about the thousands of Palestinians killed in Gaza by Israeli bombs. "Any civilian death is a tragedy. And we shouldn't have any because we are doing everything we can to keep civilians out of danger, while Hamas is doing everything it can to keep them in danger," Netanyahu responded.
The Palestinians killed in Gaza are close to 12,000 but the figure could be higher because it is estimated that there could be at least 3,000 bodies in the rubble of the destroyed buildings.
Thousands of people dead, not animals.