We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

Palestinians salvage their belongings after an Israeli strike in Rafah, Gaza Strip Alamy Stock Photo

Israel says it will press on with Gaza offensive 'with or without international support'

US President Joe Biden earlier today said Israel is “starting to lose that support by the indiscriminate bombing that takes place”.

ISRAEL HAS DECLARED its determination to press on with its assault on Gaza “with or without international support”, after it came under mounting pressure even from key backer the United States.

The conflict was launched after the unprecedented 7 October attacks on Israel by Palestinian militant group Hamas that officials say killed 1,200 people, mostly civilians.

It has left Gaza in ruins, killing more than 18,600 people, mostly women and children, according to the Gaza health ministry, and causing “unparallelled” damage to roads, schools and hospitals.

The day after the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly backed a non-binding resolution for a ceasefire, more strikes hit Gaza and battles raged, especially in Gaza City, the biggest urban centre, and Khan Yunis and Rafah in the south, AFP correspondents said.

Cold wintery rains lashed the territory, where the UN estimates 1.9 million of Gaza’s 2.4 million population have been displaced, living in makeshift tents as vital supplies of food, drinking water, medicines and fuel run low.

The United Nations warned the spread of diseases – including meningitis, jaundice, impetigo, chickenpox and upper respiratory tract infections – had intensified.

The World Health Organization said 107 trucks carrying humanitarian aid had entered the besieged territory from Egypt, well below the daily average of 500 before 7 October.

Gaza rocket fire

Air raid sirens wailed in Sderot and other southern Israeli communities near Gaza as Palestinian militants fired rockets, most of which were intercepted.

Israel’s military said sirens sounded in Ashdod city north of Gaza and in the Lakhish area. Social media footage showed a large fragment of an intercepted rocket had hit a supermarket.

The army said an air strike had hit a militant cell in Gaza City’s Shejaiya district “that was en route to launch rockets toward Israel”.

palestinians-wait-in-line-for-food-distribution-in-rafah-southern-gaza-strip-wednesday-dec-13-2023-an-israeli-military-offensive-launched-in-response-to-a-deadly-oct-7-hamas-attack-has-led-to Palestinians wait in line for food distribution in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

In the 7 October attack – the deadliest in Israel’s 75-year history – Hamas also seized around 240 hostages.

Determined to destroy Hamas and bring the hostages home, Israel began a devastating aerial and ground offensive.

It has lost 115 soldiers, including 10 in northern Gaza yesterday, its deadliest day since the ground assault began on 27 October.

Hamas is an Islamic militant group who are deemed a terrorist organisation by Israel, the US and the EU, among other powers. It has controlled the Gaza Strip since 2007 after winning the 2006 Palestinian elections and taking power by force.

The UN General Assembly passed a resolution yesterday demanding a ceasefire, backed by 153 of 193 nations – surpassing the 140 or so that have routinely condemned Russia for invading Ukraine.

While Washington voted against, the resolution was supported by allies Australia, Canada and New Zealand, who, in a rare joint statement, said they were “alarmed at the diminishing safe space for civilians in Gaza”.

‘Nothing will stop us’

US President Joe Biden told a campaign event Israel had “most of the world supporting it” immediately after 7 October, but “they’re starting to lose that support by the indiscriminate bombing that takes place”.

Biden, who toned down his comments later, today met with families of American hostages from those the militants seized.

Despite the criticism from its main ally, Israel vowed to pursue its war.

“Israel will continue the war against Hamas with or without international support,” said Foreign Minister Eli Cohen.

“A ceasefire at the current stage is a gift to the terrorist organisation Hamas, and will allow it to return and threaten the residents of Israel,” Cohen told a visiting diplomat, quoted by his ministry.

israeli-soldiers-prepare-to-enter-the-gaza-strip-at-a-staging-area-near-the-israeli-gaza-border-in-southern-israel-wednesday-dec-13-2023-the-army-is-battling-palestinian-militants-across-gaza-i Israeli soldiers prepare to enter the Gaza Strip, at a staging area near the Israeli-Gaza border Alamy Stock Photo Alamy Stock Photo

Netanyahu later said Israel would persevere.

“We will continue until the end. There is no question at all. I say this in light of great pain, but also in light of international pressure. Nothing will stop us. We are going until the end, until victory, nothing less than that,” he said in a video statement.

Biden’s national security advisor, Jake Sullivan, will travel to Israel tomorrow to meet Netanyahu, who has said there is “disagreement” with Washington over how a post-conflict Gaza would be governed.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar today said believes Israel is “making a huge mistake” in relation to Gaza and Palestine, and noted that even the United States is having “second thoughts” about what is unfolding.

Speaking in the Dáil today, the Taoiseach said he believes now is the time for sanctions to be taken in response to some of the activities of the Israeli state, particularly in the West Bank. 

The United States and Britain announced a new round of sanctions against Hamas over the 7 October attack, targeting “key officials who perpetuate Hamas’s violent agenda”.

Gaza City hospital raid

Gaza’s hospital system is in ruins, and Hamas authorities said vaccines for children had run out, warning of “catastrophic health repercussions”.

The World Bank in a new analysis warned that “the loss of life, speed and extent of damages … are unparallelled”.

The Gaza health ministry said Israeli forces opened fire on wards of Kamal Adwan hospital in north Gaza, raising fears for the safety of 12 children in paediatric care.

The army has yet to comment, but Israel has repeatedly accused Hamas of using hospitals, schools, mosques and vast tunnel systems beneath them as military bases – claims the group has denied.

© AFP 2023 with reporting by Hayley Halpin