UMass Lowell Connector Logo

Israel’s siege on Gaza continues

(Photo courtesy of EMEA Tribune). “Air strikes hitting buildings in Gaza as conflict continues.”

Jonathan Hatem
Connector Staff

As of October 27, over 7,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s siege on Gaza, as well as attacks in the West Bank. This includes over 2,900 children but does not include missing people or unidentified dead people.  

Israel’s siege has gone on for 20 days as its ongoing response to the October 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas, officially known as the Islamic Resistance Movement, which killed over 1,400 people. Hamas also kidnapped and held over 200 people from Israel hostage.   

Dr. Angelica Durán-Martínez, director of the Global Studies Ph.D. program at UMass Lowell, said the United Nations (UN) announced that it is unable to continue humanitarian operations in Gaza unless it receives fuel. Since 2007, Israel has imposed a military blockade at the Gaza border crossing that limits the movement of goods and people to and from the Gaza Strip. This blockade intensified after October 7. Dr. Durán-Martínez said fuel is essential to power hospitals, homes, schools, and essential services and infrastructure like the water desalination plant in Gaza.  

Dr. Minnie Minhyung Joo, a UMass Lowell political science professor, said Israel was providing Palestine with fuel, before October 7. Fuel is also essential for transporting aid into Gaza, said Joo. She also said that Israel stated they were concerned the fuel would be used for Hamas military action. Dr. Jarrod Hayes, a political science professor at UMass Lowell says that the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have also said that there is not much fuel in Gaza.  

Hayes also said that Israel has conducted multiple combined arms incursions into Gaza, which included ground troops, aircraft, and tanks.  

Since United States President Joseph Biden negotiated for humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza last week, only 84 aid trucks have made it into Gaza. Dr. Durán-Martínez said this is too little as the UN estimates that 100 aid trucks per day would be necessary to fulfill essential needs.  

Hayes says reports suggest upwards of 10% of built infrastructure in Gaza has been destroyed during this siege. Hayes also said reports show that cell and internet service in Gaza is almost completely off.  

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for an immediate ceasefire. Israel has rejected these calls and called on Guterres to resign immediately.   

On Israel’s intentions regarding this siege as well as a potential ceasefire, Professor Hayes says, “It’s not clear at all how they (Israel) get from where they are now to where they say they want to be, which is the destruction of Hamas as an actor in the Gaza Strip.”   

Hayes also cited a general expectation of proportional responses in times of fighting. As the destruction of Gaza and the killing of Palestinians continues, it will be more difficult for the international community to view Israel’s response as proportional, said Hayes.   

Human Rights Watch (HRW), an NGO focused on advocacy for human rights, alleged that Israel has used white phosphorus in both Gaza and Lebanon. HRW supports these allegations with video footage. Israel has denied that it used white phosphorus.  

White phosphorus explodes with oxygen, creating temperatures of 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit. People exposed to it can suffer severe, potentially deadly burns. It can also cause organs to shut down.  

Dr. Joo said that Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) defines attacks that would cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians as a war crime. Israel has not ratified this treaty, but Palestine can request an ICC investigation into the alleged use of White Phosphorus, said Joo. The use of white phosphorus is lawful in certain military circumstances, such as creating smoke screens on a battlefield.  

Violence against Palestinians has also taken place in the West Bank, including an attack on the Jenin refugee camp that killed 9 Palestinians.  

Speaking on this ongoing conflict, Joo said that it is important to remember that citizens bear the costs of wars, whether those costs be humanitarian, emotional, economic, or physical. 

Related posts