The world is watching the war going on in the Gaza Strip, an enclave the size of Munich, but in which almost twice as many people, namely 2.2 million, live.
The pictures that reach us from there are not pretty. These are the five things you should know about the situation in Gaza this morning:
1. Who currently has official government authority in the Gaza Strip?
Formally, the Gaza Strip is part of the Palestinian Autonomous Territories and is administered by the Palestinian Authority. The president is the moderate Palestinian Mahmoud ‘Abbas, but he does not live there and does not de facto run the area.
As early as 2007, the Gaza Strip split off from the more moderate Fatah leadership in the West Bank as a result of the Fatah-Hamas conflict and has since been controlled by the Islamist terrorist organization Hamas.
The new de facto leader in the Gaza Strip is Jahia Sinwar. There have been no elections there since then; police power lies with Hamas. Freedom of the press is suspended.
2. How many soldiers and what military equipment is the Israeli army using in this ground offensive?
Since Monday, Israeli troops and tanks have advanced first into the south and now also into the east of the Gaza Strip. According to the military, Gaza City has been surrounded since last night. There is no information from the military about the exact number of troops deployed.
The aim of the military operation is to destroy the tunnel system, which is around 500 kilometers long and 40 meters deep. It is considered Hamas’ central nervous system. The attack on Israel was prepared and carried out from here.
3. How many people have been killed on both sides in this armed conflict so far?
Since Hamas’ attack on Israel, 1,405 people have died on the Israeli side, the Israeli government said. The Hamas Ministry of Health says 9,061 people died on the Palestinian side.
The figures on the Palestinian side in particular should be viewed with caution, because any health official who does not report the death figures demanded by Hamas risks serious consequences, explains Luke Baker, the former bureau chief of the Reuters news agency in the region. High death rates are part of Hamas propaganda.
4. How should the humanitarian situation in the contested area be assessed?
Two days after the Hamas attack – October 9 – Israel cut off supplies of water, food, fuel and electricity. However, according to information from the Times of Israel, the Gaza Strip’s water supply has now been stabilized and Israel has reopened two of three water pipelines.
The recently opened Rafah border crossing in the south of the Gaza Strip means that isolated international aid convoys can now enter the war zone via Egypt – but these are too few, says the Commissioner General of the UN Palestinian Relief Agency UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini.
“The handful of convoys allowed through the border crossing are nothing compared to the needs of more than two million people trapped in Gaza.”
The International Committee of the Red Cross reported on the current situation on site:
“The human suffering is shocking. People have limited access to food and water. “
According to the UN, only around 144 trucks have reached the Gaza Strip since the war began, but almost 100 truckloads are needed every day to provide people with the essentials. There were isolated reports of grocery stores being looted.
5. Why can’t people escape to Egypt?
First Egypt fears that this will bring Hamas terrorists into the country, who will also cause chaos in Egypt.
Secondly : The Egyptians support the Palestinian side and the fewer people live in the Gaza Strip, the weaker their position to leave the area autonomous. Egypt has no interest in the Gaza Strip becoming Israeli territory. For them, the Palestinian territory is a kind of buffer state.
Third : Presidential elections will take place in Egypt in December, in which incumbent President al-Sisi plans to run again.
Al-Sisi does not want to risk unrest in his own country so close to the election, especially since Egypt is in a difficult economic situation.
There has been a reversal of perpetrator and victim
Conclusion: The situation in the Gaza Strip has become precarious and the political feedback to the headquarters of the Western democracies is highly complex. Under the impression of Israeli bombings and the images of devastation from Gaza, there has been a reversal of perpetrator and victim. The emergence of an anti-Israel youth movement in Europe and the USA can no longer be ruled out. Or as a Jewish woman recently remarked: