US President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that Israel cannot return to the prewar status quo after fighting against Hamas and should work toward a two-state solution with the Palestinians when it ends.
“There’s no going back to the status quo as it stood on October 6,” Biden said at a joint press conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. “That means ensuring that Hamas can no longer terrorize Israel and use Palestinians civilians as human shields. It also means that when this crisis is over, there has to be a vision of what comes next, and in our view it has to be a two-state solution.”
“It means a concentrated effort from all the parties — Israelis, Palestinians, regional partners, global leaders — to put us on a path toward peace,” he added.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed shock at the reactions to his earlier statement, where he condemned acts of terror inflicted on Israel and emphasized that these events did not occur in isolation.
This comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel is making preparations for a potential ground invasion of the Gaza Strip, but the timing remains uncertain. In a televised address from Tel Aviv, he emphasized, “This is only the beginning.”
Meanwhile, Gaza faces a dire humanitarian crisis, with hospitals forced to halt all but emergency services due to reducing number of fuel supplies. Israel has accused Hamas of stockpiling fuel and has blocked its delivery to Gaza.
The United Nations’ humanitarian agency in Gaza is also grappling with a fuel shortage, which could force it to shut down operations in the coming hours.
Juliette Touma, the UNRWA spokeswoman, said, “The coming few hours are very critical as we continue to hope that there will be a supply of fuel sent to UNRWA in Gaza.”
She added, “If the fuel doesn’t come into Gaza, we will have to take one of the toughest decisions any aid organization would take, which is to reduce humanitarian assistance to the people who need it most in the Gaza Strip.”
Mohamed, a father of three from London, shared the harrowing experiences of his family trapped in Gaza speaking to a couple of journalists.
“There is bombing everywhere, no food, no clean water,” he said. He described how many children are sick, and people are enduring long queues for bread and fuel.
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Mohamed’s young children, frightened by the ongoing violence, cry out during the night, mistaking the sounds of bombings for fireworks. He lamented that despite being in regular contact with the Foreign Office, there is currently no plan in place to evacuate him and his family from Gaza.
The situation in the Gaza Strip remains dire, with over 6,500 people reported killed since October 7th, primarily due to Israeli airstrikes. In contrast, more than 1,400 people were killed during the initial attacks on Israel by Hamas, with over 200 individuals still held hostage in Gaza.