Images released by the Israeli army show an endless crowd of people fleeing. With white flags high in the air, residents of Gaza march on foot from the north to the south. This is the result of ‘a new corridor’ that the Israeli army has opened ‘to evacuate civilians to the southern part of Gaza’, an official voice from the army said on X. On Monday, the army left between 10 and 14 local time, the residents once again fled via Salah al-Din, a 45 kilometer long road.
Since this weekend, Israeli ground forces have surrounded Gaza City. As they advanced, the Palestinians were driven from the north. From the start of the war, a month ago now, the Israeli army has urged civilians to move south. But many did not do so, partly because they had no friends or family there – and therefore no shelter – but also because the road to the south turned out to be unsafe. Several Gaza residents also confirmed this The standard.
Residents also now testified Associated Press about shelling along the way. About 7,000 residents, many from Gaza City and the neighboring Shati refugee camp near the coast, left for the south on Sunday and Monday. Many did so without any possessions, others have a backpack with clothes in one hand, their child in the other. A photo shows a Palestinian man walking next to a cart with a donkey, his wife and children hiding behind mattresses and blankets. He makes a V sign to avoid being targeted by Israeli attacks.
The United Nations calculates that about 1.5 million people have moved south in the past month, or almost seven in 10 Gazans. They have to survive in an overpopulated area with dwindling water and food supplies. It is unclear whether they will ever be able to return to the north.
The ground offensive in Gaza is now in full swing. Israel has launched a military campaign aimed not only at defeating its opponent, the extremist group Hamas, but also at laying the foundation for a more stable and secure future for Israeli citizens. The goal is that a bloody invasion like the one on October 7, in which 1,400 Israelis died and more than 200 civilians were kidnapped, can never happen again.
Once the war with Israel’s estimated 30,000 Hamas fighters is over, Israel will have to oversee the security of the Gaza Strip “indefinitely,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in an interview with ABC News Monday. Asked who should govern Gaza when the war is over, Netanyahu said he thought Israel would have “overall security responsibility” over the territory indefinitely. “We’ve seen what happens when we don’t have it.”
Netanyahu’s comments indicate that Israel is preparing to play at least some role in controlling the Gaza Strip after the fighting ends. US President Joe Biden has warned that it would be “a big mistake” for Israel to reoccupy Gaza, from which it withdrew in 2005. Israel has been “very clear” that it does not want to do that, Biden said.
For now, the Israeli army is focusing on the encirclement and exhaustion of Gaza City and by extension the northern region, the area where Hamas’s base is said to be located. More than ten thousand people – four in ten of them children – have now died in Gaza. It is not known how many Hamas fighters have been killed.