Israel links Gaza aid to hostage release as humanitarian crisis looms
On Thursday, the death toll in the Gaza Strip increased, and crucial supplies ran low, bringing the territory closer to the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe.
At the same time, Israel massed tanks on the border of the enclave in preparation for an anticipated ground invasion, despite cries from around the world for restraint in the face of the brutal Hamas terrorist attacks, as Reuters reported.
In an effort to create support for its response, the Israeli government publicized horrific photos of children and civilians slain by Hamas. These images were shown to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken as well as NATO defense ministers.
The Secretary's Response
Blinken claimed that they showed a newborn who had been "riddled with bullets," as well as headless troops and young people who had been burned alive in their cars.
"It's simply depravity in the worst imaginable way," he said. "It's really beyond anything that we can comprehend."
In retaliation for the deadliest attack on civilians in the history of Israel, when hundreds of gunmen breached the barrier and rampaged through towns on Saturday, Israel has pledged to eradicate the Hamas movement that runs the Gaza Strip. Hamas is responsible for the attack that killed the most civilians in Israeli history.
Blinken has cautioned Israel to exercise self-control while reiterating the United States' commitment to the country, saying, "We will always be there by your side."
Israeli Military Response
Lieutenant General Herzi Halevi, the leader of the Israeli military, indicated that lessons would be learned from the security lapses around Gaza that allowed the attack to occur: "We will learn, investigate, but now is the time for war."
Late on Thursday, Israeli parliamentarians showed their will to combat Hamas by voting in favor of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's emergency unity cabinet, which includes members of the center-left opposition.
Israel's response thus far has been to completely blockade the Gaza Strip, and to conduct bombings to push back against the brutal terrorism that has taken place in the one weeklong conflict.
Despite terrorists from the Gaza Strip starting the all-out war between the groups, Gaza authorities have appealed to the world, asserting that 1,400 Palestinian people have been killed and another 6,000 have been injured.
While humanitarian groups have warned supplies have begun to run low, Israel has warned those in the area that they should evacuate.