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Israel Hamas war: Israeli tanks hit Gaza, settler attacks in West Bank, Middle East economies threat

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Israel’s army says it has carried out an operation in northern Gaza in preparation for the next stages of combat.

In a post on social media site X, it said IDF tanks and infantry struck “numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile posts.”

Palestinians inspect the rubble of destroyed buildings following Israeli airstrikes on town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, Oct. 26, 2023.

Israeli tanks raid Gaza

On Wednesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed his country was preparing a ground invasion of Gaza, and that “we are working against the clock” in preparations to destroy Hamas.

“We are in a war for our sovereignty, for our existence, and we have set ourselves two fundamental objectives: to eradicate Hamas’s military and governmental capabilities and to do everything possible to bring the hostages held by the Palestinian Islamist group back home,” Netanyahu said in a televised address.

UN fails to pass resolution on Israel Hamas war – again

The UN Security Council has failed to address the Israeli-Hamas war in Gaza, rejecting rival United States and Russian resolutions.

Washington’s resolution reaffirmed Israel’s right to self-defence, urged respect for international laws — especially protection of civilians — and called for “humanitarian pauses” to deliver desperately needed aid to Gaza.

10 countries on the 15-member council voted in favour, three were against and two abstained. The resolution was not adopted because Russia and China cast vetoes.

The Russian resolution called for an immediate “humanitarian cease-fire”, and unequivocally condemned Hamas’ 7 October attack on southern Israel and “indiscriminate attacks” on civilians in Gaza.

Palestinians inspect the damage of destroyed buildings following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.
Palestinians inspect the damage of destroyed buildings following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.Abed Khaled/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

Four countries voted in favour, two against and nine abstained. The resolution did not pass because it failed to get the minimum nine “yes” votes.

Under UN charter, the Security Council is charged with maintaining international peace.  But Wednesday’s votes, following the rejections last week of a Russian resolution and Brazilian proposal, leave the council divided and paralyzed over the Israel-Hamas war.

US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield accused Russia of submitting its text with no consultations and “in bad faith.” Russia’s UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia called Washington’s draft a “politicised” proposal to shore up Israel.

A compromise resolution could be drafted.

Biden condemns attacks by Israeli settlers in the West Bank

The US President spoke out against retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in the West Bank in the aftermath of Hamas’s surprise assault on 7 October.

Joe Biden said the attacks by “extremist settlers” were “pouring gasoline” on already raging fires in the Middle East since the attack, which killed 1,400 people.

“It has to stop. They have to be held accountable. It has to stop now,” he said at the start of a news conference with Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, who was visiting Washington.

Settler violence against Palestinians has intensified in recent weeks, with Palestinians killed by settlers.

Rights groups say settlers have torched cars and attacked several small Bedouin communities, forcing them to evacuate to other areas.

The violence threatens to open another front in the two-week-old war, which has already split into other areas, including southern Lebanon and Syria.

It also puts pressure on the internationally recognised Palestinian Authority, which administers parts of the West Bank, though is deeply unpopular among Palestinians, in large part because it cooperates with Israel on security matters.

The West Bank Protection Consortium, a coalition of nongovernmental organisations and donor countries, including the European Union, says hundreds of Palestinians have been forcibly displaced in the West Bank due to settler violence since 7 October.

That’s on top of the more than 1,100 displaced since 2022.

Fighting could threaten already fragile Middle Eastern economies

Economic crises are rippling through countries bordering Israel, raising the possibility of a chain reaction from the war with Hamas.

The fallout could further worsen the financial health and political stability of Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon and create problems beyond.

All three countries face differing economic pressures that led the International Monetary Fund to warn in September that their “sociopolitical stability” was at risk.

That warning came shortly before the outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas, which could easily cause economic chaos.

The possible fallout is now starting to be recognised by world leaders and policy analysts.

A Palestinian man evacuates a wounded girl out of the destruction following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.
A Palestinian man evacuates a wounded girl out of the destruction following Israeli airstrikes on Gaza City, Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2023.Abed Khaled/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved.

For a Biden administration committed to stopping the Israel-Hamas war from widening, the conflict could amplify the economic strains and possibly cause governments to collapse.

If the chaos went unchecked, it could spread across a region that is vital for global oil supplies – with reverberations around the globe.

“The more unstable things are economically, the easier it is for bad actors in the region to stir the pot,” said Christopher Swift, an international lawyer and former Treasury Department official.

“The notion that you can divorce politics from economics is a little bit myopic, and naive. Politics, economics and security go together very closely.”

France’s Macron pushes for coalition to fight Hamas

French President Emmanuel Macron is promoting, with little success so far, an international coalition to fight the armed Palestinian group Hamas.

He pitched the idea during a two-day trip to the Middle East that started in Israel.

Leaders he met with in Israel, the West Bank, Jordan and Egypt didn’t publicly address the issue.

The first response to the devastating Israel-Hamas war is “the fight against terrorism,” Macron said Wednesday after his meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi.

“The right response is to cooperate, to draw lessons from the international coalition against the Islamic State group” that intervened in Iraq and Syria, he added.

Macron first proposed the idea Tuesday after his meeting with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, mentioning a “regional and international coalition” against Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.

Netanyahu did not specifically comment on the proposal.

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