Hopes for a ceasefire are fading as Israel vows to continue the war

(Fatima Shbair/Associated Press)

Hopes for a ceasefire are fading as Israel vows to continue the war


Laura King
Tracy Wilkinson

Dec. 23, 2023


The death toll in Gaza is growing by the hour. International press


Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is growing steadily. And ordinary Israelis are expressing increasing frustration with the

direction of the behavior of the

The deadliest to date was against the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

But as the year draws to a close, it’s unclear whether the combination of factors will force even a temporary hiatus


battles that entail enormous human costs,

and that’s true

it is eroding US support around the world and threatens to influence the US elections next fall.



in Gaza,

aggravated, pushed higher

achieved a grim milestone through one of the most intensive bombing campaigns in the history of modern warfare


More than 20,000 on Friday. According to the United Nations, about two-thirds of Palestinians have been killed


women and children.

Israel launched its bloody campaign to eliminate Hamas after the militant group launched a cross-border attack


Oct. At least 1,200 people, mostly civilians, were killed and around 240 hostages were taken, many of whom are still imprisoned in Gaza.

In the latest show of defiance to US calls to curb civilian casualties, Netanyahu told President Biden by telephone


On Saturday, the prime minister’s office said Israel would continue the war until all its objectives are achieved.

Netanyahu also tried to portray

as a show of solidarity

what was widely read as a rare public American rebuke of Israel: the Biden administration

decision, op



to veto


Security Council Resolution

that demanded

More aid will be allowed into Gaza

as a show of solidarity


The Prime Minister’s Office said this after the

phone call two leaders spoke

that Netanyahu had expressed his appreciation for the US position on the resolution, which had been halted shortly before

demanding call

a ceasefire

while you call

“unhindered” humanitarian aid for Gaza. Biden was more taciturn in brief comments outside the White House, saying he had had a “private” conversation with the Israeli leader and had not asked

from him

a ceasefire.


The Security Council resolution was adopted and a vote was taken

after days of negotiations that the US fought for


water down

language resolution that was ultimately adopted

so that there was no call for a ceasefire in it.

In addition to the dead, hundreds of thousands of Gazans displaced by Israel’s military attack live without adequate food or water, amid misery and disease.

The Biden administration’s fervent support for Israel has softened

ever so

Calls for a cessation of hostilities have become just as urgent

domestically, including among Biden’s Democratic base, eleven months ahead of a close presidential election,

and among numerous American allies.

and domestically, including among Biden’s Democratic base, eleven months ahead of a close presidential election.

Aid organizations

For example,

welcomed Friday’s UN resolution, but said it fell woefully short of needs. Hundreds of thousands of Gazans displaced by Israel’s military attack are living without it


food or water, amide misery and disease.

Failure to demand a ceasefire is “unjustifiable,” according to the International Rescue Committee.

“We reiterate that the only way to fully protect Palestinian lives, enable an adequate humanitarian response and provide the best chance for the release of hostages is to stop the fighting,” the IRC said, echoing numerous other groups .

In Friday’s vote, the US reversed its position


opposes a series of similar resolutions and agreed to abstain

and therefore do not block approval



The US stood alone in vetoing measures calling for a ceasefire


condemned the


Oct. 7 Hamas attack. The Biden administration, along with Israel, has argued for a ceasefire now

which that

would leave the Hamas leadership in place and allow the militant organization to regroup and rearm.

Today this council brought a ray of hope to the population


a sea of ​​unimaginable suffering, the US ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said when the measure was approved on Friday. Today, this Council called for urgent steps to immediately enable safe, unhindered and expanded humanitarian access and create the conditions for a lasting cessation of hostilities.

Other Security Council members were angry that the US could not be persuaded to go further.

The closest example of the US not siding with Israel at the UN came in the waning days of the Obama administration, when then-UN Ambassador Samantha Power voted the first abstention, authorizing a Security Council resolution declaring Jewish settlements in the West. Bank illegal. Although that resolution was in accordance with international law and


had been American policy for decades




sparked anger among the Israeli government and some Republicans, including the new president



Today however,


to demand


even a temporary ceasefire

are explained

are not accepted.

A month ago


elapsed since the beginning of the last temporary armistice. That week-long break in the fighting

end of November,

saw more than 100 hostages captured in Israel in exchange for being released about three times

so much that number

Palestinian prisoners. But with more than a hundred hostages still held in Gaza, efforts to broker a new exchange have failed;


Hamas recently rejected this


an Israeli offer to temporarily halt the fighting again if more hostages are released.

Families thereof


held captive are pushing their demands for a ceasefire even more forcefully

and bigger

despair. On


a rainy, windy night in Tel Aviv, thousands of relatives and their supporters huddled under umbrellas

on Saturday

calling on the government to find a way to free their loved ones.

We won’t stop until everyone is back, he said

demonstrator present

Sivan Cohen Saban. All, all.

For Israel, the hostage crisis remains an open wound. The accidental fatal shooting


Dec. On September 15, Israeli troops moved in with three hostages in Gaza

to inter

national uprising that has not yet been crushed. The Israeli military said the soldiers were involved


the rules of engagement would be violated and disciplined.

The three slain hostages, all in their twenties, had done so

dramatically sought

to make their presence known to Israeli forces, emerging shirtless and waving a makeshift flag. They even managed to get one

message inside


-language message

on the wall of a building, in an attempt to alert the military to their presence.

In what has become a grim recurring ritual, Israel moves on

even now,

to identify the dead in October. 7 Hamas-led massacres or who have since died in captivity.

The last reported death was that of a 73-year-old dual citizen of Israel and the United States.


Gadi Haggai. He was killed in the attack on his kibbutz in southern Israel, but militants brought his body to Gaza and are still holding it, Israeli officials said Friday.

On the Palestinian side,

the Foreign Ministry said

approximately 300 US citizens, green card holders or their immediate family members remain trapped in Gaza,

the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said:

and panicky relatives

in the United States

keep pressing to get them out.

The Israeli Defense Forces maintain that they continue to degrade Hamas militarily, but after eleven weeks of war, the oft-repeated goal is


destroying the group’s capabilities


seems far away. Although the Israeli military claims to have killed a number of the group’s senior commanders and has seized and razed at least one home of Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar, he has

seems to remain apparently remains

generally and unharmed.

In Israel the

there was conflict

has created a political paradox: surveys show that most Israelis still support the war


but don’t trust Netanyahu as a wartime leader. Many doubt whether his stated goal of crushing Hamas is achievable, or wonder whether he will prioritize bringing prisoners home.

or both


Meanwhile, warnings are growing that Israel could miss an opportunity to free the hostages through a deal with Hamas if it continues to ignore international pressure for an interim force or a longer-term cessation of fighting.

It is time for a decision, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wrote last week in an opinion piece in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. A ceasefire with living hostages, or a forced cessation of hostilities with dead ones.

Times staff writer King reported from Tel Aviv and Wilkinson from Washington.


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