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The Israeli military is preparing a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip with the intention of wiping out Hamas, according to Israeli officials. For the first time since 2006, the military plans to “capture land and at least briefly hold onto it”. The escalation, however, “risks locking Israel into months of bloody urban combat”. The biggest question, however, remains what Israel will do with Gaza City, which is Hamas’s stronghold and the enclave’s largest urban centre if it captures it, or what the destruction of Hamas’s leadership entails. The US has ordered a second aircraft carrier strike group to the eastern Mediterranean near Israel to deter Iran or Hezbollah from joining the Israel-Hamas conflict, according to officials.

Aid workers note that the conditions in Gaza have worsened, with tens of thousands of Palestinians striving to migrate to southern Gaza for refuge. Due to Israeli strikes, the Palestinian health ministry says that over 2,600 people have died. Furthermore, Israel has blockaded Gaza, making leaving the area and receiving humanitarian aid almost impossible. Diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis are in progress, but the world is witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding. Half a million citizens have fled to southern Gaza, and although Israel is opening its side to allow water to enter, Carter Goodrich has noted a lack of data of how much has flowed as yet. It remains unclear what will happen with the diplomatic effort to evacuate US citizens from Gaza since Egypt has refused to allow foreigners to cross the border unless aid can also pass in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, medics in Gaza warned on Sunday that thousands could die as hospitals that are packed with wounded patients are running desperately low on fuel and basic supplies, which means they are expected to run out of generator fuel within two days, according to the UN, endangering the lives of thousands of patients.

Recent polling by CNN found that 71% of Americans said they feel a lot of sympathy for Israelis, while half said Israel’s response to Hamas’ Oct. 7 assault was fully justified. Just 8% said it is not justified at all. A separate ABC News/Ipsos poll found that 54% of Americans approve of Biden’s handling of the war. Meanwhile, FBI director Christopher Wray has warned that reported domestic threats have surged as conflict in Israel escalates, and that antisemitic and other forms of violent extremism were unacceptable. Senator Lindsey Graham announced a new Middle East trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel in the coming days with a group of Senators. Lastly, it is unclear who will become the next House Speaker, or how the outcome will affect US policy in Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries says they will formalize discussions with Republicans.

Although Israeli officials have said that they do not want to occupy Gaza, they will do what it takes to combat Hamas. President Joe Biden has warned against occupying Gaza in light of the ongoing conflict. Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, told press that they will not occupy or rule over the lives of 2 million Palestinians. Biden has requested that civilians need to be protected, and aid in the form of supplies like food, water and gas have to be made available. They are also seeking a way to drive Hamas out of Gaza; however, there needs to be a Palestinian Authority present to achieve statehood.

While the Middle East has not been an area of significant involvement for China in the past, recent reports of conversations between China and Saudi Arabia suggest that China may be seeking to expand its influence in the region, adding to a growing body of evidence pointing towards this strategic goal. The Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, stated that “Israel has gone too far” in responding to last week’s invasion by Hamas, and expressed support for the formation of an independent Palestinian state as a solution to the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He stated this during a phone call with Irani officials, where he additionally suggested China stands for peace and justice and will support Palestine’s people’s right to safeguard their national rights. Another call was made to the Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, where he requested a resumption of dialogue between Palestinian Authorities and Israel, returning power to the citizens to self-determination. Additionally, there should be a ceasefire, with a guaranteed opening of humanitarian aid routes to Gaza.

US President Joe Biden warned that the conflict has a significant risk of escalating into wider regional conflict in the Middle East. The Pentagon has ordered a second carrier strike group to the Mediterranean Sea while Israel accelerates its Gaza operations. The US warships in the area are not meant to join the fight or take part in Israel’s operations, but the presence of the Navy’s powerful vessels aims to deter Iran and Iranian proxies like Hezbollah in Lebanon from entering into the conflict. Biden has also compared last week’s terrorist attacks to the Holocaust but said it was necessary to act against Hamas. Biden wants adequate supplies to enter Gaza and to establish humanitarian corridors for civilians to leave it.

It is crucial to note that although diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis are ongoing, the world is witnessing a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding. Therefore, individuals should remain vigilant about the situation and take care of themselves and their loved ones. It is urgent to contribute to support humanitarian aid and to avoid violent extremism and hate speech among different cultures and religions. Furthermore, in light of these uncertain and frightening events, individuals should be mentally prepared and stock up on necessary supplies to weather a possible global conflict. People should also plan escape routes and be ready to leave early in case of an emergency. Utilizing tools like NUKEMAP or MISSILEMAP can help people test how nuclear and conventional weapons may affect their cities and regions in order to plan escape routes that avoid military installations and heavily populated areas where flash burns and fallout will be concentrated after the initial blasts. Moreover, it is essential to stay spiritually strong, awake, and be ready for anything.

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