Qatar’s Prime Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, voiced his concerns at the Doha Forum, stating that Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza is “narrowing the window” for a potential new truce. He emphasised that Qatar would persist in its efforts to encourage both sides to engage in a ceasefire. Qatar played a crucial role in negotiating a temporary pause in hostilities at the end of November, facilitating the release of hostages.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, declared that “the war is in full swing,” asserting that numerous Hamas terrorists had surrendered in recent days. He expressed confidence that this marked the “beginning of the end for Hamas.”
The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has intensified, with the Hamas-run health agency reporting almost 18,000 Palestinian casualties. Hamas’s armed wing, in an audio message to Al Jazeera, asserted that the temporary ceasefire had proven its credibility but indicated that further hostage releases depended on Israel’s willingness to engage in talks. The spokesperson also claimed significant destruction of military vehicles and casualties among Israeli soldiers, promising that “what is coming is greater.”
At the Doha Forum, Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, described Gaza as a “hell on earth,” emphasising the dire situation. Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called for international sanctions against Israel, accusing it of violating international humanitarian law.
While diplomatic discussions continue, fighting in Gaza persists, particularly in the city of Khan Younis, where heavy bombardments are ongoing. Israeli adviser Mark Regev acknowledged the challenging situation in Khan Younis and urged civilians to move to safe zones. The city, previously considered a safe area, has come under intense military engagement, leading to civilian casualties.
In the backdrop of the conflict, Israel engaged in international diplomacy, criticising its allies for what it perceived as an inconsistent approach. Prime Minister Netanyahu argued that supporting the elimination of Hamas while pressuring Israel to end the war presented a contradiction. The recent UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire faced a US veto, with the UK abstaining. Israel refuted claims of attempting to force Gazans into Egypt and faced international calls for immediate medical access to Gaza due to the catastrophic humanitarian situation.