— Israel’s army chief has warned its aggression in Gaza will last “many more months” as the military stepped up strikes, where nearly 21,000 people have already been reported killed.
But Israel’s leaders have repeatedly vowed to keep up their offensive until Palestinian resistance group Hamas is destroyed, and army chief Herzi Halevi signalled there would be no quick end to the war.
“This war’s objectives are essential and not simple to achieve,” Halevi said on Tuesday night.
“Therefore, the war will continue for many more months.”
Concerns over a spiralling humanitarian crisis inside the besieged territory have amplified calls for an end to the hostilities, while incidents linked to Iran-backed groups acting in solidarity with Gaza have fanned fears of a wider regional conflict.,
Jordan, Egypt discuss efforts to reach ceasefire in Gaza
Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi met with his Egyptian counterpart Sameh Shoukry to exchange opinions on efforts to reach a ceasefire in Gaza.
Meeting in Egypt’s capital Cairo, they exchanged views on the ongoing coordination and consultation process between the two countries to ensure a ceasefire, the Jordanian Foreign Ministry said on X.
They also addressed ways to deliver “adequate, urgent and sustainable” aid to Palestinians in Gaza.
Israel kills six Palestinians in West Bank incursion
An Israeli military raid in a Palestinian refugee camp in the north of the occupied West Bank has left six Palestinians dead and several others wounded early on Wednesday, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
“Six martyrs killed by the occupation [Israel] and some who were seriously wounded were transported to the Thabet Thabet government hospital in Tulkarem,” the ministry said in a short statement.
US, Israel discuss war in Gaza; Cuba slams ‘terrorist’ Israel
White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer have discussed planning for the day after Israel’s brutal war on besieged Gaza, including governance and security, a White House official said.
Sullivan and Dermer also discussed efforts to bring home the remaining captives and a transition to a different phase of the war to maximise focus on high-value Hamas targets when they met, the official said.
Israeli forces have expanded their ground invasion into urban refugee camps in central Gaza after bombarding the crowded Palestinian communities and ordering residents to flee.
Despite US calls for Israel to curb civilian casualties and international pressure for a ceasefire, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the military was deepening the invasion.
eSIM cards help war-torn Gaza stay online
Power cuts have become a fact of life in war-torn Gaza. But thanks to embedded SIM cards, Palestinians can still access the internet and maintain a channel of communication with loved ones abroad.
“Without them, we’d be cut off from the world,” said Hani al Shaer, a local journalist who depends on eSIM cards to do his live streams.
“And no one would know what was happening in Gaza,” he added, just as the besieged territory experienced the latest in a series of telecoms breakdowns since the war began.
The idea behind the eSIM is simple: they are a software version of the chips traditionally inserted into phones to connect to cellular networks and the internet.
Embedded directly into a device, they can be activated using a QR code, which Gaza residents receive from family members living abroad.
The Gaza residents are then able to connect in roaming mode to a foreign network — often an Israeli one or sometimes Egyptian.
The eSIM has been a godsend, said Samar Labad.
“The connection is not stable, but it does the trick,” she said. “At least we can stay in touch to reassure each other, even if intermittently.”
Cuba condemns ‘genocide’ in Gaza committed by ‘terrorist state of Israel’
Cuba’s president has called for an end to Israel’s brutal war in besieged Gaza, which has been raging for more than two-and-a-half months.
“The genocide committed by the terrorist state of Israel in Gaza is a humiliation for all humanity. How long will there be impunity? How long will there be a free way to murder? Cuba, which will never be among the indifferent, raises its voice for Palestine again and again,” Miguel Diaz-Canel said on X.
The island nation has repeatedly condemned the violence in Palestine, and even the Cuban Parliament declared solidarity with the Palestinian people.
On December 20, Cuba’s congress condemned “the killing of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, more than 70% of them children and women, as a result of the indiscriminate bombardments carried out by Israel since October 7.”
“The current situation is a consequence of 75 years of Israeli practices of illegal occupation and colonisation, in flagrant violation of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people in their own territory,” the declaration said.
2300 GMT — Palestinian activist arrested after questions about facebook posts
Supporters of a local Palestinian activist in the occupied West Bank said he has been arrested by Israel on suspicions of incitement.
They said Munther Amira, a social worker and community activist in the Aida refugee camp near Bethlehem, was arrested on December 18 by Israeli troops.
Jonathan Pollak, an Israeli activist assisting Amira, said Munther was questioned about Facebook posts, but denied allegations against him. He said it was unclear which posts drew attention from Israeli authorities.
Amira’s lawyer, Riham Nasra, said the military is now trying to place Amira under administrative detention — a status under which suspects can be held without charge for months at a time. She accused Israel of trying to stifle criticism of the Gaza war.
“Munther is a renowned activist, and Israel is grasping at the opportunity to remove him from the stage,” Nasra said.
Israel’s Shin Bet domestic security agency did not respond to a request for comment.
Rights groups say that Israel has seized scores of Palestinians, including Israeli citizens, in a crackdown on free speech and political activity since the war erupted on October 7.
The Israeli rights group HaMoked says Israel was holding 2,873 Palestinians in administrative detention as of December 1, an increase of 800 from the previous month.