#ISRAELHAMASWAR. Prisoner agreements in January, very distant parties. Air raids on the Gaza Strip: Hezbollah operations center hit 50 km from the borders with Israel

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The vote on the ceasefire request at the UN Security Council was postponed at the request of the United States. In a phone call with his counterparts in France, Germany and Great Britain, Blinken confirmed his commitment to creating a Palestinian state. Negotiations on a draft Security Council resolution on the ceasefire in Gaza have therefore failed.

According to the New York Times: Israel has failed to reach any of the Hamas leaders inside Gaza despite continuous bombing of the Strip for 10 weeks. While according to the government press office in Gaza: the number of deaths in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the conflict has reached 20 thousand.

The World Health Organization informs that northern Gaza remains without functioning hospitals: “We call for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza to restore essential health services and to stop the bloodshed.”

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent: 800,000 Palestinians in the northern areas of the Gaza Strip are deprived of medical services. The Euro-Mediterranean Observatory: “We have monitored the deaths of dozens of sick and injured people, even inside hospitals and clinics, due to the lack of healthcare, as well as the deaths of dozens of other people in their homes because it was not possible transfer them to hospitals.” “Conditions in the Gaza Strip, especially in Gaza city and its north, are extremely dire, in terms of the provision of health services.” “23 out of 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are out of service, while 9 hospitals are partially functioning and 4 hospitals are functioning at minimum and with very limited services.”

The first aid convoy from Jordan to Gaza left on December 20, consisting of 46 trucks, carrying approximately 750 tons of food supplies to the Strip.

And if Israel is ready to mediate a two-week ceasefire, Hamas-al Quds-al Qassam have said that either there will be a permanent ceasefire or there will be no talk of it.

The Israeli ambassador to the United States told CNN: “Israel is ready to stop the fighting in exchange for the release of as many hostages as possible. Also in this case Hamas responded with the request for a permanent ceasefire and the release of Marwan Barghouti, Abdullah Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat.

In the meantime, Netanyahu’s figure is increasingly weakening and many are calling for his resignation. A representative of the Israeli Knesset told Israeli media: “Netanyahu is a failure and has become a stone on the neck of our state, so he must go.” Ehud Barak: “Netanyahu sank the Israeli Titanic and his government must be overthrown. He is not trustworthy and he only cares about his own interests. Barak then added: “Netanyahu drove the Israeli Titanic and sank us while we were on board and now he is demanding to put his hands on the steering wheel of the replacement ship.” “We must drop him now, because he is a burden and a danger that threatens Israel ”.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen said: “We will kill Haniyeh and Meshaal and they will not die a natural death.” Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper reports that the Israeli army will likely reduce its activity in Gaza soon. Among the information dictated by the newspaper is that Hamas fighters have infiltrated areas that the army considered safe until two weeks ago.

According to journalist Nahum Barnea on Yedioth Ahronoth: “The objectives set by the political leadership for the army are not achievable. This has been clear to everyone since day one: assassination, elimination, collapse (the terms used by Netanyahu, Galant, Gantz…), are expected desires when talking about an attack like the one we were subjected to on October 7. But desires are not military or strategic plans. Exaggerated expectations generate frustration: a particularly painful frustration among the fighting forces and, conversely, among the far right who hoped for a multi-front war that would lead to the displacement of the armed forces. millions of Palestinians and the renewal of settlements in Gaza.”

On the prisoner front, a new agreement should be reached in a month, even if the two sides currently want very different things. For some Israelis like former Prime Minister Ehud Barak: “The release of the kidnapped people is a priority, with each passing day some of them could die, the presence of Eizenkot and Gantz in the war council at least allows me to sleep more peacefully . The political level has not done its duty from the first day of the fighting”.

The Israeli Foreign Minister then hopes: “We will send the head of the Mossad everywhere to discuss with the aim of returning the prisoners.”

The Secretary General of Islamic Jihad, Ziad al-Nakhalah said: “We will go to Cairo with a clear position, namely to stop the aggression and withdrawal of Israeli forces in areas far from civilians, and conclude an exchange agreement on the principle of all for all, through a political process agreed by the Palestinian forces, led by Hamas.”

According to the Haaretz newspaper: “There is no progress in the prisoner negotiations and Israel exaggerates with leaks to ease public pressure. The Mossad chief has not proposed a prisoner exchange initiative and Israel has not made clear the prices it is willing to pay.”

And it is precisely on the complete ceasefire that the differences between Israel and Hamas become serious. According to the latest information leaked from the social sphere, the proposed agreement provides for the release of 30-40 prisoners in exchange for the release of prominent prisoners and a partial withdrawal from some areas with a truce of two weeks to a month. The absolute no for now is on the release of Marwan Barghouti, Abdullah Barghouti and Ahmed Saadat.

The Israeli Broadcasting Corporation reports, quoting an Egyptian source: “Sinwar conveyed the message to the mediators that the time for agreements based on a temporary truce has passed and that the remaining option is “all things for all people”.

Israeli Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir commented on the contradictory statements: “Anyone who intends to stop the war before defeating Hamas and returning those kidnapped should take into account that our party is not with him (…) The War Council must be dissolved immediately and it is time to return power to the larger government.”

Finally, the Israeli army spokesman made it known that: “If the political body asks us to stop the fighting, we will stop it.”

Meanwhile, the Israeli army continues to cut communications and the Internet from the Gaza Strip. 40 soldiers have been injured in clashes in the Gaza Strip in the last 24 hours.

Around 8,000 Palestinians have returned to work in West Bank settlements, including in non-essential factories. And still on economic matters, no container of goods has arrived by sea from Israel for two weeks and we expect this to continue in the next four weeks, the authorities said, referring to the naval blockade imposed in the Red Sea by the Houthis.

The Commander of the Naval Forces of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard said in a statement that “We have equipped the boats with intelligent missiles to monitor the movements of American ships in the region.”

And now a look at the ground conflict between Israel and Hamas updated at 3pm on December 21st

The former director of Israel’s General Security Service said there was no prospect of victory in the Gaza Strip. Israeli raids continued on December 21 in the north, south and east of Gaza. Among the areas most exposed to Israeli fire and Hamas attacks is the Shujaiya neighborhood in Gaza where Israeli-Ukrainian soldiers also died.

Renewed bombings and clashes also in the neighborhoods of Jabalia, Jabalia Camp, Al-Shuja’iya and Al-Sabra. Resistance members attacked occupation vehicles and soldiers near the Al-Saftawi area in the northern Gaza Strip.

The Al-Quds Brigades claimed responsibility for killing and wounding a group of enemy soldiers during clashes on the Sheikh Radwan axis at dawn on December 21. According to what we learn from Israeli sources, Hamas is digging new tunnels from Qalqilya or Tulkarem towards the settlements of Kochav Yair and Tzur Yigal, which are 300 meters from Qalqilya, and the settlers are worried about possible attacks from the tunnels starting from Qalqilya.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reported attacks on the crossing: “Our crews are heading towards the Rafah crossing after receiving calls about wounded and wounded following shelling near the crossing.”

Hamas responded to Israel’s air attacks from Gaza by sending rockets against Tel Aviv, thirty-five of which were reportedly launched. Explosions heard in Ashkelon, Ashdod and Rishon Letson.

Israel’s attacks in northern Israel on southern Lebanese territory are intensifying. Ten rockets were fired at settlements in the Galilee from southern Lebanon by Hezbollah while Israel reportedly struck the operational command center of the Shiite Hezbollah movement in Lebanon on the night of December 20. This was reported by the army press service. The attack apparently took place in Jebel Safi, about 50 km from the border with Israel. Injuries were reported following the attack.

The press service of the Israel Defense Forces reported the firing of four projectiles from Syria into Israeli territory and launched attacks in response to shooting sites and Syrian army positions.

Since December 21, a naval group of the United States and NATO countries has been off the coast of Yemen and in the Persian Gulf. The United States yesterday officially announced the start of the operation to protect maritime navigation in the Red Sea. The Houthis, meanwhile, continue daily attacks on ships in the Red Sea. 

Antonio Albanese e Graziella Giangiulio

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