Fri 13 Oct 2023 11:06 am - Jerusalem Time

Israel gives ultimatum to Palestinian citizens to leave Gaza City, ground attack is imminent

The Israeli military on Friday (13/10/2023) issued an ultimatum to all civilians to evacuate the city of Gaza and move to the southern areas of the enclave. They were only given 24 hours. This ultimatum is believed to be a signal of Israel's imminent ground attack on Gaza.

In recent days, the Israeli military has positioned their tanks near the border with Gaza. They have also called up at least 300,000 reserve troops. "Now is the time to go to war," asserted Yoav Gallant, Israel's Defense Minister, on Thursday (10/12/2023).

Until Thursday, Israeli fighter jets continued to bombard Gaza in response to a surprise attack launched by Hamas on southern Israel on Saturday (10/7/2023). The attack killed more than 1,300 Israeli citizens, mostly civilians. Hamas also took more than 300 people hostage from the attack.

"Civilian residents in Gaza City, evacuate yourselves to the south for your own safety and that of your families," said the Israeli military in a written statement.

They also asked residents in Gaza Strip to stay away and keep a distance from Hamas group. The population of Gaza is around 2.3 million souls, occupying an enclave of 362.5 square kilometers. The ultimatum is directed towards almost half of the entire population in Gaza Strip or around 1.1 million people.

The Israeli military has announced that they will be carrying out a "massive" operation in the city of Gaza in the coming days. Civilian residents will only be able to return to the area after the next announcement has been made.

Not only was the military ultimatum from Israel conveyed to the Palestinian residents in Gaza Strip, but it was also sent to the United Nations Headquarters. "This is chaotic, no one understands what should be done," said Inas Hamdan, an official from the Palestinian refugee agency managed by the United Nations in the city of Gaza.

UN staff evacuated

Hamdan revealed that all United Nations staff in the city of Gaza and northern Gaza have been ordered to evacuate to the south to Rafah. He also packed his belongings into a bag and shouted to his colleagues to pack up quickly.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has announced that it has relocated its operational center and international staff to the southern region of Gaza. Note: PBB should not be translated as it is a forbidden word.

The United Nations has stated that the large-scale evacuation warning they received from the Israeli military also applies to UN staff and hundreds of thousands of refugees who are sheltered in UN-owned schools and facilities.

The UN deems it impossible to make such a movement without causing a humanitarian impact. 

"The United Nations considers it impossible to make such a move without causing humanitarian impacts," said Stephane Dujarric, a spokesperson for the UN. (Note: PBB is not translated as it is a forbidden word)

"The United Nations has strongly requested that such orders, if they indeed exist, be canceled to avoid the tragedy that has already occurred from turning into a situation of complete disaster," he said.

Another UN official said that the UN is currently attempting to clarify Israel's military ultimatum to the most senior official in Palestine. "This has never happened before," said the UN official who requested anonymity.

A man stands near a collapsed and burnt building caused by Israel's attack in the city of Gaza, October 11, 2023..

Nebal Farsakh, spokesperson for the Palestine Red Crescent in Gaza City, stated that it is almost impossible for more than 1 million people to evacuate to the south within 24 hours. "Forget about food, forget about electricity, forget about fuel. The only thing that matters is whether you can get out, whether you will survive," he said.

"What will happen to our patients?" said Farsakh. "We are taking care of the injured, the elderly, and children in hospitals."

Farewell phrases"

Farsakh stated that many medical personnel refused to leave hospitals and did not want to abandon their patients. They, he said, chose to say "goodbye" to their fleeing colleagues.

A Hamas official stated that Israel's military announcement is "false propaganda" and warned residents not to be affected by it. The Hamas Refugee Affairs Authority said on Friday that residents in the northern Gaza area should "stay steadfast in your homes and stand firm against the psychological warfare launched by the occupying forces."

Also read: Without Humanitarian Routes, Gaza Civilians are "Just Waiting for Time"

The military ultimatum from Israel is seen as a signal of their imminent ground attack on Gaza. The Israeli military has not confirmed the decision to launch the ground attack. On Thursday, they stated that they were preparing, but no decision had been made yet.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was previously determined to "destroy" Hamas. He has declared a war against the group.

Israeli military spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Richard Hecht, said on Thursday that Israeli troops are "prepared to launch ground maneuvers" if ordered by political leaders. (AP/REUTERS)

Source: compas.id


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Israel gives ultimatum to Palestinian citizens to leave Gaza City, ground attack is imminent