Amid the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Israel has reportedly communicated its intention to establish a buffer zone on the Palestinian side of the Gaza border. The purpose of this proposed zone is to prevent future attacks, and Israel has shared these plans with neighboring countries, including Egypt, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Notably, Israel has also engaged with Turkey and Saudi Arabia, despite the absence of formal diplomatic ties.
This initiative, according to regional sources, does not signal an immediate end to Israel’s offensive, which resumed after a brief truce. The move indicates Israel’s effort to broaden its engagement beyond traditional mediators like Egypt and Qatar as it envisions the post-war landscape in Gaza.
The intensified offensive, which resumed following a seven-day truce with Hamas, has raised concerns about civilian casualties. Israel focused its attacks on the southern Gaza Strip, particularly the Khan Younis area, targeting over 50 Hamas locations through airstrikes, tank fire, and naval operations. Despite prior warnings in the form of leaflets urging residents to evacuate, reports suggest that large numbers of people have not left the area.
The latest round of violence has resulted in nearly 200 Palestinians killed and 650 wounded, as reported by the Health Ministry in Hamas-run Gaza. The United States has urged Israel to take all possible measures to protect civilians. In response to the escalating situation, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu directed negotiators in Qatar to return to Israel, indicating a challenging path ahead for further truce negotiations.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, concluding his third Middle East tour since the conflict began eight weeks ago, emphasized the significance of the situation, stating, “This is going to be very important going forward. It’s something we’re going to be looking at very closely.”
The developments underscore the complex dynamics in the region and the evolving efforts to shape the post-war scenario in Gaza. As the conflict persists, international attention remains focused on the ongoing humanitarian crisis and the potential for diplomatic resolutions.