11 Dec Nigeria: Hamas issues ultimatum, stating hostages’ fate hinges on meeting demands
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
Amidst the ongoing conflict between Israel and Gaza, Hamas issued a warning that hostages in Gaza would not survive unless Israel meets their demands for prisoner releases. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported a dire situation in Gaza’s health system after more than two months of warfare.
The conflict began when Hamas initiated the deadliest attack on Israel on October 7, resulting in widespread casualties and the return of hostages to Gaza. In response, Israel launched a relentless military offensive, causing extensive destruction in Gaza and a significant loss of life.
As aid organizations express concerns about the imminent threat of disease and starvation in Gaza, the WHO Chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, declared the territory’s health system on the verge of collapse. The UN estimates that 1.9 million out of Gaza’s 2.4 million residents have been displaced, with limited safe havens available, especially for children.
The international community, represented by a divided and “paralyzed” UN Security Council, has failed to agree on a ceasefire, further exacerbating the crisis. The head of the UN has decried the Security Council’s credibility, emphasizing the urgent need for a united stance on the conflict.
Hamas, through a televised statement, insisted that Israel must meet their demands for a negotiated exchange to secure the release of prisoners. Israel claims there are still 137 hostages in Gaza, while around 7,000 Palestinians remain in Israeli jails.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for Hamas to surrender, declaring it as the beginning of the end for the organization. Israel continued its military offensive, striking over 250 targets, including key Hamas installations.
The US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, rejected calls for an immediate ceasefire, expressing concerns about Hamas’s intentions. He urged Israeli forces to prioritize civilian protection in their military operations.
Despite international efforts, the situation remains grim, with displaced Gazans facing challenges in accessing basic necessities such as bread and medicine. The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) expressed alarm over a potential mass expulsion of Palestinians into Egypt.
Protests supporting Palestinians and denouncing anti-Semitism have erupted globally. However, concerns persist about regional escalation, with potential implications for neighboring countries and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East.
As the conflict unfolds, the international community grapples with the complexities of finding a lasting solution, while the people of Gaza endure the devastating consequences of the prolonged warfare.