As war in Gaza enters 3rd month, EU top diplomat urges to make “two-state solution a reality”

3 months of Israeli military intervention have decimated families, wiped out cities and left thousands wounded and bereaved.

Some dig to retrieve bodies from under the rubble. 

More than 22,700 Palestinians have been killed.

“There is no safe place in the Gaza Strip, we are all under bombardment. We are all under death, and destruction. [Naked women under the rubble, that no one can recognize, who they were? we couldn’t distinguish between one or the other]. Children killed for no reason; they did nothing wrong,” Inas who lost family member says. 

“Everything happening here is outside the realms of law, outside the realms of reason. Our brains can’t fully comprehend all this that is happening to us,” she laments.

Israel’s war with Gaza followed Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on southern Israel in which the militants killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took some 250 people hostage.

Heartbroken relatives of the hostages organised a display of shoes on Tel Aviv’s seaside promenade on Sunday (Jan. 07).

“A week ago, I felt that the public is forgetting the hostages”, Osnat Sharabi, the sister of Yossi and Eli, kidnapped from their homes in Beeri said.

Eli’s wife and 2 daughters were murdered, and Yossi’s family was rescued.

“The public got used to the situation. I felt the government and the world stopped doing any actions to bring them home. And I have this very, distressing feeling. And then I wanted to do something, to do like an act, like a movement…..” Osnat Sharabi concludes.

The display, organised 90 days after the hostages were kidnapped, sits under a banner reading: “Let’s show the kidnapped the way home”.

Organisers collected shoes from people from communities in the south and people from Tel Aviv added to the donations.

An airstrike hit a house between Khan Younis and the southern city of Rafah, killing at least seven people whose bodies were taken to the nearby European Hospital, according to an Associated Press journalist at the facility.

An apparent Israeli airstrike killed two Palestinian journalists in southern Gaza on Sunday, including the son of veteran Al Jazeera correspondent Wael Dahdouh, whose wife, two other children and a grandson were killed earlier in the war.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted the war will not end until the objectives of eliminating Hamas, getting Israel’s hostages returned and ensuring that Gaza won’t be a threat to Israel are met.

The European Union’s foreign policy chief said Saturday (Jan.06) during a visit to Beirut (Lebanon) in an attempt to tamp down tensions on the Lebanon-Israel border that he aims to jumpstart a European-Arab initiative to revive a peace process that would result in a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“It is time to make our idea of two state solution a reality, otherwise the cycle of violence will continue generation after generation, funerals after funerals, because you cannot kill an idea. You can kill people, but you cannot kill an idea. The only way of killing a bad idea is to bring a good one. And the good one is to make the Palestinians and the Israelis live together in peace and security sharing the land. …

Israel’s post-war vision

Israel’s Gaza post-war plan unveiled Thursday (Jan. 04) doesn’t include a political solution for all of Palestine.

Israeli defence minister Gallant’s statement underlined that the war would go on until Hamas’ military and government capabilities are eliminated and the more than 100 hostages still in captivity are returned.

In the north, the statement said, forces will shift to a new approach that includes raids, destruction of tunnels, “air and ground activities and special operations.” The aim would be “the erosion” of the remaining Hamas presence.

There was no word whether northern Gaza’s population, which has almost entirely been driven south, would be allowed to return.

The statement did not clarify how the new approach would differ from current operations. Israel began last week to withdraw some troops from northern Gaza, where the military says it has largely gained operational control after weeks of heavy fighting with Hamas. Still, Gallant has said several thousand Hamas fighters remain there.

In the south, he said, fighting would continue “as long as is deemed necessary.”

After the war, the statement said, Israel will keep security control, taking military action in Gaza when necessary to ensure there are no threats and maintaining inspections of all goods entering the territory.

Gallant said there would be no Israeli civilians in Gaza, ruling out calls by some in Israel’s far-right for a return of Jewish settlers to the territory.

Unnamed Palestinian entities would run the territory, with Israel providing “information to guide civilian operations,” the statement said without elaborating. A multinational task force, led by the U.S., would be in charge of rebuilding.

The apparent picture of an Israeli-dominated Palestinian administration for Gaza differs starkly from U.S. calls for a revitalized Palestinian Authority to take control of the territory and a start to new negotiations toward creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel. Netanyahu and other Israeli officials have rejected that idea.