Israel is preparing for the attack on Gaza and a “months-long” operation. Netanyahu: “If Hezbollah goes to war, we will destroy Lebanon.” Biden speaks with the Pope
Escalation. Israel, Hamas and the Gaza Strip risk becoming the trigger for a much larger war, with unpredictable ramifications and consequences. The news of the last 24 hours describes a picture, if possible, of even higher tension. Israel is preparing the ground offensive in the Strip, which could last months, while the front in the north is also heating up, on the border with Lebanon, where Hezbollah remains an actor on the scene.
According to CNN, the United States, after the release of two American hostages, is pressuring Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to freeze the offensive: time is needed to carry forward the negotiations with the mediation of Qatar and free other hostages in a diplomatic framework which also includes aid for the civilian population of Gaza, with the entry of another 17 trucks from the Rafah crossing and with the goal of creating a continuous flow in the next few hours: “If Hamas interferes and seizes the aid, it will make it very difficult to carry out this assistance and will give another demonstration of Hamas’s lack of interest in the well-being of the Palestinian people,” says the new US envoy for the humanitarian situation in Gaza, David Satterfield.
Biden, conversation with the Pope. Then phone call with the leaders, including Meloni
United States President Joe Biden had a telephone conversation of about 20 minutes with Pope Francis. The White House underlines that during the conversation Biden condemned the attacks launched by Hamas and underlined the need to protect the population of the Gaza Strip.
Biden ”spoke about his recent visit to Israel and his commitment to ensuring the delivery of food, medicine and other humanitarian assistance to alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” the White House said. The American president and the pontiff ”also spoke about the need to prevent an escalation in the region and to work towards lasting peace in the Middle East”, says the White House.
In the Italian evening, telephone meeting between the leaders of different countries. The Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, participates in the meeting with Biden, with the British Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and the German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz.
Iran-USA, tension skyrocketing
Escalation is the abyss to avoid. Washington, however, cannot ignore the signals coming from Tehran. Iran is the director of the anti-Israel web: Hamas, Hezbollah and Houthis, who threaten Israeli ships from Yemen. The United States, in this maze, is exposed to different threats but which can ultimately be traced back to the single source: Iran.
“We are concerned about a potential escalation. Indeed, what we’re seeing is a potentially significant increase in attacks against our troops and our people in the region. Precisely for this reason, we will do what is necessary to protect our troops and ensure that they have the capabilities to respond,” Defense Secretary Isaac Austin tells ABC. The words of the Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, are equally explicit: the United States sees the ”potential for an escalation of the war in the Middle East” due to the ”actions of those acting on behalf of Iran”.
This is the response to the letter sent by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian from Tehran at the beginning of the day: “The region will be out of control” if the genocide in the Gaza Strip is not put to an “end”. , He says. “I warn the United States and their representative (Israel, ed.) that if they do not immediately stop the crime against humanity and genocide in Gaza, anything is possible at any time and the region will spiral out of control.”
Netanyahu warns Hezbollah: “Israel ready to destroy Lebanon”
So the spotlight is on Gaza, with the Israeli raids continuing. But also on the border with Lebanon, with rocket launches from Hezbollah and an Israeli response. At the end of the day, Netanyahu poses something of an ultimatum. If Hezbollah militiamen decide to ”go to war” with Israel, the response of the armed forces will be ”unimaginable” and for Lebanon it will be total ”devastation”. “I can’t tell you right now whether Hezbollah will decide to go to war fully,” Netanyahu says as he meets Israeli soldiers deployed on the border with Lebanon.
Defense Minister Yoav Gallant addresses troops at an air base. To eradicate Hamas from Gaza “could take a month, it could take two or three. But eventually Hamas will no longer exist“. The invasion of Gaza must be the last act “for the simple reason that, afterwards, Hamas will no longer be there”.