Gaza Strip: Will the aid disaster be a turning point in the Middle East war?

After the deaths of many Palestinians when aid arrived in the Gaza Strip, calls for a ceasefire are growing louder.

Gaza Strip: Will the aid disaster be a turning point in the Middle East war?

After the deaths of many Palestinians when aid arrived in the Gaza Strip, calls for a ceasefire are growing louder. At the same time, Israel is called upon to clarify the circumstances of the deadly catastrophe. The USA announced that it would provide air support to the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

What exactly happened on Thursday when an aid convoy arrived remained unclear the day after. What is certain is that many desperate people tried to get relief supplies. According to the health authority controlled by the Islamist Hamas, more than a hundred are said to have died. More than 700 were injured.

While the Palestinian side said that Israeli soldiers had deliberately fired into the crowd, the Israeli military blamed the chaos and crowds for the deaths. Shots were fired, but only a few people were injured. Army spokesman Peter Lerner told CNN that initial reports indicate that a group of people had approached Israeli soldiers.

The military then fired warning shots into the air. However, the group continued to approach the soldiers and posed a threat, whereupon the soldiers opened fire. According to Israeli media reports, they were said to have targeted the legs.

The World Health Organization (WHO) attributes the incident in the Gaza Strip to the catastrophic supply situation in the Palestinian territory. The people in the coastal strip are so desperate for food, water and other supplies that they are risking their lives, said WHO spokesman Christian Lindmeier in Geneva. “This is the real drama, this is the real catastrophe here,” he said.

Brazil sharply criticizes Israel's government. "The Netanyahu government has once again shown through its actions and statements that the military action in Gaza knows no ethical or legal limits," Brazil's Foreign Ministry said, describing the incident as a "massacre." It is the task of the international community to put an end to this in order to prevent further atrocities.

The US government is in contact with the Israeli government about the incident and is demanding answers. It is the US understanding that an investigation is ongoing, said US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “We will closely monitor this investigation and push for answers.” There is no reliable information about what happened, said Miller. The “tragedy” could make negotiations for a ceasefire and the release of the hostages held by the Islamist Hamas more complicated.

Strong criticism of Israel came from several Arab states. It was a “heinous massacre” committed by Israel, said a statement from the Qatari Foreign Ministry on Thursday evening. The international community must force Israel to comply with international humanitarian law and protect the Palestinian people from violations, according to the government in Doha, which is playing an important role in negotiations for another ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

It was initially impossible to predict what the incident would mean for the tough negotiations over a ceasefire. Fears were expressed in the Israeli media that the incident could strengthen Hamas's negotiating position and become a turning point in the war, which has been going on for almost five months.

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