26 February 2024

Biden to Meet Middle East Leaders as Gaza Death Toll Climbs to 3,000

 Biden to Meet Middle East Leaders as Gaza Death Toll Climbs to 3,000

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Date: October 17, 2023

TEL AVIV – In a crucial move to address the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict, U.S. President Joe Biden is set to meet with leaders from Israel, Jordan, Egypt, and Palestine. As the death toll in Gaza continues to rise, the international community is closely watching these diplomatic efforts.

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A Palestinian man is helped across the rubble following an Israeli airstrike on buildings in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip. Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian

President Biden is scheduled to arrive in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, where he will engage in high-stakes discussions with leaders from the Middle East. The talks come as the Palestinian health ministry reports that approximately 3,000 people have lost their lives in the Gaza Strip since the conflict began on October 7. Moreover, an additional 12,500 individuals have been injured, further underscoring the humanitarian crisis in the region.

A damaged home in Sderotafter it was hit by a rocket launched from the Gaza Strip into Israel. Photograph: Amir Cohen/Reuters© Provided by The Guardian

The toll of the conflict extends beyond Gaza, with the West Bank also suffering its share of casualties. Reports indicate that 61 people have been killed in the West Bank, and more than 1,250 have been wounded. These numbers only highlight the extensive impact of the conflict on Palestinian territories.

Family, and friends of Yuval Solomon, who was murdered in Kfar Aaz, mourn during his funeral in Shefayim, Israel. Photograph: Amir Levy/Getty Images© Provided by The Guardian

In a particularly dire development, Gaza’s only oncology hospital is on the brink of closure. Health officials in Gaza have announced that the facility, known as the Turkish Friendship Hospital, will cease its operations within 48 hours due to fuel shortages. Dr. Sobhi Skik, the hospital’s director general, cited the inability to provide care to cancer patients as a result of these fuel constraints. The statement further elaborated that “large parts of its services” will be stopped, and the remaining services will shut down “within 48 hours at the latest.” This impending closure leaves cancer patients in Gaza without critical healthcare.

Palestinians look for survivors after an Israeli airstrike on Khan Younis, Gaza Strip. Photograph: Fatima Shbair/AP© Provided by The Guardian

The closure of the oncology hospital is emblematic of the broader healthcare crisis in Gaza. A spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry expressed that hospitals in the region have “entered a stage of virtual collapse.” The situation not only challenges the immediate care of those wounded in the conflict but also affects patients with chronic conditions and severe illnesses.

The international community’s focus on the Israel-Hamas conflict continues to intensify, with mounting pressure on leaders to work towards a ceasefire and a resolution to the crisis. As President Biden’s visit to the region looms, hopes are high for diplomatic efforts to help end the violence and provide much-needed relief to the people of Gaza and the broader Middle East.

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