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MIDDLE EAST CRISIS PHOTO ESSAY

World leaders scramble as Gaza conflict worsens

World leaders scramble as Gaza conflict worsens
Protesters shout slogans and light flares during a protest outside the US Consulate-General in Istanbul, Turkey, on 18 October 2023. The protest was against a strike on the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza and in solidarity with the Palestinian people. According to Palestinian authorities in Gaza, hundreds of people were killed in the explosion on 17 October 2023. Israel has denied responsibility and said a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket misfire caused the blast. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Erdem Sahin)

October 2023 marked a significant escalation in the longstanding conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Middle East.

Thursday marked the twelfth day of relentless renewed conflict that has, for seven long decades, plunged Israelis and Palestinians into a seemingly unending war. Seventy years of sorrow, bloodshed and unfulfilled promises have cast a shadow over the Middle East, igniting a cycle of violence that refuses to yield to the prospect of peace. The renewed conflict was sparked by a Hamas attack on Israel and followed by reprisal Israeli attacks

As the world watches with heavy hearts and growing concern, the enduring strife in Gaza stands as a stark reminder of the urgent need for lasting solutions.

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A vigil for the victims of the Al-Ahli Hospital explosion is held in London opposite Downing Street on 18 October 2023. (Photo: Dan Kitwood / Getty Images)

The Al-Ahli Hospital tragedy – 17 October 2023

On 17 October  2023, a deadly explosion occurred at the Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City. Initial reports said the blast killed hundreds of people, casting a shadow of grief over the region and the world.

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Medical staff at the Al-Ahli Hospital soon after the explosion in Gaza on 17 October 2023. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Mohamed Saber)

International protests and calls for ceasefire

The impact of the blast at the Al-Ahli Hospital reverberated across the globe. In the United States, hundreds of Jewish activists stormed the Capitol, demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.

Police began arresting protesters, including about two dozen rabbis who led a prayer service inside the halls of Congress.

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Protesters hold a demonstration in support of a ceasefire in Gaza in the Cannon House Office Building on 18 October 2023 in Washington, DC. Members of the Jewish Voice for Peace and the IfNotNow movement staged a rally to call for a ceasefire in the Israel–Hamas war. (Photo: Alex Wong / Getty Images)

International communities, activists and citizens have mourned the loss of innocent lives in ways ranging from candlelight vigils in major cities to online campaigns advocating for peace.

Protesters embrace during a pro-Palestinian demonstration in Syntagma Square, Athens, Greece, on Wednesday, 18 October 2023.  (Photo: Nick Paleologos / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

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Jordanian riot police clash with angry protesters as tens of thousands arrive at the Israeli embassy on 18 October 2023 in Amman, Jordan to protest against the Gaza hospital explosion. The explosion has provoked demonstrations in the streets of major cities in the region. (Photo: Jordan Pix / Getty Images)

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Thousands of pro-Palestine demonstrators protest outside the Israeli Embassy in London on 9 October 2023. (Photo: Gallo Images / Leila Dougan)

British and US leaders visit Israel

On 18 October, US President Joe Biden arrived in Tel Aviv to extend support to Israel. Biden backed Israel’s denial of responsibility for the hospital bombing, instead blaming “the other team” for the attack. Israel’s version has been disputed by several sources.

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US President Joe Biden (left) during a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv, Israel, on 18 October 2023. President Biden pledged US support for Israel and said the deadly explosion on a hospital in the Gaza strip ‘appears’ to have been caused ‘by the other team’. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Miriam Alster / Pool)

European Union’s response

On 19 October, European Union interior ministers convened to discuss how to manage the impact on the EU of the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas. 

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Josep Borrell, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, attends a debate on ‘Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel and the humanitarian situation in Gaza’ at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on 18 October 2023. The EU Parliament’s session runs from 16 to 19 October. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Julien Warnand)

Humanitarian aid efforts

Efforts to provide humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip are ongoing. Workers loaded relief goods on to an aircraft at Dubai International Airport, destined for Egypt and then onward to Gaza. The international community, including the United Nations, is actively involved in providing support to those affected by the conflict.

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Workers load an aircraft heading to Egypt with humanitarian aid and relief goods for Gaza at Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates, 19 October 2023. The Israeli government said on 18 October it would not prevent humanitarian aid from entering Gaza from Egypt. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Ali Haider)

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Volunteers and NGO staff camp in front of the Rafah border as they wait to deliver aid supplies to Gaza on 19 October 2023 in North Sinai, Egypt. The aid convoy, organised by a group of Egyptian NGOs, set off on Saturday, 14 October from Cairo for the Gaza-Egypt border crossing at Rafah. (Photo: Mahmoud Khaled / Getty Images)

Humanitarian crisis in Gaza

The conflict is having a profound impact on Gaza’s residents. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency camp was actively assisting displaced Palestinians in western Khan Younis.

The crisis had led to a significant humanitarian challenge, emphasising the urgency of the situation.

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A United Nations flag flies in western Khan Younis, Gaza, on Tuesday, 17 October 2023 at a camp operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for displaced Palestinians. (Photo: Ahmad Salem / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

The escalation of the Israel-Hamas conflict in October 2023 saw international leaders getting involved, protests erupting worldwide and a deepening humanitarian crisis.

As the situation continues to evolve, the international community faces the challenge of finding a peaceful resolution to this seemingly interminable and devastating conflict.

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People participate in a ‘Free Palestine’ demonstration in Coburg, Melbourne, Australia, on 19 October 2023. Several pro-Palestinian marches have been planned around Australia. (Photo: EPA-EFE / James Ross)

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  • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

    The only reference to the horrific events of October 7 are “The renewed conflict was sparked by a Hamas attack on Israel and followed by reprisal Israeli attacks”, ignoring the fact that more Jews were murdered by Hamas on that single day than since the holocaust. The rest of the article paints a one-sided scenario of an innocent victim and peaceful protests for a just cause by human rights protesters around the world. Biased drivel at best. One hopes that DM, for good balance, will soon be publishing articles soon showing “hundreds of Muslim activists” storming their great “Halls of Democracies” and about “two dozen imams” leading prayer services for innocent Israelis.

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