On Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reported that clashes between Hamas and Israeli forces have recently spiked in Khan Younis.
Palestinian displaced people in Khan Younis have said Israeli warplanes dropped a deluge of leaflets quoting the Quran yesterday.
The leaflets which showered the Strip’s second largest city said: “The flood overtook them as they were wrongdoers.”
The leaflets are seen to bear the emblem of the Israeli forces in photos and videos published by Middle East Eye.
It’s not the first time Israel has weaponised religion. In an October 28 speech, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu invoked Biblical scripture to justify the scale of the occupying country’s attacks.
Netanyahu said, “You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible.” This parallel was in reference to what Raz Segal, an Associate Professor of Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Stockton University, referred to as “an explicit Biblical story of genocide” in a November interview with Middle East Monitor, because it is meant to describe pure evil.
In response, X users likened Netanyahu’s comments to religious extremist rhetoric and accused Netanyahu for inciting the Palestinian genocide.
Um Shadi Abu El Tarabeesh, a woman originally from Northern Gaza who is now taking refuge in the South, told Middle East Eye, “They are the wrongdoers, not us.”
“They are the ones harming civilians, innocent citizens and defenseless children,” she added.
Um Shadi is just one out of 1.93 million Palestinians, which is 78% of Gaza’s population, experiencing internal displacement since October 7, according to a December 5 United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs update.
OCHA’s update also said that out of the over 16,000 Palestinian fatalities, almost 12,000 of those killed were women and children.
In a post on X, Palestinian journalist Mohammed El-Kurd said yesterday’s barrage of leaflets coincided with Israeli soldiers flooding Gaza’s waterways with seawater, and uploaded a picture showing soldiers on the beach with a large black hose.
On December 5, Middle East Eye reported that an anonymous American official said Israel was considering flooding tunnels in the Gaza Strip with seawater.
The report also said that Israel finished assembling five large sewage water pumps in Northern Gaza, with the capacity to “move thousands of cubic metres per hour, giving it the ability to flood the tunnel network within weeks.”
In El-Kurd’s post yesterday, he said this plan would be “a crime with devastating consequences on the urban infrastructure.”
Last month, Israel dropped leaflets telling the people of southern Gaza to “evacuate your residence immediately,” according to CNN.
At present, Israeli forces are “in the heart of the Khan Younis region,” also according to CNN.
In a December 5 CNN report, Israel’s Southern Command Army General Yaron Finkelman described the occupying force’s incursion into Gaza’s south as “the most intense day since the beginning of the ground operation — in terms of the use of firepower from the land and air.”
On Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reported that 40 Palestinians were killed with dozens more injured during a series of airstrikes by Israel over Khan Younis.
Yesterday, the UN Secretary General António Guterres invoked Article 99. As the most powerful diplomatic tool available to him, Guterres can bring to the attention of the Security Council “any matter which in his opinion, may threaten the maintenance of international peace and security,” according to the UN charter.
In his letter addressed to the President of the Security Council, José Javier de la Gasca Lopez Domínguez, Guterres said yesterday that “nowhere is safe in Gaza.”
“Amid constant bombardment, and without shelter or the essentials to survive, I expect public order to completely break down soon due to the desperate conditions,” Guterres added.