East Jerusalem — Israeli troops were inside the Gaza Strip on Monday, leading what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the “next stage” of his country’s war.militants in response to the brutal terrorist attack they launched on October 7. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) released a video showing soldiers entering Gaza from the north after another weekend of intense airstrikes.
Health officials in the Hamas-controlled enclave said Monday that more than three weeks of relentless Israeli artillery and missile strikes had left more than 8,300 people dead, including more than 3,400 children. Israel insists that it only targets Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza, and that responsibility for any civilian casualties lies squarely with Hamas, which started the war and hid among the civilian population of Gaza.
Israel says the initial Hamas attack and ongoing rocket fire from Gaza have left more than 1,400 people dead since October 7.
Determined to show he is in complete control of the war, Netanyahu visited some of his troops over the weekend, telling them they were “surrounded by a sea of love.”
Grainy IDF video showed Israeli soldiers carrying out a clean and clinical operation, with tanks rolling towards Gaza as ground operations intensified. The army claimed to have killed dozens of Hamas militants who had barricaded themselves inside buildings in the densely populated strip of land – and in a vast network of tunnels dug beneath them, from which they attempted to escape. attack the troops.
But many in Israel have a very different view of the war in their country, including Reoma Kedem, who lost her daughter and grandchildren in the horrific terrorist attack when Hamas gunmen burst into their community near from the border with Gaza.
Over the weekend, Kedem participated in a small protest in Ashdod, in southern Israel, where she came to express her anger at her own government and the man who leads it, Prime Minister Netanyahu.
“How long are we going to continue with this bloodshed?” She asked. “If this man doesn’t leave, we won’t have a solution.”
Despite the IDF’s promise that the war against Hamas will usher in a “new security reality” for Israelis, many in the country believeThe coalition constitutes an obstacle to the search for peace that has eluded the country since its creation in 1948, not a government determined to achieve it.
Tension is also rapidly rising in the largest Palestinian territory in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Four Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces in the past 24 hours, and protests have been held regularly in solidarity with those stuck in Gaza.
The Health Ministry run by the Palestinian Authority, the Western-backed administration in the West Bank, said on Monday that nearly 330 Palestinians had died in clashes with Israeli forces since October 7.
Palestinian teenager Yazan Najjar was among those who expressed outrage over the weekend. He told CBS News he believes the children of Gaza have been forgotten.
“It makes me sick that the world turns its back on us and does nothing to protect us,” he said.
As Israel bombs Gaza, there is no safe place to hide for the estimated 2.3 million Palestinians stuck on the narrow strip of land on the Mediterranean coast, and they lack everything, including food basic necessities of food, water and medicine. Humanitarian agencies say the truck convoys that have been allowed to enter Gaza through the southern border with Egypt over the past week are completely insufficient, and they have continued to call for a wider opening of the border.
The desperation became so bad that people broke into a United Nations warehouse over the weekend to grab whatever they could get their hands on.
CBS News producer Marwan Al-Ghoul is among those stuck in Gaza, and he passed through what remains of the northern part of Gaza City this weekend. He saw children searching through the rubble of a house that had just been destroyed by an Israeli airstrike, looking for victims. A woman’s body was visible beneath the crushed concrete and twisted steel.
Ambulances rushed from one hellish landscape to another all weekend in Gaza, trying to rescue the seriously injured.
Many civilians took refuge in hospitals, which the Israeli army repeatedly ordered to be evacuated.
The Israeli military accuses Hamas of using Gaza hospitals as bases, placing weapons, fighters and even command centers in tunnels under buildings and in the buildings themselves – and of using doctors and civilians all around as human shields.
The Red Crescent says it cannot evacuate hospitals because if it tried to move the hundreds of patients in intensive care they would die.
As Israel escalates its war against Hamas, calls from Gaza – and around the world for Gaza – are growing louder, with many calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire.
While UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made a personal appeal for an “immediate humanitarian ceasefire”, neither the UN Security Council, nor the General Assembly as a whole, nor the American government has not gone that far.
Both the United States and the United Nations have urged Israel to prioritize the protection of civilians.
CBS News’ Pamela Falk at the United Nations contributed to this report.