As the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas raged, the Israeli military on Tuesday said it had “nothing against” the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.
In an interview with reporters, Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) Spokesperson Major Libby Weiss said residents living in northern Gaza were instructed to evacuate to the southern portion of the region, adding Israel wanted to “minimize” the impact of the war on civilians.
“The goals of the IDF right now are against Hamas. There is absolutely nothing here against the civilian population of Gaza,” said Weiss.
“That is why the idea of providing people with warning, telling people in the northern part of the Gaza Strip to evacuate and to move towards the southern end of the Gaza Strip to go south of the Gaza River. This is a warning that we gave several days ago and a warning that still stands,” she said.
As to the condition of Filipinos in Israel, Weiss said, “If I know anything about the Filipino people, and I don’t pretend to know, but just from what I see from the horrors of the typhoon, I know that Filipinos are very strong people.”
“We are all devastated with what’s going on here but we also understand that Hamas can’t keep doing this. We understand that we need to fight them and we need to make sure that what happened then cannot happen again and that the rockets don’t keep firing for Israel and all of these things.”
Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled northern Gaza amid the imminent threat of Israel’s ground offensive against Hamas.
The Israeli government also previously ordered the blockade of food, water, electricity, and fuel in Gaza, causing depleting water and food supplies in the region.
The United Nations human rights office told the Reuters news service on Tuesday that Israel’s siege of Gaza and its evacuation order for the north of the enclave could amount to a forcible transfer of civilians and be in breach of international law.
Speaking to reporters in Geneva, Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, said Israel seemed to have made no effort to ensure the civilians temporarily evacuated in Gaza were provided with proper accommodation, as well as satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety, and nutrition.
Hamas militants carried out their deadliest attack in Israel’s history on October 7, when gunmen rampaged through Israeli towns, killing more than 1,000 people and taking scores of hostages to Gaza.
Latest data showed a total of 2,670 Palestinians died and 9,600 were injured in the war while 1,300 Israelis perished and 3,400 sustained injuries. — DVM, GMA Integrated news