The ISAFIS Newsletter #7: Long Lasting New Year’s Eve ‘Fireworks’ on Gaza’s Sky

Published by Research and Development on

Written by : Munson Gamaliel Tampubolon

New Year’s Eve should be an exciting event for the majority of people around the world. Crowds of happy people and plenty of fireworks that sparked the sky on New Year’s Eve. This situation also happened in Gaza, but with the crowds of frightened people and New Year’s ‘fireworks’ made from Israeli force air strikes. The New Year does not stop Israeli bombardment towards Gaza (al-Homs, 2024). The bombardment becomes Gaza’s New Year’s ‘fireworks’ that sparks the sky.

There are some Israel attacks on Gaza on December 31, 2023. In the southern area of Khan Younis, air strikes killed and wounded several people. In Deir al-Balah (Central Gaza) Israel struck a school which killed six people and destroyed surrounding areas. According to a witness, there were no men in the school when Israel struck the school. The school was full of children, women, and elderly people (al-Homs, 2024). Israel also performed bombardment at the Gaza Strip that killed at least 35 people (WHYY, 2024). In total, at least 100 people were killed and  286 wounded in Israel attacks on Gaza on December 31, 2023 (Gadzo and Siddiqui, 2023).

If we calculate from the first war on October 7th 2023, Israeli attacks have resulted in 28,822 people killed or missing, including 9,100 children according to Gaza government’s media office. Specifically, in Gaza, 21,822 people have been killed and 56,451 wounded as the result of Israeli attacks since October 7, 2023. There are also 1,139 deaths on the Israeli side (Gadzo and Siddiqui, 2023).

Due to the long duration of war (since October 7, 2023), the Israel government stated that they will withdraw some troops from Gaza (Harb, 2024). Israel-Palestine bloody conflict seems not to come to an end. Israel Military spokesperson, Daniel Hagari, says that five brigades would be moved out of the enclave for training and rest. But, this withdrawal does not stand accordingly with transnational pressure to ceasefire. As Hagari said, Israeli withdrawal is just a war strategy (one of the is) to rest their soldiers. Hagari added “the objectives of the war require prolonged fighting and we are preparing accordingly” (al-Homs, 2024). Furthermore, an unnamed Israeli official told the media that this withdrawal will not last forever (as there is no peace agreement between Israel and Palestine). They said that some troops may be re-deployed to strategic areas (al-Homs, 2024).

Israel withdrawal is more economic, rather than political. Withdrawal is not an Israeli will to end their inhumane war also not as their will for peace. The official said that the withdrawal was designed to focus more on Israel’s plan to boost its construction sector, which has been largely frozen since the war began. There is a plan to increase the quota of foreign construction workers from 50,000 to 70,000 (al-Homs, 2024). Israel’s government needs more money to fund this project. Therefore, temporary withdrawal is Israeli strategy to shift or reduce the budget for war to budget for funding their construction plan.

Let’s hear what ISAFIS members say about the extreme nationalist!

“It is saddening that amidst the worldwide celebration of New Year’s Eve with fireworks and barbeque, Gaza residents experienced an unprecedented horror of bombardment by the Israeli Government. The recent escalation of violence captured international community attention, which urged to end hostilities. In December 2023, Majority of UN General Assembly voted for immediate humanitarian ceasefire. Many of traditionally Israeli allies like US, UK, and France even shown hesitant to support Israeli cause. This probably led to pledge by Israel to scale back war by drawing out some of their troops. However, Israel turns out to not walk the talk. Fighting appears to continue with Israel launching a ground assault in southern and central areas of Gaza. There was also a strike in Deir al-Balah which hit a red crescent ambulance. With this in mind, looks like Israel is not really committed in maintaining peace in the region”

Danendra Daffa Darmawan – FAIR

“While we were able to celebrate new years at home with people we love, the same cannot be said for our brothers and sisters in Gaza. The conflict is a tragedy that we should always remember and be ashamed of. With no peace agreement in sight, Death, displacement, poverty, and violence have plagued Gaza for too long. On November 2023, the Indonesian government and public have distributed 3,3 tons and 18,4 tons worth of items to aid Palestinian victims with the help of UNRWA and ERC. While various other nations and communities have gathered in solidarity for the victims of war, we are clearly just putting a bandaid on the bigger issue at hand—which are the bigger power playing behind the scenes for selfish economical and political gains. Let us mourn the loss and move forward to a more peaceful future. Thus, I believe that a human rights perspective and strong stance to push for peace is needed.”

Deanna Beatrice – Treasurer – Finance


al-Homs, Mohammed. (January 1, 2024). War on Gaza: New year begins with shelling, as Israel announces partial troop withdrawal from Gaza. Middle East Eye.

Gadzo, Mersiha and Siddiqui, Usaid. (December 31, 2023). Israel-Hamas war live: Israel to pull thousands of troops from Gaza battle. Al-Jazeera.

Harb, Ali. (January 1, 2024). Israel-Hamas war: Hospitals facing ‘totally catastrophic’ situation. Al-Jazeera.

WHYY. (January 1, 2024). New Year’s Eve sweeps across the globe, but wars cast a shadow on 2024. WHYY.

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