Peace activists have launched a global campaign urging people to change their New Year’s countdowns into a collective call for a ceasefire in Gaza. The enclave has endured severe bombardment since October 7, resulting in 28,822 people killed and missing, including 9,100 children, and causing injuries to more than 55,000. This has prompted global outrage and calls for immediate action.

The campaign named ‘Countdown2Ceasefire’ aims to draw attention to the situation in the region and promote efforts towards a lasting peace. It has garnered support from activists in over 30 countries, including Switzerland, Turkey, Malaysia, Australia, Tanzania, Mexico, and Germany. The campaign seeks to unite people from diverse backgrounds in a collective plea for an end to the violence and a move towards rebuilding traumatised communities.

Despite widespread calls for a ceasefire, certain countries have either vetoed or abstained from voting in favour a ceasefire in Gaza at the United Nations, drawing criticism from rights groups and activists worldwide. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Doctors Without Borders have condemned these actions.

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme has highlighted the urgent need to address the food crisis in Gaza, pointing out that only a long-term ceasefire and unhindered humanitarian access can prevent starvation for millions. Israel’s refusal to halt the bombing has destroyed over 70 per cent of Gaza’s homes, displacing more than 90 per cent of the enclave’s population.

Countdown2Ceasefire organisers remain hopeful that the global movement will contribute to the fulfilment of their New Year’s resolution: a permanent ceasefire in Gaza in 2024.

The past 24 hours have witnessed a devastating surge in Israeli violence, targeting homes in central Gaza and killing at least 100 people and wounding 286 others, according to the enclave’s health ministry.

The Israeli war cabinet is set to convene to discuss captive-prisoner exchanges, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, buoyed by the U.S. government’s unconditional support and supply of weaponry, vows to continue the ongoing attacks on Gaza. The Biden administration once again opted to bypass Congress on weapons sales to Israel, a move that has sparked criticism and intensified the debate surrounding the U.S. role in the conflict. The decision raises questions about the accountability and oversight of military aid in the region.

Israel, meanwhile, intensifies attacks on homes and civilian infrastructure. Israeli forces killed thirteen Palestinians, all belonging to one family, in an attack on a residential home in Khan Younis. Reports indicate that there were multiple attacks targeting the same home. A separate Israeli attack near the European Hospital in Khan Younis killed two girls, with several others sustaining injuries.

Simultaneously, Israeli forces conducted overnight raids in the occupied West Bank, detaining at least 16 people, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society. The arrests have taken place across various cities, including Nablus and Hebron, bringing the total number of arrests since 7 October to 4,876.