13,000+ Gazans killed since US vetoed last ceasefire; another veto expected this week – Day 135

13,000+ Gazans killed since US vetoed last ceasefire; another veto expected this week – Day 135

UN Security Council to vote on ceasefire (US will veto); Israeli snipers open fire on Gazans congregating for food aid; Khan Younis hospital sinking deeper into chaos; the Pope declines to pray for Israel after it badmouthed the Vatican; Israel plans 4-hour pauses in fighting so Gazans can stock up on food – but there isn’t any; Israel’s cabinet refuses to have a Palestinian state “imposed” on them; historic ICJ case starts Monday on the legality of Israeli occupation; estimate of how many Hamas fighters have been killed; risky plans to limit Muslim attendance at Al Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan; record hunger levels in Gaza; West Bank news, and more

By IAK staff, from reports

Associated Press reports: The U.N. Security Council is expected to vote Tuesday on an Arab-backed resolution demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, which the United States announced it will veto.

In addition to a ceasefire, the final Algerian draft, obtained by The Associated Press, reiterates council demands that Israel and Hamas “scrupulously comply” with international law, rejects the forced displacement of Palestinian civilians, demands the release of all hostages taken by Hamas, and calls for greater humanitarian aid throughout Gaza.

U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that, should the resolution come up for a vote as drafted, it will not be adopted.” She claimed that the Algeria-led resolution would not achieve the “outcomes” that the US wants.

Al Jazeera adds context: On October 18, the US vetoed a Security Council draft resolution calling for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting in Gaza. On December 8, Washington vetoed a call for ceasefire.

On December 22, the US abstained from a Security Council resolution calling for aid to Gaza after working behind the scenes to water it down. 

At the UN General Assembly, where no country has veto power, the US joined Israel and eight other (mostly tiny) countries on December 13 to vote against a nonbinding resolution calling for a ceasefire.

That measure was adopted with the support of 153 countries.

The UN Security Council
The UN Security Council (photo)

Al Jazeera reports: Footage verified by Al Jazeera shows hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza City rushing towards aid trucks on al-Rasheed Street before fleeing after Israeli forces open fire.

Ramy Abdu, the Head of the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, commented on the incident in a post on X saying, “What our team documented on Al-Rasheed Street, west of Gaza City, is terrifying, painful, and brutal”.

Previously, the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) documented four incidents up to and including 30 January, where the Israeli army fired on civilians as they waited for humanitarian relief lorries to arrive.

This had resulted in 72 deaths and hundreds of injuries, some critical, according to Lima Bustami who heads the legal department at Euro-Med.

Andalou Agency reports: At least 150 patients in need of medical care are crammed in rooms and corridors of the Nasser Medical Complex in the city of Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

The Israeli occupation forces arrested 70 medical staff and refused to evacuate the patients so that they could receive treatment in other hospitals, the Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement.

Among the patients are seven in intensive care, five undergoing dialysis, three children in the neonatal unit, as well as cases of burns, amputations, quadriplegia and childbirth, the statement added.

The Israeli army has turned the hospital into military barracks, the ministry said in a previous statement on Sunday.

The Israeli army on Thursday stormed the hospital, forcing everyone inside to evacuate and flee for their lives. Yet a small medical team stayed inside to take care of patients in critical condition, who were all held in one building of the hospital by the Israeli army amid a lack of basic needs.

Destruction of Gaza's healthcare system is a war crime
Destruction of Gaza’s healthcare system is a war crime (photo)

Israeli human rights group B’Tselem reports: Since the war began, B’Tselem’s field researchers in Gaza, Olfat al-Kurd, Khaled al-‘Azayzeh and Muhammad Sabah, have lost many family members to Israeli bombings. Two of them have lost their homes in northern Gaza and are now displaced.

Nevertheless, they have worked hard to convey personal stories and difficult sights from the ground, in almost impossible conditions.

To see several short videos describing the horrific abuse they were subject to in Israeli detention, and others speaking of their struggle to feed their children in a camp for the displaced in Khan Younis, go here.

Pope Francis prays while holding a crosier during Mass in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 29, 2023.
Pope Francis prays while holding a crosier during Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican Oct. 29, 2023. (photo)

Middle East Monitor reports: The Pope called for peace in Sudan and Mozambique, and asked not to forget the conflicts in Africa and various parts of the world – but he left out Israel.

“In Europe, Palestine and Ukraine… do not forget that war is always a defeat,” he added.

Pope Francis has always included Israel in his traditional Sunday prayers and other important events.

The Pope’s failure to include Israel in his prayers coincided with diplomatic tension that occurred a few days ago between the Vatican and Israel.

On 13 February, the Vatican Secretary of State , Cardinal Pietro Parolin, said, “There is a demand that Israel’s right to defend itself be proportionate, and it is clear that this is not the case with the killing of 30,000 people.”

The next day, the Israeli embassy to the Vatican issued a statement that strongly criticized Parolin’s statements, describing them as “shameful”, causing backlash from the Vatican.

The Israeli embassy had to immediately retract the statement and issued another on 15 February, claiming it wanted to use the word “unfortunate” instead of “shameful”, and an error occurred while translating the original text of the statement, prepared in English, into Italian.

A girl walks through rubble in an area hit by Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 7, 2024
A girl walks through rubble in an area hit by Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on February 7, 2024 (photo)

Al Jazeera reports: Gaza’s Health Ministry says an eighth person has died in Nasser Hospital since the Israeli military cut electricity and oxygen supplies at the medical facility.

The head of the World Health Organization says the Nasser Hospital in the southern city of Khan Younis in Gaza is no longer functioning due to the Israeli army’s weeklong siege followed by the ongoing raid.

He said there were still about 200 patients in the hospital and at least 20 of them needed to be urgently referred to other hospitals to receive healthcare.

He added: “Medical referral is every patient’s right. The cost of delays will be paid by patients’ lives. Access to the patients and hospital should be facilitated.”

As Israeli attacks continue on the overcrowded Rafah, Palestinians struggle to access medical care. A new field hospital is being built to compensate.
As Israeli attacks continue on the overcrowded Rafah, Palestinians struggle to access medical care. A new field hospital is being built to compensate. (photo)

Al Jazeera’s Rory Challands reports from occupied East Jerusalem: Israel plans to ‘pause fighting’ for 4 hours a day in one part of Gaza at a time.

From Sunday to Friday, there will be a four-hour pause in fighting a day, from 10am to 2pm local time. These will be taking place in different parts of Gaza on each day.

Hani Mahmoud from Rafah adds: Israel’s pauses in fighting are supposed to allow people to resupply. But we are looking at rubble-filled roads, we’ve seen children looking for scraps of food, and markets are empty in Rafah.

If food is available, it is at a very high price. Not everyone has the means to buy food. With no pay for five months, their financial capabilities are drained.

On top of that, the number of aid trucks that have been allowed into the Gaza Strip so far is not enough. Even if there were 300 trucks a day, it would still not meet the needs of an entire population that has been displaced, traumatized and without any essentials.

In the northern part of Gaza, there is an actual famine. People have resorted to eating plants and animal feed.

Palestinians wait for a hot meal prepared by volunteers in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, January 26, 2024.
Palestinians wait for a hot meal prepared by volunteers in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, January 26, 2024. (photo)

Reuters reports: Israel on Sunday formalized its opposition to what it called the “unilateral recognition” of Palestinian statehood, and said any such agreement must be reached through direct negotiations.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu brought the “declaratory decision” to a vote in cabinet, which unanimously approved the measure, according to a statement.

Netanyahu said at the start of the weekly meeting that the move comes after “recent talk in the international community about an attempt to unilaterally impose on Israel a Palestinian state.”

Al Jazeera adds: The Palestinian Foreign Ministry responded to this symbolic vote by Netanyahu’s cabinet: “the full membership of the State of Palestine in the United Nations and its recognition by states do not need a license from [Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu”.

Associated Press reports: The United Nations’ highest court opens historic hearings Monday into the legality of Israel’s 57-year occupation of lands sought for a Palestinian state, plunging the 15 international judges back into the heart of the decades-long Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Six days of hearings are scheduled at the International Court of Justice, during which an unprecedented number of countries will participate, as Israel continues its devastating assault on Gaza.

Palestinian representatives, who speak first on Monday, will argue that the Israeli occupation is illegal because it has violated three key tenets of international law: Israel has violated the prohibition on territorial conquest by annexing large swaths of occupied land, has violated the Palestinians’ right to self-determination, and has imposed a system of racial discrimination and apartheid.

The court will likely take months to rule. But experts say the decision, though not legally binding, could profoundly impact international jurisprudence, international aid to Israel and public opinion.

CONTEXT: In 2004, the court said that a separation barrier Israel built through east Jerusalem and parts of the West Bank was “contrary to international law.” It also called on Israel to immediately halt construction. Israel has ignored the ruling.

READ MORE ABOUT THIS ICJ CASE (Al Jazeera): What’s the ICJ case against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine?

Reuters reports: A Hamas official based in Qatar told Reuters that the group estimated it had lost 6,000 fighters during the four-month-old conflict, half the 12,000 Israel says it has killed.

Gaza’s ruling group can keep fighting and is prepared for a long war in Rafah and Gaza, said the official, who requested anonymity.

“Netanyahu’s options are difficult and ours are too. He can occupy Gaza but Hamas is still standing and fighting. He hasn’t achieved his goals to kill the Hamas leadership or annihilate Hamas,” he added.

Al Jazeera reports: Israeli Channel 13 is reporting that the prime minister has accepted a proposal by far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir to limit the number of Palestinians entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.

The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence service, has warned against such a move, according to Channel 13.

Israeli authorities have repeatedly barred Palestinians from entering Islam’s third-holiest site for Friday prayers since October 7, forcing many to pray on the streets near the Old City.

In previous years, Israeli forces have attacked Palestinian worshippers inside the mosque.

RECOMMENDED READING ON AL AQSA MOSQUE, RAMADAN 2023 (+972 Magazine): Israeli police raid Al Aqsa mosque compound, beat and arrest hundreds of Palestinian worshipers

The latest data shows that virtually all households are skipping meals every day. In four out of five households in the northern governorates and half the displaced households in the southern governorates, people go entire days and nights without eating. Many adults go hungry so children can eat.
The latest data shows that virtually all households are skipping meals every
day. In four out of five households in the northern governorates and half
the displaced households in the southern governorates, people go entire
days and nights without eating. Many adults go hungry so children can eat. expected between food deprivation and collapse of livelihoods, and the consequential increase in acute malnutrition levels and death rates. (graphic)

The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, the global authority that monitors food insecurity and acute malnutrition, reports that the entire population of Gaza – more than 2 million people – is experiencing hunger at crisis levels or worse: 

“This is the highest share of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity that the IPC initiative has ever classified for any given area or country.”

USA Today ran an article by several heads of prominent aid organizations, including the head of the Norwegian Refugee Council Jan Egeland and the CEO of Oxfam America Abby Maxmam. It read in part:

President Joe Biden recently said that in Gaza, “there are a lot of innocent people who are starving.”

In fact, letting people in Gaza suffer and die from hunger and preventable disease is a political choice.

It is not too late to change this story if urgent actions are taken to achieve a cease-fire and the release of the hostages, and to allow a sufficient flow of aid into Gaza.

Only an immediate stop to the fighting, a massive increase in humanitarian assistance and the return of basic services can keep the number of deaths caused by hunger and disease from eclipsing the already shocking numbers of those killed in the war to date. (Read the full article here.)

Middle East Eye reports: “Palestinian Americans have been unable to help their families escape Israeli bombardment due to the Biden administration’s rigid definitions of family”

The labyrinthine process was described by a lawyer from Boston who has refocused his work on helping Palestinian Americans get their families out of Gaza – as similar to “walking through mud while boulders are coming at you”

“You have a population here that is literally in a cage,” he said, adding that the US government has much more leverage to get American relatives out of the besieged enclave than it lets on…

An aerial shot showing the devastation of Gaza neighborhoods from Israeli attacks has received more than 30 million views on X, according to the social media platform.

The photo, posted by the UN agency for Palestinian refugees yesterday, was captioned: “There are no words.”

WEST BANK: Middle East Eye reports: Two Palestinian men, including a member of an armed group, were killed Sunday in an Israeli raid, while a third was shot at a checkpoint, in the latest violence in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian health ministry said the two, aged 19 and 36, were pronounced dead from gunshot wounds after the raid in the Tulkarm refugee camp, which the United Nations says houses over 27,000 Palestinian refugees.

The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed wing of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party, identified the elder of the pair as a local commander. His brother also called him “a member of the resistance”.

Palestine Chronicle adds that the victims were identified as Nabil Atta, 19, and Mohmmad Fayez, 36. Palestine TV reported that Israeli forces surrounded a house inside the camp and prevented ambulances from reaching the area.

WEST BANK: IMEMC reports: On Sunday evening, Israeli soldiers killed a Palestinian young man, Anas Jamil Dweikat, at the Beit Furik military roadblock, southeast of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank.

Israeli forces raid Jenin refugee camp in Jenin, West Bank, on November 29, 2023
Israeli forces raid Jenin refugee camp in Jenin, West Bank, on November 29, 2023 (photo)

WEST BANK: Al Jazeera reports: Issa Amro, the co-founder of the advocacy group Youth Against Settlements, says Israeli settlers in Hebron in the occupied West Bank are working to build a new illegal settlement inside the city.

“They are taking advantage of the war to make the lives for Palestinian citizens more difficult – blocking checkpoints, imposing curfews, stopping services and banning all forms of social life in areas close to the settlements,” Amro told Al Jazeera.

“The big problem for Hebron now is that the extremist settlers have been recruited to the Israeli army units operating in the city. They now control the lives of Palestinian residents.”

He added that settlers have been assaulting Palestinians, vandalizing their property, restricting their freedom of movement and threatening them.


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 18: at least 29,169* (29,092 in Gaza* (over 12,660 children, 8,570 women), and at least 398 in the West Bank (100 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 36,671 Palestinian deaths.

About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – February 18: at least 73,055** (including at least 68,883 in Gaza and 4,503 in the West Bank).

It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties in Gaza.

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 18: ~1,374 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~574 were civilians, 373 or 337 were security and/or military forces, ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 236 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 10 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.

NBC reports: “According to the latest available IDF data… nearly 1 in 5, or 17%, of all Israel’s losses have come not at the hands of Hamas but from mishaps on its own side.”

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel on October 7 were caused by Israeli soldiers.

*Previously, IAK did not include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile was being disputed. However, given that much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, Israel had previously bombed the hospital and has attacked many others, Israel is prohibiting outside experts from investigating the scene, and since the UN and other agencies are including the deaths from the attack in their cumulative totals, if Americans knew is now also doing so.

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

For more news, go here and hereBroadcast news from the region is here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.
Source: IsraelPalestineTimeline.org

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