Summary executions; US citizen killed in West Bank was from Louisiana; CNN witnessed Israeli desecration of Gazan cemeteries; ethnic cleansing of Bedouin community; Jewish Israeli Knesset member Ofer Cassif criticizes Israeli policy; suspicious UK military missions over Gaza; did AIPAC buy House Speaker Mike Johnson? and more
By IAK staff, from reports
UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women, released a report on Gaza today. A few highlights:
Women and children are the main victims of Israel’s war on Gaza with some 16,000 killed so far and an estimated two mothers killed every hour in the Palestinian territory.
Added to the fact that 70 percent of all those killed in Gaza are women and girls, 10,000 children have lost their fathers since Israel’s war on the territory began on October 7, and one million women and girls are among those displaced.
Women and girls have been deprived of safety, healthcare, shelter, and now “they face imminent starvation and famine”, UN Women, the agency which promoted gender equality, said on Friday.
“The generational trauma inflicted on Palestinian people over these 100 days and counting, will haunt us all for generations to come…These are people, not numbers. We are failing them.” Read the detailed report here.
Al Jazeera reports: Human rights groups have been gathering testimonies of summary executions of Palestinians by Israeli forces. Al Jazeera has obtained footage and witness accounts from members of one family. They say that on December 19, Israeli soldiers executed at least 19 civilians in Gaza City.
“Tanks and bulldozers surrounded the building. Shells had been hitting the building for days. The situation was desperate,” Umm Odai Salem, mother of one of those killed, said.
“On December 19, Israeli soldiers entered the building. They banged on our door. My husband opened it and told them we are all civilians. They took him to another apartment. I followed them, pleading with them to let him go because we are civilians. They beat me and my daughters up. They put us women in one place and threatened us with guns and knives. They made us strip. They searched us, insulting us using the most terrible words.
“My husband was one of the 19 men killed in this building. They ordered them to bend down and executed them. They killed them all.”
The United States Department of State has confirmed the death of a US citizen in the occupied West Bank.
We can confirm the death of a US citizen civilian in the West Bank on January 19, 2024.
We extend our deepest condolences to the family.
We are working to understand the circumstances of the incident and have asked the Government of Israel for further information.
Out of respect to the family at this difficult time, we have no further comment.
ABC reported: Tawfiq Ajaq was born and raised in Gretna, Louisiana, near New Orleans, relatives said. His parents brought him and his four siblings to the village of Al-Mazra’a Ash-Sharqiya last year so they could reconnect with Palestinian culture.
As hundreds of mourners buried the 17-year-old in the family’s ancestral Palestinian village Saturday, the teen’s father, Hafez Ajaq criticized the long-standing U.S. support for Israel.
“They are killer machines,” he said of Israeli forces. “They are using our tax dollars in the U.S. to support the weapons to kill our own children…The American society does not know the true story,” he said.
“Come here on the ground and see what’s going on. … How many fathers and mothers have to say goodbye to their children? How many more?”
The Biden administration has expressed concern about violence by Israeli settlers against Palestinians in recent months, but have continued sending weapons – twice bypassing Congressional approval protocol since the war started, and backing a bill for extra $14 billion in military aid on top of the $3.8 billion it already receives every year.
This video from NBC is part of a heartbreaking story – read it here.
GAZA: CNN reports that its own correspondents witnessed firsthand the destruction of cemeteries in Gaza by Israeli forces:
The Israeli military has desecrated at least 16 cemeteries in its ground offensive in Gaza, a CNN investigation has found, leaving gravestones ruined, soil upturned, and, in some cases, bodies unearthed.
In Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, where fighting escalated earlier this week, Israeli forces destroyed a cemetery, removing bodies in what the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) told CNN was part of a search for the remains of hostages seized by Hamas during the October 7 terror attacks.
The intentional destruction of religious sites, such as cemeteries, violates international law, except under narrow circumstances relating to that site becoming a military objective, and legal experts told CNN that Israel’s acts could amount to war crimes.
A spokesman for the IDF could not account for the destruction of the 16 cemeteries CNN provided coordinates for, but said the military sometimes has “no other choice” but to target cemeteries it claimed Hamas uses for military purposes. (Read the full article here.)
Quds News Network reports that Israeli army detonated an entire residential block in southern Gaza:
WEST BANK: Al Jazeera reports: Over the past year, according to al-Baidar Organization for Defending Bedouin Rights, the Israeli army and settlers have committed 1,124 attacks that amount to ethnic cleansing and forced displacement against Bedouin communities in the occupied West Bank, including physical attacks, demolishing homes, uprooting and destroying crops, seizing property, and establishing new settlement outposts.
Al-Baidar reported that Israel and its settlers displaced approximately 28 Bedouin communities, comprised of 276 families and 1,593 individuals.
There are 160 Bedouin communities spread out from Hebron in the south to the far north of the West Bank, as well as alongside the eastern plains and in Area C – which makes up 60 percent of the occupied territory but is under Israeli military and civil control.
Ofer Cassif, a left-leaning, Jewish member of the Israeli legislature, has been suspended from the Knesset for 45 days for criticizing the war and backing South Africa’s genocide case against Israel. He sat for an interview with Andalou Agency. Here are some highlights:
“People are arrested for tweets and posts, not in support of Hamas, of course, but in supporting ending the war, or before even cease-fire. Students are suspended from the universities and colleges. People are fired from their workplaces. The police are brutally violent towards the demonstrators,” Cassif said.
“There is an assault on freedom of speech of those who raise voice against the war … there are death threats. Because it’s not only violence from above, from the government from the prime minister, legitimization of the violence against the protesters, of course by [Itamar] Ben Gvir (national security minister) and the police, which unfortunately mostly became a kind of a private militia of Ben Gvir.
“But it also penetrates the society as a whole. And you can see that within the society, a growing a part of the public supports, literally and explicitly, violence against those who oppose the war, including death threats.”
“We cannot demonstrate, we cannot raise our voice. We are limited. There is a dictatorship now here, practically. What’s left is to look for a refuge in international organizations. So that’s the main reason why I think we should have supported the appeal of South Africa.”
About press freedom in Israel, Cassif said there have been situations where authorities “mobilize,” or force the media to “publish something and not to publish something else,” but now a vast majority of journalists are “voluntarily” supporting the policy of the government.
“You can say, there are not many limitations on freedom of the press, but the press itself, most of them, choose not to act freely … this is disgraceful, it’s unprofessional, and it will be remembered once this terrible era is ended and finished. It will be remembered that they betrayed the profession.” (Read the full article here.)
Reporter Matt Lee pushes State Department spokesman Matthew Miller on the destruction of a university in Gaza yesterday by Israel:
Declassified UK reports: The UK military has flown 50 surveillance missions over Gaza since December, it can be revealed. The flights have taken off from Britain’s controversial air base on Cyprus, RAF Akrotiri, and averaged around one a day since the beginning of December, and last about 6 hours.
The UK Ministry of Defense announced on 2 December that it would begin surveillance flights over Gaza “in support of the ongoing hostage rescue activity”.
“The safety of British nationals is our utmost priority,” the department said. “Surveillance aircraft will be unarmed, do not have a combat role, and will be tasked solely to locate hostages”. It added: “Only information relating to hostage rescue will be passed to the relevant authorities responsible for hostage rescue.” Hamas holds just two British hostages.
But the extraordinary number of flights, and the fact that they started nearly two months after the hostages were taken, raises suspicions that the UK is not collecting intelligence solely for this purpose.
Al Jazeera reports: Musa Abu Marzouk, a member of the Hamas political bureau, says the movement does not want to keep the Israeli captives and is seeking a new prisoner exchange deal.
“In the end, Israel will be forced to make a deal, because it failed during more than a hundred days of war to recover any prisoners by force,” Abu Marzouk told the Russian Sputnik news agency. “It will either take them back through a deal with the movement or take them as bodies.”
ISRAEL LOBBY: the Intercept reports: The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC, donated around $95,000 to Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., in November, according to The Intercept’s analysis of Federal Election Commission recordsOpens in a new tab. The pro-Israel lobbying group was Johnson’s top donor in 2023, pouring money into his campaign coffers just after he led the passage of a $14 billion aid package to Israel.
AIPAC’s political action committee donated a total of $104,000 to Johnson last year, with the majority of payments coming since the start of the Gaza war and after Johnson was elected House Speaker in late October. That’s more than four times the roughly $25,000 the group donated to his last congressional campaign, when it was also his top donor, as The Intercept previously reported.
— The Intercept (@theintercept) November 2, 2023
HOUTHI NEWS: US Central Command said it has carried out additional strikes against Houthi targets, this time an “anti-ship missile that was [allegedly] prepared to launch” – once again as part of “ongoing efforts to protect freedom of navigation and prevent attacks on maritime vessels.”
U.S. forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region. U.S. forces subsequently struck and destroyed the missiles in self-defense.
This action will make international waters safe and secure for U.S. navy vessels and merchant vessels.
The reason for the Houthi threat, which the US does not address, is Israel’s brutal war against Gaza.
Reuters reports: US personnel suffered minor injuries and a member of Iraq’s security forces was seriously wounded in an attack on Iraq’s Ain al-Asad air base on Saturday, a US official said, citing initial assessments, which are subject to change.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said initial reports indicated that the base was hit by ballistic missiles but left open the possibility the base was hit by rockets, adding an assessment was ongoing.
People in Gaza are dying not only from bombs and bullets, but from lack of food & clean water, and hospitals without power & medicine.
This must stop.
I will not relent in my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate & unconditional release of all hostages.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) January 20, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – JANUARY 20:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – January 20: at least 25,296* (~24,927 in Gaza* (over 10,600 children, 7,200 women), and at least 369 in the West Bank (98 children). This does not include an estimated 8,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 32,246 Palestinian deaths.
*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.
About 1.7 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population).
Palestinian injuries from October 7 – January 20: at least 66,698** (including at least 62,388 in Gaza** and 4,310 in the West Bank). **NOTE: it is impossible to provide an accurate number of injuries in Gaza due to the ongoing bombardment and communication disruption.
NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel may have been caused by Israeli soldiers; additionally, since Israel has a policy of universal conscription, it is unknown how many of those attending the outdoor rave a few miles from Gaza on stolen Palestinian land were Israeli soldiers.
Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.
- 12 Essential Facts for Understanding the Current Israel-Gaza Violence
- Why the Guardian’s ‘Hamas mass rape’ story doesn’t pass the sniff test
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- 2023 in review: 12 months of blood on Israeli and American hands
- Coverage of Gaza War in NYTimes & other major papers heavily favored Israel, analysis shows
- Two reports debunk New York Times ‘investigative report’ of mass rape on October 7th
- John Mearsheimer: Genocide in Gaza
- Flashback: Israeli Journalist said Israel is pushing US into war with Iran
- Israel’s Assault on Gaza Is Unlike Any War in Recent Memory
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- Essential facts and stats about the Hamas-Gaza-Israel war
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