30 handcuffed, blindfolded Gazans found in body bags – Day 116

30 handcuffed, blindfolded Gazans found in body bags – Day 116

Apparent mass execution of Gazan men; triple assassination of Palestinians in Jenin hospital; NYTimes caught red-handed; Israel ignores ICJ ruling; the forgotten residents of northern Gaza; Israel says No to early openings of aid checkpoints; pregnant Gazan women grossly underserved; disturbing uptick in detention, torture of Gazan men; drone footage confirms massive devastation; Israeli and US reactions to Jenin assassinations; Canada pledges humanitarian funding, but not to UNRWA; speaker of Knesset coming to Congress; Harvard sued for non-protection of Palestinian students

By IAK staff, from reports

Palestine Chronicle reports: The bodies of 30 Palestinians were reportedly discovered Wednesday in body bags, blindfolded and with their hands tied behind their backs. They were found on the grounds of a school in Beit Lahia following the withdrawal of Israeli forces from the area.

The Palestinian Prisoners Club, which confirmed the discovery, said data indicates that executions are increasing in Gaza, based on “testimonies of detainees who were released.”

It said Israel’s “insistence on keeping Gaza detainees under enforced disappearance has one explanation, which is that there is a decision to single them out, with the aim of carrying out more crimes against them in secret.”

The horrific discovery in northern Gaza comes a day after more than 100 Palestinian bodies that were exhumed and stolen by Israeli forces from various areas in the Gaza Strip were returned. They were buried in a mass grave in the southern city of Rafah.

WEST BANK: Middle East Monitor reports: Disguised as civilians and medical staff, Israeli occupation forces Tuesday morning infiltrated the Ibn Sina Hospital in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, and fatally shot three Palestinian men.

The victims, identified as brothers Mohammad and Basil Ayman Al-Ghazawi, and Mohammad Walid Jalamna, were targeted by the occupying forces. Basil was injured and had been receiving medical treatment at the hospital since 25 October.

Surveillance footage circulating on social media reveals the Israeli soldiers posing as nurses, women in hijabs, and other hospital staff. One Israeli soldier was seen pushing a wheelchair, while another carried a baby car seat.

Internal sources from the hospital confirmed that approximately ten undercover Israeli occupation soldiers proceeded to the third floor where they used silenced pistols to assassinate the three young men.

The Israeli military has claimed the three men – who were shot by undercover agents as they slept inside the hospital – were members of a “Hamas terrorist cell”.

RECOMMENDED READING (Middle East Eye): Mustaribeen: The Israeli undercover agents with a history of dressing like Palestinians
Israeli forces disguised as hospital workers and civilians entered Jenin’s Ibn Sina Hospital and assassinated three Palestinians as they slept. This was Basel Al-Ghazawi's bde.
Israeli forces disguised as hospital workers and civilians entered Jenin’s Ibn Sina Hospital and assassinated three Palestinians as they slept. This was Basel Al-Ghazawi’s bde. (photo)

The Intercept reports: The New York Times pulled a high-profile episode of its podcast “The Daily” about alleged sexual violence perpetrated by Hamas on October 7 amid a furious internal debate about the strength of the paper’s original reporting on the subject, Times newsroom sources told The Intercept. The episode was based on a prominent article claiming that Hamas had systematically used sexual violence as a weapon of war.

Mainstream media routinely downplay Palestinian Gazan suffering and Israeli violence.
Mainstream media routinely downplay Palestinian suffering and Israeli violence. (photo)

“There seems to be no self-awareness at the top,” said one frustrated Times editorial staffer. “The story deserved more fact-checking and much more reporting. All basic standards applied to countless other stories.”

Critics have highlighted major discrepancies in the accounts presented in the Times, subsequent public comments from the family of a major subject of the articleOpens in a new tab denouncing it, and comments from a key witnessOpens in a new tab seeming to contradict a claim attributed to him in the article.

An Intercept analysis found that in the first six weeks of the war, the New York Times, alongside other major publications, consistently delegitimized Palestinian deaths and cultivated “a gross imbalance” in coverage to pro-Israeli sources and voices; it also recently downplayed the severity of South Africa’s genocide charges and Israel’s defeat in the case, and misrepresented the Gazan death toll. (Read the full article here.)

Major American news outlets have been favoring Israel in their reporting for years. For example, read this and this and this (for more on biased coverage of the current conflict, read this and this and this).

Palestinians carry bags of flour they grabbed from an aid truck near an Israeli checkpoint in Gaza City, January 27, 2024
Palestinians carry bags of flour they grabbed from an aid truck near an Israeli checkpoint in Gaza City, January 27, 2024 (photo)

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s recent report details how Israel has ignored last week’s ICJ’s interim rulings. A few of Israel’s actions in the 48 hours following the ruling:

  • the Israeli military killed 373 Palestinians and injured 643 others
  • targeted hospitals and established a new checkpoint in Khan Younis
  • destroyed entire residential blocks near the fence with Gaza to create a “buffer zone”
  • killed Palestinians who were waiting for aid trucks
  • allowed entry of only 87 aid trucks, less than half before the ICJ rulings
  • read the full report here

Mercy Corps reports: Waleed*, a team member of the NGO in Gaza, says the situation in the north is “very difficult” and some people haven’t had a piece of bread for more than a month. Here’s his update regarding the scarcity of food:

  • Many are limited to just one meal a day, typically consisting of rice. There are no vegetables available; I haven’t seen tomatoes, cucumbers, or potatoes for about 90 days.
  • “If something is available, you cannot afford to buy it. A bag of flour, previously priced at 35 shekels ($9.56) is now 600 shekels ($164). The cost of rice, once 6 shekels ($1.64) per kilo, is now 17 shekels ($4.64). This is the same for all items.
  • “Instead, you must wait for aid trucks in a place near the tanks to find something to eat. Every day people go hoping to get some assistance and tanks shoot at them, resulting in casualties. Personally, from the beginning of the war until today, my family hasn’t received any kind of assistance. We now eat only once a day and say it’s enough.
  • “The aid trucks reaching the north are very few and because there is no one responsible for the distribution process, it’s extremely chaotic. People often intercept these trucks and directly take items from them because they know they won’t get anything otherwise.
  • “Recently, I went to observe the aid distribution and it was very distressing. Thousands of people were waiting by the seaside in the hope that aid trucks would enter and after waiting for hours, only two trucks entered – for thousands of hungry people. People crowded around them so intensely that I witnessed two people suffocating to death from the overcrowding.
  • “Most people are not getting any assistance either because they are not willing to risk going to places where there’s a high chance of being targeted or because they cannot compete with so many people trying to get aid.”

Waleed is a pseudonym being used to protect the safety of the individual and his family. He is located in Gaza City.

RECOMMENDED READING (Electronic Intifada): Dying of Thirst
People mourn victims of an Israeli bombardment outside a morgue in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on 14 November 2023
People mourn victims of an Israeli bombardment outside a morgue in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, on 14 November 2023 (photo)

OCHA reports: None of the 22 requests by the United Nations to the Israeli military to open checkpoints early to access areas north of Wadi Gaza were facilitated. Given the heavy congestion around UN warehouses and the high levels of needs, early movement is essential for security, programmatic and protection reasons. The humanitarian community has consistently called for both main supply routes to be open in Gaza, and for checkpoints to open at 6:00 every day. Only one of the two main supply routes has been made available for aid missions so far.

During the past week, large numbers of Palestinian men have been observed being detained by the Israeli military at a checkpoint within the city of Khan Younis, with many of them stripped to their underwear, blindfolded and taken away.

Disturbing video, allegedly showing Israeli soldiers abusing Palestinian men:

Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières, or MSF) expressed alarm at the deteriorating lack of obstetric care in Gaza, caused by the continuous bombings, restrictions on humanitarian aid, and attacks on healthcare facilities. In the Rafah area, the Emirati Maternity Hospital is the main remaining facility for displaced pregnant women but can only respond to the most urgent and life-threatening deliveries, as it struggles to cope with three times the number of deliveries it handled before the war.

Displaced women are giving birth in plastic tents and public buildings and those who manage to deliver in a hospital often return to their makeshift shelters just hours after undergoing a caesarean. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 50,000 women are pregnant, and according to UNICEF an estimated 20,000 babies have been born since the start of the war.

RECOMMENDED READING (Mondoweiss): Giving birth in the Gaza genocide

Palestinians carry bags of flour they grabbed from an aid truck near an Israeli checkpoint in Gaza City, January 27, 2024
Palestinians carry bags of flour they grabbed from an aid truck near an Israeli checkpoint in Gaza City, January 27, 2024 (photo)

Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum reports (Tuesday evening): Israeli forces have stormed al-Amal Hospital [in Khan Younis], where thousands of Palestinians are taking refuge.

Israeli forces had destroyed the back wall of the hospital along with setting fire to the majority of makeshift tents that were set up in the facility of this medical complex. The majority of evacuees there are completely terrified as the Israeli forces are recommending them to flee and to get out of the medical complex.

This is one of the last two remaining hospitals that are still operating in the city of Khan Younis, and this will add extra pressure on the ability of medical teams and the medical sector to keep operating amid the ongoing Israeli military offensive … on Khan Younis.

Until now, Israeli forces are stationed inside the hospital and we are waiting for more developments.

BBC reports: Satellite data analysis obtained by the BBC, along with drone footage and even videos from Israeli troops, show the true extent of the destruction of Gaza since October 7th.

Recent satellite images show that between 144,000 and 175,000 buildings across the whole Gaza Strip (50-61%) have been damaged or destroyed; an enormous swath of farmland has been ravaged, and may have “lasting damage”; areas of new tents that have sprung up around Rafah cover roughly 3.5 sq km, equivalent to 654 American football fields.

In a video posted online on 4 November, Col Yogev Bar-Shesht, deputy head of the Civil Administration, said in an interview from inside Gaza: “Whoever returns here, if they return here after, will find scorched earth. No houses, no agriculture, no nothing. They have no future.”

(Read the full article here.)

Map showing the proliferation of tent cities near Rafah in Gaza--on the left, October 15, 2023; on the right, January 14, 2024.
Map showing the proliferation of tent cities near Rafah in Gaza–on the left, October 15, 2023; on the right, January 14, 2024. (images)

MORE ON TRIPLE ASSASSINATION IN JENIN: Andalou Agency reports, following the Jenin assassinations: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that his army forces have killed hundreds of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank since Oct. 7.

“We are in a battle where we will not stop until total victory,” Netanyahu said during a meeting with army soldiers in the West Bank as reported by the Israeli public broadcaster KAN.

“We must achieve victory. To do so, we must pay attention to other fronts, and this (the West Bank) is of utmost importance,” he added. “We have already eliminated 500 terrorists here, including today in Jenin, and there are more to follow.”

Al Jazeera reports: The US State Department has said that it it cannot offer an assessment of Israel’s controversial raid on a hospital in Jenin, where Israeli soldiers disguised as civilians and medical staff entered the hospital and killed three alleged Palestinian fighters, one of whom was receiving medical treatment.

State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said on Tuesday that the US wants to see hospitals protected but that Israel has the right to “bring terrorists to justice”.

According to the Red Cross, international law says that combatants receiving medical attention cannot be targeted if “not, or no longer, taking part in hostilities”.

Elsewhere, Ammar Dweik, director-general of the Independent Commission for Human Rights in Palestine, has said that the attack is “an assault on an institution protected by international law”.

Dweik told Al Jazeera that the men did not pose any threat to the raiding forces at the time of the attack, and that they could have been apprehended if they were wanted for alleged crimes.

Ha’aretz reports: The Israeli army announced on Tuesday that it has flooded tunnels in the Gaza Strip in an effort to destroy them. According to the army, tunnels have been flooded only in locations suitable for this method, without impairing the use of groundwater.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, despite warnings that the process could harm sewage infrastructure, buildings, and freshwater reservoirs, Israeli carried it out on a number of occasions, and even installed an additional pump in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip at the beginning of the month.

According to American officials, the operation turned out to be less effective than anticipated, largely due to obstructions and wall barriers which stopped the water flow. The Wall Street Journal reported that approximately 80 percent of Gaza’s intricate network of tunnels remain intact despite weeks of Israeli attempts to destroy them.

Rafah in the Gaza Strip was already crowded before the war and now, it literally hosts millions.
Rafah in the Gaza Strip was already crowded before the war and now, it literally hosts millions. (photo)

Al Jazeera reports: Canada has announced $29.8m in funding to provide food, water supplies and other humanitarian assistance to the Gaza Strip, allocated to international agencies, including the World Food Programme, UNICEF, and the World Health Organization.

The announcement comes days after Canada and several other countries paused funding to the UN refugee agency for Palestinians following allegations by Israel that some of its staff were involved in the October 7 Hamas attacks.

Doctors Without Borders statement: MSF is deeply alarmed by the decision of some countries to suspend their funding to UNRWA, which is a lifeline for millions of Palestinians in Gaza Strip, the West Bank and the region. [Israel has accused 12 workers – out of 13,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza – of helping Hamas stage the October 7 attack or of aiding Hamas in the days after.]

In the Gaza strip, the humanitarian crisis has reached catastrophic levels, and any additional limitations on aid will result in more deaths and suffering. Humanitarian organizations are already grappling to meet even a fraction of the urgent needs in Gaza. Much more aid is required to meet those needs, not less.

The consequences these cuts in funding will have on the ground contradict the provisional measures issued by the International Court of Justice on Friday (26th January), which include immediate measures to ensure sufficient humanitarian aid flows into Gaza.

TRT World reports: The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries to continue funding the UN Palestinian refugee agency (UNRWA), calling Israeli allegations against the UN body a “distraction” from the ongoing onslaught in Gaza.

“The discussion right now is much of a distraction of what is going on every day, every hour, every minute in Gaza,” WHO spokesperson Christian Lindmeier told a UN press briefing in Geneva on Tuesday.

“It’s a distraction from close to 27,000 deaths as of now, out of which 70 percent are women and children.”

Times of Israel reports: The commander of the Houthi forces Mohamed al-Atifi said in a statement.

We are prepared for a long-term confrontation with the forces of tyranny. The Americans, the British, and those who coordinated with them must realize the power of the sovereign Yemeni decision and that there is no debate or dispute over it.

The reason for the Houthi threat, which America has yet to address, is Israel’s brutal war against Gaza.

Jerusalem Post reports: Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana was invited to the United States House of Representatives in the first week of February. He is scheduled to meet with the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Mike Johnson. 

The Knesset Speaker has invited several former hostages and family members of hostages to his diplomatic visit.

Amir Ohana and Mike Johnson are expected to meet in Congress on Tuesday, February 6. During the diplomatic visit, Speaker Ohana is expected to hold meetings on the subject of policy with senior members of Congress and beyond, the leadership of AIPAC, Jewish organizations, and also to address matters at the conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union at the United Nations headquarters.

Members of Congress have reportedly been ignoring their constituents’ opinions on Israel, and overwhelmingly support it in many ways – even though Israel spies on the US, steals our technology, sabotages our economy, tried to sink a Navy ship, and has a long record of violent human rights abuses.

The New Arab reports: A group of students from Harvard are suing their university for failing to protect them from intense harassment they have experienced following their support for Palestinians amid Israel’s war in Gaza. 

The legal complaint, which was filed on Monday, 29 January, by more than a dozen students, alleges that the university failed to protect them from threats to their personal safety and livelihoods. They are demanding an investigation into what they believe is the targeting of them based on their Arab, Muslim and Palestinian backgrounds and their support for Palestinians.

“As a Palestinian student at Harvard, the racism and harassment I have faced is shocking, terrifying, and outrageous,” said one of the students. “We have been chased, spat at, stalked, and hounded by doxxing trucks on campus and even at our families’ homes. On top of worrying about my family’s safety in Palestine, I’m living in fear of being attacked while walking to class. No student should have to live like this.” (Read the full article here.)



Palestinian death toll from October 7 – January 30: at least 27,129* (26,751 in Gaza* (over 11,000 children, 7,500 women), and at least 378 in the West Bank (98 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (70% women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 33,360 Palestinian deaths.

About 1.7 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population). 

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – January 30: at least 70,022** (including at least 65,636 in Gaza and 4,386 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – January 30: ~1,705 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, 9 in West Bank, 557 soldiers in Gaza; including ~32 Americans and approximately 36 children) 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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