$320 million Gaza pier has not delivered any aid to people of Gaza – Day 228

$320 million Gaza pier has not delivered any aid to people of Gaza – Day 228

Norway, Ireland, Spain to recognize Palestinian statehood; after $320 million and over 2 months, US has not gotten any aid to Gazan families; Israel confiscates, then returns camera equipment to Associated Press; 8 Palestinians killed in Jenin, West Bank; Israeli forces are telling settlers where to attack humanitarian aid trucks; Biden administration showing some hostility on Netanyahu’s war strategy; Blinken not happy with ICC decision; Arab Americans told that a Palestinian state would result in world hunger; more…

By IAK staff, from reports

Norway, Ireland and Spain formally recognize Palestinian state

NBC News reports: Ireland, Norway, and Spain’s announcement that they will formally recognize a Palestinian state dealt the latest diplomatic blow to Israel, as the United States’ close ally faces mounting international isolation and backlash over its deadly offensive in the Gaza Strip. Israel immediately recalled its ambassadors to Oslo and Dublin and said it would do the same for Madrid in protest at what it called a “distorted step.”

The formal recognition will take place on May 28, and may be followed by other European countries as outrage over Israel’s actions in Gaza bolsters the Palestinian cause on the global stage and adds to pressure on the Israelis to engage in talks for a path toward a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict.

“In the midst of a war, with tens of thousands killed and injured, we must keep alive the only alternative that offers a political solution for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre , as his country led the triple announcement.

“Two states, living side by side, in peace and security.”

Irish Prime Minister Simon Harris said he hoped the decision would “offer hope and encouragement to the people of Palestine at one of their darkest hours.”

“This recognition is not against anyone, it is not against the Israeli people,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said in an address to Parliament. “It is an act in favor of peace, justice and moral consistency.”

This comes after the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor announced he would be seeking arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar and others for alleged war crimes in the Israel-Hamas war.

Ireland has long expressed empathy for the Palestinian cause, with many seeing their republic’s own history fighting for independence under British rule reflected in the Palestinian cause.

Prior to Wednesday, more than 140 of the 193 member states of the United Nations recognized Palestinian statehood, with no Group of Seven nations among them.

A view of a mural in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the Nationalist area along the International Wall on the Falls Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 4, 2023
A view of a mural in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in the Nationalist area along the International Wall on the Falls Road in Belfast, Northern Ireland, November 4, 2023 (photo)

Pentagon says zero aid from $320 million pier has been delivered to Palestinian population

CNN reports: None of the aid that has been unloaded from the temporary pier the US constructed off the coast of Gaza has been delivered to the broader Palestinian population, as the US works with the UN and Israel to identify safe delivery routes inside the enclave, the Pentagon said on Tuesday.

Several desperate Gazans intercepted trucks delivering aid from the pier over the weekend, leading the UN to suspend the delivery operations until the logistical challenges are resolved.

The US is working with Israel and the United Nations to establish “alternative routes” for the safe delivery of the 569 tons of aid transported to Gaza since last week, Pentagon spokesperson Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said on Tuesday.

Asked whether any of the aid has been delivered to the people of Gaza, Ryder said, “As of today, I do not believe so.” He added that aid had been held in an assembly area on shore, but as of Tuesday had begun getting moved to warehouses for distribution throughout Gaza as alternative routes have been established.

NOTE: “Over 569 metric tons” might sound like a lot of aid. It is not. A United Nations report has stated that a humanitarian aid truck might carry an average of 20 tonnes (22 tons) of aid. 569 metric tons would be equivalent to less than 26 truckloads. Before the war, Gaza was taking in an average of about 500 truckloads of aid per day.

UN food agency warns that the new US sea route for Gaza aid may fail unless conditions improve

West Bank: Death toll rises to eight as Israeli forces continue their onslaught on Jenin and its camp

WAFA reports: The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) confirmed at midnight on Wednesday the killing of a Palestinian by the Israeli army in the al-Hadaf neighborhood in Jenin, as the army’s onslaught on the Jenin governorate continued since early Tuesday morning, bringing the number of Palestinians killed in the ongoing onslaught to eight.

The number of people injured in the ongoing onslaught on Jenin City and its refugee camp has also resulted in the wounding of at least 21 people, including some seriously.

The Israeli military has said it was carrying out a “counterterrorism” operation, but one medic said he witnessed Israeli forces “firing at any moving body in the street”.

Israeli soldiers and police tipping off groups that attack Gaza aid trucks

The Guardian reports: Individual members of Israel’s security forces are tipping off far-right activists and settlers to the location of aid trucks delivering vital supplies to Gaza, enabling the groups to block and vandalize the convoys, according to multiple sources.

Settlers intercepting the vital humanitarian supplies to the strip are receiving information about the location of the aid trucks from members of the Israeli police and military, a spokesperson from the main Israeli activist group behind the blockades told the Guardian.

The claim of collusion by members of the security forces is supported by messages from internal internet chat groups reviewed by the Guardian as well as accounts from a number of witnesses and human rights activists.

Those blocking the vehicles say the aid they carry is being diverted by Hamas instead of being delivered to civilians in need, a claim relief agencies reject. US officials have also said that Israel has offered no evidence to support allegations that Hamas is diverting aid.

Rachel Touitou, a spokesperson for the Israeli group Tzav 9, said the group had been blocking trucks as they made their way through Israel since January, on the grounds that the aid they carried was “hijacked” by Hamas once it reached Gaza. “Yes, some of our intel comes from individual members of Israeli forces,” she said.

Videos last week showed aid convoys blocked and vandalized by Israeli settlers at the Tarqumiya checkpoint, west of Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. The incident, in which activists threw boxes of supplies to the ground, sparked outrage, with the White House condemning the attack as “completely and utterly unacceptable behavior”.

Biden admin openly hammering Israel’s military strategy in Gaza

Politico reports: The Biden administration fears Israel is disastrously squandering its opportunity for victory against Hamas, losing its best chance to eliminate the group’s hold on Gaza and threat to the Israeli people.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill, on Sept. 29, 2021
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin testifies at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill, on Sept. 29, 2021 (photo)

Top officials are publicly calling Israel’s strategy in Gaza self-defeating and likely to open the door to Hamas’ return — a level of criticism of the Middle East ally not seen since the war began in October.

The U.S. for months kept any criticism private, quietly pushing Israel to shift how it retaliates against Hamas for its Oct. 7 attack that started the war. But the frustration of watching Israel refuse to change course has increasingly spilled into the open, each broadside a crowbar widening the rift between Washington and Jerusalem.

“We want to encourage a deeper focus on the connection between the ongoing military operations and, ultimately, the strategic endgame,” said a senior administration official, granted anonymity to discuss sensitive internal discussions. “We’re going to keep pressing on that point.”

In a Tuesday interview with CNN, Netanyahu said “we have to get rid of Hamas. Otherwise, there’s no future for Gaza.” But recent U.S. intelligence is fueling a growing concern that such an outcome isn’t possible.

Although Hamas’ communications and military abilities have been degraded, only 30 to 35 percent of its fighters — those who were a part of Hamas before the Oct. 7 attack — have been killed and about 65 percent of its tunnels are still intact, U.S. intelligence indicates.

Biden officials have also become increasingly concerned that Hamas has been able to recruit during wartime — thousands over the last several months. That has allowed the group to withstand months of Israeli offensives, according to a person familiar with U.S. intelligence.

US: “ICC doesn’t have jurisdiction in Gaza, we do” – video

Blinken threatens global starvation in secret meeting with Arab Americans

 Arab and Palestinian Americans left a meeting with Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday night deeply troubled by what they were told:

Detroit community leader Bilal Hammoud appeared on the online news program Breaking Points, where he said that, when asked about Palestinian statehood – which the US claims to support, but which it vetoed in the UN – Secretary Blinken replied that a vote for Palestinian statehood from the US would lead to the defunding of the UN (the US is a primary source of funding for the UN). Consequently, the UN may cut programs like the World Food Program, and the world would have to go hungry. Hammoud summarized, “it’s US policy to starve the world if Palestinians have a free state.”

Blinken says Gaza truce still possible but set back by ICC move

AFP reports: Testifying before Congress, Blinken was repeatedly disrupted by protesters critical of US support for Israel. Several were evicted after shouting that he was a “war criminal,” but protesters — many showing symbolically reddened hands –were later allowed to sit silently behind him.

US Secy of State Antony Blinken
US Secy of State Antony Blinken (photo)

“I think we’ve come very, very close on a couple of occasions,” Blinken told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in the first of four appearances before Congress planned through Wednesday.

“We remain at it every single day. I think that there’s still a possibility,” Blinken said.

“But it’s challenged by a number of events and I have to say, yes the extremely wrongheaded decision by the ICC prosecutor yesterday — the shameful equivalence implied between Hamas and the leadership of Israel — I think that only complicates the prospects for getting such an agreement,” Blinken said.

RECOMMENDED READING: Is the ICC going to issue arrest warrants for Israel and Hamas leaders?

Blinken says he wants to work with Congress to penalize International Criminal Court

CNN reports: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he wants to work with Congress on legislation to penalize the International Criminal Court after it applied for arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

“Given the events of yesterday, I think we have to look at the appropriate steps to take to deal with again, what is a profoundly wrongheaded decision,” Blinken said at a State Department budget hearing with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Blinken’s comments were an early indication of the Biden administration’s openness to taking action against the Netherlands-based court for its application for arrest warrants for the senior Israeli officials. The court’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan also issued warrants for senior Hamas officials, including its leader in Gaza, Yahya Sinwar.

Blinken was responding to questions by the ranking member of the committee, Republican Sen. James Risch, who asked if Blinken would work with him on legislation that “includes the question of the ICC sticking its nose in the business of countries that have an independent legitimate, democratic judicial system.”

NOTE: This is not Israel’s first go-round with the ICC. In 2021, the Jewish State was referred for war crimes in the Palestinian territories. In 2022, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel said that after 30 years of fighting torture in Israel, it had “reached the unfortunate conclusion” that its own state has no wish to end torture of Palestinians, honestly investigate victims’ complaints and prosecute those responsible. The organization referred Israel to the International Criminal Court.
A pro-Palestine protester is removed by police after shouting at Blinken on Tuesday
A pro-Palestine protester is removed by police after shouting at Blinken on Tuesday (photo)

New bill aims to give Americans in Israeli military same benefits as US soldiers

Middle East Eye reports: Two Republican congressmen have introduced legislation that would provide the same employment and economic protections to Americans serving in the Israeli military as US citizens who get deployed to serve in the US military.

On Jan 30th, Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL), wearing an IDF uniform, said that babies being killed in Gaza "are not innocent Palestinian civilians."
On Jan 30th, Congressman Brian Mast (R-FL), wearing an IDF uniform, said that babies being killed in Gaza “are not innocent Palestinian civilians.” (photo)

The protections sought by the two lawmakers, Guy Reschenthaler and Max Miller, come in stark contrast to how other countries have been called upon to treat their citizens who have gone to serve in Israel’s military.

Around 23,380 American citizens are currently serving in the Israeli army, according to a February report by The Washington Post. Some 21 Americans in those military units have been killed in Gaza, while another died in cross-border exchanges with Lebanon.

Shortly after the war in Gaza began, Congressman Brian Mast entered the halls of Congress wearing an Israeli military uniform, and went on to boast about his service in the foreign nation’s military.

“As the only member to serve with both the United States Army and the Israel Defense Forces, I will always stand with Israel,” Mast said.

While these Israel advocates are seeking to extend economic benefits to Americans serving in Israel, other countries have taken a completely different stance.

South Africa’s foreign minister said it would prosecute its citizens who have served in Israel’s military once they return to the country.

“According to the Israeli Security Service law, all citizens, including dual nationals, are obliged to enlist in the military even if they permanently reside abroad. After the war broke out in Gaza on 7 October, the Israeli army called upon reserve soldiers, including those living abroad, to join the fighting.”

South African Deputy President Paul Mashatile said “We will not condone genocide.”

Trump foreign policy adviser urges sanctions on ICC officials after meeting Netanyahu

The United States should slap sanctions on International Criminal Court officials who seek an arrest warrant for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a top foreign policy adviser to Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said on Tuesday after meeting the Israeli leader.

Robert O’Brien, Trump’s fourth and final national security adviser, said Trump would be briefed on the results of the trip, discussed what he called the ICC’s “irrational decision” to issue a warrant for Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, along with three Palestinian Hamas leaders, in his meetings with the Israeli officials.

“We can sanction the bank accounts, the travel. We can put visa restrictions on these corrupt prosecutors and judges. We can show some real mettle here,” O’Brien told Reuters.

Throughout the interview, O’Brien, Rakolta and McMullen rejected assessments by many U.S., Palestinian and international officials who say Israel is not doing enough to protect civilian life.

“The Israelis are conducting themselves in a really fine tradition of a modern, humanitarian military, and I think that’s the biggest takeaway from the meetings we’ve had in my view,” O’Brien said.

Displaced Palestinians gather at a water point to fill their jerrycans in Khan Younis
Displaced Palestinians gather at a water point to fill their jerrycans in Khan Younis (photo)

Al-Aqsa ‘belongs only to Israel’, says Ben Gvir during ‘incendiary’ visit

Middle East Eye reports: Israel’s national security minister, Itamar Ben Gvir, stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem on the day a number of European countries recognized a Palestinian state, amid the ongoing war on Gaza.

Images showed Itamar Ben Gvir entering the complex flanked by heavily armed Israeli forces.

In a video taken from the courtyards of the mosque, the far-right minister said the Jerusalem site “belongs only to the state of Israel”.

His visit came as Spain, Ireland and Norway announced their recognition of the state of Palestine, which in turn prompted Israel to recall its ambassadors.

Palestinians have long sought East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa is located, as the capital of any future state.

Israeli border police on patrol at the Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem
Israeli border police on patrol at the Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem (photo)

Israel minister: Build a new settlement for every country that recognizes Palestine

Middle East Monitor reports: Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich today announced punitive measures against Palestinian Authority and called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps against the Palestinian Authority (PA) after Ireland, Norway and Spain announced that they would recognize the State of Palestine.

Bezalel Smotrich, Israeli finance minister, speaks during a rally with supporters in the southern Israeli city of Sderot
Bezalel Smotrich, Israeli finance minister, speaks during a rally with supporters in the southern Israeli city of Sderot (photo)

Smotrich said he would not transfer tax funds Israel collects on behalf of the PA to the Palestinians, “until further notice”.

He added that he would cancel an agreement in which Norway was due to help facilitate the transfer of tax revenues in order to prevent the financial collapse of the authority.

“Norway was the first to unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state today, and it cannot be a partner in anything related to Judea and Samaria,” Smotrich said using the Jewish name for the occupied West Bank.

According to Haaretz, Smotrich also demanded “punitive measures” from Netanyahu, “including: promoting the construction of tens of thousands of housing units in the West Bank; establishing a settlement ‘for every country that unilaterally recognizes a Palestinian state’; cancelling the Norwegian arrangement; promoting a government decision to strengthen settlements in the West Bank; and revoking the VIP permits of Palestinian Authority officials at crossings, alongside imposing economic sanctions on them and their families.”


Al Jazeera: Gaza war: What does victory look like for the US and Israel?
Electronic Intifada: ICC has no evidence for 7 October rapes, documents indicate.
IMEMC Reports.

Palestinian death toll from October 7 – May 21: at least 36,166* (35,709 in Gaza* – 4,959 women (20%), 7,797 children (32%) identified – and at least 519 in the West Bank (117 children). This does not include an estimated 10,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 43,640 Palestinian deaths. (Information on Gaza statistics here.)

At least 42 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank).

At least 31 Palestinian children and several adults have died due to malnutrition**.

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

About 1.1 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – May 21: at least 84,406 (including at least 79,990 in Gaza and 5,040 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – May 21: ~1,433 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 283 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza; 16 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.

Times of Israel reports: The IDF also listed 41 soldiers killed due to friendly fire in Gaza and other military-related accidents – nearly 16%.

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.

**Euro-Med Monitor reports that Gaza’s elderly are dying at an alarmingly high rate. The majority die at home and are buried either close to their residences or in makeshift graves dispersed across the Strip. There are currently more than 140 such cemeteries. Additionally, according to Euromed, thousands have died from starvation, malnourishment, and inadequate medical care; these are considered indirect victims as they were not registered in hospitals. 

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

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


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