Israeli forces killed Hind Rajab, 6, and her rescuers; Israeli snipers are killing dozens; Israeli military arrests Canadian citizens; West Bank death; Netanyahu orders Rafah attack plan that includes evacuation; Israeli protesters block aid to Gaza; new memo from Biden demands accountability for allies receiving military aid; Meta debates whether to more aggressively censor posts containing the word “Zionist,” and more
By IAK staff, from reports
Reuters reports: Relatives found the body on Saturday of a 6-year-old Palestinian girl who had begged Gaza rescuers to send help after being trapped by Israeli military fire, along with the bodies of five of her family members and two ambulance workers who had gone to save her.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) accused Israel of deliberately targeting the ambulance it sent to rescue Hind Rajab after she had spent hours on the phone to dispatchers begging for help with the sound of shooting echoing around.
“The occupation deliberately targeted the Red Crescent crew despite prior coordination to allow the ambulance to arrive at the site to rescue Hind,” the Red Crescent said in a statement.
The PCRS released a photo of the ambulance, seen almost completely burned out. Al Jazeera footage of the scene appeared to show the ambulance only steps away from the car they said the family was in, a damaged black Kia Picanto riddled with bullet holes.
The NGO Action Aid reports: “Food is becoming so scarce that people are resorting to eating grass, ActionAid has learned. Every single person in Gaza is now hungry, and people have just 1.5 to 2 litres of unsafe water per day to meet all their needs. Without enough to eat and without adequate clothing for the cold and rainy weather, people are more susceptible to the diseases and infections which are rapidly spreading through the population.
The head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees says the war in Gaza has put more than half a million boys and girls out of school.
“Every day of war deepens the scars, risking a lost generation vulnerable to exploitation,” Philippe Lazzarini said in a post. “Children are being robbed of childhood.”
The commissioner-general said this situation “needs to be reversed starting with a humanitarian ceasefire”.
Al Jazeera reports: Israeli snipers killed at least 21 people in Khan Younis in the south of Gaza, where displaced Palestinians were gunned down trying to reach Nasser Hospital.
Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud, reporting from Rafah, says that Israeli snipers are surrounding the area of Nasser Hospital and “shooting at every moving object” as people are trying to reach it from the two densely populated residential neighborhoods from the eastern and the western part of the hospital.
“The area around the hospital is very dangerous, and it has turned into a combat zone,” he said, noting that the hospital area is the only place right now in Khan Younis that has some water left.
An earlier report said, Attack drones also targeted a group of young people who gathered on the roof of the hospital. Because of the communications blackout, they were trying to get signals for the internet on their mobile phones so they could communicate with family members.
The video report below shows a doctor and a male nurse, both of whom had been shot in the chest by Israeli snipers while they were tending to patients.
Andalou Agency reports: Israeli police detained 18 people, including three Canadian nationals from the same family, in the southern Gaza Strip city of Khan Younis.
“An Israeli special force, wearing civilian clothes, arrested the Palestinian Ahmed Hashem Al-Agha and his sons Hashem and Baraa, who hold Canadian citizenship,” Ahmed al-Agha, dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Palestine, told Anadolu.
Al-Agha said the Israeli force reached the area that the displaced family was staying in the west of Khan Yunis, wearing civilian attire and in civilian vehicles.
They also arrested 15 other individuals from the al-Agha family, according to information Anadolu obtained.
RECOMMENDED READING: What it’s like to be a journalist in Gaza right now
Following the arrests of American citizens Samaher Esmail (West Bank, accused of incitement on social media), Hashem Alagha, and Borak Alagha (Gaza, charges unknown), their families in the US are still waiting for news on their whereabouts.
According to the Guardian, the son of Samaher Esmail, Hamed, said he was appealing to the Biden administration to step in following the president’s recent remarks — “If you harm an American, we will respond” — which he said should apply equally “even in the case of a Palestinian-American who has been taken by Israeli troops.”
Relatives of Hashem and Borak Alagha, who were present during the Israeli raid in which the men were detained, said soldiers broke through the door while the family was sleeping, tied up the women and children, and took the men away.
No update from the Biden administration or Israel has been reported.
WEST BANK: WAFA reports: The Ministry of Health announced Friday evening the tragic murder of 17-year-old Muath Bani Shamsa in the town of Beita, south of Nablus, after being shot in the chest by Israeli forces.
Al Jazeera learned from a relative that “Muadh was heading to the store to buy groceries for the house; at the entrance to Beita he was surprised to see a number of Israeli vehicles storming the town. He headed back to his home but the army fired on him and he was injured in his lower back.” He succumbed to his injuries.
Associated Press reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday said he has ordered the military to prepare a plan to evacuate civilians from Rafah ahead of an expected Israeli invasion of the densely populated southern Gaza city.
The announcement came after heavy international criticism, including from the U.S., of Israeli intentions to move ground forces into the city that borders Egypt. Rafah had a prewar population of roughly 280,000, and according to the United Nations is now home to some 1.4 million additional people living with relatives, in shelters or in sprawling tent camps after fleeing fighting elsewhere in Gaza.
Israel says that Rafah is the last remaining Hamas stronghold in Gaza after more than four months of war.
It said he had ordered the military and security officials to come up with a “combined plan” that includes both a mass evacuation of civilians and the destruction of Hamas’ forces in the town.
Al Jazeera reports: Israeli settlers gathered in front of the Nitzana border crossing with Egypt, blocking humanitarian aid from entering Gaza, according to social media posts by Israeli activists.
The settlers raised banners and slogans in front of the crossing and attempted to prevent trucks from entering Gaza while trying to cross.
The protesters also demanded that UNRWA, the Palestinian refugees’ agency, have its humanitarian funding frozen.
Israeli settlers have been protesting at multiple border crossings with Gaza in recent weeks, preventing aid trucks from entering the besieged strip.
NOTE: Israel’s usual response when Palestinians hold protests involves lethal force (see this and this, for example).
Times of Israel reports: The IDF has presented its investigation into the death of hostage Yossi Sharabi in the Gaza Strip to his family. According to the IDF’s probe, Sharabi was likely inadvertently killed as a result of an IDF strike.
Sharabi is believed to have been in a building that collapsed after an adjacent building was hit by the military. The building that was struck was hit according to the IDF’s protocols, the probe finds.
The probe said the IDF had intelligence information that an attack against troops was planned from the building.
On Tuesday, Times of Israel reported: Thirty-two of the more than 130 hostages still held captive by Hamas are no longer alive, according to a report on the eve of the fourth month of the war.
In addition to the 32 confirmed deaths, the IDF is assessing “unconfirmed intelligence” that at least 20 additional hostages may have also been killed, the report said, quoting four military officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
NOTE: Prime Minister Netanyahu’s excessive bombing campaigns have resulted in the deaths of not just 27,00+ Palestinians, but also dozens of Israeli prisoners; Israel’s “shoot first” policy, which it has used on Palestinians for years, resulted in the deaths of 3 escaped Israeli captives in December.
Washington Post reports: President Biden on Thursday issued a memorandum that lays out the standards countries that receive U.S. weapons must adhere to and, for the first time, requires the administration to submit an annual report to Congress about whether countries are meeting the requirements.
The social media giant has told some civil society groups that it’s considering expanding how it enforces its ban against hate speech to include more uses of the term, especially when it might appear as a hateful substitute for “Jews” or “Israelis,” said the people, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal matters.
NOTE: Anti-Defamation CEO Jonathan Greenblatt, who is quoted in the article, regularly lobbies the media to equate Zionism with Judaism and anti-Zionism with antisemitism, routinely takes sides with Israel over free speech, and deflects attention from Israeli violence with (often false) accusations of antisemitism. Mainstream media and social media are already aggressively censoring pro-Palestine content, and have been for years.
RECOMMENDED READING: A wave of new post-Oct 7th “antisemitism” bills completely miss the point
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.@POTUS Biden’s action conditions aid to Israel & all nations receiving U.S. military aid.
I’ve been working with the @WhiteHouse & Senators led by @ChrisVanHollen to improve protection of civilians & hold the Israeli government accountable for upholding international law. https://t.co/PHauYevIgb
— Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) February 9, 2024
Al Jazeera reports: South African Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor says she has been receiving threatening messages since her country filed a genocide case against Israel at the International Court of Justice.
Pandor accused the Israeli intelligence agency of using threats to intimidate those who take a stance against oppression.
“The people of the world and Palestine didn’t draw back when the apartheid state [in South Africa] was at its worst. They stood with us in the liberation movement, so we can’t stand back now,” she said.
“We must be with Palestinians, and one of the things we must not allow is a failure of courage,” she added.
The Telegraph reports: Michelle O’Neill, first minister of Northern Ireland, said that she believes Hamas will eventually become a “partner for peace” in the Israel-Palestine peace process, in comments made on UK station LBC Radio.
In an interview with O’Neill, host Andrew Marr drew comparisons between Hamas and the Irish Republican Army, a group designated as a “terrorist” organization by the UK government, but which went on to disarm and participate in the Northern Ireland peace process.
“I think you only have to look to our own example to know how important dialogue is, and it is the only way you’re going to ever bring an end to conflict,” she said.
Associated Press reports: The Minneapolis City Council overrode a mayoral veto on Thursday and approved a resolution that calls for a cease-fire in Gaza and for an end to U.S. military funding to Israel.
The office of Mayor Jacob Frey, who is Jewish, said he has been “clear and consistent” in his support for a cease-fire, but he vetoed the resolution last week because he was concerned about its language being “one-sided” and about rising antisemitism in Minneapolis and beyond.
The resolution calls on state and federal authorities to advance a full, immediate and permanent cease-fire; provide urgently needed humanitarian aid; stop U.S. military funding to Israel; release Israeli hostages taken by Hamas; and release thousands of Palestinians “held indefinitely without cause and trial in Israeli military prisons.”
Time is running out: the international community must act now to halt the ground invasion of Rafah. https://t.co/SJ9zHszKSC
— Al-Mezan الميزان (@AlMezanCenter) February 9, 2024
.@UNICEF is urgently calling on the parties to refrain from military escalation in Rafah Governorate in Gaza where over 600K children and their families have been displaced–many of them more than once.
My statement here: https://t.co/ndn8dtWzLx
— Catherine Russell (@unicefchief) February 9, 2024
Palestinians risked life & limb to reach Rafah, the last designated safe zone in Gaza.
Now they are being told to leave. Where are they supposed to go?
This is not an “evacuation.” This is ethnic cleansing — and our government is complicit by letting Israel act with impunity.
— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) February 9, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – FEBRUARY 9:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 9: at least 28,337* (27,947 in Gaza* (over 11,000 children, 7,500 women), and at least 390 in the West Bank (101 children). This does not include an estimated 8,000 more still buried under rubble (70% women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 35,096 Palestinian deaths.
About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.
Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 9: ~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); 225 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.”
*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.
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- NYT: Where Is Hamas Getting Its Weapons? Increasingly, From Israel.
- 12 Essential Facts for Understanding the Current Israel-Gaza Violence
- Falk: Israel used Oct 7 attack as a pretext for its plan to expel Palestinians
- Synopsis of ICJ’s decision on Israeli genocide, reactions, and take-aways
- The West’s complete contempt for the lives of Palestinians will not be forgotten
- Israel has repeatedly rejected Hamas truce offers
- Why the Guardian’s ‘Hamas mass rape’ story doesn’t pass the sniff test
- Israel’s torture and humiliation of female and male Gazan prisoners
- 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
- Israel’s Assault on Gaza Is Unlike Any War in Recent Memory
- US poised to give Israel $18 billion in aid this year
- Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace