7,000 truckloads of aid reportedly waiting at Gaza-Egypt border – Day 168

7,000 truckloads of aid reportedly waiting at Gaza-Egypt border – Day 168

Thousands of tons of humanitarian aid for Gazans out of reach; US Congress passes bill that eliminates funding for UNRWA, gives $4 billion to Israel; Security Council resolutions; EU unified in call for ceasefire; on World Water Day, water crisis in Gaza; Israel will invade Rafah with or without US; Israel may not be eligible for US military aid; West Bank land seizure; more

By IAK staff, from reports

AID ABOUNDS, JUST OUT OF REACH – Reuters reports: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will visit Egypt’s border with Gaza on Saturday to renew pleas for a ceasefire that could bring relief to a territory devastated by more than five months of war between Israel and Hamas.

His trip comes as Israel threatens to launch a major military operation in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, just over the border from Egypt, despite international appeals against such an attack.

Receiving him, regional governor Mohamed Shusha said some 7,000 trucks were waiting in North Sinai to deliver aid to Gaza, but that inspection procedures demanded by Israel had held up the flow of relief, according to a statement from Shusha’s office.

Satellite images taken on February 21 showed more than a thousand aid trucks lined up waiting to enter the Rafah land crossing in Egypt, most of them waiting inside the logistics zone being established east of the crossing.
Satellite images taken on February 21 showed a massive number of aid trucks lined up waiting to enter the Rafah land crossing in Egypt, most of them waiting inside the logistics zone being established east of the crossing. (photo)

AIPAC tweet 6:10 PM · Mar 22, 2024. (photo)

CONGRESS VOTES TO BAN UNRWA FUNDING, GIVE BILLIONS TO ISRAEL – The US House of Representatives approved Friday a $1.2 trillion funding bill and the Senate passed the package early Saturday morning that included several provisions re: Israelis & Gazans.

The bill would ban funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) amid the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza, while giving Israel nearly $4 billion.

The measure will keep the government fully functioning in advance of a partial shutdown deadline.

The legislation will next be sent to President Joe Biden to be signed into law, which he’s expected to do Saturday.

Jewish Insider reported that the legislation includes $3.8 billion in military aid for Israelplus an additional $40 million for joint [sic] counter-drone programs (including directed energy systems), a $15 million boost, and $47.5 million for counter-tunneling cooperation [sic].

AIPAC tweeted they “appreciate the efforts of many members who worked to include key pro-Israel provisions in the bill. In particular, we thank the leadership of

AIPAC noted that the funding has no conditions.

The bill eliminates US funding for UNRWA – which provides vital services on the ground to Palestinians in Gaza and across the Middle East – until March 2025.

Maya Berry, executive director of the Arab American Institute (AAI), called the passage of the bill “an incredible moral failure”.

“Our political process has chosen to cut US funding to literally the only entity that can address the level of suffering and scale of suffering that’s happening in Gaza right now,” Berry told Al Jazeera.

Israeli foreign minister Israel Katz claimed:

The historic ban on US funding to UNRWA that passed today with an overwhelming bipartisan support, demonstrates what we knew all along: UNRWA is part of the problem and cannot be part of the solution. UNRWA will not be a part of Gaza’s landscape in the aftermath of Hamas,” Katz said on X.

Thousands of UNRWA employees are involved in Hamas terror activities and their facilities were used for terrorist purposes.

I urge more countries to follow the US and ban funding to this organization.

NOTE: Israel has accused UNRWA of ties to Hamas and claimed that around a dozen UNRWA employees took part in Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel. UNRWA rejected the allegations. Although no evidence had been presented, the Israeli accusations prompted more than a dozen Western countries, led by the US, to pause aid to UNRWA (some have since resumed their aid).
Israel issued a brief dossier, allegedly proving the guilt of twelve UNRWA employees out of a staff of 13,000 – which reportedly offers no compelling evidence, beyond torture-induced confessions
UNRWA serves around 5.6 million Palestinian refugees. Israel has long tried to dismantle UNWRA’s humanitarian support of Palestinian refugees. 


Nothing remains of UNRWA's Rehabilitation Center for Visually Impaired. This center was available to all visually impaired children across the Gaza Strip & provided braille machines, canes, visual aids + access to recreational activities including arts, sports & music.
UNRWA’s Rehabilitation Center for Visually Impaired. This center was available to all visually impaired children across the Gaza Strip & provided braille machines, canes, visual aids + access to recreational activities including arts, sports & music. (photo)

ANOTHER UNSC RESOLUTION VOTE EXPECTED MONDAY – Al Jazeera reports: The UN Security Council will vote on a new draft Gaza ceasefire resolution put forward by elected members. (The vote was originally set for Saturday, but has been postponed till Monday.)

“It’s about 10 sentences or so, it’s a more direct and to the point resolution,” reports correspondent Gabriel Elizondo, holding the document in his hand.

“The key part is the wording. It ‘demands an immediate ceasefire’ for the month of Ramadan. It leaves nothing to the imagination, nothing to interpret. It’s very clear.

“By all accounts, this draft resolution has widespread support among the Security Council. The big question is will the United States find it acceptable?” said Elizondo.

US-LED RESOLUTION VETOED – Al Jazeera reportsThe UN Security Council has failed to pass a US resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza as part of a deal to release captives held in Gaza. Russia and China, both of which have veto power, voted against the resolution. Moscow accused Washington of a “hypocritical spectacle” that does not pressure Israel.

Al Jazeera’s Diplomatic Editor James Bays called the text “ambiguous,” and commented, “The language of other resolutions that the US has vetoed have demanded a ceasefire. This one uses the words, ‘determines the imperative’, so it says it is important that there is a ceasefire. It is not really demanding one now.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Israel, “On the resolution, which got very strong support, but then was cynically vetoed by Russia and China, I think we were trying to show the international community a sense of urgency about getting a ceasefire.”

NOTE: The US, as Israel’s key political and military backer, has repeatedly vetoed previous UNSC votes on ending the nearly six-month war, objecting as recently as February to the use of the term “immediate” in a draft submitted by Algeria. The US-authored resolution did not demand an immediate ceasefire.
For in depth analysis of the resolution and its failure, check out Why US ceasefire proposal failed at UNSC from Responsible Statecraft.

EU UNIFIED IN CEASEFIRE CALL – Politico reports: After 166 days of Israel’s retaliatory airstrikes and ground operations in Gaza, EU leaders called for a ceasefire, showcasing unanimity on the matter for the first time since October.

The 27 European Union countries have been divided on Israel’s war in Gaza and have failed to show a united front until now. Some countries, such as Germany, have shifted their position on calling for a ceasefire.

WEST BANK DEATH – IMEMC reports: On Friday, medical sources confirmed the death of a young man from Beita town, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, from serious wounds he suffered in August of last year, 2023.

The sources identified the young man as Ameed Ghaleb Sa’id Jaghoub, from Beita, and added that the soldiers shot on when they invaded the town in August of 2023.

Palestinians queue as they wait to collect drinking water in Rafah
Palestinians queue as they wait to collect drinking water in Rafah (photo)

WATER CRISIS – OCHA reports: On World Water Day, 22 March, UN Women highlighted the impact severe water shortages in Gaza have had on women who are struggling to survive “with no food, no water, [and] no tents.”  Water production from all the water sources in Gaza has dropped to only 5.7 per cent of pre-October production levels as of February 2024.

In a joint press release on 22 March, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics and the Palestinian Water Authority reported that the average per capita water consumption in the Gaza Strip has dropped from 84.6 liters per day prior to 7 October to 3-15 liters per day.

In December 2023, UNICEF had warned that children in southern Gaza were accessing only 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day, well below the recommended requirements for survival. According to humanitarian standards, the minimum amount of water needed in an emergency is 15 liters, which includes water for drinking, washing, and cooking. For survival alone, the estimated minimum is three liters per day.

NETANYAHU: ISRAEL WILL ATTACK RAFAH WITH OUR WITHOUT US – Ha’aretz reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Friday that he had told U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken that an Israeli ground operation in southern Gaza’s city of Rafah would proceed with or without American support.

When the two met during Blinken’s visit to Israel earlier in the day, Netanyahu said, “I told him that we won’t be able to beat Hamas without entering Rafah and killing the rest of their battalions that are there. I told him that I hope we do this with U.S. support, but if we need to – we will do it alone,” Netanyahu said.

ISRAEL MAY BE INELIGIBLE FOR US MILITARY AID17 Senate Democrats warned the Biden administration that Israel does not meet the “credible and reliable” test detailed by the national security memorandum NSM-20, requiring recipients of U.S. weapons to assure unobstructed delivery of humanitarian aid in conflict zones.

The memorandum includes an enforcement mechanism detailing processes to hold violating countries accountable, including by potentially suspending any further transfers of defense articles or defense services.

“The current circumstances on the ground in Gaza, the many statements made by the President and other senior Administration officials, and the recent IPC assessment that ‘famine is imminent’ – make it abundantly clear that Netanyahu’s government is not doing nearly enough to allow aid to reach starving and otherwise desperate people in Gaza,” they continue.

“As a result, we believe it would be inconsistent with the letter and spirit of NSM-20 to find that assurances made by the Netanyahu Government meet the required ‘credible and reliable’ standard at this time. Such a determination would also establish an unacceptable precedent for the application of NSM-20 in other situations around the world,” they add.

WEST BANK LAND SEIZURE LARGEST SINCE 1993  – AFP reports: An area of about 1,980 acres in the northern Jordan Valley has been declared “state land”, said far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has vowed to expand Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which are regarded as illegal under international law.

Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now said the seizure was the single largest since the 1993 Oslo Accords, and that “2024 marks a peak in the extent of declarations of state land”.

Peace Now called the timing of the announcement a “provocation” as it came during a visit by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who has been critical of settlement expansion by the hard-right government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

NOTE: Israel has illegally built around 280 settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are home to more than 700,000 illegal settlers. Israeli settlements and settlers on Palestinian land are a violation of international law. Settlers, moreover, have a history of violence against Palestinians, often with the assistance of Israeli military forces.


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – March 22: at least 32,835* (32,379 in Gaza* (72% women and children), and at least 456 in the West Bank (116 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 40,042 Palestinian deaths.

At least 41 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank)

At least 31 Palestinians have died due to malnutrition**

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

About 2.2 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Crisis, Emergency, or Famine levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – March 2: at least 79,188 (including at least 74,188 in Gaza and 5,000 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – March 22: ~1,403 (~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); 251 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 15 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.

**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.

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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