A first: US official acknowledges “famine is underway” in Gaza – Day 188

A first: US official acknowledges “famine is underway” in Gaza – Day 188

US official finally uses the f-word (famine); Iran retaliation for provocative Israeli attack possibly this weekend; Washington Post lists Gaza aid items Israel has rejected; Israel assassinates head of police in Gaza; Israelis block aid trucks to Gaza; Palestinian journalists targeted; Israel kills 2 in West Bank; Israeli commander behind WCK killings had demanded “siege” of Gaza; Israel steals record amount of WB land in 2024 (and the year is still young); …

By IAK staff, from reports

Leader of USAID informs Congress that famine has begun in northern Gaza

New York Times reports: Samantha Power, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, told lawmakers this week that a famine was underway in northern Gaza, which has been devastated by six months of Israeli military operations and is the part of the territory most cut off from aid.

Ms. Power’s statement was significant, as it made her the first senior American official to publicly identify the hunger crisis in the Gaza Strip as a famine.

Ms. Power, whose comments came during a congressional testimony on Wednesday, was citing a March report from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification initiative, a group of U.N. agencies and relief agencies also known as the I.P.C.

Al Jazeera adds: In a press conference later, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre did not address Power’s comments directly, but said repeatedly that famine conditions in parts of Gaza were “imminent”, seeming to water down Power’s assessment.

“That is why we’re doing everything we can to uptick, obviously, the humanitarian aid” arriving into Gaza, Jean-Pierre said, noting that the number of trucks carrying aid into Gaza has increased dramatically in recent days.

She added that the US would “continue to push Israel to increase the flow” of aid into Gaza.

NOTE: Aid agencies and global experts have warned for months that nearly all 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza would soon face extreme hunger.
Thousands of aid trucks are reportedly waiting at the southern border of Gaza, where Israel has made it extremely difficult to pass, employing complicated and arbitrary procedures; when aid has gotten into Gaza, the people have many times been shot at as they tried to obtain food.
Israeli forces have targeted trucks themselves and humanitarian aid staff.
Meanwhile, Israeli officials allege that aid organizations are at fault for the famine for their failure to distribute aid efficiently; for a while, they also denied that a food shortage exists.

Crutches and chocolate croissants: Gaza aid items Israel has rejected

The Washington Post reached 25 aid groups, U.N. agencies and donor countries about the kinds of aid they have tried to get into Gaza. Food, water and blankets do not require approvals, but agencies submit requests for items they think have a chance of getting rejected, such as communications equipment and sanitation or shelter items.

COGAT, the Israeli military agency responsible for coordinating relief in Gaza, said the allegations that it restricts aid are “false” and that it largely permits the entry of humanitarian supplies, subject to a security inspection.

Limited scanning machines and operational hours at border inspection sites slow down the delivery of aid, according to Jamie McGoldrick, the U.N. humanitarian coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory. Earlier this year, insulin pens for children were denied entry, he added.

Here is a list of items the United Nations and other aid agencies say Israeli authorities have blocked from entering Gaza at least once since Oct. 7:

    • anesthetics
    • animal feed
    • cardiac catheters
    • chemical water quality testing kits
    • chocolate croissants
    • crutches
    • field hospital boxes
    • flak jackets and helmets for aid workers…

Read the complete list and full article here.

NOTE: According to international law, “To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the occupying power must ensure sufficient hygiene and public health standards, as well as the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation.” International consensus (including the US) is that Israel is indeed occupying Gaza.
UN team's visit to Gaza's Khan Younis revealed profound destruction.
UN team’s visit to Gaza’s Khan Younis revealed profound destruction. (photo)

Retaliatory Iranian Attack on Israel May Come in Next Two Days

Wall Street Journal reports: Israel is preparing for a direct attack from Iran on southern or northern Israel as soon as Friday or Saturday, according to a person familiar with the matter. A person briefed by the Iranian leadership, however, said that while plans to attack are being discussed, no final decision has been made.

Iran has publicly threatened to retaliate for an attack last week in Damascus, Syria, that Tehran said was an Israeli airstrike on a diplomatic building. The strike killed top Iranian military officials, including a senior member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force.

Iran’s mission to the UN has suggested that any Iranian military response to the Israeli air strike could have been averted if the UN Security Council had denounced Israel’s attack. (Some analysts suggest that such a condemnation could still possibly avert an Iranian response.)

Earlier this week, U.S. intelligence reports showed that an attack on Israeli assets by Iran or its proxies could be imminent, but a source says it now appears that the attack could be within Israel’s borders. A U.S. official with knowledge of the matter said Thursday that American intelligence reports indicate an Iranian retaliatory strike within days, “possibly on Israeli soil” as opposed to Israeli interests elsewhere.

Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command, which is responsible for military operations in the Middle East, was in Israel on Thursday, defense officials said.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, speaking from an air base in southern Israel, also on Thursday, vowed to respond directly against any attack on Israel. “Whoever harms us, we will harm them. We are prepared to meet all of the security needs of the State of Israel, both defensively and offensively,” he said.

Former top pentagon official Col. Douglas MacGregor suggests the Israeli attack was intended to provoke an Iranian response that would bring the US into war against Iran.

Head of police killed in Israeli attack on Jabalia camp: Health Ministry

Palestinian health officials have said an Israeli air strike killed Rudwan Rudwan, the head of the police force in Jabalia camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

Hamas said Rudwan was also in charge of supervising the protection of aid truck convoys in northern Gaza areas.

There was no immediate Israeli comment on the incident.

Israeli military claims killing ‘top Hamas financier’

The Israeli military says it has killed Nasser Yakob Jabber Nasser in Gaza. There was no immediate comment by Hamas.

The military said in a statement that Nasser “was responsible for funding a significant part of Hamas’s military activities” in the enclave’s southern city of Rafah.

Israeli protesters block Gaza aid passage

Dozens of Israeli demonstrators Thursday blocked the road to trucks carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip near al-Awja (Nitzana) border crossing between Israel and Egypt.

The border crossing was closed for hours. Israel’s border guard forces arrested a number of demonstrators.

UN team's visit to Gaza's Khan Younis revealed grave risk of unexploded ordnance
UN team’s visit to Gaza’s Khan Younis revealed grave risk of unexploded ordnance (photo)

Israeli forces target Palestinian journalists – one critically injured – in central Gaza

WAFA reports: Israeli occupation tanks Friday targeted a number of journalists, one critically, in the Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip.

Medical sources said that Israeli occupation warplanes targeted multiple journalists in Nuseirat camp, causing causalities among them, including journalist Sami Shehadeh, whose foot was amputated due to the attack. Shehadehs` injury was described as serious.

Israeli occupation forces continue to deliberately target Palestinian journalists in the Strip in a way to prevent them from delivering the truth to the world.

NOTE: The Committee to Protect Journalsits (CPJ) reports that as of April 12, preliminary investigations showed Israeli attacks have killed at least 95 Palestinian journalists and media workers since October 7th.
CPJ is also investigating numerous unconfirmed reports of other journalists being killed, missing, detained, hurt, or threatened, and of damage to media offices and journalists’ homes.
Under international law, journalists are to enjoy full protection as civilians.
Read about the assassination by Israel of one of Palestine’s most beloved journalists, Shireen Abu Akleh, here.

Two Palestinians fatally shot by Israeli forces’ bullets in Tubas, West Bank

WAFA reports: Two Palestinians were shot dead by the Israeli occupation forces early morning near Tubas in the northern West Bank.

Sources said that a Palestinian man was killed after Israeli forces opened gun fire at his vehicle in the city of Tubas, as heavily armed Israeli soldiers raided the city. They opened fire on a young man who was in his vehicle.

Another Palestinian, who was identified as Muhammad Shahmawi, was shot and killed from Israeli gunfire during their military invasion of the Al-Far’a refugee camp, south of Tubas.

NOTE: Israeli forces, and sometimes settlers, have killed at least 471 Palestinians in the West Bank (117 children) since October 7th.

World Central Kitchen aid workers killed by targeted Israeli drone strikes. (photo)

Israeli commander behind WCK aid worker killings had demanded ‘siege’ of Gaza

Telegraph reports: The most senior IDF commander dismissed for his role in the drone strike which killed seven aid workers in Gaza is a settler who signed an open letter in January calling for the territory to be deprived of aid, The Telegraph can reveal.

A senior British lawyer said its contents – including a call for a “siege” of Gaza City – should be considered by the Israeli authorities investigating the killings.

Col (Res) Nochi Mandel, the chief of staff of the Nahal Infantry Brigade, was one of two officers dismissed last week following the incident in which three vehicles belonging to the charity World Central Kitchen (WCK) were attacked by drones, killing all those inside, including three Britons.

An investigation by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) characterised the strikes as a “grave mistake” but concluded there was no intentional harm. “Those who approved the strike were convinced that they were targeting armed Hamas operatives and not WCK employees,” it said.

In the letter, Col Mandel, a religious nationalist who lives in a settlement in the occupied West Bank, called with more than 130 other reserve officers and commanders for the flow of aid into Gaza to be restricted.

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.

Israeli forces drive during a raid on the al-Faraa camp for Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank on 12 April 2024
Israeli forces drive during a raid on the al-Faraa camp for Palestinian refugees in the occupied West Bank on 12 April 2024 (photo)

Israel declares record amount of occupied West Bank as state-owned land in 2024

Middle East Eye reports: Israel has so far in 2024 declared a record amount of the occupied West Bank as state-owned land, a move that could see a rapid expansion in settlement construction.

According to data obtained by NGO Kerem Navot, 2,743 acres in the West Bank have been declared state-owned land, with the biggest bloc consisting of nearly 2,000 acres in the Jordan Valley.

A further 650 acres were designated state property near Abu Dis, as well as 42 acres near the Herodion National Park.

The previous record was in 1999, when just 1,285 acres were designated, according to data from the Peace Now NGO.

Read the full article here.

NOTE: UN Resolution 2334 December 2016) states that Israel’s settlement activity constitutes a “flagrant violation” of international law and has “no legal validity”. It demands that Israel stop such activity and fulfill its obligations as an occupying power under the Fourth Geneva Convention. (The US abstained in the vote for this resolution.) 
Amnesty International stated:  “As long as the world continues to turn a blind eye to Israel’s relentless land grab and settlement expansion, both serious violations of international humanitarian law, the human rights of Palestinians will continue to be trampled on with impunity and UN resolutions…will remain little more than empty gestures. The international community must take a clear stand and show that it will no longer tolerate Israel’s illegal policies of annexation and settlement.”

Apple to fix ‘bug’ behind Palestinian flag emoji suggestions

AFP reports: Apple on Thursday promised it would stop a Palestinian flag emoji from being suggested to some iPhone users when they type “Jerusalem” in messages.

The Silicon Valley tech titan blamed a software bug for the prompt, which sparked accusations Apple was showing anti-Israel bias.

Apple told AFP that the predictive emoji suggestion in the iPhone keyboard was not intentional and would be fixed in the next update to its mobile operating system.

The quirk was pointed out on social media by British television presenter Rachel Riley. “When I type the capital of Israel, Jerusalem, I’m offered the Palestinian flag emoji,” Riley wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter, calling on Apple to explain.

She said the Palestinian flag emoji began popping up in connection with Jerusalem after a recent update of the iPhone operating system.

Riley signed her post “a Jewish woman concerned about the global rise in antisemitism.”

NOTE: Actual antisemitism is not as prevalent as Israel partisans would like us to think. A large portion of what they call antisemitism is simply criticism of Israel, the self-proclaimed “Jewish State.” Most of the animosity Israel experiences is opposition to Zionism. Zionism is not a benign philosophy, but a racist ideology – the ideology under which Israel dispossessed 750,000 Palestinian people and exiled them to Gaza and other locations. 
An injured Palestinian sits in the al-Karama quarter of Gaza City which was destroyed in Israeli airstrikes, 11 October 2023.
An injured Palestinian sits in the al-Karama quarter of Gaza City which was destroyed in Israeli airstrikes, 11 October 2023. (photo)

More news

Mondoweiss: I resigned from World Central Kitchen because it refused to tell the truth about the Israeli genocide in Gaza
Al Jazeera: The solidarity of shared trauma: De-exceptionalizing Gaza
Washington Post: What to know about the Palestinian bid to become a full U.N. member
The New Arab: As Israel’s pariah status grows, what will the US do next?
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – April 11: at least 34,117* (33,646 in Gaza* (14,500 children, 9,560 women), and at least 471 in the West Bank (117 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 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 2.2 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Crisis, Emergency, or Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – April 11: at least 80,933 (including at least 75,933 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 – April 11: ~1,407 (~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); 259 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.

For more news, go here and hereBroadcast news from the region is here.

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

Enter your email address below to receive our latest articles right in your inbox.