Biden admin says “ceasefire” while preparing to send bombs to Israel; Gazans eat weeds – Day 133

Biden admin says “ceasefire” while preparing to send bombs to Israel; Gazans eat weeds – Day 133

Biden talks out of both sides of his mouth; Khan Younis hospital becomes a deathtrap at Israel’s hands; ICJ won’t order Israel to cancel its attack on Rafah, but calls on int’l community to do it; 2 more Palestinian journalists killed; Israeli diplomat accuses UN of slow aid delivery, as Israeli leaders & protesters block aid delivery; Israeli looting & wanton destruction; update on Americans killed in West Bank; Egypt reportedly preparing for ethnically cleansed Gaza refugees, and more

By IAK staff, from reports

Wall Street Journal reports: The Biden administration is preparing to send bombs and other weapons to Israel that would add to its military arsenal even as the U.S. pushes for a cease-fire in the war in Gaza, according to current and former U.S. officials.

The proposed arms delivery includes roughly a thousand each of MK-82 bombs [500 lbs each], KMU-572 Joint Direct Attack Munitions (JDAM) that add precision guidance to bombs, and FMU-139 bomb fuses [“an all-electronic “smart” bomb fuze that delivers the technology of the future to the warfighter today”].

The arms are estimated to be worth tens of millions of dollars. The proposed delivery is still being reviewed internally by the administration, a U.S. official said, and the details of the proposal could change before the Biden administration notifies congressional committee leaders who would need to approve the transfer.

NOTE: The Biden administration has twice bypassed Congress to green-light emergency weapons sales to Israel.
RECOMMENDED READING (The Guardian): ‘Different rules’: special policies keep US supplying weapons to Israel despite alleged abuses
This New York Times investigation shows Israel’s use of MK-84 bombs in Gaza. MK-84 is a 2,000-pound bomb.

Middle East Eye reports: Five Palestinian patients died at Khan Younis’s Nasser hospital on Friday as a result of a raid by Israeli forces, while the international community continued to warn against a “catastrophic” invasion of Rafah.

Source: The Egyptian Red Crescent and aid workers
Source: The Egyptian Red Crescent and aid workers (graphic)

The patients died due to a lack of oxygen as respirators shut down, due to an Israeli-imposed power outage that has severely restricted supplies, according to health officials.

On Friday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it was trying to gain access to the hospital, where thousands of patients, displaced people and medical staff were sheltering before being forced out at gunpoint on Thursday.

“There are still critically injured and sick patients who are inside the hospital,” WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic said.

Andalou Agency reports: The Health Ministry in Gaza on Friday said the Israeli army is blocking the entry of an aid convoy by the World Health Organization (WHO) to Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip. 

In a statement, the Gaza-based ministry said the WHO convoy is stopped 50 meters from the hospital, adding that it is escorted by top UN officials.

“The convoy consists of two trucks one loaded with fuel and the other loaded with water and food, and has been held for seven hours,” the statement said.

It added that the Israeli army dug in front and behind the convoy to prevent it from reaching the hospital.

The Israeli army is yet to comment on the Health Ministry statement.

Al Jazeera adds: Gaza’s Health Ministry has provided an update on the situation at the besieged Nasser Hospital.

    • Israeli forces are still detaining a large number of medical personnel, patients and displaced people in the maternity building of the hospital, subjecting them to interrogation in harsh and inhumane conditions.
    • Five medical staff and 120 patients are being kept by Israeli soldiers in the old Nasser Hospital building – without any food, water or electricity.
    • Generators have stopped working at the hospital, threatening the lives of patients needing oxygen.
    • Israeli forces are preventing the evacuation of critical cases from the facility to other hospitals for treatment.
Palestinians lining up for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on Friday, February 16
Palestinians lining up for food in Rafah, Gaza Strip, on Friday, February 16 (photo)

Times of Israel reports: The UN’s top court on Friday rejected South Africa’s request to put more legal pressure on Israel to halt a threatened offensive against Hamas in the Gaza city of Rafah, saying it was “bound to comply with existing measures.”

South Africa had requested urgent measures to safeguard Rafah amid Israeli plans for a campaign in the city, Hamas’s last bastion in the enclave.

Pretoria has already filed a complaint against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, alleging that its assault on Gaza amounts to a breach of the Genocide Convention.

The court has yet to rule on the underlying issue, but on January 26 it ordered Israel to ensure it took action to protect Palestinian civilians from further harm and to allow in humanitarian aid. It declined to grant South Africa’s central request to order Israel to halt its military campaign.

Kenneth Roth, the former executive director of Human Rights Watch and a current visiting professor at Princeton University in the US, commented on the ruling: “What the court just did though, it said, ‘We already ordered all this to stop. Rather than repeating ourselves, it’s up to the governments of the world, the UN Security Council, and foremost the US government, to stop this killing.”

RECOMMENDED READING (If Americans Knew): Synopsis of ICJ’s decision on Israeli genocide, reactions, and take-aways

Al Jazeera reports: The number of journalists killed in Gaza has risen to 130 since the start of Israel’s war on the enclave, according to Gaza’s press office. It released the names of the two media workers recently killed.

    • Zaid Abu Zayed – killed in the bombing of a house in the Nuseirat camp, along with his wife and children.
    • Yasser Mamdouh – killed by an Israeli sniper in the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis.

“The immense loss suffered by Palestinian journalists in this war will have long-term impacts for journalism, not just in the Palestinian territories but for the region and beyond. Every journalist killed is a further blow to our understanding of the world,” said Jodie Ginsberg, of the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Al Jazeera reports: An Israeli diplomat is accusing the United Nations of dragging its feet on delivery of aid, while Israeli officials and protesters block aid from entering Gaza.

Yaki Lopez, a diplomat at Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has claimed that Israel is “facilitating the delivery of aid to Gaza faster than the UN can deliver it”.

“For the last 3 days, 500 trucks with aid inspected by Israel has been waiting on the Gaza side to be distributed by UN agencies,” he wrote on X. “Hey, @UN get your act together and pick it up already!”

Israeli protesters have been blocking trucks from entering Gaza at the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) border crossing in recent weeks, slowing the delivery of humanitarian aid into the besieged enclave.

Meanwhile, Middle East Monitor has reported, a shipment of flour for Gaza – organized by the US – has been stuck in port in southern Israel for weeks, blocked by orders from Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.

John Kirby, spokesperson for the White House, has confirmed that Israel is preventing flour from reaching Gaza, where people are facing an imminent risk of famine.

This OCHA chart indicates that, while delivery of aid has been far below pre-war number throughout the past 4 months, it has been particularly low in the last week
This OCHA chart indicates that, while delivery of aid has been far below pre-war number throughout the past 4 months, it has been particularly low in the last week (chart)

Times of Israel reports: A top US diplomat denies allegations that Hamas has stolen aid, and accuses Israel of targeting Gazan police guarding aid trucks.

David Satterfield, a high-ranking US diplomat involved in humanitarian assistance for Gaza, denied allegations that Hamas has stolen aid and commercial shipments into the enclave, saying that no Israeli official has presented him or the Biden administration with “specific evidence of diversion or theft of assistance.”

At the same time, Hamas has been using other aid delivery channels to “shape where and to whom assistance goes,” Satterfield said at an event on Friday hosted by the Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

According to Sutterfeld, Israeli forces earlier this month killed Palestinian police — among them Hamas operatives — protecting a UN aid convoy in the enclave’s southern city of Rafah. As a result, Sutterfeld said they have since refused to protect convoys, hampering aid deliveries inside Gaza because of threats from criminal gangs.

“With the departure of police escorts, it has been virtually impossible for the UN or anyone else, Jordan, the UAE, or any other implementer to safely move assistance in Gaza because of criminal elements,” Satterfield said.

[Note: Satterfield previously leaked classified info to AIPAC]

An estimated 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah in southern Gaza near the border with Egypt
An estimated 1.4 million Palestinians are sheltering in Rafah in southern Gaza near the border with Egypt (photo)

Andalou Agency reports: The Israeli army has carried out unjustified looting and demolition of homes in Gaza, said a prominent Israeli analyst on Friday. In an article for Israel’s Yedioth Ahronoth, Nahum Barnea, said that the Israeli army’s practices in the Gaza Strip cause enormous harm to Israel and are being used against it before the International Court of Justice. He gave examples:

    • “An order was issued to demolish one house in a neighborhood in the northern Gaza Strip. A senior commander ordered the destruction of all the houses not because he had to, but because he could issue the demolition order,” Barnea wrote.
    • “The decision to bomb the Legislative Council building in Gaza did not please the Israeli army staff,” he said, adding that “it was issued by a field commander, and had no practical justification.”
    • “An investigator in Unit 504 took a picture standing over a naked detainee,” Barnea said.
    • “An officer was filmed shouting ‘Listen to Israel’ (an Israeli prayer) while blowing up a mosque,” he added.

Barnea also pointed out that “Israeli soldiers made video clips” that document Israeli atrocities and could be evidence condemning Tel Aviv’s practices.

Israeli Army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi has acknowledged that Israeli soldiers had taken part in looting.

Barnea added, “The Chief of Staff makes sure, in every visit to the field, to remind the commanders and soldiers of what is not permissible, and he talks about looting, breaking discipline, and unnecessary writing on the walls” – but apparently does not see compliance with these orders.

Barnea warned that the harm being caused to Israel is enormous, pointing to the use of some of these videos in the lawsuit filed by South Africa against Israel in the International Court of Justice.


Associated Press reports: The families of two Palestinian-American teenagers killed in separate but eerily similar incidents in the West Bank are still waiting for news from investigations by Israel.

Israeli forces shot dead Mohammad Ahmed Mohammad Khdour, 17, a U.S. citizen, on February 10 in the central occupied West Bank. (photo)

Rights groups have long said that Israeli investigations into killings of Palestinians rarely lead to prosecutions, and Mohammad Khdour and Tawfic Abdel Jabbar’s cases seem to be following this pattern. Khdour was killed February 10; Abdel Jabbar was killed January 19.

Ahmad Khdour, Mohammad’s father, said he did not know if Israel had begun investigating the case, and had heard nothing from Israeli officials, but US embassy officials had visited to look into the incident.

In Abdel Jabbar’s case, nearly a month old, Israeli police have still not released any new findings, although US officials had been to his home as well.

Tawfic Hafeth Abdel Jabbar, 17. (photo)

A State Department spokesperson said the US has no “higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens overseas, and we are always concerned when a US citizen dies overseas”.

Al Jazeera reports: Israel released a photo purporting to show a Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulance in use in the Hamas attacks on October 7th, but the group has said that the ambulance is not a PRCS vehicle.

“Once again, the occupation deliberately creates false narratives about the work of the Palestinian Red Crescent by publishing a video of an ambulance and paramedics providing treatment to an injured fighter,” the group said in a social media post.

“The vehicle that appears in the video is not a Palestinian Red Crescent vehicle, and the two paramedics who appear in the video are clearly not wearing the uniform of Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance crews.”

Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, an activist organization, published images it said showed construction trucks and cranes working just inside Egypt near the Rafah crossing.
Sinai Foundation for Human Rights, an activist organization, published images it said showed construction trucks and cranes working just inside Egypt near the Rafah crossing. (photo)

Reuters reports: Egypt is preparing an area at the Gaza border which could accommodate Palestinians in case an Israeli offensive into Rafah prompts an exodus across the frontier, four sources said, in what they described as a contingency move by Cairo.

Egypt, which denied making any such preparations, has repeatedly raised the alarm over the possibility that Israel’s devastating Gaza offensive could displace Palestinians into Sinai – something Cairo says would be completely unacceptable- echoing warnings from Arab states such as Jordan.

The United States has repeatedly said it would oppose any displacement of Palestinians out of Gaza.

One of the sources said Egypt was optimistic talks to clinch a ceasefire can avoid any such scenario, but is establishing the area at the border as a temporary and precautionary measure.


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 16: at least 29,169* (28,775 in Gaza* in Gaza* (over 12,300 children, 8,400 women), and at least 394 in the West Bank (100 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 36,671 Palestinian deaths.

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

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – February 16: at least 73,055** (including at least 68,552 in Gaza and 4,503 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 16: ~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); 234 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.”

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.

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