Devastation in Gaza meets denial from Israel; Israeli refusal to cooperate with UN inquiry; deal brokered: medicine for Israeli hostages in exchange for more aid to Gaza; violence in West Bank leads to at least 9 Palestinian deaths; another genocide call; latest from Blinken and US Senate
UN Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Francesca Albanese, said,
I never thought we would witness mass starvation of these proportions used in the 21st century. Yet here it is in Gaza, after 100 days of bombing, with insufficient food, fuel & water allowed in. Children are dying first. Adults will follow. Before our eyes.
My plea to Israelis: we cannot stop this without you. I fully acknowledge your enduring pain, including for the hostages still in Gaza. Please do not overlook the devastation inflicted on Gaza, especially its children, half of the population trapped in this horror. This makes no one safer.
Euro-Med Monitor reports: Euro-Med Monitor has documented shocking testimonies of the Israeli army killing and injuring dozens of Palestinians on Thursday 11 January 2024 on Al-Rashid Street, in the west of Gaza City, who were trying to receive humanitarian aid. The human rights organization demanded that the involved United Nations agencies be held accountable for their failure to guarantee suitable channels for providing the populace with humanitarian aid.
According to the testimonies, Israeli quadcopter drones opened fire on Palestinians who had gathered to receive flour brought by UN trucks. Fifty Palestinians were killed and dozens more were injured during the incident. Testimonies gathered by Euro-Med Monitor indicate that dozens of residents gathered on Al-Rashid Street, which had been devastated by Israeli bulldozers in recent weeks, awaiting the arrival of the trucks carrying flour. The quadcopter drones arrived suddenly, however, and started shooting at the residents.
The surviving residents fled the area and managed to transfer the wounded, while the dead remained on the ground. Later that day, the trucks arrived, and hundreds of residents gathered again in the hope of receiving a share of flour, as hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the northern Gaza Valley are currently starving for the fourth consecutive month now.
Times of Israel reports: David Satterfield, the Biden administration’s envoy for the humanitarian situation in Gaza reportedly held a frustrating meeting Tuesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and senior military officials who rejected the US request to expand the amount of humanitarian aid entering Gaza.
Satterfield sounded the alarm over what the US views as a deepening humanitarian crisis in Gaza, the Kan public broadcaster reports without citing any sources.
Netanyahu responded that, actually, there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, pointing to footage showing several open-air markets that are filled with people and supplies being sold.
[Like many officials in the Biden Administration, Satterfield is an Israel partisan with a history of working on behalf of Israel. He once provided classified information to an influential pro-Israel lobbying organization that resulted in espionage charges.]
UN Human Rights Office reports: Israel is destroying and blocking access to farmland and the sea. Recent reports allege that since Israeli military’s ground offensive started on 27 October, approximately 22% of agricultural land, including orchards, greenhouses, and farmland in northern Gaza, has been razed by Israeli forces. Israel has reportedly destroyed approximately 70% of Gaza’s fishing fleet.
Middle East Monitor reports: The Israeli army, on Monday, withdrew its 36th Division from the Gaza Strip for rest and training amid a deadly offensive on the Palestinian Territory, Anadolu Agency reports. According to Israeli Army Radio, three other divisions will remain in Gaza as part of the current offensive in the enclave.
The move is seen as part of the Israeli army’s plans for a long war in the Gaza Strip.
Times of Israel reports: The Health Ministry on Monday instructed members of the healthcare system not to cooperate with the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel, citing its perceived anti-Israel stance.
In recent weeks, senior physicians and hospital staff who treated October 7 victims and released hostages have received letters and emails from the commission, which operates under the UN Council for Human Rights. The commission requested information and interviews for its investigation of international and gender-based crimes since the beginning of the current Israel-Hamas war.
The findings of the commission’s investigations will be presented in its reports to the Human Rights Council in June and to the UN General Assembly in October.
A number of recent investigations have suggested that allegations of gender-based crimes by Hamas fighters on October 7th may have been greatly exaggerated (read this, for example).
RECOMMENDED VIEWING (<3 minutes): Israeli media: Coverage focuses on captives & not Palestinian deaths
Al Jazeera reports: Israel and Hamas have reached an agreement to allow medicines to be delivered to Israeli captives held in the Gaza Strip and for aid to be transported to residents in the besieged Palestinian territory, Qatar has announced.
The deal will see humanitarian aid delivered to civilians in “the most affected and vulnerable areas” in Gaza in exchange for the delivery of medication to Israeli captives held by Hamas, the group that governs Gaza, Qatar’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Tuesday.
Palestinian prisoners in Israel often suffer from medical negligence.
TRT World reports: The mayor of the southern Israeli settlement of Sderot has called for Gaza Strip neighborhoods to be “wiped out” if rockets are fired towards Israel.
“If they launch rockets from a certain area, the entire neighborhood must be wiped out,” Alon Davidi told Army Radio yesterday. “The entire area must be exterminated, and we must work systematically.”
The New Arab reports: Israel has arrested at least 5,875 Palestinians in the West Bank in the past 100 days – at least 355 of those arrested were children, and 200 were women. The figure included individuals who were detained, those still in custody, and those who were later released, the statement said.
More than 2,856 Palestinians have been held without trial or charge under Israel’s notorious policy of administrative detention since 7 October, the NGO said. “This figure takes the number of administrative detainees in Israeli prisons to more than 3,290 Palestinians,” the statement added.
At least 8,800 Palestinians are currently held in Israeli prisons, according to figures released by the prisoners’ affairs group.
RECOMMENDED VIEWING (<2 minutes): Mass arrests of Palestinians: Former detainees accuse Israel of abuses
Al Jazeera reports: Some of the most significant overnight incursions by the Israeli military took place in Jericho, Ramallah, Hebron, and the city of Qalqilya. Dozens of Israeli military vehicles and armored bulldozers entered Qalqilya overnight, causing a lot of destruction. Social media videos posted by Palestinians show the trail of devastation.
This is a common tactic by the Israeli military — it uses armored bulldozers to tear up infrastructure and dig up roads. Many Palestinians consider this a form of collective punishment. Collective punishment is a war crime.
On average, there are about 40 raids per day around the occupied West Bank.
Middle East Monitor reports: Israeli air strikes killed nine Palestinians in two locations in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday, Reuters has reported. The West Bank has seen a surge of violence by Israeli occupation forces and illegal settlers while the world’s focus has been on Israel’s “genocide” taking place in Gaza.
The air strike on a car in Balata, near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, killed five people – Israel said they were members of a local cell of fighters that planned a large-scale, imminent attack on Israelis, the Fatah movement led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said that they were members of Fatah.
Hours later, an air strike in the central West Bank city of Tulkarm killed four more Palestinians, said local medics. An Israeli military spokesperson confirmed that an operation was under way in Tulkarm but did not immediately provide details.
The New Republic reports: Members of Congress are expressing their displeasure with Joe Biden for launching airstrikes in Yemen, a move that has achieved the rare effect of uniting many Republicans and Democrats.
The United States and the U.K. bombed 16 different sites in Yemen Thursday night, hitting more than 60 targets, in a retaliatory strike against the Houthis. The strikes were meant to pressure the Houthis to stop blocking commercial ships in the Red Sea, a campaign it began over growing frustration with Israel’s war on Gaza.
Democratic Representative Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, accused Biden of violating the Constitution. “The American people are tired of endless war,” she wrote on X. (Read more legislators’ responses here.)
The New Arab reports: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that Arab countries are not keen to get involved in the rebuilding of Gaza if the Palestinian enclave will be “levelled” again in a few years, and stressed the importance of Palestinian statehood for any regional settlement.
Speaking to CNBC in an interview in Davos, Switzerland, Blinken said there was a “new equation” in the Middle East in which Israel’s Arab and Muslim neighbors were prepared to integrate Israel into the region but they were equally committed to a pathway to a Palestinian state.
He said both the Arab states and Washington believe that until that issue is addressed, neither Israel nor the region will have peace, stability and security.
Reuters reports: The U.S. Senate rejected a resolution on Tuesday that would have frozen security aid to Israel unless the State Department produces a report within 30 days examining whether Israel committed human rights violations in its campaign against Hamas in Gaza.
Speaking in the Senate ahead of the vote, Sanders said that Israel’s war on Gaza has been “far and away the most intensive bombing campaign of the 21st century,” adding, “This bombardment has been largely indiscriminate. Mr President, the results of this bombing campaign have been catastrophic. In essence, we will be voting on a very simple question: Do you support asking the State Department whether human rights violations may have occurred using U.S. equipment or assistance in this war?
While the resolution was handily defeated, it reflected growing concern among some of President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats, especially on the left, over the supply of U.S. weapons to Israel despite the Gaza conflict’s steep toll on Palestinian civilians.
Only 11 senators voted in support of Sanders’s proposed resolution proceeding. Find the list here.
Under US law, the US is required to withhold military assistance from units and individuals in foreign security forces if they have committed a gross violation of human rights (GVHR).
WRMEA reports: University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer joined the online magazine Jadaliyya on Jan. 8 for a virtual discussion about the influence of the Israel lobby over U.S. policy in light of the ongoing war in Gaza.
Mearsheimer cited the Israel lobby as the primary reason U.S. politicians continue to overwhelmingly support Israel despite growing alarm among Americans regarding its actions. “The key to understanding how the lobby works is that they focus most of their attention on the elites,” he explained. “What they’re really interested in doing is putting tremendous pressure on people who formulate policy, both in the Executive Branch and in Congress,” so that they fear the consequences of betraying the lobby.
While the lobby focuses most of its attention on decision makers, it also attempts to police the public discourse surrounding Israel, Mearsheimer said. College campuses are where much of this energy is focused, as it’s “the place where you really run the risk that things will get out of hand, from the lobby’s point of view, or from Israel’s point of view,” he noted. “That’s why they pay so much attention to what is going on in these places.” (Read the full article here.)
RECOMMENDED READING (+972Mag): ‘Tents everywhere’ as Rafah struggles to hold a million Palestinians
Middle East Eye reports: An Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) radio presenter was sacked after she shared a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on her personal social media account. “HRW reporting starvation as a tool of war,” Antoinette Lattouf wrote in an Instagram post in December, citing the report.
Australia’s Fair Work Commission will hold a hearing on Thursday into the circumstances surrounding the termination of Lattouf’s contract. Her lawyer, Josh Bornstein, alleged the Lebanese-Australian broadcaster was fired because of her “political views and race”.
Nowhere & no one is safe in Gaza.
We can’t effectively deliver humanitarian aid while Gaza is under heavy, widespread & unrelenting bombardment.
An environment where staff can work in safety.
Necessary logistics & the resumption of commercial activity.
— António Guterres (@antonioguterres) January 15, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – JANUARY 17:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – January 17: at least 24,803* (~24,448 in Gaza* (over 10,600 children, 7,200 women), and at least 355 in the West Bank (94 children). This does not include an estimated 8,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 31,497 Palestinian deaths.
*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.
About 1.9 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population).
Palestinian injuries from October 7 – January 17: at least 65,719** (including at least 61,504 in Gaza** and 4,215 in the West Bank). **NOTE: it is impossible to provide an accurate number of injuries in Gaza due to the ongoing bombardment and communication disruption.
NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel may have been caused by Israeli soldiers; additionally, since Israel has a policy of universal conscription, it is unknown how many of those attending the outdoor rave a few miles from Gaza on stolen Palestinian land were Israeli soldiers.
Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.
- 12 Essential Facts for Understanding the Current Israel-Gaza Violence
- Israel’s torture and humiliation of female and male Gazan prisoners
- 2023 in review: 12 months of blood on Israeli and American hands
- 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
- John Mearsheimer: Genocide in Gaza
- Flashback: Israeli Journalist said Israel is pushing US into war with Iran
- 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
- Essential facts and stats about the Hamas-Gaza-Israel war
- What media reports fail to tell you about October 7