Debris undoubtedly hides booby traps, unexploded ordnance, asbestos – Day 208

Debris undoubtedly hides booby traps, unexploded ordnance, asbestos – Day 208

Danger in the debris; humanitarian aid quantities entering Gaza still very low; Blinken pressures Hamas to accept truce proposal; hundreds of Gazans missing in Israel; will Knesset shutter Al Jazeera?; Netanyahu doesn’t want war to end; Israelis attack aid convoy; 2 Palestinian prisoners including a doctor die behind bars; up to 80 years to repair Gaza homes; threat of ICC arrest warrants has Israel, US worried; another pro-Israel bill in Congress; campus repression of pro-Palestine protests intensifies…

By IAK staff, from reports

Troubling reports of booby traps, unexploded ordnance, asbestos

ReliefWeb reports: On 29 April, the Government Media Office (GMO) reported that a 14-year-old boy was seriously injured, and sustained limb amputations, after opening a booby-trapped can of food found while looking for his belongings in his house that had been shelled by Israeli forces in Khan Younis. The GMO indicated that many people have been recently injured due to the explosion of booby-trapped canned goods, urging the population to exercise maximum care.

Based on UN estimates, the GMO assessed that around 7,500 tons of unexploded ordnance (UXO) might be scattered throughout Gaza, appealing for assistance by the international community to remove explosive remnants of war (ERW) and mitigate the risk for civilians.

The risk of exposure to unexploded ordnance is now at its “most dangerous stage,” warned the Chief of the UNMAS Mine Action Program, Mungo Birch, on 28 April. “Once people start returning to the north, that’s when most accidents will occur, because they will not be familiar with where unexploded ordnance is located,” Birch explained.

UNMAS estimates that over 37 million tons of debris in the Gaza Strip contain about 800,000 tons of asbestos, other contaminants, and UXO, noting that at least 10 per cent of fired ammunition potentially fails to function. A UN assessment team reported that streets and public spaces in Khan Younis were littered with UXO, with “unexploded 1,000-pound bombs lying on main intersections and inside schools.”

Aerial view of destroyed buildings in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 22, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and militant group Hamas.
Aerial view of destroyed buildings in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on April 22, 2024 amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and militant group Hamas. (photo)

Little improvement in number of aid trucks entering Gaza in April: Government

The Government Media Office in Gaza says there has been a “limited increase” in the number of aid trucks entering the enclave each day in April but the number is still far below the besieged population’s needs.

It said in a statement that 4,887 aid trucks entered Gaza in April – an average of 163 per day; only 419 trucks, or 8 percent, made it to northern Gaza, where the needs are most acute and where about 700,000 Palestinians require urgent help.

The aid is nowhere near the 1,000 trucks per day needed, and far below the 300 to 400 that Israel and the US have been talking about.

“The occupation is still maintaining approximately the same pace and is seeking to convince the world that the reality of introducing aid has changed,” the media office said.

NOTE: Israel has on multiple occasions fired at individuals waiting for food aid (recently killing over 100 at one time), at least once allegedly sending fake text messages to Gazans, telling them to assemble and then shooting at them when they did; Israel has also attacked food aid convoys and those who accompanied them several times. Additionally, Israeli citizens have blocked a border crossing for weeks with no meaningful attempt by Israel to reopen it. 
In mid-March, Israel promised to “flood” Gaza with aid, but has failed to do so.

Nearly half of aid missions to northern Gaza impeded or denied in April: UN

ReliefWeb reports: The UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says in its latest report that many humanitarian aid missions into northern Gaza, where needs are most urgent, are still being denied by the Israeli military.

It said that of the 94 missions in April, 27 percent (25) were impeded, 10 percent (9) were denied, and 8 percent (8) were cancelled due to logistical constraints.

Children wait to receive food from a charity kitchen in Rafah in southern Gaza
Children wait to receive food from a charity kitchen in Rafah in southern Gaza (photo)

Hamas weighing truce proposal, Blinken says it must say yes

AFP reports: Mediators have proposed a truce deal that would halt fighting for 40 days and exchange dozens of hostages for many more Palestinian prisoners.

Hamas has said it will respond “within a very short period” to the proposal.

“Hamas needs to say yes and needs to get this done,” Blinken said Wednesday while in Israel on his seventh Middle East crisis tour since the war broke out in October.

He later added: “If Hamas actually purports to care about the Palestinian people and wants to see an immediate alleviation of their suffering, it should take this deal.”

Senior Hamas official Osama Hamdan told AFP late Wednesday that the movement’s position on the truce proposal was “negative” for the time being, but that discussions were still underway. Hamas has expressed its demand for permanent ceasefire from the beginning of the negotiations.

Gaza is plagued by unhygienic conditions and the territory's residents have to drink unsanitary water due to Israel's war and siege
Gaza is plagued by unhygienic conditions and the territory’s residents have to drink unsanitary water due to Israel’s war and siege (photo)

Hundreds of Gaza workers in Israel ‘remain missing’: Palestinian rights groups

The Commission for Detainee’s Affairs, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, and the Addameer Foundation have said that there is no information available about hundreds of workers from the Gaza Strip who were working in Israel on October 7.

About 10,300 Palestinian workers from Gaza were in Israel before October 7. 3,200 were released into Gaza in November; 6,400 were deported to the West Bank. The whereabouts and wellbeing of the rest remain unknown.

Free Speech Under Fire: Israeli Cabinet set to vote on closure of Al Jazeera television

Andalou Agency reports: The Israeli security cabinet is set to vote on Thursday on closing the office of the Doha-based Al Jazeera television, according to local media.

Attorney-General Gali Baharav-Miara has given the green light for the cabinet to consider the closure of the channel in Israel, the public broadcaster KAN reported.

There was no comment yet from the pan-Arab channel on the Israeli move.

Last month, the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) passed legislation allowing the closure of the Al Jazeera television.

Under the legislation, the communications minister is empowered to shut down foreign networks operating in Israel and confiscate their equipment if the defense minister identifies that their broadcast poses “an actual harm to the state’s security.”

Netanyahu tells Blinken he will not accept deal that ends war in Gaza: Report

Israel’s prime minister has told Blinken he will not accept a deal that includes ending the war on Gaza, Israeli media reported.

According to senior American and Israeli officials, Netanyahu said if Hamas insists on ending the war, the deal will not be accepted and Israel will be forced to launch a military offensive in Rafah, Israeli news agency Walla reported.

Blinken met Israeli leaders in his push for a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas, saying “the time is now” for an agreement that would free captives and bring a pause in the war.

Israel to announce ‘new safe zone’ for evacuees from Rafah: Army Radio

Israeli Army Radio has reported that the military – in preparation for its ground assault on Rafah – will announce a “new safe zone” in central Gaza.

The army’s GLZ Radio said the zone is “part of preparations for the evacuation of the population from Rafah” and will be located north of Gaza’s central refugee camps.

Israeli attacks on Rafah have intensified in recent weeks and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated that Rafah will be invaded with or without a ceasefire agreement from Hamas.

Residents of Rafah and elsewhere in the Gaza Strip have long said there are no “safe zones” anywhere in the war-torn territory.

Palestinian children near the rubble of heavily damaged buildings after Israeli attacks on houses in Rafah, Gaza, on April 25, 2024
Palestinian children near the rubble of heavily damaged buildings after Israeli attacks on houses in Rafah, Gaza, on April 25, 2024 (photo)

Israeli settlers attacked Jordanian aid convoys, dumped supplies: Report

Two Jordanian aid convoys carrying food, flour, and other humanitarian aid were attacked by Israeli settlers this morning on their way into Gaza, reports Jordan’s state-run Petra news agency, citing the Foreign Ministry.

The settlers dumped some of their cargo and damaged the trucks, said the ministry, but the trucks continued the aid delivery mission.

In a statement carried by Petra, ministry spokesman Sufyan Qudah said, “The extremists’ attack on the two convoys, and the failure of the Israeli authorities to provide protection for them, undermine all the Israeli government’s claims and commitments to allowing aid to enter Gaza.”

Two Palestinians, including doctor at Gaza’s Al-Shifa Medical Complex, die in Israeli detention

WAFA reports: The Palestinian Prisoners’ Affairs Commission and the Palestinian Prisoners Society announced today the deaths of two Palestinian detainees from Gaza in Israeli prisons. One of them was Dr. Adnan Ahmad Al-Bursh, 50 years old, head of the orthopedic department at the Al-Shifa Medical Complex in Gaza; the other was identified as Ismail Abdul Bari Khader, 33 years old.

The Israeli army arrested Dr. Al-Bursh last December while he was at Al-Awda Hospital in central Gaza with a group of doctors.

Khader reportedly died in mysterious circumstances following his arrest.

The Commission and the Society considered the deaths of Al-Bursh and Khader as resulting from torture and medical neglect endured by Gaza prisoners, amid ongoing forced disappearance crimes practiced against them by the Israeli occupation.

Rebuilding bombed Gaza homes may take 80 years: UN

Rebuilding homes in the Gaza Strip could drag into the next century if the pace follows that of previous conflicts, according to a report by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) released on Thursday.

The UNDP says Gaza needs “approximately 80 years to restore all the fully destroyed housing units”.

However, a best case scenario in which construction materials are delivered five times faster, as they were following the conflict in 2021, could have reconstruction complete by 2040.

UN reports over 800 Israeli settler attacks in West Bank since October 7

ReliefWeb reports: Since 7 October 2023, OCHA has recorded at least 800 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians that resulted in Palestinian casualties (84 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (629 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (90 incidents).

These incidents resulted in the killing of 31 Palestinians either by Israeli settlers or forces, close to 500 injuries, and vandalization of nearly 80 houses, at least 11,700 trees and saplings, and about 450 vehicles.

ICC investigation ‘clear and present danger’: Herzog

Israeli President Isaac Herzog told journalists during a press briefing with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Tel Aviv that Israel’s “allies and friends” should reject efforts to “use the International Criminal Court (ICC) against Israel”.

Herzog described the ICC’s reported investigation into Israeli leaders as a “clear and present danger to all democracies and to free and peace-loving nations”.

The Hague International criminal court.
The Hague International criminal court.

Congress threatens ICC over Israeli arrest warrants

Axios reports: The International Criminal Court is being warned by members of Congress in both parties that arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials will be met with U.S. retaliation — and legislation to that effect is already in the works, Axios has learned.

The White House said “the ICC has no jurisdiction in this situation and we do not support its investigation.”

House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) issued a statement on Monday calling the reported warrants “disgraceful” and “lawless.”

“If unchallenged by the Biden administration, the ICC could create and assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel,” Johnson said.

Johnson called for the Biden administration to “immediately and unequivocally demand that the ICC stand down” and “use every available tool to prevent such an abomination.”

One Republican House member told Axios there is already legislation being drafted to respond to any warrants.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) said the U.S. should “think of whether we stay a signatory” to the Rome Statute — the treaty that established the ICC.

“We have to think about talking to some of the countries that have ratified [the treaty] as to whether they want to support the organization,” he added.

RECOMMENDED READING: Indisputable facts about Israel and the International Criminal Court

US House passes ‘anti-Semitism’ bill that targets Israel criticism

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly passed a bill that broadens the definition of “anti-Semitism” in order to include the “targeting of the state of Israel, conceived as a Jewish collectivity”.

The proposal was passed 320-91, and aims to codify a definition of anti-Semitism offered by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance in the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

It will now have to be also approved by the Senate, but many US politicians – especially Republicans – have backed it, as tens of thousands of students stage pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the country.

RECOMMENDED READING: International campaign is criminalizing criticism of Israel as ‘antisemitism’ and The growing panic about antisemitism isn’t a reflection of reality – The Forward
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. The so-called “demonization” of Israel is in most cases a legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies of occupation, apartheid, and genocide, and other illegal practices.
Pro-Israel organizations consistently work to silence Palestine advocacy on campus – a free speech violation. One strategy they use is to pressure universities to officially adopt the IHRA “definition” of antisemitism, which defines legitimate criticism of Israel as antisemitic. Other strategies include blocking prestigious appointments of and events with supporters of Palestinian rights, threatening to withhold major donations, and more. But supporters of Palestine on campus are fighting back.


UCLA violence was clearly on pro-Israel side – the very people that Chancellor Block wants to protect

Los Angeles Times reports: Just before midnight Tuesday, a large group, wearing black outfits and white masks, arrived on campus and tried to tear down the barricades surrounding the [pro-Palestine] encampment.

Campers, some holding lumber and wearing goggles and helmets, rallied to defend the site’s perimeter.

Over several hours, counterdemonstrators hurled objects, including wood and a metal barrier, at the camp and those inside. Fights repeatedly broke out. Some tried to force their way into the camp, and the pro-Palestinian side used pepper spray to defend themselves. Fireworks were also launched into the camp.

A camp representative said the counterdemonstrators repeatedly pushed over barricades that mark the boundaries of the encampment, and some campers said they were hit by a substance they thought was pepper spray.

Daily Bruin News Editor Catherine Hamilton said she was sprayed with some type of irritant and repeatedly punched as she was reporting on the unrest. Another student journalist was pushed to the ground by counterprotesters and was beaten and kicked for nearly a minute, she said. Hamilton was treated at a hospital and released.

“I truly did not expect to be directly assaulted. I know that these individuals — at least the individual who initiated the mobilization against us — knew that we were journalists,” she said. “And while I did not think that protected us from harassment, I thought that might have [prevented us from being] assaulted. I was mistaken.”

Ananya Roy, a professor of urban planning, social welfare and geography, echoed concerns about the university’s lack of response when faced with a violent counterprotest.

“It gives people impunity to come to our campus as a rampaging mob,” she said. “I am ashamed of my university.”

“The abhorrent actions of a few counterprotesters last night do not represent the Jewish community or our values,”  the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles wrote. “We believe in peaceful, civic discourse.”

UCLA Chancellor Gene Block wrote that the incidents had put many on campus, “especially our Jewish students,” in a state of anxiety and fear.

High levels of fear also have been reported by pro-Palestinian students, which Block did not mention — an omission that outraged some campus members.

RECOMMENDED READING (Al Jazeera): ‘Divest from Israel’: Decoding the Gaza protest call shaking US campuses

‘Intense criticism’ of UCLA administration’s double standards following attack on peaceful Gaza encampment

Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds reports from Los Angeles: We are inside the University of California, Los Angeles, and behind me, the Gaza solidarity encampment, that was set up by student protesters, they have been spending some time today reinforcing the barrier that keeps them from being attacked by the forces that were so violent yesterday and overnight.

There is a lot of criticism of the administration of this university, and a lot of criticism and questioning about why the police weren’t here when the pro-Zionist, pro-Israel mob approached and overwhelmed the security guards that were in place, threw aside all the barriers that were in place, and tried to break into the camp.

They used fireworks, irritant chemical sprays, poles made of metal and sticks made of wood – as well as fists and feet – and more than 100 students were injured, according to protest organizers, some of whom were admitted to hospital.

The faculty at this university is up in arms.

More than 200 of them have signed on to a letter harshly criticizing the administration and making a series of demands, including that the police not be unleashed on the student encampment and that no student be disciplined for exercising their right to free speech.

And saying if that is not adhered to by the administration, the faculty will consider other measures including work stoppages.

Recommended reading (Al Jazeera): Encamp, divest and keep your eyes on Gaza

Police reportedly using ‘rubber’ bullets to clear pro-Palestinian protesters at UCLA

CNN reports: A CNN team on campus saw a group of officers going through Royce Hall, a building directly next to the encampment, to make their way onto the encampment site.

The team also saw members of law enforcement fire what appeared to be rubber bullets. [rubber coated metal projectiles that can be lethal]

NYPD officers in riot gear march onto Columbia University campus
NYPD officers in riot gear march onto Columbia University campus (photo)

Jewish Voice for Peace denounces NY police over Columbia raid

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) has condemned the New York Police Department’s actions against more than 50 Columbia and Barnard students peacefully occupying a building, as well as dozens of protesting students at the City College of New York.

“It couldn’t be clearer: These students were brutalized to protect Columbia University and CCNY’s investments in Israeli apartheid,” the group said.

At Columbia, hundreds of police with drawn weapons deployed flash-bang grenades.

“It will forever be a stain on Columbia that the administration called riot police on its own student body rather than divest from the brutality of war and occupation,” JVP said

Stefanie Fox, the group’s executive director said, “America is in the business of war-making across the world, and the militarization of US police forces is a direct result. The US has funded and supported the Israeli government’s oppression of Palestinians for decades, with private institutions across the country profiting from the same,” adding that Columbia is on the wrong side of history once again as it was “in its oppression of the student anti-war movement of 1968, and wrong again in its oppression of the student movement against South African apartheid in 1985”.

RECOMMENDED READING (Al Jazeera): ‘Hind Hall’: How Columbia’s Hamilton Hall became its signature protest hub


House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) issued a statement on Monday calling the reported warrants “disgraceful” and “lawless.” He added,

If unchallenged by the Biden administration, the ICC could create and assume unprecedented power to issue arrest warrants against American political leaders, American diplomats, and American military personnel…[the Biden administration should] immediately and unequivocally demand that the ICC stand down [and] use every available tool to prevent such an abomination.

NOTE: Israel has been taken before the ICC on multiple occasions in the past; the US has jumped in on Israel’s behalf on multiple occasions.


Middle East Eye: Why western support for Israel is not exceptional
The New Arab: Israel lied about UNRWA. US and UK must end their dehumanizing defunding of Palestinian aid
Middle East Eye: Former US official cancels talk at Dartmouth College after protesters arrested
+972 Magazine: A Gaza team went to repair a telecoms machine. An Israeli tank fired at them
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – May 1: at least 35,162* (34,659 in Gaza* (at least 14,690 children, 9,680 women), and at least 503 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 42,510 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 1.1 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – May 1: at least 81,664 (including at least 77,816 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 – May 1: ~1,418 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 263 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.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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