“Distribution of aid is almost impossible” – Day 61

“Distribution of aid is almost impossible” – Day 61

Israeli attacks in Gaza, Palestinian prisoners & West Bank news, Friends School students sing, former top Pentagon & State Dept officials speak out, Israeli incitement march planned, former hostages call out Israel, US leaders out of touch with Americans…

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Humanitarian update: On 5 December, dozens of aid trucks carrying humanitarian supplies and fuel entered Gaza; however, as of 23:00, figures were not available. The ability of the UN to receive incoming aid has been significantly impaired over the past three days by several factors. These include a shortage of trucks within Gaza, some being stranded in the Middle Area; the telecom blackout on 4 December; and staff who were unable to report to the Rafah crossing due to the hostilities. On 4 December, coordinator Lynn Hastings stated that “the use of only the Rafah crossing – meant for pedestrians – to bring in trucks of goods does not work.”

On 5 December, for the third consecutive day, Rafah was the only governorate in Gaza where limited aid distributions took place. In the adjacent Khan Younis governorate, aid distribution largely stopped due to the intensity of hostilities.

On 3 December, the Israeli military designated an area covering about 20 per cent of Khan Younis city for immediate evacuation. Similar evacuations orders were issued in previous days for a large area east of Khan Younis. Together, these areas in Khan Younis governorate encompass about 22 per cent of the Gaza Strip. Add in the large-scale evacuation of northern Gaza, and the number of refugees on the little remaining land is inconceivable.

On 5 December, the World Food Programme (WFP) stated that “the resumption of hostilities in Gaza will only intensify the catastrophic hunger crisis that already threatens to overwhelm the civilian population.” The statement indicated that “the renewed fighting makes the distribution of aid almost impossible and endangers the lives of humanitarian workers.”

RECOMMENDED READING: Two Gaza brothers stripped, jeered at by Israeli army, one taken captive

Jabaliya (northern Gaza) under attack: The Israeli military intensified its attacks Wednesday on the Jabaliya refugee camp in an area repeatedly targeted since the beginning of the war with massive air raids and relentless artillery shelling. Israel is using coordinated air, land, and sea attacks in the densely populated area where thousands of people are still stranded and cannot evacuate. Residential buildings have been leveled to the ground along with public facilities.

Khan Younis (southern Gaza) under attack: The sounds of explosions have been constant Wednesday in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis and with no safe place to shelter from Israel’s bombing, all that the approximately 1,200 displaced people staying at a school in the city can do is stay inside and try to stay alive.

UNRWA: There is no “safe” zone, the entire #GazaStrip has become one of the most dangerous places in the world.
UNRWA: There is no “safe” zone, the entire #GazaStrip has become one of the most dangerous places in the world. (photo)
Residents sift through the rubble of an Israeli attack in Deir el-Balah, Gaza, December 5
Residents sift through the rubble of an Israeli attack in Deir el-Balah, Gaza, December 5 (photo)

Rafah (southern Gaza) unable to recover bodies: More than 100 residential homes, including multi-story buildings, have been destroyed in Rafah in the past weeks. On the north side of Rafah, one can see on the walls of residential buildings, written statements of the names of people who were still under the rubble. Civil defense crews in Rafah and elsewhere in Gaza are unable to remove bodies from under the rubble. They lack the equipment and the machinery, and they rely on their hands to remove rubble.

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Flushing Hamas tunnels with seawater would cause ‘many deaths’: According to Israeli reports, the Israeli army is considering a plan to flood Hamas’s vast network of underground tunnels with seawater to drive out fighters. Flushing Gaza tunnels with seawater would be deadly and disastrous as it would lead to the collapse of infrastructure, including residential buildings, in targeted areas, the Palestinian Authority (PA) warns.

“This will lead to a serious deterioration in the humanitarian situation as it will lead to many deaths when residential buildings collapse,” the PA’s ministry of public works said in a statement. “It will also lead to a mixing of seawater with groundwater and waste water, leading to a public health disaster.”

RECOMMENDED READING: Unpack the past: Mandela, the keffiyeh and South Africa’s Palestine embrace
South African anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress member Nelson Mandela (C), wearing a keffiyeh, attends a meeting organised in his honour by the National Union of Algerian Youths, May 18, 1990, in Algiers
South African anti-apartheid leader and African National Congress member Nelson Mandela (C), wearing a keffiyeh, attends a meeting organised in his honour by the National Union of Algerian Youths, May 18, 1990, in Algiers (photo)

West Bank, Jerusalem news

Recent Palestinian deaths: Israeli soldiers killed a 16-year-old and a 23-year-old when forces stormed areas south of Tubas in the occupied West Bank. 11 others were injured.

Another Palestinian succumbed Wednesday to injuries sustained last week.

Home demolition: Israeli occupation forces Wednesday demolished an inhabited house, claiming it had been built without a permit, and built a colonial road south of Bethlehem.

Israeli forces demolish home near Bethlehem to make way for a settler-only road
Israeli forces demolish home near Bethlehem to make way for a settler-only road (photo)

Israeli colonists build a settler-only road near Hebron: Armed Israeli colonists began building a road on Palestinian lands. The road, which is almost 2 miles long, aims to connect the illegal Israeli settlement of Beni Hever, which was established on Palestinian’ lands to the east, with the new colonial outpost that was established last year on Palestinians’ lands in the village of Birin.

Israeli settlers break into Jerusalem’s Aqsa mosque: As was the case Tuesday, dozens of fanatic Israeli settlers Wednesday morning broke into the compounds of al-Aqsa Mosque under heavy protection from the Israeli police. The extremist settlers divided into groups, raided the holy Islamic Mosque from al-Maghariba gate and took provocative tours in its compounds. The settlers performed Talmudic rituals in the eastern part of the Mosque.

Israel is turning Palestinian prisons into ‘cemeteries for the living’: The Commission for Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs gave examples of Israeli prison guards’ mistreatment of prisoners, for example, raiding the various sections almost daily, during which they assault the prisoners, severely beat them with batons and guns, spray them with toxic gas, and fire rubber-coated metal bullets at them; and forcing them to sleep without blankets on the floors, in cold cells where windows have no glass.

Israel is currently holding about 7,800 Palestinians in its prisons, including 166 children, 33 female prisoners, and 2,873 administrative detainees, while before October 7, the number of prisoners was 5250, including 180 children, 37 women, and 1319 administrative detainees.

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At least 7,800 Palestinians are held in Israeli jails, according to a local non-governmental organization on Tuesday, Anadolu Agency reports. The detainees include 33 women, 166 children, and 2,873 people held without trial or charge under Israel’s notorious policy of administrative detention, the Palestinian Prisoner Society said in a statement.

Before the outbreak of the Gaza conflict, the number of Palestinian detainees in Israeli jails was estimated at around 5,250, including 1,319 held without charge or trial. Israeli forces detained 3,580 Palestinians in the West Bank since 7 October,” the NGO said.

From the Friends school in the Occupied West Bank. (The school was founded over 100 years ago; students are both Christian and Muslim.)

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Israel news

Former Israeli captives recount fears of being bombed by Israel’s army: Former Israeli captives have told Netanyahu they feared being killed by Israeli attacks on Hamas tunnels during a tense meeting with Israel’s war cabinet, Israeli news outlet Ynet reports. One recently released captive told the meeting: “Every day in captivity was extremely challenging. We were in tunnels, terrified that it would not be Hamas, but Israel, that would kill us.”

Another said, The reality is that I was in a hideout that was bombed and we became wounded refugees. This doesn’t even include the helicopter that fired at us on our way to Gaza.”

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Israeli police greenlight right-wing march in Jerusalem: Israeli police approved the “March of Maccabees” in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem that will take place this Thursday, Israeli news channel Kan reports. The march is being held under the banner: “Remove the Waqf [Islamic endowment] from Temple Mount [Al-Aqsa Mosque compound]. Renew full Jewish control in Jerusalem and Temple Mount.”

The march is expected to pass through the Muslim quarter.

The Palestinian Authority‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is calling for international pressure to halt the march.

RECOMMENDED READING: For Netanyahu and his political allies, peace is more dangerous than war

Israeli army announces deaths of two soldiers: This raises the death toll of Israeli soldiers to 85 since the beginning of the ground operation in Gaza.

Rocket injuries: The Israeli ambulance service has said that two people have been lightly injured – two 60-year-old women – in an attack on Ashkelon. (Information on rocket attacks is here.)

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