“Doctors are stepping over bodies of dead children to treat other children who will die anyway” –Day 73

“Doctors are stepping over bodies of dead children to treat other children who will die anyway” –Day 73

Sanders resolution could begin the march toward accountability in Israel; devastating Gaza hospital news; another journalist killed; what really happened on October 7th – in Israelis’ words; widespread starvation; blood money for Israel, and more

Number of Gazans killed since the Biden administration vetoed UNSC ceasefire resolution: at least 1,969 (approximately 788 children)

‘Doctors stepping over bodies of dead children to treat other children who will die anyway’: Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) says that after two months of war, Palestinians in Gaza are now cornered in the south, where Israeli attacks on what was supposed to be a safe zone prove that nowhere is safe. Chris Hook, MSF medical team leader in Gaza, said

At Nasser hospital [in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza], the emergency department is completely full and new patients are being treated on the floor.

Doctors are stepping over bodies of dead children to treat other children who will die anyway.

The lucky few that survive have life-changing injuries. Many injured people suffer from extreme burns, major fractures that won’t heal properly and may go on to require amputations.

Unprecedented level of destruction’ in Gaza: The UN agency that supports Palestinian refugees says that more than 60 percent of the infrastructure in Gaza has been destroyed or damaged. UNRWA also said that more than 90 percent of the population in Gaza have been displaced.

“This is a staggering and unprecedented level of destruction and forced displacement, taking place in front of our eyes,” it added.

Gaza Health Ministry: 17 massacres committed by Israeli army in Gaza today: Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf al-Qudra says that in the past hours, “214 people killed and 300 wounded have arrived at hospitals, and a large number of victims are still under the rubble and on the roads.”

UNICEF spokesperson calls Gaza “the most dangerous place to be a child”: “The Gaza Strip is the most dangerous place in the world to be a child. And day after day, that brutal reality is reinforced,” today said UNICEF spokesperson James Elder during a press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.


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A post shared by James Elder (@james_unicef)

A step toward accountability

Senator Sanders’ New Resolution Could Force U.S. to Confront Any Complicity in Civilian Harm in Gaza: Just Security writes:

In a recent letter to President Joe Biden, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) called the bombing of Gaza “not just a humanitarian cataclysm, but a mass atrocity” adding that the violence “is being done with bombs and equipment produced and provided by the United States and heavily subsidized by American taxpayers. Tragically, we are complicit in this carnage.”

Now, he has introduced a resolution invoking Section 502B, a rarely used provision of the Foreign Assistance Act that offers Congress a potent tool to force a high-profile Senate debate about U.S. military support for possible Israeli war crimes in Gaza and pressure Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to hasten a ceasefire.

The Sanders resolution offers a pathway to consider the role U.S. weapons are playing in devastating harm to civilians in Gaza and debate the wisdom and consequences of continuing unconditional arms transfers…If passed, the 502B resolution could be used as a first step to condition, restrict, or entirely halt military assistance to Israel.

…as the Israeli offensive devastates communities across Gaza, the United States continues to provide a steady stream of bombsmissilesdronesartillery shells, and ammunition – all apparently without conditions. Amnesty International investigators have already shown that Israeli forces killed dozens of civilians in two strikes using weapons made in the United States. But the State Department has admitted time and again that it is not assessing whether Israel is complying with international law in its campaign.

Read the full article here. Read about other pro-Israel organizations here.

The US has given Israel more military assistance than any other country since World War II, providing aid worth $124bn. The United States funds about 16 percent of Israel’s defense budget
Protesters enter US Capitol to demonstrate against Gaza war. The US has given Israel more military assistance than any other country since World War II, providing aid worth $124bn. The United States funds about 16 percent of Israel’s defense budget (photo)
RECOMMENDED READING: Leahy Law would cut aid to Israel, but no one wants to enforce it

Gaza hospital news

Israeli troops take over besieged al-Awda Hospital: Médecins Sans Frontières: Israeli forces have taken control of al-Awda Hospital after besieging it for 12 days, according to MSF. Males 16 years old and above were taken outside, stripped, bound and interrogated – six MSF staff among them. After the interrogations, most were sent back into the hospital and told not to move.

“Al-Awda Hospital still has dozens of patients inside, 14 of whom are children. The hospital is now out of essentials like general anesthetic and oxygen,” the group said.

Israeli forces have turned the hospital into a military barracks.

Al-Shifa Hospital doctor arrested by Israel: Adnan al-Bursh, the head of orthopedics at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, has been arrested by Israeli forces. Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta, a plastic surgeon who has worked in warzones, denounced the continuation of Israel’s “criminalization of the health system” in Gaza.

In a tweet, Abu Sitta said, “It is obvious that the aim of this massive arrest campaign of doctors in Gaza is to prepare them for a series of show-trials aimed at maintaining the criminalization of the health system in Gaza.”

The hospital’s director Muhammad Abu Salmiya was arrested last month and has still not been released. Another doctor and two nurses were detained with him.

Al Ahli Baptist hospital, only functioning hospital in northern Gaza, stops operating after an Israeli raid: The last functioning hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City, has stopped operating following an Israeli forces’ raid into the hospital tonight. The hospital’s administration said Israeli forces and military tanks cordoned off the hospital and detained several doctors, nurses, and patients from inside the hospital, causing it to stop operating.

At least four civilians succumbed to critical wounds they sustained yesterday as a result of Israeli shelling.

A wounded Palestinian child on the floor of Nasser hospital following Israeli air raids in Khan Younis
A wounded Palestinian child on the floor of Nasser hospital following Israeli air raids in Khan Younis (photo)

Gaza grandfather describes Israeli soldiers killing his family: When Israeli soldiers entered a Gaza school where Yousef Khalil was sleeping near his family, they began shooting indiscriminately, killing nine people, including children, he says, pointing to bullet-pocked, bloodstained walls.

Khalil says he sheltered with his family in early December in the Shadia Abu Ghazala school in the Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza. “They are my children and grandchildren. Why did they shoot them in front of my eyes?”

Palestinians view the destruction after an Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip
Palestinians view the destruction after an Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip (photo)
RECOMMENDED READING: Gaza’s rescue workers are haunted by those they couldn’t save

Israeli attack on Jabaliya kills nearly a dozen people: At least 10 Palestinians were killed and many others wounded in an Israeli air raid on the Jabalia refugee camp, in northern Gaza, a spokesperson for the Health Ministry in Gaza has said.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: ‘Bodies are everywhere’: Site of Jabalia attack ‘beyond description’
Buildings destroyed by Israeli air attack in Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza
Buildings destroyed by Israeli air attack in Jabaliya refugee camp, Gaza (photo)
Palestinian journalist Adel Zourob
Palestinian journalist Adel Zourob (photo)

Israeli airstrike kills another journalist: Israeli warplanes have killed the Palestinian journalist Adel Zourob and 24 other Palestinians, including many children, in Rafah.

As of December 19, 2023, preliminary investigations by the Committee to Protect Journalists showed at least 68 journalists and media workers were among the more than 19,000 killed since the war began on October 7.

“CPJ emphasizes that journalists are civilians doing important work during times of crisis and must not be targeted by warring parties,” said Sherif Mansour, CPJ’s Middle East and North Africa program coordinator.

“Journalists across the region are making great sacrifices to cover this heart-breaking conflict. Those in Gaza, in particular, have paid, and continue to pay, an unprecedented toll and face exponential threats.”

Death toll in Rafah rises to 29: Overnight, Israeli airstrikes on residential buildings in Rafah killed at least 29, including a baby.

What really happened on October 7th?

Freed Israeli Captive: The Israeli Army that Killed My Mother on October 7: An Israeli woman who was recently released from Gaza said that her mother was killed by Israeli army gunfire when soldiers shot at the car that was transporting them to Gaza, as they were being taken as captives on October 7.

“Al-Qassam Brigades fighters put the hostages in a truck on October 7, and Israeli forces opened fire on the vehicle,” the woman said in an interview broadcast on Israel’s Channel 12.

The channel also claimed that the Israeli army “opened fire to stop a tractor that was heading to the Gaza Strip.”

Witnesses say Israeli warplanes targeted settler homes: In an interview on Kan 11, an Israeli state-owned television channel, witnesses say Israeli warplanes and artillery targeted settlers’ homes, forcing Israelis to flee their kibbutz. They described the scenes of tanks in the streets, missiles hitting houses, and people feeling with their children in their arms. On 7 October, Israeli tanks fired shells at settler’s housing units in kibbutz Be’eri near Gaza, claiming to target Hamas fighters allegedly barricaded inside the residences.

Report suggests some Israelis may not have been taken hostage by Hamas, but by other Gazan citizens: American network NBC News reported that Noa Argamani, who was taken hostage from the party near Re’im, may not be held by Hamas at all. The report is based on an analysis of the angle of the sun in the video that documents the kidnapping of Argamani and her partner Avinatan Or, which suggests that the two may have been taken hours after the start of the Hamas attack.

Therefore, NBC News suggests, the two were kidnapped by a mob that crossed into Israel from Gaza after Hamas initiated the attack.

Argamani is one of the women who was not released during the cease-fire three weeks ago, and it is possible that was because she is not held by Hamas.

Bloomberg: “Hamas’ cheap, makeshift drones are outsmarting Israel’s high-tech military”: It wasn’t the eruption of rocket fire from Gaza that rattled soldiers at Israel’s southern frontier on Oct. 7. It was the unusual hum overhead that they hadn’t heard before.

A fleet of drones that are available online for as little as $6,500 filled the skies above Israel’s $1 billion border fence. They were rigged to carry explosives and knock out cameras, communications systems and remote-controlled guns, setting the stage for the unprecedented massacre.

Israel had at least one system on the Gaza border on Oct. 7 specifically designed to counter drones, but it was not yet operational. The final stages of testing were scheduled a few days after the surprise attack, according to Sentrycs Vice President Rotem Epelbaum.

“We were off by a week,” Epelbaum said. “It could have been a game-changer.”

Um Mohammed Al Jibal is the grandmother of twins, Rafah
Um Mohammed Al Jibal is the grandmother of twins, Rafah (screengrab)
RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Displaced Palestinian families struggling to find food for their newborns

UN: Pregnant and breastfeeding women face risk of deathAbout 45,000 pregnant women and 68,000 breastfeeding women in the Gaza Strip face risks in the war.

In a post on X, the United Nations Population Fund said pregnant and lactating women are facing “severe food shortages” because of Israel’s siege and attacks.

“The severe food shortage in Gaza exposes pregnant and breastfeeding women to the risk of anaemia, preeclampsia, bleeding, and even death,” the post said.

Rights monitor: Over 70% of Gaza people suffer extreme hunger: About 71 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population is experiencing extreme hunger, a study by the Geneva-based human rights Euro-Mediterranean Monitor says. The survey, which included 1,200 people, found 98 percent of respondents say they eat insufficient amounts. Some 64 percent of participants admitted to eating grass and expired food items to satiate their hunger.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Israel accused of using starvation as a weapon of war in Gaza

Gaza archaeological site mostly destroyed shows Israel’s “genocidal intent”: One of Gaza’s most important archaeological sites has been mostly destroyed in the Israeli invasion, says Forensic Architecture. It consists of several excavations, which suggest extensive remains throughout the area.

In a report with the group’s findings, human and legal rights group Al Haq links Israel’s destruction of Palestinian cultural heritage to environmental damage caused by pumping seawater, providing further “evidence of Israeli officials and military’s genocidal intent”.

Palestinians are gathering amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following an Israeli bombardment in Deir el-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip
Palestinians are gathering amid the rubble of destroyed buildings following an Israeli bombardment in Deir el-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip (photo)
Photos: Aftermath of deadly Israeli strike on Rafah home
Photos: Aftermath of deadly Israeli strike on Rafah home (photo)

Israel blows up Palestinian home in West Bank: Israeli occupation forces Tuesday dawn blew up the family home of prisoner Osama Bani Fadl in the town of Aqraba, south of Nablus. Large forces from the occupation army stormed the town late at night and surrounded the family home of prisoner Osama Bani Fadl in the Diriyah neighborhood, before blowing it up. Local sources reported that the occupation forces detained both Obaida Aws Bani Fadl and Alaa Saud Taha, after raiding their house in the town.

Report reveals Israeli surveillance industry’s effect on human rights: Palestinian digital rights advocacy group 7amleh has released a report that sheds light on the impact of the Israeli surveillance systems industry on Palestinians. The report underlines how Israeli state surveillance on Palestinians has increased significantly since October 7, and how these systems have become part of a profitable international trade.

The report assesses the impact of Israeli spyware technologies, social media monitoring tools and biometric surveillance methods. It calls on the international community to take concrete steps “to reign in the development and deployment of new invasive technologies by private firms, [and] to enact comprehensive and rights-based regulatory frameworks”. Read the full report here.

Crime of Genocide – South Africa Officially Brings War Crimes Charges against Israel at ICC: South Africa has submitted all necessary paperwork to the International Criminal Court (ICC), bringing war crime charges against Israel over its genocidal war in Gaza, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Monday, according to local outlet Eyewitness News.

“Once a case has been referred to them, they need to take it up seriously. So South Africa, as well as a number of other countries, are presenting their full documentation to the ICC,” Eyewitness News quoted the South African president as saying.

Palestinians view the destruction after an Israeli bombardment in Rafah, the Gaza Strip
Palestinians view the destruction after an Israeli bombardment in Rafah, the Gaza Strip (photo)

UN delays vote calling for Gaza ceasefire as US objects to resolution wording: On Monday, and again Tuesday, tUnited Nations Security Council postponed a vote calling for a sustainable cessation of hostilities in Gaza to give more time for diplomats to meet US objections to the wording of the draft resolution. The US said it could not support a reference to a “cessation of hostilities”, but might accept a call for a “suspension of hostilities”.

The Arab countries negotiating the text said they had been encouraged to see that the White House was apparently trying to find wording that it could support – as opposed simply to vetoing resolutions, the position it adopted on the call for a humanitarian pause on 18 October and for an urgent humanitarian ceasefire on 9 December 9.

A new vote is expected Wednesday.

Politics and Palestine

Blood Money: the top ten politicians taking the most Israel lobby cash: MintPress News writes:
As the Israeli attack on Gaza, Lebanon and Syria intensifies, the U.S. public watch on aghast. A new poll finds that Americans support a permanent ceasefire by a more than 2:1 ratio (including the vast majority of Democrats and a plurality of Republicans).

And yet, despite this, only 4% of elected members of the House support even a temporary ceasefire, and the United States continues to veto U.N. resolutions working towards ending the violence. Walter Hixson, a historian concentrating on U.S. foreign relations, told MintPress News:

Unfettered support for Israel and the lobby consistently puts the United States at odds with international human rights organizations and the vast majority of nations over Israel’s war crimes and blatant violations of international law. The current U.N. vote on a ceasefire in Gaza [which the U.S. vetoed] is just the latest example.”

#1 The largest recipient of Israel lobby money is President Joe Biden. From the beginning of his political career, Biden, according to his biographer Branko Marcetic, “established himself as an implacable friend of Israel”…

Read the full list here.

Most US voters disapprove of Biden’s Gaza policies: Poll: A new poll by The New York Times and Siena College shows strong American disapproval of US President Joe Biden’s handling of the Gaza conflict.

Over half of the poll’s respondents (57 percent) object to Biden’s handling of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Young voters are the most critical of Biden, with nearly three-quarters of those between the ages of 18 and 29 disapproving of the president’s policies in the region.

RECOMMENDED READING: How John Kirby became one of Israel’s leading spokespeople

Elizabeth Warren questions Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta over censorship of pro-Palestinian posts: US Senator Elizabeth Warren is asking Facebook and Instagram for more transparency on the details of its content moderation related to Israel’s war in Gaza, expressing concerns over discrimination, exacerbated violence and the failure to address hate speech.

“News organizations have reported several instances of Instagram censoring or mistranslating Palestinian and Palestine-related content following October 7th. Instagram reportedly labelled the Palestinian flag emoji as ‘potentially offensive,’ causing comments containing the emoji to be hidden from view,” Warren wrote in her letter to Meta’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

Warren suggested discriminatory practices by the social media giant and demanded answers and a change in social media policy. In her letter, she requests that Meta respond to her questions by 5 January 2024.

Mazi Melesa Pilip discusses her policy platform in pivotal House special election: In the special election to replace recently expelled Rep. George Santos (R-NY), Republican leaders have pinned their hopes on Mazi Melesa Pilip, an Ethiopian-born Jewish county legislator and Israel Defense Forces veteran who is now preparing for a high-stakes battle against a formidable Democratic opponent.

Pilip said, her unique personal ties to Israel, where she served in the army before settling in New York, would only boost her standing in the House as a defender of the Jewish state.

“Israel is a big deal for me, and I want to make sure, here in the United States, that we understand what Israel is about and how important it is to continue to support Israel,” Pilip, who said that some of her family members are now fighting in the war, told JI.

“Israel is our true ally, a democratic country that shares our values…I have to be loud and clear and I have to bring pride to the Jewish nation.”

RECOMMENDED READING: No, Israel is not a democracy, and never was
Children walk along a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 12, 2023.

Children walk along a street in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on December 12, 2023. (photo)


Palestinian death toll October 7 – December 18: at least 19,497* (~19,196 in Gaza* (8,663 children), and at least 301 in the West Bank). This does not include an estimated 8,000 more still buried under rubble. Euro-Med Monitor reports 25,612 Palestinian deaths.

*IAK does not yet include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile is being disputed; although much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, experts are still looking into the incidentIsrael is blocking an international investigation. Israel killed more Palestinians in a little over a month after Oct. 7 than in all the previous 22 years combined.

Palestinian injuries October 7 – December 18: 58,607** (including at least 55,000 in Gaza** and 3,634 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. 

It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties. in Gaza**. About 1.9 million people have been displaced (about 90% of the population).

Reported Israeli death toll October 7 – December 18: ~1,139  (7 killed in West Bank, 131 in Gaza), including 32 Americans, and 5,431 injured, approximately 36 children).

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 hereFor more news, go here and here. Live broadcast news from the region is here.

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


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