Flour Power – aid convoys reach northern Gaza; infant malnutrition – Day 163

Flour Power – aid convoys reach northern Gaza; infant malnutrition – Day 163

Much-needed shipment of flour & other staples arrives in northern Gaza; malnourished babies too weak to cry; Oxfam publishes damning report on Israel’s lethal obstinacy; NYT: 26 attacks on aid-seekers in Gaza; West Bank prisoner death; Biden is angry; Tik Tok and Israel; Senator Chris Van Hollen tells it like it is; Israel begins overnight assault on Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital

By IAK staff, from reports

FOOD AT LAST – Andalou Agency reports: The first aid delivery in about four months reached Gaza’s northern city of Jabalia, local sources said early Monday.

The Israeli army allowed nine trucks carrying humanitarian aid to enter the northern Gaza Strip including Jabalia, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, sources told Anadolu.

The aid, which consisted of flour, rice, canned food and sugar, arrived at the Jabalia refugee camp under the auspices of the security services of the Gaza government in cooperation with Palestinian tribes.

UNRWA carried out its first regular aid distribution on Sunday in cooperation with the Gaza government’s security forces and Palestinian tribes.

Hundreds of Palestinians flocked to the distribution center, and each family was given five kilograms (11 pounds) of flour as part of the aid distribution.

No humanitarian aid has reached the towns of the north of the Gaza Strip since November, causing famine conditions in the northern governorates.

INFANT MALNUTRITION – Catherine Russell, executive director of the UNICEF, sat on Sunday for an interview with US broadcaster NBC. She described the situation in Gaza for the 1 in 3 babies with acute malnutrition.

“Essentially, the body starts to consume itself as it has nothing else, and it’s a painful, painful death for children. I have been in wards where babies are suffering from malnutrition, the whole ward is absolutely quiet because the babies don’t even have the energy to cry”, she said.

“If we can get therapeutic feeding to them, they can survive but often, they are stunted for life and stunted means your cognitive ability is impacted as well, so it is a lifelong challenge for these children – if they survive.” (Read or watch more here.)

People gather in front of a UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) building to receive flour in Jabalia on Sunday, the first convoy of aid trucks to reach northern Gaza without incident in four months.
People gather in front of a UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) building to receive flour in Jabalia on Sunday, the first convoy of aid trucks to reach northern Gaza without incident in four months. (photo)

NEW REPORT – Oxfam has released a new report entitled “Inflicting Unprecedented Suffering and Destruction: Seven ways the government of Israel is deliberately blocking and/or undermining the international humanitarian response in the Gaza Strip.” The seven ways are:

    1. A total military siege amounting to collective punishment
    2. An unjustifiably inefficient process of inspection protocols
    3. Arbitrary rejections of ‘dual-use items’
    4. Decimation, destruction and disruption
    5. Attacks on aid workers, humanitarian facilities and aid convoys
    6. Absence of safety and forced displacement
    7. Systematic denial of humanitarian missions and access restrictions on humanitarian workers

Sally Abi Khalil, Oxfam’s Middle East and North Africa Director, said, “The ICJ order should have shocked Israeli leaders to change course, but since then conditions in Gaza have actually worsened,” and  “Israeli authorities are not only failing to facilitate the international aid effort but are actively hindering it. We believe that Israel is failing to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide.”

Israel has created “the perfect storm for humanitarian collapse and only the state of Israel can fix it”, she added.

(Read the report in full here.)

Volunteers and aid workers help to sort large bags of flour received into smaller bags in in Gaza City on Sunday
Volunteers and aid workers help to sort large bags of flour received into smaller bags in in Gaza City on Sunday (photo)

26 ATTACKS ON AID-SEEKERS – The New York Times reports: The United Nations human rights office has documented at least 26 attacks on Gazans waiting for desperately needed aid since January, with hunger spreading as a result of Israel’s near complete siege, preventing most food and water from entering the tiny enclave.

They include Thursday night’s attack on hundreds of Palestinians who were waiting at the Kuwait traffic circle in Gaza City for an expected convoy of aid trucks. Gazan health officials accused Israeli forces of carrying out a “targeted” attack on the crowd that killed 20, and three witnesses described shelling at the scene.

The Israeli military blamed Palestinian gunmen for the bloodshed and said that it was continuing to review the episode. It said an “intensive preliminary review” had found that no “tank fire, airstrike or gunfire was carried out toward the Gazan civilians at the aid convoy.”

It was at least the 10th such incident in March in which people have been shot and killed or injured while waiting for aid at either the Kuwait or Nabulsi traffic circles, according to the United Nations.

NOTE: Israel has not proven itself trustworthy in its dealings. Among Israel’s lies are numerous atrocity stories about the October 7th attack that have since been proven untrue (more examples here). In addition, a number of the Israeli soldiers and civilians killed on October 7 were shown to have been killed by Israeli fire – a fact that is absent from the official Israeli narrative. The Israeli military has also disseminated false stories about civilians captured. Previously, Israel has been caught in many lies – for example, this and this and this.
A Palestinian man pushes his bicycle after receiving flour from UNRWA in Jabalia
A Palestinian man pushes his bicycle after receiving flour from UNRWA in Jabalia (photo)

WEST BANK PRISONER DEATH – The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society has said that Muhammad Abu Sneina, a Palestinian prisoner from Jerusalem, had died in Israel’s Hadassah Hospital.

At least 41 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank).

“ISRAEL HAS LOST” – Andalou Agency reports: Israel has lost its war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, a former Israeli military commander said on Sunday. “You can’t lie to many people for a long time,” Yitzhak Brick, a former ombudsman major general, said in an article in Maariv newspaper.

“What is happening in the Gaza Strip and against Hezbollah in Lebanon will blow up in our faces sooner or later,” he warned, adding that the Israeli home front “is not prepared for a regional war, which will be thousands of times more difficult and serious than the war in the Gaza Strip.”

“We have already lost the war with Hamas, and we are also losing our allies in the world at a dizzying rate.”

President Biden campaigns in Superior, WI on January 25, 2024
President Biden campaigns in Superior, WI on January 25, 2024 (photo)

BIDEN ANGRY ABOUT DROP IN POPULARITY – NBC News reports: US President Joe Biden began to shout and swear after learning that his poll numbers in the battleground states of Michigan and Georgia had dropped over his handling of the Gaza war.

The report cited a lawmaker familiar with the private meeting in January at the White House, where the scene played out.

He believed he had been doing what was right, despite the political fallout, Biden told the group, according to the lawmaker.

TIK TOK AND ISRAEL – AntiWar reports: The renewed urgency to pass a bill to ban TikTok emerged due to Washington’s concerns about how its users were interacting with content regarding the Israeli war in Gaza. Many of TikTok’s users share pro-Palestinian messages far more frequently than pro-Israeli viewpoints.

Glenn Greenwald drew attention to the issue on his nightly show, System Update. He explained that the TikTok ban bill made no progress over four years because of the app’s popularity among young Americans. Greenwald went on to report that members of Congress and Washington insiders on both sides of the aisle were spurred to act immediately by the platform’s overwhelming pro-Palestinian content.

On Wednesday, a majority of Democrats and Republicans in the House voted in favor of the bill. President Joe Biden said he would sign it if it reached his desk. The administration helped Congress craft some of the language in the bill.

Around half of TikTok’s users and content creators are 18-34. Support for Tel Aviv and President Biden has been dropping among that demographic as Israel’s five-month slaughter in Gaza has killed over 31,000 Palestinians and caused a humanitarian nightmare. About half of voting Americans under 35 believe Israel is conducting a genocide in Gaza.

NOTE: One of the only other important issues that enjoy this much bipartisan support is Israel.

US Senator Chris Van Hollen on Face the Nation
US Senator Chris Van Hollen on Face the Nation (photo)

In an interview Sunday on CBS Face the Nation, Democratic US Senator Chris Van Hollen stated, “there is no doubt” that Israeli allegations that UNRWA is a Hamas proxy “are just flat-out lies”.

“If you look at the person who’s in charge of operations on the ground in Gaza for UNRWA, it’s about a 20-year US army veteran, you can be sure he’s not in cahoots with Hamas,” he told CBS News.

“Netanyahu has wanted to get rid of UNRWA since at least 2017, that’s been his goal not just in Gaza, but also in other places,” he continued.

“Netanyahu’s wanted to get rid of UNRWA because he has seen them as a means to continue the hopes of the Palestinian people for a homeland of their own, and he has been opposed to a two-state solution.” (Read or watch more here.)

Ha’aretz reports: Overnight into Monday, IDF Spokesperson explained that the army “is conducting a high precision operation in limited areas of Shifa Hospital following concrete evidence that demanded immediate action.”

“The Israeli army announced Monday morning [March 18] that it had arrested more than 80 people, including Hamas terrorists, during an overnight raid on Gaza’s Al-Shifa Hospital… According to the Israel Defense Forces, the operation was launched at 2:30 A.M. on Monday”

The Guardian reports: “Israel tells civilians to evacuate after taking control of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City…”

Al Jazeera reports [March 18]

Israel, which wound down many of its operations in northern Gaza some weeks ago claiming to have destroyed Hamas’s military infrastructure, said in the statement that Hamas – which governs the enclave – has “regrouped” inside al-Shifa and is “using it to command attacks against Israel”.

In a message in English on Telegram, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said anyone “who tries to move is targeted by sniper bullets and quadcopter”. It added that the raid, which began at 2am (00:00 GMT), has resulted in a “number of martyrs and wounded”.

Al Jazeera Arabic reported that the hospital’s surgical building was on fire following the Israeli bombing.

According to Palestinian writer and journalist Imad Zaqqout and other witnesses, Israeli forces arrested Al Jazeera Arabic’s correspondent Ismail al-Ghoul from inside the hospital.

Al Jazeera: ‘He’s lost my vote’: Many Irish Americans turn against Biden over Gaza war
Euro-Med Monitor: Israel targets information technology experts as part of its genocide in Gaza
Al Jazeera: Rights advocates sound alarm over Israeli torture of Palestinian detainees
Al Jazeera: How Yazan starved to death amid Israel’s war on Gaza

[Translation: Massive destruction in the historic Al-Zawiya market in Gaza City as a result of occupation bombing.]


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – March 17: at least 32,078* (31,645 in Gaza* (72% women and children), and at least 435 in the West Bank (116 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 40,042 Palestinian deaths.

At least 41 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank)

At least 31 Palestinians have died due to malnutrition**

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

About 2.2 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Crisis, Emergency, or Famine levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – March 17: at least 78,366 (including at least 73,676 in Gaza and 4,690 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – March 17: ~1,403 (~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); 250 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 15 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.

**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.

For more news, go here and hereBroadcast news from the region is here.

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

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