“Gaza has shattered humanity’s records for its darkest chapters” – Day 172

“Gaza has shattered humanity’s records for its darkest chapters” – Day 172

“Hellish’ conditions throughout Gaza; 3 Palestinians killed in West Bank; Hezbollah’s promise to leave Israel alone; US may take till May to decide whether Israel is in compliance with int’l law; Israel: “UN resolution means nothing”; post-UN resolution, post-ICJ decision, Israel has made no changes; US refuses to stop aid airdrops after 18  deaths, plea from Hamas; “there could have been milk”; UN confirms genocide charge; who is arming Israel?, more

By IAK staff, from reports

“HELLISH DISREGARD FOR BASIC HUMAN NEEDS AND DIGNITY” – UNICEF reports: The global standards for humanitarian emergencies say there should be a maximum of 20 people using one toilet. In Rafah, there is approximately one toilet for every 850 people. For showers, it’s four times that number – one shower for every 3600 people. This is a hellish disregard for basic human needs and dignity.

“Those same standards say people need 15 liters of water each, daily, and an absolute minimum of three liters just to survive. When I was here in November, families and children in the Gaza Strip were relying on three liters or less of water per person per day. Today, on average, households surveyed had access to less than one liter of safe water per person per day.

“Neighboring Khan Yunis is also unrecognizable, though for a different reason – it barely exists anymore. In my 20 years with the United Nations, I have never seen such devastation. Just chaos and ruin, with rubble and debris scattered in every single direction. Utter annihilation.

“There is an existing old crossing point, Erez, that could be used that is 10 minutes from those facing famine. 10 minutes. Open that and we could turn this humanitarian crisis in the north around in a matter of days. But it remains closed.

Then yesterday, UNICEF sat with adolescents, several of whom said, they were so desperate for their nightmare to end, that they hoped to be killed.

“The unspeakable is regularly said in Gaza. From teenage girls hoping they are killed; to being told a child is the last survivor from their entire family. Such horror is no longer unique here.

Gaza has shattered humanity’s records for its darkest chapters. Humanity must now urgently write a different chapter.”

70% of the victims in Israel's bombardment of Gaza have been women and children
70% of the victims in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza have been women and children (photo)
Palestinians walk amid the rubble in Khan Younis, Gaza, on Friday
Palestinians walk amid the rubble in Khan Younis, Gaza, on March 8, 2024. (photo)

WEST BANK DEATHS – WAFA reports: Three Palestinians were killed Wednesday morning, and seven others were injured in Jenin.

The Ministry of Health said that Hamza Arrawi, 27, from Al-Ain camp in Nablus, and Mohammad Nasser Al-Sabti, 19, from Jenin camp, were killed after an Israeli drone bombed a group of young men in front of a house in Al-Damj neighborhood.

19-year-old Ayman Youssef Hassan Azouqa was killed by occupation forces’ bullets in Jenin.

HEZBOLLAH WILL HALT ATTACKS ON ISRAEL WHEN ISRAEL HALTS ATTACKS ON GAZA – Reuters reports: Hezbollah signaled on Thursday that it would halt its attacks on Israel from Lebanon when the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip stops, but that it was also ready to keep on fighting if Israel continued hostilities.

Hezbollah and the Israeli army have been trading fire since the Palestinian group Hamas stormed southern Israel from the Gaza Strip on Oct. 7, in a steadily intensifying conflict that has fueled concern of wider escalation.

US UNDECIDED ON ISRAEL’S “COMPLIANCE,” DECISION BY MAY – Reuters reports: The Biden administration has so far not reached a conclusion that Israel has violated the international laws of war but the processes to assess that continue and are yet to produce a definitive assessment, the State Department said on Tuesday.

Matthew Miller, Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State
Matthew Miller, Spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State (photo)

Speaking in a news briefing, Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the administration was due to submit a report to the U.S. Congress by May 8 as part of a February national security memorandum that reminds countries that receive U.S. weapons to stick to international law and not block humanitarian aid.

The memo does not impose new conditions on how U.S. military equipment may be used, but it does require the Biden administration to send a report to Congress within 90 days on whether countries are meeting the requirements.

Israel last week submitted written assurances, as required by the memo, stating its use of U.S.-supplied weapons are not being used to violate humanitarian laws in Gaza, a U.S. official said.

Yesterday, Al Jazeera reported: The US Department of State says Israel had submitted written assurances that it is complying with human rights laws.

Matthew Miller commented, “We have not found them to be in violation of international humanitarian law, either when it comes to the conduct of the war or when it comes to the provision of humanitarian assistance.”

UN predictions of an imminent famine in Gaza “make it abundantly clear that [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government is not doing nearly enough to allow aid to reach starving and otherwise desperate people in Gaza”, said a letter signed by 17 lawmakers including Chris Van Hollen, Tim Kaine and Bernie Sanders.

ISRAEL: UN RESOLUTION MEANINGLESS – Israeli officials, including war cabinet member Benny Gantz, said the UN Security Council resolution  passed Monday had little meaning and “no operational significance”.

“We will always do what is right for Israel’s security,” Gantz wrote on social media.

ISRAEL IS A SERIAL FLOUTER OF UN – Al Jazeera reminds readers: Israel has repeatedly gotten away with flouting UN resolutions in the past.

In December 2016, during the last days of Barack Obama’s presidential term in the US, the UNSC passed a resolution deeming Israel’s settlements in Palestine illegal and a violation of international law. The resolution passed with 14 votes and the US abstained. Israel ignored this resolution.

More recently, in December 2023, the UN General Assembly voted with an overwhelming majority to call for a “humanitarian ceasefire” – and Israel refused to act on it.

Israel is also under the scanner of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), where South Africa has accused it of committing acts of genocide in Gaza.

The US has also not halted the supply of military aid to Israel and has insisted that its commitment to Israel’s security remains firm. In fact, White House National Security spokesperson John Kirby told reporters on Monday: “Our vote does not – and I repeat that, does not – represent a shift in our policy”.

For more, read Is the United Nations anti-Israel? – a survey of UN resolutions
A view of the Secretariat Building, with Members States’ flags flying in the foreground, at United Nations headquarters in New York.
A view of the Secretariat Building, with Members States’ flags flying in the foreground, at United Nations headquarters in New York. ("United Nations" by Ashitakka is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

POST-UNSC RESOLUTION, NOTHING HAS CHANGED – Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud reports from Rafah: It’s been nearly 24 hours since the UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire during Ramadan passed and what we’re seeing on the ground is the complete opposite of what the resolution is demanding.

There seems to be a surge in attacks on Rafah city, along with the ongoing threats to expand the military operation – the ground invasion – in Rafah where nearly 1.5 million displaced Palestinians have been sheltering.

There’s also an obstruction of the flow of humanitarian aid to the northern part of Gaza City, and only a trickle has been allowed into the southern and central part that is nowhere near enough to respond to the humanitarian catastrophe.

2 MONTHS POST-ICJ DECISION, NOTHING HAS CHANGED – Euro-Med Monitor reports: A newly released report by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor titled “Two Months after the International Court of Justice’s Ruling on Gaza: Escalation in Genocide and Absence of Accountability” contains documentation of Israel’s ongoing acts of genocide against the Palestinian people in the Strip. The report examines Israel’s lack of response to the Court’s ruling, which ordered Israel to take six provisional measures.

Israel has in fact committed more violations in some instances than it did in the time leading up to the Court’s ruling, particularly in relation to the entry of humanitarian relief aid and the threats and persecution of Palestinians in the Rafah Governorate, which is thought to be the last safe haven for survivors and internally displaced people in the Strip.

Targeting civilian gatherings around humanitarian aid trucks with direct gunshots, quadcopters, and Israeli tank shells is one of the most well-documented examples of the unlawful killings and executions carried out by the Israeli army against Palestinian civilians over the past few weeks. These incidents, which have become known as the “Flour Massacres”, resulted in the deaths of 563 citizens and the injury of 1,523 others. This figure includes civilians awaiting aid and workers in charge of planning, securing, and distributing aid.

The report also addressed the crimes that Israel continued to commit with the aim of inflicting severe physical and psychological harm on Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, particularly through deprivation of healthcare, torture, inhumane treatment, sexual violence, and the use of prohibited, indiscriminate, and highly destructive weapons. (Full report here)

At least 12 Palestinians were drowned as they tried to reach aid dropped by the US which fell into the sea
At least 12 Palestinians were drowned as they tried to reach aid dropped by the US which fell into the sea (photo)

US  REJECTS HAMAS PLEA TO HALT DEADLY AIRDROPS TO GAZATwelve people are confirmed to have drowned when they swam into the Mediterranean Sea to get aid parcels airdropped near Gaza’s northern coast, said the Gaza government’s media office.

Six more were killed in “stampedes” that broke out when aid was dropped elsewhere in northern Gaza, where extreme hunger is pervasive, it added.

The media office said such aid airdrops were “abusive” and “futile” in light of the famine-like conditions in northern Gaza, and called for the opening of land crossings which can bring in far more aid more safely and efficiently.

The United States will continue dropping essential aid from the air into the Gaza Strip, the White House said Tuesday after Palestinian militant group Hamas called for them to end following fatal drownings and stampedes.

“Air drops are one of the many ways that we are helping to provide desperately-needed aid to Palestinians in Gaza, and we will continue to do so,” a spokesman for the National Security Council told reporters.

THERE COULD HAVE BEEN MILK – AFP reports: The UN food agency said on Tuesday that shipments of animal feed to sustain milk-producing cows were blocked at the border into Gaza for months as Israel pressed its offensive against Hamas militants in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The barley intended for farmers and herders mostly in northern Gaza would have been “enough to produce milk for all the children in Gaza for over a month,” said AbdulHakim Elwaer, Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

Over 14,000 Palestinian children in Gaza are known dead; the number is likely much higher, as an estimated 7,000 bodies lie buried beneath the rubble.
Over 14,000 Palestinian children in Gaza are known dead; the number is likely much higher, as an estimated 7,000 bodies lie buried beneath the rubble. (photo)

GENOCIDE CHARGE CONFIRMED IN UN – AFP reports: United Nations Special Rapporteur Francesca Albanese presented a report to the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday in which she concluded that Israel’s military campaign in Gaza since October 7 amounted to genocide, and called on countries to immediately impose sanctions and an arms embargo.

Albanese gathered evidence from organizations on the ground, investigative reports, and consultations with affected people.

The UN report finds that “there are reasonable grounds to believe” that the threshold for several genocidal acts against Palestinians is met: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm and deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction.

“Israel has de facto treated an entire protected group and its life-sustaining infrastructure as ‘terrorist’ or ‘terrorist-supporting’, thus transforming everything and everyone into either a target or collateral damage, hence killable or destroyable,” says the report.

Israel, which did not attend the session, rejected her findings.

“Instead of seeking the truth, this Special Rapporteur tries to fit weak arguments to her distorted and obscene inversion of reality,” its diplomatic mission in Geneva said, adding that its war was against Hamas and not Palestinian civilians.

WHO US SUPPLYING ISRAEL WITH ARMS? – Palestine Chronicle reports: According to the annual report published in March by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 69 percent of Israel’s arms acquisitions in 2023 are sourced from US firms, with 30 percent coming from Germany, followed by Italy, with 0.9 percent.

“At the end of 2023, the USA rapidly delivered thousands of guided bombs and missiles to Israel, but the total volume of Israeli arms imports from the USA in 2023 was almost the same as in 2022,” the report read.

“By the end of 2023, pending deliveries of major arms to Israel included 61 combat aircraft from the USA and 4 submarines from Germany,” it added.

More news

Palestine Chronicle: Antony Blinken – the man responsible for genocide in Gaza
Al Jazeera: Starvation: Anatomy of ‘a very cruel, slow death’
Middle East Monitor: Distinctions without difference: The UN Security Council and the Gaza ceasefire
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – March 26: at least 33,138* (32,876 in Gaza* (14,280 children, 9,340 women), and at least 459 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 26: at least 79,694 (including at least 74,694 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 – March 26: ~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); 251 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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