Gaza City evacuation; Israel blocks aid; stolen Palestinian bodies returned, possible organ theft; war could be very long; UNRWA recap & details of accusations; US wants speedy investigation into UNRWA allegations (but won’t touch genocide & war crime allegations against Israel); extremist Israeli leaders & followers celebrate “voluntary immigration” of Palestinians and Jewish resettlement of Gaza as as “the most moral and logical solution”
By IAK staff, from reports
🎥 Residential homes have been destroyed-hospitals,schools, universities,places of worship gone. No where to shelter. No where to go.There is no place inhabitable in Gaza – destruction is even happening in the south;it will take lifetimes to rebuild. @wizardbisan #GenocideinGaza https://t.co/oQKj90sP61
— State of Palestine (@Palestine_UN) January 29, 2024
Al Jazeera reports: The Israeli army ordered Palestinians living on the coast in Gaza City to evacuate their homes in an indication of increased military assaults in the area.
A map published by the army’s Arabic spokesman Avichai Adraee shows much of the city’s coastline, the Shati refugee camp, and the neighborhoods of Sheikh Radwan and Tal al-Hawa will be affected during operations.
The area also includes al-Shifa Hospital, which previously came under siege by the Israeli military.
The military plans to increase its attacks on the northern part of the Gaza Strip as well in an attempt to prevent Hamas from re-establishing itself there, Israeli media reported.
IMEMC reports on the daily Palestinian Ministry of Health press briefing for Monday, January 29, including the following:
The Israeli occupation committed 14 massacres against families in the Gaza Strip, leaving 215 Palestinians killed and 300 injured during the past 24 hours
A number of victims are still under rubble and on the roads, and the Israeli occupation army has prevented ambulances and civil defense crews from reaching them.
About 2 million displaced people are exposed to indescribable catastrophic levels as winter conditions intensify.
We monitored about 700,000 cases of infectious and skin diseases, colds, diarrhea, and hepatitis among the displaced as a result of overcrowding, fragility of shelter, lack of appropriate food and drinks, and the required medical care.
OCHA reports: Only eight planned UN missions to northern Gaza have successfully gone ahead since the beginning of January. 29 aid convoys were denied permission by Israeli authorities this month, while other deliveries were impeded by “excessive delays” at Israeli checkpoints and threats to the safety of aid workers.
In particular, deliveries to hospitals and water and sanitation facilities north of the Wadi Gaza river were “largely denied”.
IMEMC reports on a story from the Palestinian Red Crescent: On Monday, the ambulance service received a call from a family trying to get help to reach safety.
During the call, the car was bombed by Israeli forces, killing five civilians.
Red Crescent medics then negotiated the release of a 7-year-old girl who was in a car with her father and four brothers when the car was bombed by Israeli forces, killing everyone but the little girl.
Israeli tanks surrounded the car, and the frightened child screamed for help.
Ambulance crews communicated with her and calmed her down, then negotiated with the Israeli soldiers to allow them to enter and extract the child from among the bodies of her dismembered family members.
The family was trying to travel to safety from their home, which the Israeli occupation had declared a ‘closed military zone’, targeting anyone who tries to move in the area.
This is one of our schools turned shelters in northern📍#Gaza
At least 260 attacks have impacted @UNRWA premises & people sheltering inside, killing 360 people.
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) January 30, 2024
WAFA reports: The bodies of 100 Palestinian civilians, buried in mass graves in various places in Gaza and stolen by Israeli forces, have been returned.
According to medical sources, inspection of some of the bodies showed that the occupation had stolen organs from some of them.
In 2009, Israeli media revealed that the occupying state owns the largest human skin bank in the world, and years later, the director of the Israeli Skin Bank told Israeli Channel 10 in March 2014 that the bank’s skin reserve amounts to about 170 square meters.
These numbers are considered illogical in Israel as its population refuses to donate organs, for reasons and religious beliefs, and raising doubts about the source of these organs.
Yehuda Hess, who was director of the Israeli Forensic Medicine Institute, admitted in a 2009 documentary about the Palestinian issue to his participation in stealing organs from the bodies of slain Palestinians.
Read about a similar incident in November involving apparent organ harvesting here.
Read a detailed report on Israel’s history of organ harvesting here.
Times of Israel reports war cabinet member Benny Gantz as saying that Israel’s war against Hamas could last “10 years, or even an entire generation.”
Benny Gantz, a member of the war cabinet, said during a meeting that the “complete removal of the threat” will take time, although he hopes to see “relative security” by the summer.
Gantz also said that bringing home Hamas’s captives in Gaza is a bigger priority than eliminating the Palestinian armed group.
Update on accusations against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA):
THE LATEST: New York Times reports on Israel’s dossier against 12 UNRWA employees. The 12 workers – out of 13,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza – are accused of helping Hamas stage the October 7 attack or of aiding it in the days after
The agency schools, shelters and feeds hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and delivers vital aid to more than five million Palestinian refugees scattered across the Middle East
The Israeli dossier, presented to U.S. officials on Friday, lists the names and jobs of the UNRWA employees and the allegations against them.
Reports about the accusations came on the same day that the International Court of Justice issued an interim ruling on accusations of genocide that have been leveled against Israel by South Africa. The court ordered Israel to take action to prevent acts of genocide by its forces in Gaza and to allow more aid into the territory…
Two Western officials confirmed on the condition of anonymity that they had been briefed on the contents of the dossier in recent days, but said they had not been able to verify the details…
The current threat to its funding is considered to be the gravest in its history because it comes at a time of crisis for Gaza.
Amid warnings of famine, the collapse of the health system and the massive displacement of the Palestinian population, UNRWA’s work is considered more important than ever. It helps coordinate the distribution of the supplies of aid — however meager — that arrive each day in southern Gaza, and its schools provide shelter to more than a million Gazans…
According to Axios, the US withdrew its financial support for the organization. Soon 8 more countries joined the US in suspending their funding of UNRWA: Germany, the UK, Finland, Australia, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Scotland also temporarily suspended their funding. Japan has joined them.
Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UNRWA, released a statement, including: “It would be immensely irresponsible to sanction an Agency and an entire community it serves because of allegations of criminal acts against some individuals, especially at a time of war, displacement and political crises in the region.
Chris Gunness, a former UNRWA spokesman, called Israel’s accusation a “coordinated political attack” on the UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees.
Al Jazeera reports a statement from an UNRWA spokesperson: “The accusations serve the Israeli agenda to exhaust Palestinians, impoverish, and dispossess them. It also means striking at the heart of the Palestinian issue: refugees and their right of return to their original homes,” adding, “If the funding is not resumed, UNRWA will not be able to continue its services and operations across the region, including in Gaza, beyond the end of February.”
The United Nations is taking swift action following the extremely serious allegations against several UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff members. An investigation by the UN’s Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) was immediately activated.
Of the 12 people implicated, nine were immediately identified and terminated by the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini; one is confirmed dead, and the identity of the two others is being clarified.
Any UN employee involved in acts of terror will be held accountable, including through criminal prosecution. The Secretariat is ready to cooperate with a competent authority able to prosecute the individuals in line with the Secretariat’s normal procedures for such cooperation.
NOTE: Israel has dissminated numerous atrocity stories about the October 7th attack that have since been proven untrue. In addition, a number of the Israeli soldiers and civilians killed on October 7 were shown to have been killed by Israeli fire. The Israeli military has also disseminated false stories about civilians captured.
OVER 20 NGOs RELEASE JOINT STATEMENT ABOUT UNRWA FUNDING:
As aid organizations, we are deeply concerned and outraged that some of the largest donors have united to suspend funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the main aid provider for millions of Palestinians in Gaza and the region. This comes amid a rapidly worsening humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.
We welcome UNRWA’s swift investigation into the alleged involvement of a small number of UN staff members in the October 7th attacks. We are shocked by the reckless decision to cut a lifeline for an entire population by some of the very countries that had called for aid in Gaza to be stepped up and for humanitarians to be protected while doing their job.
This decision comes as the International Court of Justice ordered immediate and effective action to ensure the provision of humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza.
(Read the full statement here.)
Watch this 3-minute video for more background on Israel’s relationship with UNRWA:
Reuters reports: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says allegations that UNRWA employees were involved in the October 7 attack on Israel are “deeply troubling”. Washington said it would temporarily pause additional funding to UNRWA after Israel provided information on the alleged role of some staff members.
“It is imperative that UNRWA immediately – as it said it would – investigate, that it hold people accountable as necessary, and that it review its procedures,” Blinken said at a news conference.
Al Jazeera adds context: Washington has been criticized for its swiftness in suspending aid to UNRWA during the humanitarian crisis in Gaza that is caused by the Israeli offensive. At the same time, the Biden administration is seeking more than $14bn in aid for Israel as the US ally stands accused of genocide at the UN’s top court.
RECOMMENDED READING: Palestinians in Gaza see UNRWA funding cuts as ‘death sentence’
There are 12 @unrwa employees that allegedly participated in the October 7 attacks, clearly not in their official capacity. Certain countries decided to collectively punish 30,000 employees and 2 million Palestinians in Gaza.
There is plausible evidence that Israel has been…
— Sami Abou Shahadeh (@ShahadehAbou) January 29, 2024
— The Elders (@TheElders) January 29, 2024
Ha’aretz reports: Israel’s far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir repeated his support for “voluntary immigration” of “hundreds of thousands” of Palestinians as “the most moral and logical solution.”
Speaking at a Knesset faction meeting early on Monday, Ben-Gvir said, “I would offer all the nations of the world to fund Gazans to voluntarily immigrate to other countries…Whoever tells me, what will the Hague [ICJ] say… I say: Hague Shmague – we are only committed to Israeli soldiers and to the State of Israel.”
A U.S. national security spokesperson said that the U.S. “does not support an Israeli reoccupation of Gaza,” adding, “We have been clear, consistent, and unequivocal against the forced relocation of Palestinians outside of Gaza…we take Prime Minister Netanyahu at his word when he says that Israel does not intend to reoccupy Gaza.”
Mustafa Barghouti, the general secretary of the Palestinian National Initiative party, discussed the settler conference with Al Jazeera. “Sixteen members of the Israeli Knesset participated, so that’s not a joke,” Barghouti told Al Jazeera. “These are the people who are making the policy in Israel. And they were calling for ethnic cleansing of Gaza.”
“What kind of voluntary migration when they bombard people around the clock and force them from the north to the south, from the center to the south,” Barghouti told Al Jazeera, adding that Israeli politicians attending the conference showed “no respect to international law,” in the wake of the recent interim measures ordered by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
“They are doing all of that because the international community has been silent,” said Barghouti. The United States is “continuing to say that settlements are illegal, but instead of punishing them, they are punishing the Palestinians.”
“They cut aid to [UNRWA] the most important agency that is providing humanitarian aid to the Palestinians. They are conducting collective punishment of the Palestinian population,” he added.
Times of Israel reports: The genocide case against Israel in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) is a form of “blood libel,” President Isaac Herzog said Sunday, saying judges “twisted” words he said days after Hamas’s October 7 massacre and took them out of context in order to create the false impression that he regarded all Gazan civilians as legitimate military targets.
On October 12th, Herzog had said:
We are working, operating militarily according to rules of international law. Unequivocally is an entire nation out there that is responsible. It is not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved. It is absolutely not true. They could have risen up. They could have fought against that evil regime which took over Gaza in a coup d’état.
But we are at war…We are defending our homes. That’s the truth. And when a nation protects its home, it fights. And we will fight until we’ll break their backbone.
Times of Israel provided additional statements from Herzog’s speech on October 12. The ICJ had not included these statements as it quoted his use of “dehumanizing language” – because of this, Herzog accused the ICJ of “twisting” his words.
According to TOI,
[President Herzog] qualified those statements in the same speech by stressing that “Israel abides by international law, operates by international law. Every operation is secured and covered and reviewed legally.”
He also said: “There is no excuse to murdering innocent civilians in any way in any context. And believe me, Israel will operate and always operate according to the international rules. And we do the same in this battle, too.”
[Herzog continues defending his speech that day:] “I was here, in this very hall, a few days after the terrible massacre, when I was asked by the world’s media about the situation in Gaza. I replied…that Hamas operates from the heart of the civilian population everywhere, from children’s bedrooms in homes, from schools, from mosques, and hospitals.”
NOTE: While Israeli leaders consistently claim to abide by international law, in fact Israeli policies – including its war policies – violate international law on a daily basis. A few examples:
- Israeli settlements and settlers on Palestinian land are a violation of international law. Forced transfer of a people group is a crime against humanity.
- Targeting hospitals is a war crime.
- Collective punishment is a war crime.
- Punitive home demolition, torture, occupation are violations of international law.
- Apartheid is a crime against humanity.
- Israel is also not abiding by international law in its treatment of the Palestinian people under occupation.
Wall Street Journal reports: US forces failed to identify the deadly drone attack near the borders of Jordan, Syria and Iraq because there was an American drone returning to the base at the same time of the incident.
The US drone’s return “led to some confusion” about the nature of the enemy drone, the officials said.
The Biden administration has blamed Iran-backed Iraqi groups for the attack, but a defense official said that Washington has not found evidence that Tehran directed the attack.
WEST BANK DEATHS:
Time Magazine reports: Armed Israeli forces disguised as women and medical workers stormed a hospital Tuesday in the occupied West Bank, killing three Palestinian militants in a dramatic raid that underscored the spillover of deadly violence to the territory during the war in Gaza.
The Palestinian Health Ministry said Israeli forces opened fire inside the wards of the Ibn Sina Hospital in the town of Jenin. A hospital spokesperson said there was no exchange of fire, indicating that it was a targeted killing.
The military said the militants were using the hospital as a hideout. The military did not provide evidence backing that claim.
Monday deaths, reported by WAFA:
- Obaida Hassan Abdel Rahman Hamed, in Silwad, 18, was killed after being shot in the chest with live bullets.
- Rani Yasser Khalaf al-Shaer, 16, was killed by live bullets following confrontations that broke out in the Khirbet Al-Deir area during an Israeli military raid. Israeli forces did not allow ambulance crews to reach al-Shaer’s body.
- Thaer Naeem Hamo, 21, died after being shot in the abdomen with live bullets, in Al-Yamoun.
- Muhannad Ismail Al-Fasfous, 18, of Dura, died as a result of critical wounds he sustained after Israeli occupation forces shot him in the chest.
- Moataz Mahmoud Atbeish, 30, was killed as a result of serious head injuries, also in Dura.
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – JANUARY 29:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – January 29: at least 27,015* (26,637 in Gaza* (over 11,000 children, 7,500 women), and at least 378 in the West Bank (98 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (70% women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 33,360 Palestinian deaths.
About 1.7 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population).
Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – January 29: ~1,705 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, 9 in West Bank, 557 soldiers in Gaza; including ~32 Americans and approximately 36 children) 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.”
*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.
Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.
- 12 Essential Facts for Understanding the Current Israel-Gaza Violence
- Falk: Israel used Oct 7 attack as a pretext for its plan to expel Palestinians
- Synopsis of ICJ’s decision on Israeli genocide, reactions, and take-aways
- The West’s complete contempt for the lives of Palestinians will not be forgotten
- Israel has repeatedly rejected Hamas truce offers
- Why the Guardian’s ‘Hamas mass rape’ story doesn’t pass the sniff test
- Israel’s torture and humiliation of female and male Gazan prisoners
- Coverage of Gaza War in NYTimes & other major papers heavily favored Israel, analysis shows
- Two reports debunk New York Times ‘investigative report’ of mass rape on October 7th
- Israel’s Assault on Gaza Is Unlike Any War in Recent Memory
- US poised to give Israel $18 billion in aid this year