17,000 Gazan children alone, many are freezing, all are hungry and thirsty; Israel’s massive number of “controlled demolitions”; Israeli military ready to head south to Rafah, Gazans are terrified; humanitarian pause may be “weeks” away; Netanyahu’s incendiary remarks about UNRWA; the West is ignoring Houthis’ message; Biden sanctions 4 Israeli settlers; US judge can’t rule on Biden’s complicity in Israel’s genocide, but calls on him to “reconsider his position”
By IAK staff, from reports
The New Arab reports: Gazans released from Israeli detention on Thursday displayed injuries at a hospital in Rafah and said they had been abused by their jailers.
Khaled al-Nabrisse, a resident of the southern Khan Younis area, was among those freed Thursday. Wearing a neck brace, he claimed that Palestinians had been “tortured relentlessly”.
“During the first 72 hours, drinking, eating or going to the toilets was banned, and we were handcuffed and blindfolded for those seven days” in detention, the 48-year-old said, adding, “The situation was really tough and we suffered torture like we never saw before,” and, “The Israeli soldiers didn’t stop beating us, insulting us and swearing at us all the time.”
Asked about the allegations, the Israeli military said it had detained “individuals suspected of involvement in terrorist activity” and that they were treated “in accordance with international law”.
Reuters reports: UNICEF estimates that 17,000 children in Gaza were unaccompanied or have been separated from their families during the conflict, and that nearly all children in the enclave were thought to require mental health support.
“They present symptoms like extremely high levels of persistent anxiety, loss of appetite. They can’t sleep, they have emotional outbursts or they panic every time they hear a bombing,” said Jonathan Crickx, UNICEF’S chief of communication for the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
“Before this war, UNICEF was considering already that 500,000 children were already in need of mental health and psychosocial support in Gaza. Today, we estimate that almost all children are in need of that support, and that’s more than 1 million children.”
Al Jazeera reports: Children in southern Gaza are getting access to just 2 percent or less of WHO’s recommended rate of daily water consumption.
In January, they had access to just 1.5 to 2 liters of water per day in comparison to the WHO’s recommendation of at least 100 liters.
Al Jazeera reports: Dr Chris Hook, of Doctors Without Borders (MSF), told Al Jazeera that the situation around Khan Younis is “one of the most devastating things” he has seen in his career.
Hook said of large numbers of casualties, if the children are “fortunate enough to survive”, he said they will continue to suffer from “terrible injuries, huge burns covering 50-70% of their body and massively broken limbs”.
“They’re going to need long-term care, lots of them will never walk properly, if at all” he said.
The Israeli group Physicians for Human Rights Israel (PHRI) has expressed alarm about conditions faced by displaced Palestinians in Gaza, where many are living in fragile shelters and tents amid cold temperatures and frigid rain.
“As the temperatures drop and the rains flood Gaza, hundreds of thousands of residents are still living in tents. This week, we spoke to a family of ten who described huddling together in their tent to keep warm, lying on the muddy ground covered in blankets,” the group said in a social media post.
“More than 1.7 million people have been displaced since the start of Israel’s assault on Gaza. Over 560,000 of them are sheltering in overcrowded tent cities in the southern Gaza Strip, where they face inadequate infrastructure, harsh weather conditions, flooding, poor hygiene conditions, and the risk of disease transmission,” it adds.
Now in Ashdod port: Israeli settlers check trucks, only the ones that don’t carry aid to Gaza are allowed to pass pic.twitter.com/ScDPxR3JeX
— Oren Ziv (@OrenZiv_) February 1, 2024
New York Times reports: The damage caused by Israel’s aerial offensive in Gaza has been well documented. But Israeli ground forces have also carried out a wave of controlled explosions that has drastically changed the landscape in recent months.
At least 33 controlled demolitions have destroyed hundreds of buildings — including mosques, schools and entire sections of residential neighborhoods — since November, a New York Times analysis of Israeli military footage, social media videos and satellite imagery shows.
In response to questions about the demolitions, a spokesperson for the Israeli military said that soldiers are “locating and destroying terror infrastructures embedded, among other things, inside buildings” in civilian areas — adding that sometimes entire neighborhoods act as “combat complexes” for Hamas fighters.
Two days after the 21 Israeli soldiers were killed in central Gaza, another demolition video was filmed. In it, a soldier says that, in their memory, 21 homes would be destroyed.
(Read the full article – which includes several excellent videos – here.)
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has said that Israeli forces in Gaza will “continue to Rafah” near the border with Egypt, where throngs of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge and Egyptian authorities have warned against an Israeli incursion.
“The Khan Yunis Brigade of the Hamas organization is disbanded, we will complete the mission there and continue to Rafah,” Gallant said in a social media post on Thursday.
Thousands of displaced Palestinians, who have been fleeing south since the start of the war, have ended up in or near Rafah. They have long feared an Israeli assault on the area, as there is no farther south they can move.
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Al Jazeera reports: Qatari Foreign Ministry spokesperson Majed al-Ansari, made remarks Thursday about the progress of talks in Paris on a possible humanitarian pause. He indicated that a “general framework” has been agreed upon, but many details have not been discussed yet. He added, “We are hopeful that in the next couple of weeks we will be able to share good news.”
Times of Israel reports: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant told a visiting delegation of UN ambassadors that UNRWA is “Hamas with a facelift.” He said, “Funds from countries all over the world have been funneled through UNRWA and used to strengthen terror infrastructure, and to pay terrorists.”
According to a statement, Gallant also told the group, “the IDF will continue operating until it achieves its goals — dismantling the military and governing capabilities of Hamas, and returning the hostages to Israel.”
NOTE: the 12 UNRWA employees who have been accused of participating in the October 7th attack on Israel or of somehow helping afterwards represent 0.09% of UNRWA’s total staff of 13,000 in Gaza. Israel has long tried to dismantle UNWRA’s humanitarian support of Palestinian refugees. (These are families that were violently expelled by Israeli forces during Israel’s 1948 founding war of ethnic cleansing, their homes, businesses, and land illegally expropriated by Israel.)
The New Arab reports: The eyes of the world – and Western Middle East analysts – have again set on the Houthis, after the Yemeni armed group started attacking and hijacking commercial ships, disrupting global trade in the Red Sea this past November, as response to Israel’s brutal war on Gaza.
The Houthi attacks on commercial vessels – and the recent American-British response – has sparked a debate about how best to contain the Houthis. Many have supported the airstrikes; others have argued in favor of diplomacy.
But this is beside the point. By insisting on seeing the situation through this false dilemma, Western analysts of both camps are jumping through hurdles to avoid addressing the famous elephant in the room: Israel’s war on Gaza. The Houthis have been nothing if not up-front about their ambitions in the Red Sea: by targeting commercial shipping, they want to force a ceasefire in Gaza. (Read more here.)
On Thursday, US President Biden signed an executive order sanctioning 4 Israeli settlers for committing violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank in order “to promote security for Israelis and Palestinians alike”.
NOTE: The president does not explain how this action will bring security to Palestinians in the West Bank. Only 4 of the 700,000 Israelis illegally living in the West Bank are being punished. The rest enjoy impunity and the backing of Israel’s armed forces as they harass indigenous Palestinians, destroy their property, and take over their land.
RECOMMENDED READING: US imposes sanctions on four Israeli settlers over West Bank violence
I signed an Executive Order allowing the U.S. to issue sanctions against those who direct or participate in acts of violence against civilians in the West Bank, including extremist settlers.
Today’s action seeks to promote security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.
— President Biden (@POTUS) February 1, 2024
Middle East Monitor reports: US Federal District Judge Jeffrey S White has acknowledged the US government’s complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza, and called on President Joe Biden to reconsider his position.
In November, the Centre for Constitutional Rights filed a federal lawsuit against President Biden, Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin, and Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, seeking an injunction that would halt any additional US military aid or diplomatic support to Israel during its ongoing war on the Gaza Strip.
While dismissing the case due to lack of jurisdiction. the judge called on the Biden administration to “examine the results of their unflagging support of the military siege against the Palestinians in Gaza.” He added that “It is every individual’s obligation to confront the current siege…There are rare cases in which the preferred outcome is inaccessible to the Court …This is one of those cases.”
Attacking civilian buildings is and remains totally unacceptable.
— Caroline Gennez (@carogennez) February 1, 2024
Over 100,000 Gazans are either dead, injured, or missing and presumed dead.
The risk of famine is high and increasing each day.
We continue to call for safe access for humanitarian personnel and supplies.
We continue to call for the hostages to be released.
We continue to… pic.twitter.com/2wPaA3udSy
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) February 1, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – FEBRUARY 1:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 1: at least 27,401* (27,019 in Gaza* (over 11,000 children, 7,500 women), and at least 382 in the West Bank (98 children). This does not include an estimated 8,000 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 – February 1: ~1,705 (~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); 224 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 10 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.”
*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.
- NYT: Where Is Hamas Getting Its Weapons? Increasingly, From Israel.
- 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
- Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace