Israel continues violating international law in the week since ICJ’s ruling; death, hunger, disease without medicine, Israeli forces firing at fleeing civilians; Hamas demands Israel release Marwan Barghouti – the “Palestinian Nelson Mandela”; fears of a bloodbath in Rafah, Israel’s next target; Israel’s explanation for desecrating cemeteries; settler violence in West Bank; latest on US vs. the Middle East; Legislation introduced to give Israel $17.6 billion of Americans’ tax money
By IAK staff, from reports
United Nations reports: Children in Gaza will likely lose at least a year of education, with the school year suspended and classrooms closed or turned into shelters, the UN has said.
In Deir El-Balah Preparatory School, one of more than 700 that UNRWA runs, for example, there is scarcely any empty space in the yard or classrooms. The yard where children used to take part in sports, have fun and play is now full of tents, UN News reports. Read more here. Watch this brief video:
Israel’s actions since the genocide ruling
Al Jazeera reports: Since the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued an emergency ruling in the genocide case filed by South Africa against Israel in December, the following violations have been documented:
- Israeli forces killed more than 1,000 Palestinians across the Gaza Strip, according to the Ministry of Health.
- The Israeli army attacked a family in a car, killing all except one child – Hind, who is six. The Red Crescent dispatched two medics to evacuate her but the fate of all three remains unknown.
- A mass grave was found north of Gaza, where at least 30 Palestinian bodies were found handcuffed and blindfolded.
- Palestinians in Gaza released from Israeli detention have been sharing harrowing accounts of torture, beatings, starvation, humiliation and abuse, according to rights groups such as the Palestinian Prisoners Society and Addameer.
- Israel has intensified its siege on the Nasser Medical Complex and al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, pushing them out of service. The attacks included raids into the facilities, threats to people to evacuate at gunpoint, and the killing of at least three PRCS staff.
- Israel continued to issue evacuation orders, forcing thousands to leave Khan Younis and Gaza City. During displacements, Israel continued to target, detain and humiliate Palestinians, according to firsthand accounts and local journalist reports.
- Israel intensified its attacks against UNRWA, the main humanitarian agency in Gaza, leading several states to suspend their donations to the agency.
- Twelve ministers and 15 members of the Knesset attended a conference in Jerusalem calling for the annexation of Gaza. Itamar Ben-Gvir called for the “voluntary migration” of Palestinians while outlining a map of 21 settlements to be set up.
Below are links to videos Israeli soldiers made of themselves as they committed crimes, according to Bisan Research and Development Center, filmed in the week after the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to take action to prevent genocide in Gaza.
- In this video, a soldier can be seen smiling as a Gazan neighborhood is blown up.
- This video shows a soldier coercing blindfolded detainees into pledging themselves as slaves.
- This video shows Israeli soldiers standing over several Palestinian men after blindfolding them and tying their hands behind their backs.
- In this video, Israeli soldiers taunt Palestinians as they are forced out of their homes and pass a military checkpoint in southern Gaza.
These actions (among many others) may be violations of International law.
The Geneva Conventions, agreed upon in 1949, set out that civilians, the wounded and prisoners must be treated humanely in wartime. They ban murder, torture, hostage-taking and “humiliating and degrading treatment” and require fighters to treat the other side’s sick and wounded.
Another key document in the law of war is the founding Rome Statue of the International Criminal Court, which defines as war crimes acts including intentional attacks on civilians, civilian settlements or humanitarian workers, destroying property where not militarily necessary, sexual violence and unlawful deportation.
RECOMMENDED READING (The New Arab): How Israeli soldiers are TikToking their war crimes in Gaza
WAFA reports: A number of civilians were killed late Saturday night as Israeli occupation forces bombed a kindergarten hosting displaced individuals east of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip, according to local and medical sources.
The sources reported casualties, including two young children, and dozens injured after warplanes targeted the kindergarten, which has been used as a refuge for displaced people fleeing the Israeli aggression in other regions of the enclave.
RECOMMENDED READING: The loss of innocence: What’s it like to be a child in Gaza?
Al Jazeera reports from Rafah: There is no aid being delivered and prices of basic necessities have tripled. People do not have cash and cannot afford to buy anything. The vast majority of working people are private sector employees and have not had their paychecks since the beginning of the war.
At times, the food aid that gets in has been stuck at the border crossing with Egypt for so long that it’s gone bad and is inedible. People are living on one meal a day and can go for entire days without eating proper food.
We’re seeing children roaming around in Rafah looking for scraps of food. Newborn babies are dying of malnutrition and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding do not have the necessary nutrients to continue feeding their children or bring to term their gestation period.
Middle East Eye reports: Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Saturday that he has received confirmation from representatives of five countries that had suspended funding to Unrwa that they intend to resume their donations within several weeks.
Shtayyeh made the comments after he received several western ambassadors and consuls at his office on Thursday. It is not yet clear which countries have changed their minds.
Al Jazeera reports: Dr Sobhi Skaik, director general of the Turkish Friendship Hospital, says that only 450 out of 2700 Palestinians that have been referred for treatment abroad have left Gaza. The injured are not being allowed out of Gaza fast enough.
Skaik tells Al Jazeera that the services he and his staff have been able to provide are “simple” due to a lack of equipment and medicine, and that the small number of specialists is not enough to sustain the large numbers of injured and sick.
“We have no cancer medications at all in Gaza. We also don’t have the facilities to diagnose illnesses: Our doctors have been killed, our infrastructure has been destroyed, no medications to our patients, we are merely receiving patients to alleviate their pain,” he said.
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Associated Press reports: Hamas demands Israel release Marwan Barghouti, a man some Palestinians see as their Nelson Mandela and a prime candidate to become their president in the future. He’s also the highest-profile prisoner held by Israel.
Now Marwan Barghouti’s freedom is at stake in cease-fire negotiations between Hamas and Israel. Hamas leaders demanded Friday that Israel release Barghouti, a leader of the militant group’s main political rival, as part of any deal to end the fighting in Gaza.
The demand brings new attention to Barghouti, who plays a central role in Palestinian politics even after spending more than two decades behind bars. His release could lay the groundwork for his eventual election to national office.
FOR MORE ON MARWAN BARGHOUTI, READ (Mondoweiss): The case of Palestine’s longest-serving prisoner exposes Israel’s brutal abuse of Palestinian detainees
Al Jazeera reports: Hamas began deploying police and making partial salary payments to some civil servants in Gaza City in recent days, resurfacing in areas where Israel withdrew the bulk of its troops a month ago.
The return of police marks an attempt to reinstate order in the devastated city. Signs of a Hamas resurgence in the Gaza Strip’s largest city underscore the group’s resilience despite Israel’s deadly air and ground campaign. Israel says it’s determined to crush Hamas militarily and prevent it from returning to power in Gaza.
Al Jazeera’s Arabic service has obtained footage showing an Israeli military vehicle apparently opening fire on Palestinian civilians fleeing Khan Younis.
Clashes and shelling have been reported in Khan Younis city, in the southern Gaza Strip, which was deemed safe for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who were forced to flee north and central Gaza.
— الجزيرة فلسطين (@AJA_Palestine) February 3, 2024
Wafa reports: Israeli occupation forces continue the detention of Basail Khaled Abu Hmeid, a 28-year-old woman from the city of Yatta, south of the occupied West Bank, who is currently in her fourth month of pregnancy.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) explained that Abu Hmeid was arrested by Israeli occupation soldiers and taken as a hostage from her home two days ago, with the aim of pressuring her husband to surrender. The husband was later arrested after turning himself in.
PPS pointed out that despite Basail’s husband, Bakr Nabil Abu Rajab, turning himself in to the Israeli occupation authorities, the latter continue to detain the pregnant wife. Bakr Nabil Abu Rajab works as an ambulance driver for the Red Crescent, and his brother Musa, also an ambulance driver, was arrested as well.
RECOMMENDED READING (Mondoweiss): His mother was shot in front of him by an armed Israeli drone
Al Jazeera reports: Palestine’s Foreign Ministry has warned of repercussions of a possible Israeli military operation on the city of Rafah, which would result in “the annihilation of about 1.5 million Palestinians, or an attempt to displace them”.
In a statement, the ministry said it viewed with “great seriousness” the comments made by Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant that the Israeli army would turn its focus on Rafah, along the border with Egypt.
The ministry also criticized the international community for its failure to halt the war and ease the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in Gaza.
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Jonathan Conricus, former Israeli army spokesperson explained in a CNN interview why Israeli troops have been digging up graves in Gaza: “They are looking for the bodies of Israeli hostages in the graveyards. They have been opening areas where there are fresh graves in order to look for bodies of Israeli hostages,”
“That is how low Israeli troops have to go in order to try to find Israeli hostages. There are still 136 hostages in Gaza. Some of them, probably half, are presumed dead and it is the job of [Israel’s army] to find live hostages and, if not possible, then dead,” he said.
“Even in [Gaza’s] al-Shifa Hospital, Israeli troops had to go into the morgue and look for Israeli bodies because there was intelligence suggesting Hamas had taken Israelis and kept them at the al-Shifa Hospital in storage. So we had to go in and do DNA testing.”
The intentional destruction of religious sites, such as cemeteries, violates international law, except under narrow circumstances relating to that site becoming a military objective.
WEST BANK: Mistaclim, a group of Israeli citizens who oppose the occupation, have shared videos of armed settlers attacking Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley, stealing their sheep, under the watchful eye of Israeli forces. Israeli far-right ministers say that settler violence is a myth.
“Settlers terror is not a campaign. It is a daily reality,” they say in a post on X.
Events that Smotrich calls an anti-Semitic lie:
Ras El Ein, south of the Jordan Valley, on the holy Sabbath and with white shirts, armed settlers, invading the barn with the aim of stealing and looting the sheep of the Palestinian shepherds community. With the knowledge and under… pic.twitter.com/WgjdDZyI98
— מסתכלים לכיבוש בעיניים (@Mistaclim) February 3, 2024
RECOMMENDED READING (Mondoweiss): Silwan faces escalating home demolitions in fight against messianic settlers
Statement from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin: Today, the militaries of the United States and the UK, with support from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands, and New Zealand, conducted additional strikes against military targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen.
These strikes are intended to further disrupt and degrade the capabilities of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to conduct their reckless and destabilizing attacks against U.S. and international vessels lawfully transiting the Red Sea.
Coalition forces targeted 13 locations associated with the Houthis’ deeply buried weapons storage facilities, missile systems and launchers, air defense systems, and radars.
This collective action sends a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels.
We will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways.
The US government continues to ignore the stated reason for the Houthi threat: Israel’s brutal war against Gaza.
Houthi statement following the US-UK bombing of sites in Yemen: The US-British coalition’s bombing of a number of Yemeni provinces will not change our position, and we affirm that our military operations against Israel will continue until the crimes of genocide in Gaza are stopped and the siege on its residents is lifted, no matter the sacrifices it costs us.
Our war is moral, and if we had not intervened to support the oppressed in Gaza, humanity would not have existed among humans.
The American-British aggression against Yemen will not go unanswered, and we will meet escalation with escalation.
Kimberly Halkett reports from Washington DC for Al Jazeera: We put a question to the National Security Council spokesperson, John Kirby, on Friday on how targets [following the air strikes in Iraq and Syria] were selected.
We were told there was clear and irrefutable evidence that these were linked to attacks on US interests. When asked if we could see this evidence, none was provided. When we asked if this evidence would be forthcoming, we were told that we would just have to trust the US military.
You’ll remember that we were told to trust the US military back in 2003, prior to the US invasion of Iraq. And that intelligence turned out to be faulty.
This time around, the US military is promising to be more transparent.
Yesterday, the US struck 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, which it says belong to Kataib Hezbollah, the armed group that claimed responsibility for the attack in Jordan.
At least 16 people in Iraq were killed in yesterday’s strikes, the Iraqi government said as it condemned the “new aggression against” its sovereignty and warned of dire consequences in the region.
An Iraqi government spokesperson said, “Iraq reiterates its refusal to let the country be an arena for settling scores.”
Voice of America reports: Legislation providing $17.6 billion in new military assistance to Israel was unveiled on Saturday in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The funding bill could come to a vote in the full House sometime next week, Speaker Mike Johnson said in a letter to members.
According to the House Appropriations Committee, the $17.6 billion would include funds to help replenish Israel’s missile defense systems, procure additional advanced weapons systems, and produce artillery and other munitions……
Some of the funding would also be used to replenish U.S. arms provided to Israel following the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel…
Another absolutely huge march for Palestine in London today! 🇵🇸🇵🇸 pic.twitter.com/gWAedia4N4
— Lukas Slothuus (@lslothuus) February 3, 2024
The Palestine Red Crescent completes the establishment of the fifth shelter camp in the Mawasi area of #KhanYunis, providing shelter for approximately 70 displaced families. #Gaza #Humantarians 👏 pic.twitter.com/HL1AyL78ZI
— PRCS (@PalestineRCS) February 3, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – FEBRUARY 3:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 3: at least 27,401* (27,238 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 35,096 Palestinian deaths.
About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.
Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 3: ~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); 225 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