HRW: In Gaza, “the dead are the lucky ones” – Day 258

HRW: In Gaza, “the dead are the lucky ones” – Day 258

Damning evidence of possible widespread Israeli friendly fire on October 7th; another Palestinian journalist killed; Israeli admission that Hamas isn’t going anywhere; teenager killed in West Bank; Israeli prison deaths, torture, re-arrests; Palestinian female journalist’s award rescinded after pressure; Israeli liberal groups blocking food to Gaza; Armenia recognizes Palestinian state; some in US are baffled by Netanyahu’s comments against Biden; more.

By IAK staff, from reports.

‘HRW: The dead are the lucky ones.’ People in Gaza say the wounded suffer immensely:

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said Palestinians in Gaza have told them that death is preferable to being wounded in Israel’s war on the territory because the injured “suffer so acutely due to the Israeli authorities’ blockade of lifesaving aid”.

“UN member states should do more to prevent further atrocities,” the rights group said, in a statement to the UN’s Human Rights Council on Wednesday.

“No more civilians should be killed or wounded by unlawful attacks, die from malnutrition and dehydration, and be deprived of access to medical care,” HRW said.

“The ongoing catastrophe for civilians shows the cost of the international community’s failure to address the root causes of suffering in the region. Victims of serious abuses in Israel and Palestine, including the crimes of apartheid and persecution against the Palestinian people, have faced a wall of impunity for decades.”

Young patient in Al Aqsa hospital, Deir al Balah, suffering from severe burns and lacerations from flying glass.
Young patient in Al Aqsa hospital, Deir al Balah, suffering from severe burns and lacerations from flying glass. (screenshot)

Dozens of possible incidents of Israeli friendly fire on October 7th being investigated:

Israeli news outlet N12 reported that investigations of the events of October 7th have revealed [translation from Hebrew] “multiple incidents of our [Israeli] forces firing on our forces,” and that the report on Kibbutz Be’eri will be the first to be published, and is expected in July.” It added, “in total there are about 40 such centers that are being investigated by army officials – from the level of lieutenant generals to generals.”

Earlier in June, a UN report found that at least 14 Israelis were likely intentionally killed by the Israeli army on 7 October as part of a protocol aimed at preventing capture. The report documented repeated uses of the so-called Hannibal Directive.

The directive, when active, indicates that the Israeli army should use any and all means to prevent the capture of Israeli soldiers, even if it involves killing them.

“One woman was killed by [Israeli] helicopter fire while being abducted from Nir Oz to Gaza by militants,” said the report, referring to one of the Kibbutzim from which people were abducted by Palestinian fighters.

“In another case the Commission found that Israeli tank fire killed some or all of the 13 civilian hostages held in a house in Beeri,” it said, referring to another Kibbutz.

According to reports, several Israeli captives being held by Palestinian fighters in Beeri were killed during crossfire with Israel’s military, in what was described as “a delayed and chaotic military response”.

The Israeli military launched a rocket-propelled grenade at the house, according to witnesses.

Brigadier General Barak Hiram, who was in charge of recapturing the kibbutz from Hamas fighters, recalled telling his men: “Break in, even at the cost of civilian casualties.”

Palestinian journalist killed in Israeli attack on Gaza:

Broadcaster Al-Aqsa TV announced via Telegram that one of its journalists, Salim al-Sharafa, was targeted in an Israeli bombing in the Gaza Strip a short while ago.

According to Gaza’s Government Media Office, al-Sharafa’s death raises the tally of media workers killed in Gaza since October 7 to at least 152.

Hamas plans a legal response to ICC arrest warrants:

Al Jazeera reports: Hamas says it is planning a legal response against the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor’s request for arrest warrants against its top leaders.

Calling the war crimes accusations against three of its top leaders – Yahya Sinwar, Ismail Haniyeh and Mohammed Deif – “baseless”, Hamas said it would argue Palestinians have “the right, indeed the duty, to resist occupation by all means available, including armed resistance”.

The ICC’s chief prosecutor Karim Khan said in May the three Hamas leaders bore responsibility for the attack on southern Israel on October 7, 2023, which killed at least 1,139 people with 250 captives taken to Gaza.

The same day, Khan announced he is seeking arrest warrants against Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

In its statement, Hamas said the prosecutor “erred in considering that the state of conflict began on October 7”, asserting it began in 1948 with Israel’s establishment.

Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law and practice at Princeton University, states: “In international law, Palestinian resistance to occupation is a legally protected right.”

“Israel’s failures to abide by international law, as a belligerent occupant, amounted to a fundamental denial of the right of self-determination, and more generally of respect for the framework of belligerent occupation — giving rise to a Palestinian right of resistance.”

Also see this.

‘Hamas an idea we’ll fight for many more years’ – Israeli ex-army chief:

Al Jazeera reports: Gadi Eisenkot, former chief of staff of the Israeli army and war cabinet member, says the main aim of the war on Gaza is the destruction of Hamas’s military and governing capabilities, not its elimination.

“The goal is not to eliminate Hamas but to dismantle its military and governmental capabilities,” he told Israeli media. “Hamas is an idea that we will fight for many more years. We cannot promise that victory is just a step away or within arm’s reach.”

The comments from the ex-military chief come amid a widening rift between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, former Israeli officials, and the military on the conduct and endgame of the war.

Earlier, Israel’s army spokesman Daniel Hagari questioned Netanyahu’s stated goal of destroying Hamas in Gaza for the war to end.

“This business of destroying Hamas, making Hamas disappear – it’s simply throwing sand in the eyes of the public,” he said. “Hamas is an idea, Hamas is a party. It’s rooted in the hearts of the people – whoever thinks we can eliminate Hamas is wrong.”

West Bank: Israeli forces shoot dead 15-year-old in Qalqilia:

WAFA reports: A 15-year-old Palestinian youth was shot dead by Israeli occupation forces this afternoon in the city of Qalqilya, north of the occupied West Bank.

Local sources reported that the incident occurred when Israeli forces opened fire on Naeem Abdullah Samha in the Sofin neighborhood east of the city. The teen was hit in the chest by live ammunition, only to be accounted dead of his wounds about an hour later.

He was initially transported to hospital for medical treatment where he was supposed to undergo an immediate surgery. He was pronounced dead of his wounds there.

Elderly Palestinian parliament speaker dragged back to jail days after release:

The New Arab reports: Israeli forces have re-arrested the elderly Palestinian parliament speaker Aziz Dweik less than a week after his release in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron.

Local Palestinian media reported that Dweik (77) was arrested late on Wednesday with footage showing Israeli soldiers taking him from his home and into a military vehicle.

Dweik was released on 13 June after originally being arbitrarily detained in October.

He was held in military detention in the Negev desert for six months, which was later extended by Israeli authorities.

Activists and social media users raised the alarm about his condition after appearing significantly thinner on his release than before his detention in October.

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club accused the Israeli authorities last week of medical neglect, stating Dweik had not received appropriate treatment while in detention and was not able to have his family visit him.

Number of Palestinian detainees killed in Israeli prisons reportedly rises to 54:

Al Jazeera reports: The number of Palestinian prisoners killed in Israeli-run prisons since October 7 has risen to 54, the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs in Gaza says.

“The conditions in which detainees live in the occupation prisons are terrifying, inhumane and unprecedented,” it charged.

It said 36 of the prisoners who were arrested in Gaza during the war were killed under torture and harsh detention conditions.

The number of prisoners held by Israeli forces has risen to 9,000, including 300 women, 635 children and 80 journalists.

Israeli army releases 33 Palestinian detainees from Gaza:

Andalou Agency reports: The Israeli army released 33 Palestinian detainees from the Gaza Strip on Thursday, according to medical sources.

“The freed detainees were admitted to the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital with thin bodies and signs of torture” and “horrific abuses,” the sources said.

Palestinian female journalist’s award rescinded following spurious allegations:

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has been condemned for withdrawing its Courage in Journalism Award from Palestinian journalist Maha Hussaini, who is reporting from the war-torn Gaza Strip.

Since Israel’s war on Gaza began in October, Hussaini has published dozens of stories with Middle East Eye, including a report uncovering Israeli field executions of Palestinians, which was used as evidence by South Africa at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in its case accusing Israel of genocide.

The IWMF is a Washington-based foundation that describes itself as “a bold and inclusive organization that supports journalists where they are”, claiming its work “strengthens equal opportunity and press freedom worldwide”.

Its board and advisory council are made up of notable figures in the media, including former CNN journalist Suzanne Malveaux, the Washington Post’s Hannah Allam and TV anchor Christiane Amanpour.

On 10 June, the IWMF announced that Hussaini was one of three recipients of its Courage in Journalism Awards, which it says honors remarkable bravery in the pursuit of reporting.

However, following allegations made by conservative US publication the Washington Free Beacon, the IWMF on Thursday said it was rescinding the award.

The Washington Free Beacon falsely described Hussaini as a supporter of Hamas and an antisemite, citing social media posts commenting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and her own experience as a Palestinian woman trapped under Israeli occupation and siege in the Gaza Strip. The IWMF said the comments “contradict the values” of the organization.

That decision, made without consultation with Hussaini, has been condemned by Middle East Eye and the reporter herself, among others.

“Winning a prize for ‘courage’ means being subjected to attacks and choosing to continue your work regardless. However, I regret to say that the very organisation that recognised these perilous conditions and awarded me the prize succumbed to pressure and chose to act contrary to courage,” Hussaini said.

With the Israeli military accused of deliberately targeting Palestinian journalists and anyone with alleged or perceived links to Hamas, Hussaini said the IWMF decision had “put my life at risk”.

“Each announcement of an award to a Palestinian journalist is systematically followed by extensive smearing campaigns and intense pressure on the awarding organisations from supporters of the Israeli occupation,” she said.

“While some organisations uphold their principles and maintain their decision to honour these journalists, others, regrettably, cave to the pressure and withdraw the prizes.”

David Hearst, editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye, said: “The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) did not show much courage in rescinding the Courage in Journalism award to Maha Hussaini. On the front line of a war, such a designation is much more than an attempt to destroy Maha’s standing as an independent journalist.

“As a Palestinian whose house has been bombed and has been forced to flee for her life many times in the last eight months, it places her on an Israeli army target list. Over 150 journalists have been killed in this way. The IWMF should ask themselves where their responsibility as journalists lies.”

The Marie Colvin Journalists’ Network, which supports Arab women journalists, expressed its “full solidarity and support” for Hussaini.

“We understand that Maha has been subject to a vicious campaign in which the Washington Free Beacon falsely accused her of supporting terrorism,” it said.

“We are extremely disappointed that IWMF took this decision, and we remain concerned for Maha’s safety.”

The Washington Free Beacon has been described by the Atlantic as “decadent and unethical” and has a history of targeting supporters of the Palestinian cause.

In 2020, she won the Martin Adler Prize, awarded by the prestigious Rory Peck Trust, for her reporting from Gaza.

Israeli liberal groups blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza

Mondoweiss reports: “Complicity in genocide is not confined to the Israeli right. Members of the liberal organization that spearheaded the anti-Netanyahu protests last year are now blocking humanitarian aid to Gaza.”

The kibbutz society in Israel is typically known for its left-wing socialist vein. But since the beginning, it is and has been instrumental in Israeli colonialist takeover and apartheid. As The Kibbutz Movement’s chair, Nir Meir, said recently, “The settlers aren’t wrong. The right-wing is correct: That is the way to seize and hold land, and their claim that, any place we Israelis leave, the Arabs will come in our place, is correct. The right is also correct in its path: It’s by settlement and only by settlement that sovereignty can be imposed.”

On Sunday, the Israeli centrist daily newspaper Maariv reported that videos were now circulating of kibbutz members who were also blocking humanitarian help.

Armenia recognizes Palestinian state:

Armenia has officially recognized a Palestinian state, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday, defying Israel which is opposed to such moves.

Armenia supports a UN resolution on an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and is in favor of a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, the same statement said.

AFP ADDS that after Armenia announced its recognition of Palestine, Israel’s foreign ministry said it summoned Armenia’s ambassador to Israel “for a severe reprimand.”

Netanyahu plays up Biden’s supposed hindering of weapons transfers, US expresses irritation:

Middle East Eye reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to double down on his broadside against US President Joe Biden’s administration on Thursday, saying he was willing to incur “personal attacks” in order to defend Israel’s existence.

Netanyahu was referring to a video  he released this week in English accusing the Biden administration of “withholding weapons and ammunitions to Israel”.

“Those comments were deeply disappointing and certainly vexing to us, given the amount of support that we have and will continue to provide,” US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told journalists earlier on Thursday.

The Biden administration has vociferously backed Israel’s offensive on Gaza. It also welcomed a an attack on Nuseirat refugee camp in which the Israeli army recovered four captives from Hamas but killed at least 270 Palestinians in the process, according to Palestinian health officials.

“Netanyahu’s comments [are] designed to play tough with Biden; rally his base… and Republicans,” Aaron David Miller, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and former Middle East negotiator, said on X.

On World Refugee Day, Nearly 70 Members of Congress Urge the Administration to Consider Certain Palestinians Fleeing Gaza for Refugee Status:

Thursday, on World Refugee Day, U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and U.S. Representatives Greg Casar (TX-35) and Debbie Dingell (MI-06) led 69 Members of Congress on a bicameral letter urging the Biden Administration to open up refugee status for certain Palestinians fleeing Gaza — namely those with U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident family members.

In the letter, addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, the 69 Senators and Representatives expressed strong support for a Priority-2 (P-2) designation under the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) for Palestinians who are affected by the ongoing violence in Gaza and are relatives of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents. The Administration is reportedly considering this designation.

To see statements from some of the signatories, and to see whether your representative signed this letter, go here.


Al Jazeera: Is Cyprus about to be dragged into a war between Israel and Hezbollah?
Middle East Eye: Why Arab armies will not help the US secure post-war Gaza.
Middle East Eye: To end the Israel’s slaughter, the world must sideline the US.
IMEMC Reports.

Palestinian death toll from October 7 – June 20: at least 37,981* (37,431 in Gaza* – 4,959 women (20%), 7,797 children (32%). This is expected to be a significant undercount since thousands of those killed have yet to be identified – and at least 550 in the West Bank (~134 children). This does not include an estimated 10,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 45,223 Palestinian deaths. (Ralph Nader has estimated 200,000 Palestinians may have been killed in Gaza.)
At least 42 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank).
At least 40 Palestinians have died due to malnutrition**.
About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.
About 1.1 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.
Palestinian injuries from October 7 – June 20: at least 90,853 (including at least 85,653 in Gaza and 5,200 in the West Bank).
It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties in Gaza.
Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – June 20: ~1,466 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 314 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza; 16 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.
Times of Israel reports: The IDF listed 41 soldiers killed due to friendly fire in Gaza and other military-related accidents – nearly 16%.
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.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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