Israel bombs school shelter, then a group of released Palestinian prisoners; moves the ceasefire goalpost – Day 273

Israel bombs school shelter, then a group of released Palestinian prisoners; moves the ceasefire goalpost – Day 273

Hamas makes a concession on ceasefire, Israel counters with new demands; Israeli attack kills 16 in UN shelter; Israel releases prisoners, then drops a bomb on them; Israel targets peacekeeping Gazan police; West Bank violence from Israeli forces, settlers; new info on October 7th Hannibal Directive; more.

By IAK staff, from reports.

Hamas clears the way for a possible cease-fire in Gaza after dropping key demand, Israel adds new roadblocks

Associated Press reports: Hamas has given its initial approval of a U.S.-backed proposal for a phased cease-fire deal in Gaza, dropping a key demand that Israel commit up front to a complete end to the war, a Hamas official and an Egyptian official said Saturday.

The apparent compromise by the resistance group could deliver the first pause in fighting since November and set the stage for further talks on ending a devastating nine months of fighting. But all sides cautioned that a deal is still not guaranteed.

The two officials said Washington’s phased deal would start with a “full and complete” six-week cease-fire during which older, sick and female hostages would be released in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. During those 42 days, Israeli forces would withdraw from densely populated areas of Gaza and allow the return of displaced people to their homes in northern Gaza, the officials said.

Over that period, Hamas, Israel and mediators would negotiate the terms of the second phase that could see the release of the remaining male hostages. In return, Israel would free additional Palestinian prisoners and detainees.

The third phase would include the return of any remaining hostages, including bodies of the dead, and the start of a yearslong reconstruction project.

The cease-fire deal would supposedly see around 600 trucks of humanitarian aid entering Gaza daily, with half of them bound for the enclave’s hard-hit north, the two officials said.

In mid-March, Israel promised to “flood” Gaza with aid, but failed to do so.

Since Israel’s assault began, the state has made it almost impossible to get more than a trickle of aid into Gaza, creating a manmade famine, while massive quantities of aid remain nearby but out of reach.

HA’ARETZ ADDS: Mossad chief David Barnea provided the mediators with a list of new Israeli reservations regarding comments Hamas had added to the Biden plan. Israel presented a “tough stance,” said a source familiar with the details. However, another source warned that Israel’s new demands are expected to delay the completion of the negotiations, and that it was not clear whether Hamas would accede to these new demands.

“Hamas has already agreed to the latest position presented by Israel. But in Friday’s meeting, Israel presented some new points it demands that Hamas accept,” said a source familiar with the details.

Political figures in Israel, including senior Likud members, doubt Netanyahu’s ability to realize the hostage deal now on the table. They say the pressure exerted by far-right ministers Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir against the deal is significant, and that they find it difficult to envision Netanyahu going against their position when the dismantling of his government is at stake.

WFP's Matthew Hollingworth says, what we do need is for this to be simplified. We need that consistent at volume delivery if we're going to not just prevent the very worst of suffering but actually turn this around and help people to get back closer to where they were before this crisis started.
World Food Program’s Matthew Hollingworth says of the food crisis in Gaza, what we need is for this to be simplified. We need that consistent at volume delivery if we’re going to not just prevent the very worst of suffering but actually turn this around and help people to get back closer to where they were before this crisis started. (screenshot)

Israeli attack on UN school used as shelter in Gaza kills at least 16

Al Jazeera reports: At least 16 Palestinians were killed Saturday in an Israeli attack on a United Nations-run school sheltering displaced people in the Gaza Strip, the Gaza Government Media Office said, as Israel continues to pound the besieged coastal territory.

In a statement on Saturday, the Government Media Office said more than 75 people also were injured in the attack on al-Jaouni school in central Gaza’s Nuseirat refugee camp.

Journalist Amjad Jahjouh, his journalist wife Wafa Abu Dabaan, and their child have been killed in an Israeli bombing in Gaza’s Nuseirat refugee camp, according to Al Jazeera’s team on the ground. The incident brings the number of Palestinian journalists who have been killed since the start of the Israeli war on Gaza on October 7 to 158.

In a statement shared on social media on Saturday night, the Israeli army said its air force “struck several terrorists” in the area of al-Jaouni school.

Reporting from Deir el-Balah, Al Jazeera’s Hind Khoudary said hundreds of Palestinian families had sought shelter at the school after they were forced to flee Israel’s bombardment in other parts of Gaza.

The families “chose the middle area [of the Gaza Strip] because Israeli forces said the middle area is a safe zone”, Khoudary said.

In the morgue of the Al-Aqsa Hospital, there were reportedly decapitated Palestinians and others who had been struck into pieces.

Most of those who have been injured are children who had been playing in the streets in the school.

The Nuseirat refugee camp was established in the aftermath of the Nakba, the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1948 in which more than 750,000 Palestinians were forcefully displaced, leading to the creation of Israel.

The camp takes its name from a local Bedouin tribe and is located in the central Gaza Strip. Before Israel’s war on Gaza, it had been densely populated, home to 85,409 Palestine refugees registered with UNRWA.

Gaza Government Media Office says that it now hosts more than 250,000 people, many of whom were displaced from other parts of the Gaza Strip as they fled Israeli attacks.

First moments after Israeli attack on UN school in Nuseirat

Israeli army releases 15 detainees, then drops bombs on them, say survivors

Al Jazeera reports: Palestinian detainees in Gaza have testified that shortly after their release from Israeli detention centre, Israeli forces targeted the group by dropping bombs on them, leading to numerous deaths.

Farid Sobh said in a video testimony verified by Al Jazeera’s fact-checking agency Sanad that he was in detention with about 15 Palestinians.

“After four days in detention, we were released. We were handcuffed and blindfolded. The Israeli soldiers kept torturing us. They even urinated on us. I was beaten, kicked and battered all over my body,” he said.

“After that, we were released and as we started walking off on the asphalt, they threw grenades and fired a drone missile on us. Some [seven] of my men were killed. I ran for my life and miraculously survived. I came to this hospital [Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis] to check the injuries I suffered.”

Mahmoud Abu Taha, another survivor of the same deadly incident, confirmed Sobh’s account.

A ball of fire and black smoke rises moments after an Israeli air strike targeted a residential building in the city of Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip, Monday June 3
A ball of fire and black smoke rises moments after an Israeli air strike targeted a residential building in the city of Bureij, in the central Gaza Strip, Monday June 3 (photo)

Gaza’s police denounce Israeli attacks on Palestinian law enforcement officers

Al Jazeera reports: Gaza’s police have condemned Israeli forces targeting their personnel, which have led to multiple casualties in the south of the enclave, according to their statement.

“This morning, Israeli occupation aircraft targeted a foot patrol of officers and members of the Tal as-Sultan neighborhood police station, west of the Rafah city, including the director of the center, Colonel Fares Abdel-Al, while carrying out their police duty in serving citizens, securing their homes, and preserving public property, where the director was martyred,” the General Directorate of Police in the Gaza Strip said, adding that several others sustained injuries in the attack.

The attacks violate international law and “confirm that the occupation seeks to spread chaos in the Gaza Strip and the absence of any signs of order, as hundreds of police officers and members have been martyred since the beginning” of the war, the statement also read.

Earlier, in addition to the attack in Tal as-Sultan, six policemen were killed in Israeli bombardment of the Saudi neighborhood of western Rafah, and one person was killed as a result of an Israeli bombing of a police car in Gaza’s al-Shakoush area.

UNRWA worker among two killed in Israeli attack on warehouses near Maghazi

Two people, including one UNRWA employee, have been killed in an Israeli bombing that targeted the UNRWA warehouses north of the Maghazi camp in the central Gaza Strip, according to Al Jazeera’s fact-checking agency Sanad.

The UNRWA employee was wearing his jacket clearly identifying him as UN staff while working in the humanitarian agency’s warehouses.

About 80,000 displaced from eastern Gaza City since June 27, OCHA says

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says about 80,000 people have been displaced from eastern Gaza City following an Israeli military operation and evacuation order issued on June 27.

OCHA called for the war to end, saying that aid organizations are working hard to support them, but “their hands are tied”.

The aftermath of Israel's bombing of Gaza City’s Shujayea neighborhood, after tanks and troops rolled in and sent tens of thousands of terrified civilians fleeing.
The aftermath of Israel’s bombing of Gaza City’s Shujayea neighborhood, after tanks and troops rolled in and sent tens of thousands of terrified civilians fleeing. (screengrab)

West Bank – Israeli forces kill Palestinian man near Ramallah

Israeli soldiers have shot and killed Ahmed Muhammad Suleiman has been killed by in the village of Bayt Ur at-Tahta, west of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, according to our Al Jazeera Arabic colleagues.

West Bank – dozens of Jewish settlers set olive trees on fire

According to footage from an investigation by Israeli human rights org Yesh Din, around 20 Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian homes in the village of Madama, south of Nablus in the occupied West Bank, and set olive trees on fire.

Yesh Din reported that the settlers came from the Yitzhar settlement and were not stopped by Israel soldiers.

IDF Ordered Hannibal Directive on October 7 to Prevent Hamas Taking Soldiers Captive

Ha’aretz reports: Gaza Division operations and airstrikes in the first hours of October 7 were based on limited information. The first long moments after the Hamas attack was launched were chaotic. Reports were coming in, with their significance not always clear. When their meaning was understood, it was realized that something horrific had taken place.

Communication networks could not keep up with the flow of information, as was the case for soldiers sending these reports. However, the message conveyed at 11:22 A.M. across the Gaza Division network was understood by everyone. “Not a single vehicle can return to Gaza” was the order.

At this point, the IDF was not aware of the extent of kidnapping along the Gaza border, but it did know that many people were involved. Thus, it was entirely clear what that message meant, and what the fate of some of the kidnapped people would be.

This was not the first order given by the division with the intent of foiling kidnapping even at the expense of the lives of the kidnapped, a procedure known in the army as the “Hannibal directive.”

Documents obtained by Haaretz, as well as testimonies of soldiers, mid-level and senior IDF officers, reveal a host of orders and procedures laid down by the Gaza Division, Southern Command and the IDF General Staff up to the afternoon hours of that day, showing how widespread this procedure was, from the first hours following the attack and at various points along the border.

(Read the full article here.)


IMEMC Daily Reports.
Mondoweiss: A hollow Palestinian state

Palestinian death toll from October 7 – July 6: at least 38,709* (38,153 in Gaza* – 11,445 women (30%), 15,747 children as of June 17.

This is expected to be a significant undercount since thousands of those killed have yet to be identified – and at least 556 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 46 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 18 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.
  • 2.15 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are projected to face Crisis or worse levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – July 6: at least 93,248 (including at least 87,828 in Gaza and 5,420 in the West Bank, including 830 children).

[It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties in Gaza.]

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – July 6: ~1,478 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 324 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. 

† For most of the conflict, women and children accounted for about 70% of deaths in Gaza, with children making up a little over 40% of those killed, according to official statistics.

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.


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