Israel out of control in Khan Younis; Biden official trying to broker an “ambitious” deal; reminiscent of Al Ahli hospital debacle, Israel fumbles after allegedly striking UN building, Netanyahu talks smack against Qatar, blames hostages’ families for leaking; Israeli land grab along Gaza border; update on American killed in West Bank, Tawfiq Abdel Jabbar; and more
As the devastation of Khan Younis continues, the UN deputy humanitarian coordinator for Palestine issued this urgent statement:
Persistent attacks on civilian sites in Khan Younis are utterly unacceptable and must stop immediately. People are being killed and injured. As fighting intensifies around hospitals and shelters hosting the displaced, people are trapped inside and lifesaving operations are impeded.
As fighting intensified over the past days in the area of our training centre, hosting thousands of people, twelve people have now been confirmed dead with over 75 injuries, 15 of whom are in a critical condition. Yesterday, the centre was hit by two shells and caught fire.
A number of missions to assess the situation were denied. Yesterday evening, the UN finally managed to reach the affected areas to treat trauma patients, bring medical supplies and evacuate injured patients to Rafah.
Heavy fighting near the remaining hospitals in Khan Younis, including Nasser and Al Amal has effectively encircled these facilities, leaving terrified staff, patients and displaced people trapped inside. Al Khair hospital has shut down after patients, including women who had just undergone C-section surgeries, were evacuated in the middle of the night.
The situation in Khan Younis underscores a consistent failure to uphold the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law: distinction, proportionality and precautions in carrying out attacks. This is unacceptable and abhorrent and must stop.
Every measure must be taken to protect civilians. I remind all parties that protection of hospitals, clinics, medical personnel and UN premises is explicitly enshrined within international law.
"It's very clear the Israeli army are not respecting their obligations under International Humanitarian Law" when providing precaution where there are civilians.@TomWhiteGaza tells @CNN increasingly the situation in #KhanYounis southern📍#Gaza has become more & more dangerous. pic.twitter.com/MSZIceDegm
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) January 25, 2024
Associated Press reports: Gaza’s Health Ministry and witnesses said Israeli troops opened fire as a crowd of Palestinians gathered for humanitarian aid in Gaza City on Thursday, killing at least 20 and wounding dozens.
Witnesses and health officials said the shooting took place at a roundabout on Gaza City’s southern edge, where a large crowd had gathered for distribution of food. Footage posted online and confirmed to have been taken on the main road near the roundabout showed hundreds of people fleeing, some carrying boxes of aid, as fire rang out in the background.
Men loaded wounded Palestinians onto horse and donkey carts that took off charging down the avenue.
RECOMMENDED READING: Report: 66% of Gazans suffer from waterborne diseases
Washington Post reports: President Biden plans to dispatch CIA Director William J. Burns in the coming days to help broker an ambitious deal between Hamas and Israel, according to officials familiar with the matter.
Israel’s military initially released a statement describing the Khan Younis area as a base of Palestinian fighters and acknowledged fighting is taking place near large numbers of civilians.
In a second statement – sent following Washington’s criticism of the deadly attack – the military said an examination of its operational systems ruled out its forces struck the UN centre. It added a thorough review is still under way to examine the possibility the strike was a result of Hamas fire.
Regarding the Al Ahli hospital incident: Israel at first tacitly admitted responsibility for hitting the hospital in its ongoing airstrikes against Gaza, but then switched direction and claimed that Palestinian “friendly fire” was responsible. Israeli officials have presented what they say is evidence showing that the massive damage was caused by misfired Palestinian rocketry. Israel has changed its version a number of times. Much evidence points to Israel as the culprit; Israel had previously bombed the hospital and has attacked many others, and Israel is prohibiting outside experts from investigating the scene.
In the recording, Netanyahu also told the hostage families that he recently “got very angry with the Americans” for renewing a deal to extend U.S. military presence at a base in Qatar.
Al Jazeera picks up the story: Netanyahu’s office initially blamed one of the family members of the captives still held in Gaza [for leaking the comment], whom the prime minister was meeting at the time the comments were made.
A representative from the families fired back, saying that all of their phones were taken, and that only Netayahu’s associates would have been able to make recordings of the meeting and leak the audio.
Now, according to Israeli media outlet Walla, the prime minister’s office has again responded by blaming the families, saying that it has proof in the form of a text message from one of the other family members present at the meeting.
Wall Street Journal reports that the Israeli military has demolished hundreds of buildings in Gaza within 1km (0.6 miles) of the fence as it seeks to create a buffer zone, according to a new Hebrew University study.
The study, carried out using satellite-image analysis, shows 40 percent of the 2,824 buildings in Gaza located within 1km of the border have been razed since October 7. “Everything has been flattened. It was mostly agriculture. Now it’s a military zone, a complete no man’s land,” one soldier is quoted as saying.
Near the city of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, a densely populated area that suffered intense bombardment by Israel’s military for weeks, 67 percent of buildings within 1km of Israel’s demarcation have been destroyed.
The move is likely to further strain relations with the US, which has repeatedly warned Israel against any moves resulting in the long-term reduction of Gaza’s territory.
According to the Economist/YouGov poll, roughly equal numbers of adults believe Israel’s military campaign against Palestinians, which is estimated to have killed more than 25,000 people since 7 October, amounts to genocide: 35% say it is, 36% say it isn’t, with 29% undecided.
Maarjat, Jericho |
Israeli settlers digged symbolic graves for children near Al-Ma'rajat primary school as a threat.
According to locals in the area, Israeli settlers threatened earlier locals from reaching this area and stated “if you approach the area, you may get killed” pic.twitter.com/FOFuTEbBzH
— Younis Tirawi | يونس (@ytirawi) January 23, 2024
WEST BANK: A State Department spokesman provided the following update on 17-year-old Tawfiq Abdel Jabbar, the American citizen who was killed last Friday by an Israeli soldier and/or a settler:
We continue to remain in close touch with the Government of Israel to understand the circumstances of his death. It’s been communicated to us that the investigation will be led by the Israeli National Police, and we expect a thorough and expeditious investigation and we are eager to see the result of what this investigation will find.
Beyond that, we continue to remain in close touch with the family to offer all appropriate consular assistance both through the embassy in Jerusalem as well as the Office of Palestinian Affairs.
In an initial statement, Israeli police said Friday’s shooting targeted people “purportedly engaged in rock-throwing activities.”
16-year-old Mohammed Salameh, was in the truck with Abdel Jabbar when it was struck by at least ten bullets, striking Abdel Jabbar and causing a rollover crash.
Salameh denied suggestions that he and Abdel Jabbar had been throwing stones, and said there had been no attempt to arrest him. (Read the full article here.) His name is also reported as Tawfiq Ajaq, and is sometimes spelled Tawfic.
Over 370 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed – by Israeli soldiers and illegal settlers – since October 7th (over 500 total in 2023, making it easily the deadliest year on record) in what the United Nations has described as a rapidly deteriorating human rights situation.
Israeli violence has continued with impunity for years, but since October 7th, it has spiked sharply.
Tawfiq deserved to grow old. The collective punishment of an entire people must end. @SecBlinken must launch an investigation into the murder of another American by the Israeli government.https://t.co/sNQdypPeSl
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) January 25, 2024
WEST BANK: WAFA reports: A Palestinian man Thursday was shot and killed by Israeli occupation forces live’ bullets, in the village of Bir Al-Basha, south of Jenin, according to The Ministry of Health.
Undercover Israeli forces stormed the said village, where they broke into Wissam Khashan’s family house and besieged it for hours, during which the undercover soldiers opened heavy gunfire and fatally shot Khashan from point-blank.
Israeli forces further detained his brother Ahmed, an ex-detainee in Israeli jails, during the raid.
شاهد | مدخل مخيم جنين صباح اليوم بعد أن دمرته جرافات الاحتلال خلال اقتحامها المخيم. pic.twitter.com/bT5XDGeYxL
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) January 25, 2024
Al Jazeera reports: The leader of Yemen’s Houthi group, Abdulmalik al-Houthi, has said that his fighters will continue with their operations on ships in the Red Sea heading to Israeli ports until “the Zionist crimes stop” and food and medicine reach the entire Gaza Strip.
“Our battle aims to support the Palestinian people, and has no other goals,” he said, adding, “America is fighting for ships carrying goods to reach Israel, but it is preventing aid from reaching Gaza,” he added.
RECOMMENDED READING (Al Jazeera): Israel-Gaza war spillover risk: Mapping recent strikes in Middle East
Al Jazeera reports this response to Israel’s plan to create a buffer zone on Gazan land: Geoffrey Nice, a former United Nations war crimes prosecutor, said Israel has no grounds legally to create a “buffer zone” in Gaza by destroying Palestinian homes and confiscating agricultural land. He noted the fertile farmland Israel is eyeing to take over is “crucial to Gaza’s economy”.
“If you want to a demilitarized zone that you’re going to fill with landmines, why not have it on the Israeli side and stop people crossing it?” he asked. “What they’re proposing, effectively and in anyone’s interpretation, is occupation.”
“But the process has already started. A large number of buildings have already been flattened. It is unjustified, by any view, under international law,” said Nice, proposing sanctions by powerful nations against Israel to stop the landgrab.
Associated Press reports: Israel faces a growing risk of damaging its peace with neighboring Egypt as its military pushes the offensive against Hamas further south in the Gaza Strip. Already, the two sides are in a dispute over a narrow strip of land between Egypt and Gaza.
Israeli leaders say that to complete their destruction of Hamas, they must eventually widen their offensive to Gaza’s southernmost town, Rafah, and take control of the Philadelphi Corridor, a tiny buffer zone on the border with Egypt that is demilitarized under the two countries’ 1979 peace accord.
Associated Press reports: The Georgia Senate passed a bill on Thursday to define antisemitism – specifically using the controversial International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance definition – in state law, putting the measure on track for final passage.
A House vote to agree with changes to the bill could come later Thursday, sending it to Gov. Brian Kemp for his signature or veto.
RECOMMENDED READING: International campaign is criminalizing criticism of Israel as ‘antisemitism’
Al Jazeera reports: The Iran-linked coalition of Iraqi groups has said it targeted a base near the Erbil airport with drones as part of its fight against the “occupying US forces in Iraq and the region” and as a response to the Israeli massacres in Gaza.
Iraqi groups allied with Tehran have stepped up their attacks against US forces since the outbreak of the conflict in Gaza. But the Biden administration has been trying to dismiss the link between regional unrest and the Israeli offensive.
"Persistent attacks on civilian sites in #KhanYounis are utterly unacceptable and must stop immediately.
Every measure must be taken to protect civilians."
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) January 25, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – JANUARY 24:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – January 24: at least 26,261* (~25,900 in Gaza* (over 11,000 children, 7,500 women), and at least 361 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 32,246 Palestinian deaths.
About 1.7 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population).
NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel may have been caused by Israeli soldiers; additionally, since Israel has a policy of universal conscription, it is unknown how many of those attending the outdoor rave a few miles from Gaza on stolen Palestinian land were 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.
Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.
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- Falk: Israel used Oct 7 attack as a pretext for its plan to expel Palestinians
- 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
- 2023 in review: 12 months of blood on Israeli and American hands
- 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
- John Mearsheimer: Genocide in Gaza
- Flashback: Israeli Journalist said Israel is pushing US into war with Iran
- 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
- Essential facts and stats about the Hamas-Gaza-Israel war
- What media reports fail to tell you about October 7