Israel’s “consistent failure to uphold int’l humanitarian law is abhorrent” – Day 111

Israel’s “consistent failure to uphold int’l humanitarian law is abhorrent” – Day 111

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.

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 latest proposal includes a 60-day pause in fighting in exchange for the phased release of the more than 100 captives. Such a pause would allow Israel to continue fighting after the two-month lull in line with Netanyahu’s vow to achieve “total victory” by destroying Hamas.

Hamas rebuffed Israel’s 60-day pause proposal, saying the next hostage release should involve a permanent cease-fire, the official said – but multiple officials said negotiations on those key points remain active.

A demonstrator at an anti-Netanyahu protest in Jerusalem last week.
A demonstrator at an anti-Netanyahu protest in Jerusalem last week. (photo)

Al Jazeera reports on what sounds like Israel contradicting itself, much like it did after the Al Ahli hospital was bombed in October. This incident involves an UNRWA building housing thousands of displaced Palestinians on Wednesday that was reportedly hit by two tank shells, causing the building to catch fire. Israel is the only party to the conflict that has tanks.

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.

Reuters reports: Qatar on Wednesday said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was obstructing mediation efforts in the Gaza war after a leaked recording allegedly captured him calling the Gulf state “problematic”.

“You haven’t seen me thank Qatar, have you noticed? I haven’t thanked Qatar. Why? Because Qatar, to me, is no different in essence from the U.N., from the Red Cross, and in a way it’s even more problematic,” said Netanyahu, according to audio obtained by Israel’s Channel 12.

“We are appalled by the alleged remarks attributed to the Israeli Prime Minister,” Qatar’s foreign ministry spokesperson said on X. “If the reported remarks are found to be true, the Israeli PM would only be obstructing and undermining the mediation process, for reasons that appear to serve his political career instead of prioritizing saving innocent lives, including Israeli hostages.”

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.

A demonstrator at an anti-Netanyahu protest in Jerusalem last week.
A demonstrator at an anti-Netanyahu protest in Jerusalem last week. (photo)

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.

An Israeli army convoy moves along the border of the Gaza Strip, as seen from a position on the Israeli side of the border, last Friday.
An Israeli army convoy moves along the border of the Gaza Strip, as seen from a position on the Israeli side of the border, last Friday (photo)

Jerusalem Post reports, regarding the ruling expected Friday from the International Court of Justice on genocide charges against Israel: Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy, said in a briefing, “We expect the ICJ to throw out these spurious and specious charges.”

Hamas said on Thursday that if the International Court of Justice issues a ruling calling for a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, the Palestinian movement will abide by it as long as Israel reciprocates.

Al Jazeera reports: US Department of State spokesperson Vedant Patel was elusive when asked whether Israel should follow the ICJ verdict.

“This is a legal process, and I’m not gonna hypothesize or speculate on any kind of outcome,” Patel told reporters, reiterating the position of the administration of US President Joe Biden that the genocide allegations against Israel are unfounded.

“That suggests you’re waiting to see what the verdict will be, and then you’ll decide whether you agree with the verdict or not,” one reporter said.

The Guardian reports: More than one in three Americans believe Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians, a poll published on Wednesday has found.

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.

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.

The older brother of Tawfiq Abdel Jabbar, Amir, stands with his mother in the family's home village in the West Bank
The older brother of Tawfiq Abdel Jabbar, Amir, stands with his mother in the family’s home village in the West Bank (photo)

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.

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.

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.

Gazan children wait for food in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip
Gazan children wait for food in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip (photo)

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.


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). 

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – January 24: at least 68,464** (including at least 64,110 in Gaza and 4,354 in the West Bank).  

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – January 24: ~1,139  (9 killed in West Bank, 219 in Gaza), including 32 Americans, and approximately 36 children, and 8,730 injured).

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.

For more news, go here and hereBroadcast news from the region is here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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