Israel continues to target Gazan aid-seekers – at least 4 incidents in 24 hours – Day 160

Israel continues to target Gazan aid-seekers – at least 4 incidents in 24 hours – Day 160

Hunger continues to be a death sentence in more ways than one; fears that the US pier will be used to perpetuate the reoccupation or ethnic cleansing of Gaza; aid ship off Gaza shore, logistics uncertain; Sen. Chuck Schumer makes major speech on Netanyahu and Israel; Forensic Architecture evaluates Israeli “evidence” from ICJ defense; Israeli forces aggressive in Jerusalem against Ramadan worshipers; new Palestinian prime minister; a smattering of sanctions by US against Israeli settlers; US intelligence says Hamas cannot be destroyed; and more

By IAK staff, from reports

AID-SEEKERS TARGETED – In addition to targeting buildings filled with people in Gaza, Israeli forces continue to attack groups of Palestinians waiting for aid trucks. The following are the most recent attacks:

Rafah roundabout where aid-seekers congregate – at least 20 killed, 100 injured by helicopter and tank attacks Thursday

Rafah aid warehouse attacked – at least 1 killed Thursday

Nuseirat aid warehouse attacked – 8 killed Thursday

Kuwait Roundabout in Gaza City attacked – 6 killed Wednesday night

Ha’aretz adds: “Based on a preliminary and in-depth investigation that the IDF carried out during the night, it was found that no shots were fired at the aid convoy in Kuwait Square,” the spokesman said, ruling out “tank fire, air fire or ground forces firing at the Gazan crowd in the area of the aid convoy.”

NOTE: Israel has not proven itself trustworthy in its dealings. Among Israel’s recent lies are numerous atrocity stories about the October 7th attack that have since been proven untrue (additional examples here). Previously, Israel has been caught in many lies – for example, this and this and this.

GAZANS SUSPICIOUS OF US PORT – Andalou Agency reports: Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative, Mustafa Barghouti, yesterday voiced concerns that a pier which may be built to deliver humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip could lead to the displacement of Palestinians from the enclave.

“The proposed pier will be under Israeli control and may be used to perpetuate the reoccupation of Gaza,” Barghouti said in a statement, and called the months-long construction of the pier by the US “an evasion of its legal and moral responsibility for the Gaza blockade.”

“There are real fears that Israel could use it to displace Gaza’s population and carry out ethnic cleansing, which it failed to achieve by force,” he added. “If the United States wanted, it could force Israel to open all crossings within 24 hours.”

AID SHIP ARRIVAL – Ha’aretz reports: A ship towing a barge loaded with food arrived off Gaza on Friday, witnesses said, as a test run for a new aid route by sea from Cyprus into the devastated Palestinian enclave. UN relief agencies have described huge obstacles to getting relief supplies to those in need.

The ship, arranged by the World Central Kitchen (WCK) charity, is carrying nearly 200 tonnes (220 tons) of aid to be delivered via a jetty being prepared in Gaza, with a second ship expected to sail soon.

If the new sea route is successful, it may help to ease the hunger crisis affecting Gaza, however, bringing in aid by sea and through air drops will not be enough to make up for difficulties getting in supplies by land, aid agencies have repeatedly said.

NOTE: Previously, a civilian project to take aid to Gaza by boat, originated by activists Greta Berlin and Paul Larudee, had resulted in multiple humanitarian flotillas attempting to deliver aid to Gaza.
Israeli forces attacked them, killing 9 people on one of the boats, including an American citizen, 19.

ISRAEL CONTINUES TO BLOCK MUCH AID TO NORTH – OCHA reports: During the first two weeks of March, 12 humanitarian aid missions to northern Gaza were facilitated by the Israeli authorities, six were denied, and six were postponed.

US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer
US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (photo)

SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER ON ISRAEL  – Al Jazeera reports: The top legislator in the United States Senate, Chuck Schumer, has offered his most strident criticism of Israel since the war in Gaza began, calling for a leadership shake-up in the country.

On Thursday, Schumer, a Jewish-American Democrat, took direct aim at Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech from the US Senate floor, saying the Israeli leader has been “too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza”.

Schumer pushed Israel to hold elections to replace Netanyahu and said the prime minister had “lost his way” in his pursuit of “political survival,” and “Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.”

“If Prime Minister Netanyahu’s current coalition remains in power after the war begins to wind down and continues to pursue dangerous and inflammatory policies that test existing US standards for assistance, then the United States will have no choice but to play a more active role in shaping Israeli policy by using our leverage to change the present course,” he said.

(Read more of Schumer’s speech here,)

NOTE: Netanyahu’s cabinet is dominated by ultranationalists who favor ethnic cleansing and share the prime minister’s opposition to Palestinian statehood – something that multiple US administrations have paid lip service to as essential to resolving Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the long term.

GOP RESPONSE TO SCHUMER – GOP – Mitch McConnell, the US Senate’s Republican leader, quickly came to Benjamin Netanyahu’s defense after Senator Schumer’s scathing 45-minute speech.

“The Jewish state of Israel deserves an ally that acts like one. People of Israel, at home and in captivity, deserve America’s support, and Israel’s unity government and security cabinet deserve the deference befitting a sovereign, democratic country.”

See a response from Netanyahu’s Likud party here, and from Israel’s opposition leader, Benny Gantz, here.

New report from Forensic Architecture: An Assessment of Visual Material Presented by the Israeli Legal Team at the ICJ, 12 January 2024

Reviews the visual evidence presented by the Israeli legal team according to three categories:

    • Authenticity, i.e. whether the evidence has been tampered with.
    • Annotation, i.e. whether elements in the evidence have been correctly labelled or annotated.
    • Interpretation, i.e. whether the claims made by the Israeli legal team were consistent with the visual evidence presented.

Salma Jaber was killed by Israeli fire in December 2023 as her family attempted to escape Gaza City. Salma is one out of over 13,400 Gazan children to be killed since October 7th.
Salma Jaber was killed by Israeli fire in December 2023 as her family attempted to escape Gaza City. Salma is one out of over 13,400 Gazan children to be killed since October 7th. (photo)

FREE SPEECH – WAFA reports: The Palestinian official media has vehemently denounced the decision by Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s hard-right National Security Minister, to ban the Palestinian Broadcasting Corporation (PBC) from operating in occupied Jerusalem and the 1948-occupied territories.

The official Palestinian media described the ban as an aggressive act aimed at preventing PBC staff from performing their national and journalistic duty of documenting the suffering and resilience of the Palestinian people in the face of the continuous crimes of the Israeli occupation. It said the ban starkly violates international laws and norms that guarantee freedom of opinion and expression.

FREEDOM OF WORSHIP – WAFA reports: In a late-night assault Thursday, Israeli occupation forces stormed into the Al-Qibli Mosque (main prayer hall) within the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied Jerusalem, assaulting worshippers and forcibly evacuating them. During Ramadan, it is a common practice to pray all night in the mosque.

Simultaneously, Israeli police deployed extensively throughout the courtyards of the mosque and across the Old City of Jerusalem, and tightened security at military checkpoints surrounding the city, in anticipation of the influx of a large number of worshippers from the occupied West Bank on the first Friday of Ramadan.

NEW PALESTINIAN PRIME MINISTER – The New Arab reports: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed his long time economic adviser to be the next prime minister in the face of US pressure to reform the Palestinian Authority as part of Washington’s post war vision for Gaza.

Mohammad Mustafa, a US-educated economist and political independent, will head a technocratic government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank that could potentially administer Gaza ahead of eventual statehood. But those plans face major obstacles, including strong opposition from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and the Israel-Hamas war that is still grinding on with no end in sight.

Aerial view of the destruction of the Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood, northwest of the Gaza Strip
Aerial view of the destruction of the Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, northwest of the Gaza Strip (photo)

US SANCTIONS A HANDFUL OF SETTLERS – State Department spokesman Matthew Miller announced Thursday: In February, President Biden issued an executive order giving the State Department new authorities to impose sanctions on those responsible for undermining peace, security, and stability in the West Bank, and the department imposed sanctions on four individuals.

Today, we are imposing further targeted sanctions on three Israeli individuals involved in undermining stability in the West Bank. We have also designated two associated entities referred to as farms. These West Bank outposts are owned or controlled by designated individuals, have acted as a base from which to launch violent acts, and are illegal even under Israeli law.

NOTE: Israel has illegally built around 280 settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are home to more than 700,000 illegal settlers. Israeli settlements and settlers on Palestinian land are a violation of international law. Settlers, moreover, have a history of violence against Palestinians, often with the assistance of Israeli military forces.

ISRAELI RESPONSE TO US SANCTIONS – Al Jazeera reports: Israel’s far-right finance minister, Bezalel Smotrich, has strongly criticized the new US sanctions on settlement outposts and violent settlers, saying the decision is “totally unacceptable”.

“These decisions are a capitulation by the Biden administration to the BDS [Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions] campaign, which is designed to tarnish the entire state of Israel and bring about the elimination of the settlement movement and the establishment of a Palestinian terror state,” the minister was quoted by The Times of Israel as saying.

“The government of Israel stands by the side of the settlements, and these steps are totally unacceptable, and we will fight to have them abolished.”

The United States intelligence community said in an annual report that Hamas cannot be destroyed.

Israeli PM Netanyahu has vowed that the military operation in Gaza will continue until he “destroys” the group.

Al Jazeera’s Inside Story examines why the US is continuing to arm Israel to fight a war it doesn’t believe can be won:

More News:

Al Jazeera: Israeli military withholding 13-year-old Palestinian’s body to pressure family
Al Jazeera: Chicago-based Muslim groups refuse to meet White House officials
Al Jazeera: US House Speaker says he is considering introducing standalone Israel aid package


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – March 14: at least 31,923* (31,490 in Gaza* (72% women and children), and at least 433 in the West Bank (115 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 40,042 Palestinian deaths.

At least 39 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 12 from West Bank)

At least 31 Palestinians have died due to malnutrition**

About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.

About 2.2 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Crisis, Emergency, or Famine levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – March 14: at least 78,129 (including at least 73,439 in Gaza and 4,690 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – March 14: ~1,403 (~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); 249 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 15 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.”

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.

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

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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