Shortages put infants, children at heightened risk; evidence of arbitrary field executions, torture of Gazans; UK Labor Party leader supports “inalienable right of Palestinian people”; American teen killed; possible escalation in Lebanon in the offing; another strike on Houthis; Biden’s unrealistic expectations, Switzerland investigating criminal complaint against Israeli president
By IAK staff, from reports
GAZA: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports on the situation north of Wadi Gaza for the first half of January: Shipments of much-needed aid are facing widespread denials by Israeli authorities.
For example, Israel denied access for 69% of aid deliveries (22 out of 29), as compared to 14% previously.
“This has prevented the scale-up of humanitarian operations,” the group said.
The Israeli military also denied 95% (18 of 19) of missions involving the allocation of fuel and medicines to water reservoirs, water wells and health facilities in the north in the first two weeks of January. This increased health and environmental hazards while debilitating the functionality of the six partially functioning hospitals (the remaining 18 hospitals are not functioning).
Beyond access to the north, the capacity of humanitarian agencies to operate safely and effectively anywhere in Gaza remains heavily compromised by Israeli restrictions on the import of critical equipment.
RECOMMENDED READING (Electronic Intifada): Israel insists there is no hunger, humanitarian crisis in Gaza
GAZA: According to UNICEF, nearly 20,000 babies have been born during the continuing war in Gaza, while 135,000 children in the Gaza Strip under the age of two are at “severe risk” of malnutrition.
“The situation of pregnant women and newborns in the Gaza Strip is beyond belief, and it demands intensified and immediate actions,” Tess Ingram, a UNICEF spokesperson, said. “The already precarious situation of infant and maternal mortality has worsened as the healthcare system collapses.”
Ingram stressed that mothers face unimaginable challenges in accessing adequate medical care, nutrition and protection before, during and after birth. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their babies are living in “inhumane conditions, makeshift shelters (with) poor nutrition and unsafe water”.
GAZA: Al Jazeera reports: Muhammad Shehada, of the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor in Copenhagen, told Al Jazeera his organization believes there is a pattern of a “systematic” killing taking place on the ground in Gaza.
“In at least 13 of field executions, we corroborated that it was arbitrary on the part of the Israeli forces,” said Shehada, chief of programs and communications at the group.
“We believe that the IDF has dropped restraint in its conduct in Gaza, enabling soldiers to confidently conduct these atrocities, without fear of accountability, which is why we’re seeing them in multiple neighborhoods and parts of the Gaza Strip,” he said, referring to the Israeli army.
GAZA: Head of UN Human Rights Office Occupied Palestinian Territory Ajith Sunghay reports: During my time [in Gaza], I have managed to meet a number of released detainees. These are men who were detained by Israeli Security Forces in unknown locations for between 30 to 55 days.
They described being beaten, humiliated, subjected to ill-treatment, and to what may amount to torture. They reported being blindfolded for long periods – some of them for several consecutive days. One man said he had access to a shower only once during his 55 days in detention.
There are reports of men who were subsequently released – but only in diapers, without any adequate clothing in this cold weather.
Unless Israel can demonstrate imperative security grounds for each person remaining in detention, they must be charged or released. Israeli authorities must ensure that families have access to information about their loved ones. All instances of ill-treatment or torture of people arrested or detained must be fully and transparently investigated, and, if found to have taken place, action must be taken to ensure accountability and to prevent recurrence. Victims and their families have the right to truth, justice, and reparations.
Tawfiq Hafiz Ajjaq, a 17-year-old Palestinian-Amercian, was fatally shot by Israeli forces this evening near the town of Al-Mazraa Al-Sharqiya, east of the city of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, WAFA reports. Hajazi was shot in the head and was taken to Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah, where he was in critical condition but later died.
CNN reports: Israel’s police and the IDF have opened an investigation into the incident.
The US is “seriously concerned” about reports of the Israeli shooting, though information is “scant at this time,” John Kirby, US National Security Council spokesperson, said in a Friday briefing.
Criminal complaints were filed against Israeli President Isaac Herzog during his visit to the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Swiss media report.
“The criminal complaints will be examined according to the usual procedure,” the Office of the Swiss Attorney General said,
The complaints come from a group called “Legal Action Against Crimes Against Humanity,”.which says it hopes to open a criminal investigation in parallel with the proceedings before the International Court of Justice.
UNITED KINGDOM: Andalou Agency reports: Keir Starmer, leader of the UK’s Labour Party, disagrees with Israel’s PM Netanyahu about the possibility of a two-state solution, after Netanyahu issued a forceful denunciation of a potential independent Palestinian state.
Netanyahu had said, “In any arrangement in the foreseeable future — with an arrangement or without one — Israel must have security control over all the territory west of the Jordan. This clashes with the idea of sovereignty. What can you do?”
“The comments [made by] Prime Minister Netanyahu are unacceptable and they are wrong,” Starmer said.
“Palestinian statehood is not in the gift of a neighbor. It is the inalienable right of the Palestinian people. It’s also the only way to a secure settlement and a secure future.”
While Starmer previously expressed support for Israel’s “right to defend itself” against Hamas in Gaza, he recently shifted his stance and called for a sustainable cease-fire and condemned the “intolerable” number of casualties in the conflict.
Biden said that there were “many” forms a two-state solution could take, and that Netanyahu was not necessarily opposed to all of them.
WEST BANK: Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the UN refugee agency for Palestinians, tweeted: Highest levels of violence in the West Bank – a tragic cycle of pain and suffering. Since 7 October, numbers, duration, & intensity of Israeli Security Forces’ operations have significantly increased especially in refugee camps. These operations are now expanding to the South.
Together with increased settler violence it is causing people to flee their homes in search of safety. Number of Palestinians killed last year tripled in comparison to 2022 when we thought we saw the worst. Among those killed, at least 90 children only in past 100+ days. It is hard to keep up with the lives lost given how pervasive violence has become.
Recent incursions caused severe damage to infrastructure including water and electricity networks + impacted entire communities. This is coupled with a severe economic downturn. People lost their jobs & livelihoods, sinking further into poverty. For children, too many school days are lost, they are scared & are slowly being robbed of their childhood.
HOUTHI NEWS: In its latest attacks on the Yemeni group, US Central Command said it has carried out strikes against three “anti-ship missiles that were [allegedly] aimed into the Southern Red Sea and were prepared to launch” at 6:45pm local time (15:45GMT)
U.S. forces identified the missiles in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen and determined that they presented an imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region. U.S. forces subsequently struck and destroyed the missiles in self-defense.
This action will make international waters safe and secure for U.S. navy vessels and merchant vessels.
The reason for the Houthi threat, which the US does not address, is Israel’s brutal war against Gaza.
WORLD NEWS: Associated Press reports: Mexico and Chile have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate possible crimes against civilians in Gaza and the Oct. 7 Hamas attack in Israel.
Mexico’s Foreign Relations Department said in a statement that it filed the request “because of a growing concern about the recent escalation in violence, especially against civilians” in Gaza.
GAZA: NPR reports: The Jordanian army has released a statement saying that Israeli forces deliberately targeted its field hospital in Gaza on Friday, blocking the entrance with a tank and shooting at a hospital and buildings housing medical workers.
Israel has denied shelling the hospital in Khan Younis, stating that it engaged Palestinian fighters nearby. Jordan has said that claim is false, and that Israeli forces have consistently targeted Jordanian medical facilities despite “ongoing coordination with the Israeli side”.
“This action [the firing] was not a consequence of a clash with resistance factions,” the statement reads, adding that it “strongly asserts that the deliberate targeting of the Jordanian Field Hospital was part of Israel’s consistent approach to targeting hospitals in Gaza.”
Brother of the second Intifada icon Muhammad al-Dura, Ahmad Al-Dura has been killed in an Israeli shelling on the family's home in Al-Bureij refugee camp in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/xjdvnun3pX
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 18, 2024
Israel has destroyed all the universities in Gaza. Every single one of them. That is a war crime, pure and simple. It’s the obliteration of education and Palestinian future. Every university in the world should be outraged.
— fatima bhutto (@fbhutto) January 19, 2024
This is peak American foreign policy… When asked if the strikes on Yemen are working Biden replies: “When you say working, are they stopping the Houthis? No. Are they going to continue? Yes.”
Literally saying "bombing these folks is useless, but we'll keep doing it". pic.twitter.com/otzJC6hzpS
— Arnaud Bertrand (@RnaudBertrand) January 19, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – JANUARY 19:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – January 19: at least 25,131* (~24,762 in Gaza* (over 10,600 children, 7,200 women), and at least 369 in the West Bank (98 children). This does not include an estimated 8,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 32,246 Palestinian deaths.
*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.
About 1.7 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population).
Palestinian injuries from October 7 – January 19: at least 66,418** (including at least 62,108 in Gaza** and 4,310 in the West Bank). **NOTE: it is impossible to provide an accurate number of injuries in Gaza due to the ongoing bombardment and communication disruption.
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.
Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.
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- 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
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