Hamas resistance releases report; large numbers of refugees, babies at risk; more support for Palestinian sovereignty; news on Houthis and shipping; CAIR demands action; Israel withholds money due Palestinian Authority; West Bank home demolitions, and more
By IAK staff, from reports
Israel has killed more than 3,000 people in Gaza this month: Despite US calls for transitioning to a “lower intensity” phase of the war and the Israeli military withdrawing some of its troops from Gaza, the death toll in the besieged territory has continued to climb in 2024 amid relentless Israeli attacks.
At the start of this month, 21,978 Palestinians had been killed in Gaza since October 7. Today, the death toll stands at 25,105. Israel has killed an average of more than 148 Palestinians daily in January so far.
The Palestinian group Hamas has released a report explaining the motives of the October 7th attack, called “Our narrative…the Al Aqsa Flood?” It is from the Hamas Communications Office, addressed to “our steadfast Palestinian people, the Arab and Islamic nations, the free people worldwide, and those who advocate for freedom, justice, and human dignity.”
The report has five sections: 1) Why Operation Al-Aqsa Flood?; 2) The events of Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, and responses to the Israeli allegations; 3) Toward a transparent international investigation; 4) A reminder to the world: who is Hamas?; and 5) What is needed?
Here are some of the key points the report raised, according to Al Jazeera:
- The report stresses the historical context of the conflict and the injustices that Palestinians have endured for decades, saying that Israel has been intensifying its abuses under Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing government. It adds that the October 7 attack was a “natural response” to the Israeli push to liquidate the Palestinian cause.
- Hamas rejects accusations that it deliberately targeted civilians during the attack – in which almost 1,140 people were killed, including 700 civilians – pointing to media reports about Israeli troops targeting cars and homes with Israelis inside. But the report acknowledges that disorder had ensued during the attack as the Israeli security apparatus collapsed swiftly around Gaza.
- The report urges an investigation into “all crimes in occupied Palestine” by the International Criminal Court, calling on its prosecutor to “immediately” start a probe on the ground.
- The Palestinian group reiterates that it is in a conflict against Israel, not against Jews because of their religion.
- Hamas calls for ending Israel’s offensive on Gaza and the withdrawal of Israeli troops from the territory, saying that Palestinians should be able to decide their own future.
Ha’aretz reports: The manager of the surgical division of Gaza’s Nasser Hospital said that his hospital has received 50 dead bodies and over 100 people wounded in Israeli strikes over the past 24 hours.
The official said that many of the wounded are in critical condition due to delays in their transportation to the hospital [due to communications being cut off and/or bombardment near the hospital], and that most of those killed are displaced persons who were situated in refugee centers and hit by live rounds, air strikes, or artillery fire.
“We are dealing with a real catastrophe, the wounded are now everywhere – in emergency rooms, intensive care and operating rooms – and we are trying to help as much as possible,” he said.
He added that the medical aid that has been received in recent days is not relevant for the treatment needed for victims of the attacks: “They sent us some pills and syrups – some of which are close to expiring – and equipment that is not relevant for trauma teams.”
OCHA reports: At a press briefing in Geneva, a UNICEF Communication Specialist just returned from Gaza stated: “In the 105 days of this escalation in the Gaza Strip, nearly 20,000 babies have been born into war. That’s a baby born into this horrendous war every 10 minutes.
Mothers face unimaginable challenges in accessing adequate medical care, nutrition, and protection before, during and after giving birth. Becoming a mother should be a time for celebration. In Gaza, it’s another child delivered into hell. Humanity cannot allow this warped version of normal to persist any longer. Mothers and newborns need a humanitarian ceasefire.”
French Foreign Minister, Stéphane Séjourné, has emphasized the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty and the establishment of their independent state.
The statement comes in response to recent remarks by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who opposed the idea of Palestinian sovereignty in Gaza, asserting that Israel must retain control over the security of all of the Palestinian territories.
Les Palestiniens ont le droit à la souveraineté et à un État. La France restera fidèle à son engagement pour atteindre ce but.
— Stéphane Séjourné (@steph_sejourne) January 20, 2024
(Translation: Palestinians have the right to sovereignty and statehood. France will remain faithful to its commitment to achieve this goal.)
25,000 dead in Gaza.
The Israeli PM making it clear he's against any two-state solution.
Yet all we get from our Government is empty words.
Enough is enough.
It needs to act. Starting by bringing a UN Security Council motion for a ceasefire and by ending arms sales to Israel.
— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) January 21, 2024
“The refusal to accept the two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians, and the denial of the right to statehood for the Palestinian people, are unacceptable. The right of the Palestinian people to build their own state must be recognized by all.”
The New Arab reports: The EU‘s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, insisted on an eventual two-state solution as he told Israel it couldn’t build peace “only by military means” ahead of talks with Israeli and Palestinian top diplomats. Borrell repeated the condemnation from the United Nations of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s “unacceptable” rejection of calls for a Palestinian state after the war in Gaza.
“What we want to do is to build a two-state solution. So let’s talk about it,” Borrell said.
“Which are the other solutions they have in mind? To make all the Palestinians leave? To kill off them?” Borrell said.
These statements, supportive of Palestinian sovereignty, follow the surprise support from Keir Starmer, leader of the UK Labor Party, who said last week, “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.”
The following map shows which countries recognize Palestine:
HOUTHI UPDATE: Al Jazeera reports: Houthi official reminds Biden that Red Sea attacks are to stop war in Gaza: Mohammed Abdulsalam says the Yemeni group is targeting ships linked to Israel to pressure the country to end its “criminal and fascist aggression” against the Gaza Strip.
Abdulsalam accused the administration of US President Joe Biden, which has been pushing to separate the attacks from the war on Gaza, of trying to blatantly “mislead” the world.
“America itself must stop escaping responsibility by creating crises that no one needs and end the aggression against Gaza,” he wrote in a social media post.
He added that Yemen will defend itself against violations of its sovereignty, referring to US-led attacks against the Houthis.
Bloomberg reports: In a sort of boycott, some ships traveling through the Red Sea have recently been trying a new method to avoid being hit by the Houthis: proclaiming zero Israeli ties on their transponders.
The Houthis show no sign of stopping their attempts to damage or seize Israeli-linked vessels traversing the busy waterway in support of Palestinians despite repeated US and UK attacks. Ships are now writing messages such as “No contact Israel” on their automatic identification system.
Vessel monitoring service TankerTrackers.com reports since the emergence of this practice, at least 64 vessels have proclaimed on their transponders they have no ties with Israel to avoid being hit by a missile or drone, or being chased by a Houthi speedboat.
The New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) stated: On Jan. 19, Columbia University students held a protest against the genocide in Gaza and were reportedly sprayed with “skunk water” by individuals who were allegedly wearing Palestinian keffiyehs (scarves) to infiltrate the rally and spray protesters discreetly.
Students stated their clothes and hair had a foul smell for hours after the initial burst of stench at the protest. The smell worsens and spreads after being washed. Some students reported their eyes burning hours after and experiencing nausea.
Skunk water was developed by the Israeli company Odortec as a crowd control weapon. It has been described has having a smell like sewage mixed with rotting corpses. Skunk water is frequently used on Palestinians in the West Bank by the Israeli occupation. It is known to cause nausea, abdominal pain, and vomiting.
In a statement, CAIR-NY Executive Director Afaf Nasher said:
The alleged use of a chemical agent on the grounds of a college campus in NYC is beyond heinous. It is an escalation of violence launched against peaceful protesters by individuals who seek to inflict harm and undermine the principles of peaceful dialogue and dissent upheld in any democratic society.
Columbia SJP and CAIR-NY are both calling for an investigation.
Israel is reportedly deliberately targeting cultural heritage sites in Gaza, and in the West Bank the Israeli army & settlers “are systematically raiding archeological sites.”
Eli Escusido, the director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, reportedly shared a video online providing evidence of the theft of the artifacts.
Dr. Hanan Ashrawi responded to the video, saying: “Not only does it want to crush our present & destroy our future, Israel is attempting to obliterate our past. Cultural heritage sites in Gaza have been deliberately targeted, & in the West Bank Israeli occupation army & settlers are systematically raiding archeological sites.”
Eli Escusido, the director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority shares a video documenting the theft of archaeological artifacts from Gaza. pic.twitter.com/BcQQQDVXt9
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) January 21, 2024
In the Al Jazeera video below, Eugene Rogan, professor of modern Middle Eastern history, and a fellow at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, discusses the historical context of the Palestine-Israel conflict.
Rogan is an expert in the history of Israel and Palestine, and has authored several books, including the critically acclaimed, “The Arabs: A History.”
Reuters reports: Israel’s cabinet approved a plan for frozen tax funds owed to Gaza to be held by Norway instead of transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA), officials said on Sunday.
Under interim peace accords reached in the 1990s, Israel’s finance ministry collects tax on behalf of the Palestinians and makes monthly transfers to the Western-backed PA, which exercises limited self-rule in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. But there have been constant wrangles over the arrangement, including Israel’s demand that the funds do not reach Hamas.
Despite the Hamas takeover in 2007, many PA public sector employees in Gaza kept their jobs and continued to be paid with transferred tax revenues.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the cabinet decision on the tax funds was supported by Norway and the United States, which will be a guarantor that the framework holds. Netanyahu’s offices said the money, or any equivalent, will not be transferred “in any situation, except with the approval of the Israeli finance minister, and also not through a third party.”
The Palestine Liberation Organization said on Sunday it wanted the money in full and would not accept conditions that prevent it from paying its staff, including in Gaza.
“Any deductions from our financial rights or any conditions imposed by Israel that prevent the PA from paying our people in the Gaza Strip are rejected by us,” Hussein Al-Sheikh, secretary general of the executive committee of the PLO, said on social media platform X.
The Wall Street Journal reports that US intelligence agencies have concluded that Hamas has lost 20-30 percent of its fighters after months of Israel’s war on Gaza – meaning the resistance organization is far from being destroyed.
The agencies also found Hamas still has enough weaponry to continue striking Israeli forces and launching rockets into Israel “for months”.
According to the report, Israeli officials estimate up to 16,000 Hamas fighters have been wounded, about half of which will not be returning to the battlefield. But US estimates put the wounded at between 10,500 and 11,700 fighters, many of whom could return.
WAFA reports: Israeli occupation forces used explosives and bulldozers overnight to demolish the homes of Palestinian martyrs Nassr and Abdul Qader al-Qawasmi in the city of Hebron, located south of the occupied West Bank.
The two Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire at the military checkpoint of An-Nafaq located south of occupied Jerusalem on November 16 last year.
The policy has been widely condemned by human rights groups as a collective punishment and a war crime. B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, says: “The people who bear the brunt of the [punitive] demolitions are relatives – including women, the elderly, and children – whom Israel does not suspect of involvement in any offense.”
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – JANUARY 21:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – January 21: at least 25,474* (~25,105 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.
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.
- 12 Essential Facts for Understanding the Current Israel-Gaza Violence
- 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