Israel plans to displace Gazans to “humanitarian islands flooded with aid” – 159

Israel plans to displace Gazans to “humanitarian islands flooded with aid” – 159

Israel suddenly seems capable of moving massive quantities of aid – to Gazans being further displaced; American in Gaza pulled from rubble; Israel targets UN aid warehouse, killing 5; Wall Street Journal reports on Israeli torture of Palestinians; aid trucks rejected for having nail clippers, medical scissors; several Palestinians killed in West Bank; more

By IAK staff, from reports

RAFAH POPULATION TRANSFER – Middle East Eye reports: Daniel Hagari, spokesman for the Israeli army, said that there are plans to forcibly displace the more than one million Palestinians currently residing in Rafah, and push them into “humanitarian islands” in central Gaza.

The announcement comes as Israel continues to plan its offensive on Rafah, the southernmost city in Gaza.

“We need to make sure that 1.4 million people or at least a significant amount of the 1.4 million will move. Where? To humanitarian islands that we will create with the international community,” Hagari told reporters at a briefing.

Hagari also said that Israel plans to “flood the area” with aid, including housing, food, and water — US Secretary of State Antony Blinken used the same term “flooding with aid” during a press conference on Wednesday.

NOTE: Israel has so far been unwilling to “flood” Gaza with aid, although it is in desperate need. It has instead created an inspection regime that makes aid delivery extremely difficult – while Israeli officials allege that aid organizations are at fault for the famine for their failure to distribute aid efficiently. 
NOTE: In 1948, Israel dispossessed 750,000 Palestinian people and exiled them permanently to Gaza and other locations in what Palestinians refer to as the Nakba (“catastrophe”). Many Palestinians see the current situation as another Nakba – already 75% of the population of Gaza has been internally displaced –  and fear that they will never be allowed to return to their homes.
Forced transfer of a people group is a crime against humanity.
Palestinian people walk under the rain at a makeshift camp housing displaced people in Rafah earlier this month.
Palestinian people walk under the rain at a makeshift camp housing displaced people in Rafah earlier this month. (photo)

GAZA – An American woman living in Gaza was pulled from the rubble of an Israeli air strike after a two-hour operation to free her.

After she was freed, she had a message of solidarity with Palestinians facing Israel’s war. Watch the video below:

GAZA – Israeli forces opened fire on crowds of Palestinians seeking aid in Gaza City, killing six people and wounding at least 83 others, according to media reports.

ASSASSINATION IN GAZA – Reuters reports: Israel said on Wednesday its airstrike on a U.N. food distribution centre in southern Gaza killed a Hamas commander whom it targeted, and Palestinian health officials said it killed four more people including a U.N. worker.

The Israeli military said the strike killed Mohammad Abu Hasna, whom it described as a Hamas militant who provided intelligence to the group on Israeli troops’ positions and was “also involved in taking control of humanitarian aid and distributing it to Hamas terrorists.”

In a statement, Hamas said Abu Hasna was a member of its police force and condemned his killing as a “cowardly assassination” meant to disrupt aid distribution.

At least one UNRWA staff member was among the five killed and 22 others were injured, the agency said, adding that the facility’s coordinates had been shared with the Israeli military.

“Today’s attack on one of the very few remaining UNRWA distribution centers in the Gaza Strip comes as food supplies are running out, hunger is widespread and, in some areas, turning into famine,” said UNRWA chief Philippe Lazzarini.

ISRAELI TORTURE OF GAZAN MEN – Wall Street Journal reports: The Wall Street Journal has spoken with more than a dozen former detainees who described being subjected to various forms of psychological and physical abuse, including being beaten during interrogations and placed in stress positions for prolonged periods.

Former detainees described a range of mistreatment, with some saying they suffered physical assaults during their detentions, including being hit and kicked, insulted repeatedly, and subjected to other verbal abuse. Many described poor conditions in the detention facilities, including overcrowding and a lack of sanitation and food.

The Israeli military said “violent and antagonistic treatment” toward detainees is prohibited and contrary to its beliefs and values. It said detainees are treated in accordance with international law. It said all are provided with food and medical care and given opportunities to pray and sleep. (Read their testimonies here.)

NOTE: The report confirms the findings of Israeli and Palestinian organizations, including Physicians for Human Rights and Addameer, as well as reports by Al Jazeera and other media outlets detailing the systematic abuse of Palestinians in Israeli prisons and the disappearance of Gaza workers stranded in Israel and the West Bank as crossings closed after the October 7 attacks.
During the current escalation, Israeli troops reportedly brought groups of Israeli civilians into prisons to watch Palestinian prisoners getting tortured.
Palestinian detainees released from two Israeli detention centers told the human rights group that they were stripped naked, beaten with metal batons and electric sticks, and verbally brutalized under the watch of civilian visitors.
Israel has used torture on Palestinian prisoners for years. Torture is a war crime.

Oweida family eat cactus leaves as they struggle to find food due to ongoing Israeli blockade as they take refuge in a UNRWA school, seeking safety amid Israeli attacks in Beit Lahia, Gaza on February 28, 2024.
Oweida family eat cactus leaves as they struggle to find food due to ongoing Israeli blockade as they take refuge in a UNRWA school, seeking safety amid Israeli attacks in Beit Lahia, Gaza on February 28, 2024. (photo)

ON GETTING AID INTO GAZA – Al Jazeera reports: Janti Soeripto, president of the charity Save the Children US, says it is “very unpredictable” which aid trucks can make it into Gaza and which ones are rejected.

“Hygiene kits with soap, blankets and sanitary pads for women got rejected because there was a nail clipper in it.”

“There’s so much rubble and destruction around that it is physically even hard to actually get the last mile in order to deliver our supplies when they make it in,” she added.

Earlier in the week, IAK reported that Phillippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, said a truck loaded with humanitarian aid for Gaza was turned back by Israel because medical scissors were onboard.

“Medical scissors are now added to a long list of banned items the Israeli Authorities classify as ‘for dual use’. The list includes basic and lifesaving items: from anesthetics, solar lights, oxygen cylinders and ventilators, to water cleaning tablets, cancer medicines and maternity kits.”

NOTE: Learn more about the 17-year-long (and counting) blockade of Gaza here and here. Blockade is a form of collective punishment, and a war crime.

US ON RAFAH INVASION – Politico reports: Four unnamed US officials told Politico that the US wants Israel to avoid a large-scale invasion of the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where some 1.5 million displaced Palestinians are sheltered after fleeing Israeli bombardment in other parts of the Strip.

In private conversations, top administration officials have signaled to Israel that they could support a plan more akin to counterterrorism operations than all-out war, four US officials said.

That, the administration officials argue, would minimize civilian casualties, decimate Hamas’ ranks and avoid scenes that have led to souring public opinion on Israel’s campaign and Biden’s handling of the war.

The US has long said that it would require a plan to protect civilians in Rafah before it supported Israel’s promised Rafah invasion. As of Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters that the US has yet to see such a plan.

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)

AIRDROP MISHAP – Middle East Eye reports: Aid dropped from the air on Gaza has destroyed solar panels on the Baptist hospital in Gaza, Anas al-Sharif, a journalist on the ground, said on Wednesday.

Last week, air-dropped aid on Gaza killed five people after a parachute failed.  The incident caused a pallet to come crashing down into a crowd of people waiting for food in north Gaza, close to al-Shati refugee camp.

EXPLOSIVE ORDNANCE CONTAMINATION IN GAZA – OCHA reports: Humanitarian partners warn that it will take years to clear nearly 23 million metric tons of debris generated by the destruction of residential units and other properties across the Gaza Strip as well as to clear up unexploded ordnance contamination.

Calling for immediate action to enable large-scale assessments of explosive ordnance contamination, the Protection Cluster reports that Mine Action partners are carrying out explosive threat assessments for prioritized humanitarian sectors, delivering explosive ordnance risk education, and conducting digital, radio and SMS campaigns tailored to different groups including persons with disability.

Challenges hindering Mine Action response include the need for authorization to deploy specialized personnel, restrictions on the import of humanitarian mine action supplies, and unreliable communication systems.

Humanity and Inclusion is also warning of the lasting impact of long-term pollution on people in Gaza: “Given Gaza’s urban environment – where buildings have collapsed, are in ruins or damaged – explosive remnants are not only a permanent danger, but will also have a long-term impact on Gazans’ daily lives and their territory’s socio-economic development.”

Khan Younis, March 9
Khan Younis, March 9, 2024. (photo)

WEST BANK INCIDENTS – IMEMC reports: On Wednesday dawn, Israeli soldiers assassinated two young Palestinian men, Rabea’ Nawrasi, 19, and Mahmoud Abu Al-Haija, in front of the emergency department of the Khalil Suleiman governmental hospital in Jenin, in the occupied West Bank.

Israeli soldiers also killed a Palestinian youth, Mustafa Taleb Ahmad Taleb, 17, near a military roadblock, west of Beit Jala city in the governorate of Bethlehem, south of occupied Jerusalem. They alleged that he pulled a knife. After shooting him, Israeli soldiers left him to bleed to death.

Al Jazeera reports: A 15-year-old Palestinian accused of carrying out a stabbing attack at a Jerusalem checkpoint has died after being shot by Israeli forces, according to Israeli police.

Ha’aretz reports on a developing story: an Israeli man was critically wounded in a stabbing attack on Thursday; the alleged assailant is a 22-year-old Israeli citizen originally from Gaza.

More news:

Al Jazeera: ‘The war will end’: Remembering Mahmoud Darwish, Palestine’s poetic voice
Al Jazeera: How Biden adopted call for ‘ceasefire’ without shifting policy
Palestine Chronicle: Voiceless “Squad” – US Progressive Representatives Have Failed Gaza


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – March 13: at least 31,774* (31,341 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 39,178 Palestinian deaths.

At least 3rds 9 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 12 from West Bank)

At least 27 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 13: at least 77,799 (including at least 73,134 in Gaza and 4,665 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – March 13: ~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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