Israel shoots first, asks questions later – Day 183

Israel shoots first, asks questions later – Day 183

Massacre of World Central Kitchen staff continues to haunt Israel; no noticeable improvement in entry of aid; trash is a serious problem in Gaza; 6-month reports on situation in Gaza; Israel drops tear gas on worshipers in Al Aqsa Mosque; Palestinian journalists call for boycott of White House Correspondents Dinner; Congress members pressure Biden, Blinken; Biden approval rating tanks over Israel, more

By IAK staff, from reports

Ex-CIA chief talks Israeli engagement violations

No significant change in Gaza aid flow

Al Jazeera reports: Despite Israel’s announcement that it will open a new border crossing and pier for humanitarian aid into Gaza, there has been no meaningful change in the flow of aid on the ground, says Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud from Gaza.

Conditions are increasingly desperate in northern Gaza, where dozens of children have died from starvation or dehydration as famine sets in.

Al Jazeera obtained a video showing several trucks containing aid driving in northern Gaza, but found that the trucks captured in the footage had arrived from the Kuwait Roundabout, that is, they were coming from the south.

“There are too many reports about Erez and the promise to open the crossing, but nothing has entered the north of Gaza from Erez crossing,” a reporter said, adding that the trucks containing medicines headed to Kamal Adwan Hospital.

People unload medical aid from a truck near Kamal Adwan Hospital, Beit Lahiya.
People unload medical aid from a truck near Kamal Adwan Hospital, Beit Lahiya. (photo)

Trash piles threaten health of Palestinians in Rafah

Andalou Agency reports: Palestinians who have started living in tents in Rafah in southern Gaza after fleeing Israeli attacks are facing the risk of outbreaks due to uncollected garbage.

Palestinians in Rafah live amid trash piles as garbage trucks, rendered unusable in Israeli attacks, hinder regular waste collection due to fuel shortages.

Trash piles among the tents and shelters create an environment conducive to the spread of infectious diseases due to the foul odors they emit and conditions for the formation of pests.

Ummu Mahmud el-Hindi, who migrated from the Sheikh Ridwan neighborhood in northern Gaza to Rafah, said the current conditions are not suitable for human life.

Hindi said that among family members, in addition to children, there are also sick, disabled, and elderly individuals.

She said: “We can’t sit in the tent due to the smell of garbage and flies. Children can’t sleep because of the flies. A solution needs to be found to this garbage crisis.”

Over 70,000 housing units in Gaza have been completely destroyed, 290,000 have been partially destroyed, according to OCHA
Over 70,000 housing units in Gaza have been completely destroyed, 290,000 have been partially destroyed, according to OCHA (photo)

A look at the war on Gaza in numbers, 6 months in

The war has stretched on for half a year and has become one of the most destructive, deadly, and intractable conflicts of the 21st century. Since October 7, Israel has pummeled the Gaza Strip, displacing the vast majority of the population and causing many to flee to Gaza’s southernmost city, Rafah.

Here’s a look at the war in numbers:

    • Palestinians killed in Gaza: 33,137
    • Children killed in Gaza: more than 13,000
    • Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank: 456
    • Palestinians currently displaced in Gaza: 1.7 million (70 percent of the population)
    • Percentage of buildings likely damaged/destroyed: 55.9 percent
    • Percentage of homes likely damaged: more than 60 percent
    • Percentage of school buildings damaged: 90 percent
    • Hospitals that are functioning: 10/36
    • Palestinian civilians facing “catastrophic” food insecurity, according to the UN: 1.1 million
    • Percentage of northern Gaza children under the age of two who are acutely malnourished: 31 percent
    • Percentage of students out of school: 100 percent
    • Mosques damaged: 227
    • Churches damaged: 3

Humanitarian Access Snapshot – Gaza Strip, March 2024

Humanitarian Situation: Key Figures for March
Humanitarian Situation: Key Figures for March, provided by OCHA (graphic)

According to OCHA: The population in the Gaza Strip continues to face an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, characterized by intense hostilities and escalating humanitarian access constraints that have severely impeded the delivery of life saving humanitarian assistance and services.

While humanitarian organizations continue efforts to scale up response operations, intense aerial bombardment in densely populated urban areas, large-scale military ground operations, unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination, prevailing insecurity, the closure of key border crossings, movement restrictions, infrastructure damage and persistent access restrictions and denials by Israeli authorities have generated a volatile, insecure, and non-permissive operational environment.

These obstacles are hindering the ability of humanitarian actors to address the essential needs of Gaza’s population.

Famine is imminent in Gaza as 1.1 million people—half of Gaza’s population—are facing conditions of catastrophic food insecurity due to the intense conflict and severe limitations on humanitarian access. Urgent action is required from Israeli authorities and all parties to the conflict to facilitate safe, unimpeded access for humanitarian organizations to respond to the urgent needs of Gaza’s population.

Prevailing movement restrictions and shortage of approved trucks and drivers continue to result in considerable delays, particularly limiting the quantity and frequency of humanitarian food convoys and distributions. In addition, in late March, Israeli authorities announced that one of the three partners delivering food in Gaza would no longer be allowed in northern Gaza, where more than 300,000 people face catastrophic food security conditions.

A recent assessment by the World Bank adds additional detail: Describing the shock to Gaza’s economy as “one of the largest observed in recent economic history,” the assessment report warns that most of the population has been pushed into multidimensional poverty.

It further finds that the majority of the 980 NGOs registered in Gaza have ceased operations, disproportionately impacting vulnerable groups, including children, women, and persons with disabilities who relied heavily on services provided by the NGO sector.

A child hospitalized with a gunshot wound at the European public hospital near Rafah, Gaza, in February 2024.
A child hospitalized with a gunshot wound at the European public hospital near Rafah, Gaza, in February 2024. (photo)

Israeli drones fire tear gas at Al-Aqsa worshippers

Multiple Palestinian media and witnesses said that the Israeli drone strikes were aimed at forcing worshippers to leave the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound after Laylat al-Qadr, one of the most important events on the Muslim calendar.

It was the second day in a row that Israeli troops fired tear gas at worshippers during this year’s Ramadan.

Israeli forces were also seen beating worshippers with batons, according to video clips posted online.

Palestinian journalists call for boycott of White House Correspondents’ Dinner

Al Jazeera reports: Palestinian journalists are asking members of the US media to boycott the highly anticipated event on April 27 “as an act of solidarity with us – your fellow journalists – as well as with the millions of Palestinians currently being starved in Gaza”.

“The toll exacted on us for merely fulfilling our journalistic duties is staggering. We are subjected to detentions, interrogations, and torture by the Israeli military, all for the ‘crime’ of journalistic integrity,” the appeal says.

The journalists stress that the “White House Correspondents’ Dinner is an embodiment of media manipulation, trading journalistic ethics for access. For journalists to fraternise at an event with President Biden and Vice President Harris would be to normalize, sanitize, and whitewash the administration’s role in genocide.”

According to a preliminary count from the Committee to Protect Journalists, at least 95 journalists and media workers have been killed since Israel began its war on Gaza.

Congress members put pressure on Biden, Blinken

Middle East Monitor reports: Dozens of congressional Democrats in the United States – including former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi – have signed a letter urging president Joe Biden and secretary of state Antony Blinken to halt the transfer of weapons to Israel, as internal pressure continues to ramp up against Washington’s unconditional support for the occupation and its war crimes in Gaza.

In the letter on Friday, it stated that “In light of the recent strike against aid workers and the ever-worsening humanitarian crisis, we believe it is unjustifiable to approve these weapons transfers” to Israel, referring to the Israeli military’s killing of seven Western humanitarian workers from the World Central Kitchen organization in what appeared to be precise and surgical strikes.

Joe Biden’s Approval Rating Has Catastrophically Fallen Over Israel

Newsweek reports: President Joe Biden was quick to show solidarity with Israel after the October 7 Hamas attacks, but six months on, American voters have become increasingly unhappy with his handling of the Gaza crisis, according to polling for Newsweek.

In the aftermath of the attacks by militants in which over 1,200 were killed and 253 were taken hostage, Biden stood next to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that his country is “not alone.”

However, three surveys conducted exclusively for Newsweek by Redfield & Wilton Strategies since then have shown that U.S. voters’ disapproval of Biden’s actions in the crisis has sharpened intensely since December.

One Middle East and U.S. foreign policy expert told Newsweek that the Israel issue could be “very difficult for him to explain to his base” on the presidential campaign trail. Another American political analyst, however, said it would not make much difference for Biden come November, with other issues at the forefront of voters’ minds.

Below is a chart summarizing the results of 3 polls commissioned by Newsweek. Read the full article here.

Newsweek: "Joe Biden's Approval Rating Has Catastrophically Fallen Over Israel"
Newsweek: “Joe Biden’s Approval Rating Has Catastrophically Fallen Over Israel” (graphic)

Making room for more Palestinian prisoners

Israel is reportedly planning to expand its prison facilities for Palestinians. A draft decree, which appears on the agenda for the weekly government meeting held on Sundays, shows that the cabinet is seeking approval for $154m for the expansion of prisons.

The document shows it plans to make space for an additional 1,036 Palestinians, including in Ktzi’ot and Ofer prisons.

NOTE:Israel is currently holding over 9,000 Palestinian prisoners in inhumane conditions where many are systematically tortured – 200 of them are children, 51 are women, and over 3,500 are administrative detainees – being held without charge or trial. Administrative detention is intended to be used only in “exceptional” circumstances, but Israel uses it widely. Read more here.

More news:

Electronic Intifada: Biden thinks you’re stupid
Middle East Eye: US says Israel is complying with international law. ‘Complete nonsense’, experts say
The New Arab: Iran tells US to “step aside” as it prepares to attack Israel
Palestine Chronicle: Died in the Arms of His Father – the Tragic End of a Gaza Professor and His Children
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – April 5: at least 34,111* (33,643 in Gaza* (14,500 children, 9,560 women), and at least 468 in the West Bank (117 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 41 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 14 from West Bank)

At least 31 Palestinian children and several adults 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 Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – April 6: at least 80,577 (including at least 75,750 in Gaza and 5,000 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – April 6: ~1,407 (~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); 255 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 16 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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