Israeli forces killed 2nd American citizen in West Bank in under a month – Day 130

Israeli forces killed 2nd American citizen in West Bank in under a month – Day 130

Israel kills another American teen; Biden steady in his support for Israel, regardless of Rafah outcome; Israel ravages Khan Younis hospital; Israel blocks flour for Gaza, in spite of promise to US; Israeli snipers kill Palestinians searching for internet signal; ; 2 journalists targeted in direct strike by Israeli drone; Palestinian prisoners arrested by Israel surpasses 7,000 since October 7th; South Africa calls on ICJ to stop Israel’s planned attack on Rafah; UN special adviser on preventing genocide won’t say “genocide” for Gaza; updates on aid to Israel bill, special election in NY, more

By IAK staff, from reports

CNN reports: An American died in the West Bank on Saturday, the US State Department confirmed Monday, the second death in less than a month of a US citizen in the occupied Palestinian territory.

17-year-old Palestinian-American Mohammad Ahmed Mohammad Khdour
17-year-old Palestinian-American Mohammad Ahmed Mohammad Khdour (social media)

“We can confirm the death of a U.S. citizen civilian in the West Bank on February 10, 2024,” a State Department spokesperson told CNN, adding that department officials “are working to gather more information and have pressed the Government of Israel for further information.”

“We extend our deepest condolences to the family,” the spokesperson said. “Out of respect to the family, we have nothing further to share.”

Last month, another American, 17-year-old Tawfiq Hafiz Ajjaq, was fatally shot in the head, according to Palestinian news agency WAFA. Israel’s police have opened an investigation into the incident, the IDF and Israeli police told CNN last month.

Defense for Children International – Palestine adds: Mohammad Ahmed Mohammad Khdour, 17, was shot in the head by Israeli forces around 4:30 p.m. on February 10 west of the Palestinian town of Biddu, northwest of Jerusalem in the central occupied West Bank, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine.

Israeli forces opened fire on the car that Mohammad, a United States citizen, was sitting in with one of his relatives while they were in a natural wooded area near the town of Qattana. Mohammad sustained gunshot wounds to the head, and their vehicle overturned while attempting to get to safety.

Mohammad was transported by ambulance to the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah where medical staff attempted to resuscitate him, however, he was pronounced dead at around 11 p.m.

Politico reports: The Biden administration is not planning to punish Israel if it launches a military campaign in Rafah without ensuring civilian safety.

Three U.S. officials, granted anonymity to detail internal discussions, told NatSec Daily no reprimand plans are in the works, meaning Israeli forces could enter the city and harm civilians without facing American consequences. More than half of the enclave’s 2.3 million population has fled to Rafah, putting them in clear danger whenever the operation moves beyond the bombing phase.

Public comments by senior Biden administration officials made clear there won’t be a change in approach, even though the U.S. said it wants to see a credible civilian protection plan before a ground invasion starts.

Al Jazeera reports: Israeli snipers killed three people and injured 10 more at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza.

Israeli authorities had used drone speakers to urge the evacuation of the hospital, but medical teams have promised to stay put until it becomes impossible to help patients.

Middle East Eye reports: Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian man on Tuesday after sending him into al-Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis to warn others to evacuate, according to local media.

In footage shared online, the man is shown wearing protective overalls with his hands tied, talking to Palestinians inside the hospital.

According to video testimony by Palestinian journalist Mohammed Akram al-Helo, which was shared by local media, the man was detained and arrested in the hospital, before being sent back to tell others that they needed to leave the building.

“He said the Israeli forces harassed him and treated him badly, and that if he did not do as he was told, they would storm the hospital, wound people and kill him,” Helo explained.

“When he finally left the hospital after doing what he was told, the Israeli soldiers shot him, he was shot three times in cold blood, in the vicinity of the hospital,” he added.

The Palestinian man, sent inside the hospital to warn others to evacuate, was reportedly shot three times
The Palestinian man, sent inside the hospital to warn others to evacuate, was reportedly shot three times (photo)

The medical humanitarian organization MSF (Doctors Without Borders) has posted on social media a harrowing series of texts by one of its doctors in Rafah (below).

The medical humanitarian organisation MSF has posted on social media a harrowing series of texts by one of its doctors in Rafah.

Axios reports: Israeli ultranationalist Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich is blocking a U.S.-funded flour shipment to Gaza because its recipient is the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), two Israeli and U.S. officials told Axios.

U.S. officials said this is a violation of a commitment Benjamin Netanyahu personally made to President Biden several weeks ago and another reason the U.S. leader is frustrated with the Israeli prime minister.

The Israeli war and security cabinets approved the delivery of the flour from the port of Ashdod in southern Israel to Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, Israeli officials said.

Biden and Secretary of State Tony Blinken have already publicly thanked the Israeli government for allowing the flour shipment to go through.

The shipment has been stuck at the Ashdod port for weeks.

RECOMMENDED READING (Electronic Intifada): Israeli lawmaker Smotrich regrets that ethnic cleansing of Palestinians was not completed

In a new report, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has documented the Israeli army deliberately killing Palestinian civilians, including journalists, as they attempted to access communications and internet services, by targeting them with sniper or drone attacks in various areas of the Gaza Strip. 

At least seven civilians have been killed in the North Gaza Governorate in less than a week after they were directly targeted by Israeli army drones. The victims were attempting to access internet services to communicate with their families and relatives.

Palestinian civilians are climbing to high elevations in an effort to intercept communications signals to access the internet using electronic cards, after Israeli forces demolished Palestinian communications exchanges.

According to Euro-Med Monitor, Israel particularly targets civilians trying to pick up communications and internet signals in besieged areas where serious human rights violations are occurring. This hinders press coverage of the violations and makes it difficult for residents to report them.

Displaced Palestinians using eSIM cards attempt to get a signal in Rafah
Displaced Palestinians using eSIM cards attempt to get a signal in Rafah (photo)

Al Jazeera and the Guardian report: Two journalists, including an Al Jazeera reporter, have been wounded in an Israeli attack north of Rafah in southern Gaza.

Wearing protective gear identifying them as members of the press, they were documenting the condition that displaced Palestinians face, when they were directly targeted by an Israeli drone strike. Ismail Abu Omar and his cameraman Ahmad Matar were seriously wounded and taken to the European Gaza Hospital in Khan Younis. A physician said,

“Upon examination, his right leg had already been severed. In addition, he had shrapnel lodged in his chest and head, as well as his left leg…He was bleeding heavily and lost a lot of blood, to the degree that his blood pressure and pulse were not readable,” the doctor continued.

Al Jazeera reports: In a press conference shortly after the incident, State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said.“Let me offer, of course, condolences to your colleagues who have been injured. And I know that they are not the first Al Jazeera journalists to have been harmed during this conflict.”

He added, “We continue to engage with the government of Israel to make clear that journalists ought to be protected.”

Minutes before Miller made his comment, Biden had urged the House of Representatives to pass a foreign aid bill that includes $14bn in military aid for Israel.

The bill also bans US funding for UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, which rights advocates have described as indispensable for addressing the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

NOTE: At least 126 journalists have been killed in Gaza since October 7, while 10 others have been arrested, according to Government Media Office figures. Israel has a long history of aggression toward members of the media. Israel has emerged as one of the world’s leading jailers of journalists in 2023, according to a report by press freedom watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). In its annual snapshot of jailed journalists, Israel ranked sixth – tied with Iran. 
RECOMMENDED READING (If Americans Knew): Shireen Abu Akleh’s death exposes Israel for what it is – a murderous regime
Al Jazeera correspondent Ismail Abu Omar and photojournalist Ahmad Matar were taken to the European Gaza Hospital.
Al Jazeera correspondent Ismail Abu Omar and photojournalist Ahmad Matar were taken to the European Gaza Hospital. (social media)

WEST BANK: WAFA reports: Several institutions concerned with detainees’ affairs in Israeli prisons reported today that more than 7,000 Palestinians have been detained in the West Bank since the start of the comprehensive Israeli aggression against the Palestinian people on October 7, 2023.

The Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs Commission, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), and the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association said in a joint statement that the total number of women detainees amounted to about 220, including women who were detained from the 1948 territories. Over 440 children were also detained.

According to the joint statement, the occupation has detained 53 journalists, 36 of whom are still in detention, and has also placed 21 others under administrative detention.

Administrative detention orders amounted to more than 3,490 orders, including some against children and women. The orders ranged between new and renewed orders.

NOTE: Palestinian administrative detainees are prisoners held without charge, trial, or access to lawyers; administrative detention is intended to be used only in “exceptional” circumstances. Read more here.

The International Court of Justice announced that South Africa has asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to urgently intervene against the looming Israeli assault on Rafah.

The ICJ had ruled last month that Israel must take step to prevent genocide in Gaza, including ending the killing of Palestinians and allowing adequate humanitarian aid into the territory.

But as the humanitarian crisis deepens in Gaza and hunger spreads, Israel is preparing a ground offensive on the southern city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced civilians have taken shelter.

“South Africa thus respectfully calls upon the Court to consider as a matter of the greatest urgency whether the developing circumstances in Rafah require that it exercise its power … to prevent further imminent breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza,” the South African filing reads.

BBC reports: A BBC Verify investigation published on Friday analyzed hundreds of videos in Gaza since November 2023, including eight showing detainees.

Legal experts say the filming and publication of such videos could breach international law which says detainees must not be exposed to unnecessary humiliation or public curiosity.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) initially said it had terminated the service of one of the reservists identified by the BBC. It has now added that it will continue to act to identify unusual cases that deviate from what is expected of its soldiers.

It also said “significant command measures will be taken” against soldiers involved in the footage identified by the BBC.

The eight videos of detainees identified by BBC Verify were all posted by serving or former soldiers, who did not hide their identity.

People walk through the rubble of a building damaged by Israeli bombardment in Rafah
People walk through the rubble of a building damaged by Israeli bombardment in Rafah (photo)

Electronic Intifada reports: The UN secretary-general’s special adviser on preventing genocide has finally broken her months-long silence about Israel’s ongoing campaign of extermination and destruction in Gaza.

But the belated response from Alice Wairimu Nderitu has done little to satisfy Palestinian human rights defenders who have called on her boss, Secretary-General António Guterres, to launch an investigation into the “dereliction of her duties and responsibilities demanded by her mandate.”

In her release on 9 February, Nderitu “reiterates” her pro-Israel statement from October, and “takes note” of the International Court of Justice ruling ordering Israel to halt what the judges plausibly found to be a genocide.

Notably, she has issued warnings and statements about various conflicts around the world while ignoring the bloodbath perpetrated by Israel.

More than a dozen human rights groups wrote on 7 February. “The glaring absence of any action in response to the sustained mass atrocities endured by Palestinians in Gaza raises significant concerns about [Nderitu’s] capability to execute her mandate with due effectiveness and impartiality. This absence is particularly glaring given the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) acknowledgment of the plausibility of genocide being committed by Israel against Palestinians in Gaza, placing them at risk of irreparable harm.”

Nderitu has ignored all efforts by Palestinian rights organizations to engage with her.

Jerusalem Post reports: International Criminal Court Prosecutor Karim Khan warned Israel on Tuesday of harsher war crimes scrutiny if it invades Rafah, as well as for its general conduct in the war. This is not a verbal threat to be shrugged away, and it may just be the most dramatic war-crimes moment for Israel to date.

There has not been any public hearing yet, the word “genocide” was not used, and Israeli officials had not issued any public response by press time, leaving Khan’s statement to be swallowed up and mostly ignored by Israeli media in favor of the hostage rescue.

But anyone who ignores Khan’s threat simply does not understand the power and influence of the ICC.

Unlike the ICJ, the ICC has an enforcement mechanism called INTERPOL, a body that has both independent powers to arrest individuals and can also campaign to press its members and the more than 125 member countries of the ICC – including most of Europe – to arrest anyone who the ICC issues arrest warrants for. It is a compliance-reliant method and works only within the member states. Read more here.

After Israel’s warnings that it will soon undertake a major offensive against Rafah, some families have begun leaving that city for other parts of Gaza.
After Israel’s warnings that it will soon undertake a major offensive against Rafah, some families have begun leaving that city. (photo)

Palestine Chronicle reports: An Indian company has dispatched Hermes 900 killer drones to Israel to be employed in its genocidal war on the Gaza strip, a report says.

The report states that the more than 20 Hermes 900 medium-altitude, long-endurance (MALE) UAVs were delivered by Adani-Elbit Advanced Systems India Ltd to Israel.

The Indian military support for Israel comes at a time when several European countries said that they will not be shipping weapons to Israel due to its killing and wounding of over 100,000 Palestinians. 

Palestinians mourn after identifying the bodies of relatives killed in overnight Israeli bombardment on the southern Gaza Strip, at Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, Saturday
Palestinians mourn after identifying the bodies of relatives killed in overnight Israeli bombardment on the southern Gaza Strip, at Al-Najjar hospital in Rafah, Saturday (photo)

Al Jazeera reports: The US president, who has been under scrutiny recently over fumbling his words, has referred to Israel’s planned military operation in Rafah as “our military operation”.

An official White House transcript of the speech shows Biden apparently changing his wording mid-sentence:

“Our military operation in Rafah – their – the major military operation in Rafah should not proceed without a credible plan for ensuring the safety and support of more than 1 million people sheltering there.

The US provides Israel with billions of dollars in military support and backs its allies at diplomatic forums, but Washington stresses that is not directly involved in the war on Gaza.

JTA reports: Within Our Lifetime, perhaps the most visible pro-Palestinian activist group in New York City, said on Friday that Instagram had permanently disabled its accounts, depriving it of a major platform for organizing protests.

Within Our Lifetime’s main account and a backup page, each of which had tens of thousands of followers, both appeared to be inactive, as did two pages belonging to founder Nerdeen Kiswani. Within Our Lifetime shared a screenshot on X, formerly Twitter, saying that the accounts had been disabled due to violations of community guidelines.

A spokesperson for Meta, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, told the New York Jewish Week that the accounts had been removed because they violated the platform’s community guidelines, including its “Dangerous Organizations & Individuals policy.”

A wounded Palestinian girl comforts her brother after Israeli bombardments on Rafah on February 12, 2024
A wounded Palestinian girl comforts her brother after Israeli bombardments on Rafah on February 12, 2024 (photo)

Jewish Insider reports: Tuesday morning’s vote on the Senate floor, which saw more than half of Senate Republicans vote against aid to Israel, Ukraine and Taiwan, crystallized the emerging isolationist instinct in Republican politics, which is now drawing in even some of the party’s most committed foreign policy hawks.

But the House’s insistence late last year on offsetting Israel aid with cuts from elsewhere in the government, and the emerging push from Trump to restructure foreign aid as a loan, could foreshadow a more skeptical approach from Republicans going forward. A handful of conservative Republicans — who wield outsized power in the House, as currently constituted — voted last week against Israel aid without offsets.

Nachama Soloveichik, the communications director for Nikki Haley’s presidential campaign, warned on Tuesday, “Just watch… This new Republican Party will soon throw Israel under the bus.”

Trump’s Israel policy in a potential second term could be shaped in part by staffing changes — his son-in-law Jared Kushner, who helped broker the Abraham Accords, said this week he would not rejoin a Trump White House.

Jewish Insider reports: Former Rep. Tom Suozzi, a moderate Democrat, comfortably won a closely watched New York special election on Tuesday night, narrowing the GOP’s thin majority in Congress and giving Democrats a needed morale boost heading into the 2024 elections, Jewish Insider Editor-in-Chief Josh Kraushaar writes.

Suozzi defeated Republican Mazi Melesa Pilip, a Nassau County legislator and an Ethiopian Israel Defense Forces veteran who ran a conventionally conservative campaign despite her unique background. Despite both parties pouring millions into the race, Suozzi won by an eight-point margin, 54-46%; the race was called not long after polls closed.


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 13: at least 28,866* (28,473 in Gaza* (over 12,300 children, 8,400 women), and at least 393 in the West Bank (101 children). This does not include an estimated 8,000 more still buried under rubble (70% women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 36,671 Palestinian deaths.

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

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – February 13: at least 72,596** (including at least 68,146 in Gaza and 4,450 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 13: ~1,374 (~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); 232 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 10 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.

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.

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

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