Amid attacks from snipers, airstrikes, and Israeli border restrictions, Gazans’ ability to obtain food is further hampered as Israeli citizens block the entrance of humanitarian aid; Israeli forces burn 3,000 homes in Gaza; Palestinian American woman in West Bank abducted, arrested for social media “incitement”; 4-year-old boy attacked by Israeli military dog; Israeli forces killed 2 Palestinian men; Blinken repeats his usual talking points to Israeli leaders, they announce plans to expand efforts in Rafah; ACLU denounces IHRA definition of antisemitism, and more
By IAK staff, from reports
In the context of Israel’s massacre of tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza, there are random acts of gratuitous cruelty. Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud reports from Rafah: A 14-year-old girl was out in Khan Younis trying to get water when she was shot by a sniper. This is definitely not the first time, and people here are certain it’s not going to be the last.
She was left in the street until she bled to death. It is another example of how unsafe the situation is in the southern city. There are Israeli attack drones, intense bombing and snipers on the rooftops.
Hours before this murder, a 40-year-old woman was also shot and killed by a sniper just meters away from the main gate of Nasser Hospital. She was trying to get food and water for her wounded son inside.
In Khan Younis, Israeli snipers shot and killed 3 sheep in the streets.
A Palestinian man was shot in the back and killed by a sniper as he searched for food.
On 5 February, 9 internally displaced persons were reported shot and killed at schools in Khan Younis in three separate incidents, according to UNRWA.
Earlier in the war, an Israeli sniper killed a Palestinian woman “older than Israel“; when snipers killed 2 women in a Christian church, the Pope called it “terrorism“; other cases have been documented of Palestinians being killed while they carried white flags (as well as 3 Israeli soldiers also waving a white flag).
Ramy Abdu, the Euro-Med monitor’s chairman, said: “Daily, Israeli snipers positioned on rooftops murder dozens of civilians & restricting movement of ambulances”.
Al Jazeera reports: Six people were reported killed in the Israeli shelling of a vehicle with a police logo in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday, according to reports from Wafa and the French news agency AFP.
Witnesses told the AFP that the six people were traveling in the vehicle which had been securing the passage of an aid truck carrying flour in Rafah’s Khirbat al-Adas neighborhood.
Photographs from the scene show first responders taking a body covered in blankets to an ambulance. The Israeli military did not immediately comment on the attack when contacted by the AFP.
Al Jazeera reports: Footage authenticated by Al Jazeera’s Sanad verification unit shows dozens of Israelis setting up tents at the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing to block trucks carrying humanitarian aid from entering Gaza.
Demonstrators are demanding the release of Israeli captives in Gaza before any more humanitarian relief crosses into the besieged Palestinian enclave.
On Tuesday, 132 aid trucks were stuck at Karem Abu Salem, unable to enter Gaza because of the demonstration.
Gisha, an Israeli group that for years has advocated increased humanitarian relief for residents of Gaza, said the Israeli government was not doing enough to keep the protesters from blocking aid.
“Gisha continues to call for the immediate release of the hostages and we extend our solidarity to the families of the hostages,” it said. “Israel must respect their right to protest while preventing the obstruction of vital aid to Palestinians in Gaza and ensuring continuous operation of the crossing.”
Andalou Agency reports: Nearly 3,000 residential units have been burnt out by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip since Oct. 7, the government media office said Wednesday.
“These houses were set on fire upon clear and direct instructions from army commanders to render these housing units uninhabitable,” it added in a statement.
It called on the international community to hold Israel accountable “for these ongoing crimes against the Palestinian people.”
Last week, Israeli media outlet Haaretz reported that army commanders had ordered soldiers to burn houses in Gaza “without legal approval.”
NOTE: More than 360,000 residential units in Gaza are destroyed or damaged, along with 390 educational facilities, and 221 places of worship.
Regarding the entrance of life-saving fuel into Gaza, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA says unimpeded access would have allowed for the delivery of at least 386,400 liters (102,076 gallons) of fuel in January.
Instead, Israel allowed access for fuel deliveries in northern Gaza only twice in January, with a single hospital receiving just 38,400 liters (10,144 gallons) and the other facilities remaining without fuel.
There were 13 consecutive access denials for deliveries to water and wastewater pumping stations.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) noted that fuel numbers should be considered indicative only because some missions were denied multiple times.
The World Health Organization reports that in Gaza, there is one toilet for approximately every 220 people, and one shower for every 4,500.
WEST BANK: Associated Press reports: Israeli forces arrested American Samaher Esmail after breaking into her home and pulling her from her bed in the occupied West Bank, family members told the Associated Press. “They didn’t even let her put on her hijab,” her brother said.
A video of the raid and arrest posted to social media by her son showed soldiers surrounding his handcuffed mother and putting her into an armored vehicle.
Israeli military said Esmail was arrested for incitement on social media and taken away for questioning.
Palestinian-American activist Linda Sarsour adds: Samaher Esmail, 46 year old American Citizen, born in New York and raised in New Orleans, has been abducted by ISRA£LI forces in the West Bank of PAL£STINE (Silwad) without warning. She is ill and requires medical attention. Her family has no knowledge of her whereabouts.
Esmail is from Gretna, Louisiana, the same hometown as 17-year-old Palestinian-American Tawfic Abdel Jabbar, who was recently shot dead by Israeli forces in a nearby village in the occupied West Bank.
Our @EdAhmedMitchell: “We call on the State Department to investigate this incident and secure the immediate release of Samaher Esmail before something even worse happens to her…" #CeasefireNOW #WestBank #Gazahttps://t.co/pNjGTBcvI8
— CAIR National (@CAIRNational) February 6, 2024
The Washington Post reports: “Two Palestinian American brothers in Gaza — Borak and Hashem Alagha, 18 and 20 — were detained early on Feb. 8 in a raid in Mawasi, an area west of Khan Younis that has been designated a “safer zone” by the IDF, a family member said.
Family members say they do not know where they are.
US taxpayers give Israel nearly $11 million per day.
AFP reports: Israel’s military on Wednesday proposed increasing the country’s mandatory enlistment and reserve service commitments “in light of the war’s challenges”. The army issued a statement outlining the proposed lengthening of required military service from 32 months to 36 months for men, and women serving in certain roles.
It also proposed increasing the required number of days of reserve service and extending the maximum age of soldiers and officers in the reserves. The proposed changes require approval by parliament to go into effect.
Israel has called up at least 287,000 reservists since the outbreak of war four months ago.
Axios reports: Secretary of State Tony Blinken told Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant in Jerusalem on Wednesday that the Biden administration is very concerned about a possible expansion of Israel’s military operation into Rafah, an Israeli official and a source briefed on the issue said.
Gallant told Blinken during the meeting that Hamas’ response to the hostage deal proposal will push Israel to expand its ground operation in Gaza, a senior Israeli official said.
“The response was drafted in a way that will make Israel reject it. Hamas’ position will lead to the continuation of the war and our forces to enter more places in Gaza soon,” Gallant told Blinken.
From James Elder of UNICEF:
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WEST BANK: Defense for Children International-Palestine reports: Israeli forces released a military dog into the Hashash family apartment the morning of February 4 after raiding Balata refugee camp, according to documentation collected by Defense for Children International – Palestine.
The dog ran into the apartment and began attacking four-year-old Ibrahim, tearing off his clothes in the incident and repeatedly biting him on the lower half of his body as he bled profusely, the group said.
“The attack continued for about three minutes before Israeli forces entered the apartment and removed the dog from Ibrahim. An ambulance brought Ibrahim to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, where he is being treated for internal and external injuries.”
DCIP documented four cases in 2023 where Palestinian children were attacked by Israeli military dogs. These cases include a 13-year-old boy in Tulkarem, a 14-year-old girl in Jenin, and two siblings aged eight and 12 in Tubas.
WEST BANK: WAFA reports: Two Palestinian, Zeyad Ali Daama, 39, and Islam Ibrahim al-Ali, 36. were killed tonight by Israeli occupation forces in the Nur Shams refugee camp, in Tulkarem, according to the Ministry of Health.
According to WAFA correspondent, the two men were inside the home of the al-Ali family, when Israeli military vehicles, including bulldozers surrounded it. After a six-hour military offensive, in which the house was demolished, the military withdrew.
Following their withdrawal, the ambulance crews managed to evacuate the bodies of the two men.
You can find more daily news from the Palestinian territories here:
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has penned a letter to US Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona, calling on him to reject the definition of antisemitism promoted by the International Holocaust Remembrance Association (IHRA), which has been widely criticized for defining criticism of Israel as antisemitic.
Palestinian rights advocates warn that adopting the IHRA definition could be used to silence criticism of Israel in the name of combatting anti-Jewish bigotry. The effect can “chill the exercise of First Amendment rights and risk undermining the agency’s legitimate and important efforts to combat discrimination,” according to the letter.
“In other countries that have adopted this definition, universities have routinely censored speech in a manner that would be unconstitutional if conducted by an American public university,” it adds.
See more information here.
NOTE: Pro-Israel organizations consistently work to silence Palestine advocacy on campus – a free speech violation. One strategy they use is to pressure universities to officially adopt the IHRA “definition” of antisemitism, which defines legitimate criticism of Israel as antisemitic. Other strategies include blocking prestigious appointments of and events with supporters of Palestinian rights, threatening to withhold major donations, and more. But supporters of Palestine on campus are fighting back.
It is also notable that pro-Israel orgs regularly sponsor trips to Israel for influencers and the influence-able – trips that invariably provide a whitewashed view of Israel and no exposure to the Palestinian narrative, and by withholding the truth, “buy” new Israel partisans.
Al Jazeera reports: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in meetings with Israeli officials Wednesday, discussed a number of expectations that the US has, including:
- The daily toll that its military operations continue to take on innocent civilians remains too high.
- Israel should open Erez (Beit Hanoun border crossing) so that assistance can flow to northern Gaza.
- Israel should expedite the flow of humanitarian assistance from Jordan.
- Israel should strengthen deconfliction and improve coordination with the humanitarian providers.
- Israel must ensure that the delivery of life-saving assistance to Gaza is not blocked for any reason or by anyone.
Blinken told reporters, “We have pressed Israel in concrete ways to strengthen civilian protection to get more assistance to those who need it [in Gaza]. Over the past four months Israel has taken steps to do just that.”
NOTE: Blinken has made similar demands in the months since the war began, but Prime Minister Netanyahu has rebuffed them.
Norwegian Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide announced the transfer of $26 million to UNRWA to provide assistance “to the 5.9 million Palestinian refugees in Gaza, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan”.
“UNRWA is the backbone of humanitarian efforts in Gaza. Its services are critical for millions of people in extreme need,” he said in a statement.
A number of major donors are withholding funding following allegations that 12 of the organization’s 13,000 staff in Gaza were involved in the October 7 attack.
“We should not collectively punish millions of people for the alleged wrongdoing of 12 staff members. I urge all donors that have suspended their support to think about the consequences. The situation is dire not only for the population of Gaza, but also for Palestinians throughout the Middle East,” Eide said.
Al Jazeera reports: The Iraqi group Kataib Hezbollah announced on its website that Wissam Muhammad Saber, also known as Abu Bakir al-Saadi, one of the group’s leaders, had been killed.
A short while later, the US army said that it “conducted a unilateral strike in Iraq … killing a [Kataib] Hezbollah commander responsible for directly planning and participating in attacks on [US] forces in the region,” referring to a recent attack on a US base in Jordan that killed three of the country’s service members. The US had pledged revenge for the attack and has carried out several strikes on Iraq, Syria and Yemen in pursuit of that goal.
I said what I said. https://t.co/jkjDAXfokp
— Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (@RepRashida) February 7, 2024
— Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (@JFREJNYC) February 7, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – FEBRUARY 7:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 7: at least 28,091* (27,708 in Gaza* (over 11,000 children, 7,500 women), and at least 383 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 35,096 Palestinian deaths.
About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.
Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 7: ~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); 225 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.”
*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.
- October 7th myths are still out there, killing Palestinians
- NYT: Where Is Hamas Getting Its Weapons? Increasingly, From Israel.
- 12 Essential Facts for Understanding the Current Israel-Gaza Violence
- Falk: Israel used Oct 7 attack as a pretext for its plan to expel Palestinians
- Synopsis of ICJ’s decision on Israeli genocide, reactions, and take-aways
- The West’s complete contempt for the lives of Palestinians will not be forgotten
- Israel has repeatedly rejected Hamas truce offers
- 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
- 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
- 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