More aid workers killed in Gaza in a few weeks than in any of the last 26 years world wide – Day 179

More aid workers killed in Gaza in a few weeks than in any of the last 26 years world wide  – Day 179

Humanitarian aid crisis deepens as groups suspend services in Gaza, citing safety concerns; survival on 245 calories a day; journalist deaths; devastation at Al Shifa Hospital; Israeli doctor: legs amputated due to handcuff injuries is a routine event; regarding World Central Kitchen massacre: “every commander sets the rules for himself”; UN entertains resolution to impose arms embargo on Israel; Palestine hopes to apply for full membership in UN; Biden cancels iftar meal due to lack of interest, more

By IAK staff, from reports

Israel killing aid workers at unprecedented rate

New York Times reports: 161 aid workers were killed in Gaza in the last weeks of 2023. That total is larger than all aid worker deaths worldwide in every year since 1997, when the aid worker database started collecting figures.

The Times reports: “According to the Aid Worker Security Database, a compilation of data on attacks funded by the United States Agency for International Development, 203 aid workers have been killed in Gaza since the war started.” All were Palestinian, except for six of the World Central Kitchen workers most recently killed, who were citizens of the United States, Britain, Australia, Canada, and Poland.

CNN reports: The founder of US nonprofit World Central Kitchen (celebrity chef Jose Andres) has accused Israel of targeting his aid workers “systematically, car by car”

WCK urged the governments of those killed to press for an inquiry, and said they have asked the Israeli government “to immediately preserve all documents, communications, video and/or audio recordings, and any other materials potentially relevant” to the strikes in order to “ensure the integrity” of an investigation.

FOOD DISTRIBUTION to starving Gazans imperiled

Al Jazeera’s Tareq Abu Azzoum reports from Rafah: Palestinians in Gaza are shocked and concerned about the repercussions of Israel’s attack on aid workers. World Central Kitchen is one of the main food distributors in the territory, providing more than 40 million meals since October.

Despite growing international calls to increase aid deliveries, this attack essentially brought humanitarian work to a standstill – despite thousands of Gaza residents staring down starvation conditions.

AID GROUP ANERA SUSPENDS OPERATIONS – Al Jazeera reports: American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera) is one humanitarian organization among many that decided to halt its work in Gaza after the killing of seven aid workers from World Central Kitchen.

“This is something that we were forced to do to ensure our safety,” Sandra Rasheed, Anera’s Palestine country director, told Al Jazeera. “Our staff have guided our work, and they, themselves, feel like there’s a target on their backs.”

Rasheed said the decision to suspend operations was difficult because the situation for Palestinians worsens each day. She said her organization was distributing close to 150,000 hot meals a day.

UNRWA STILL BLOCKEDIsrael has continued to block the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) from bringing food and other aid into northern Gaza, where hunger is most prevalent, UNRWA says in its latest situation update.

The amount of aid entering Gaza as a whole has also remained low with an average of 161 aid trucks reaching the enclave per day throughout March, well below the target of 500, according to UNRWA.

In addition, three more UNRWA members have been killed in Gaza hostilities, it said, bringing the total number of the agency’s staff killed since October 7 to 176.

Palestinian child crying amid a crush of children in line to receive food prepared by volunteers for Palestinian families displaced to southern Gaza by Israeli attacks, on February 10, 2024
Palestinian child crying amid a crush of children in line to receive food prepared by volunteers for Palestinian families displaced to southern Gaza by Israeli attacks, on February 10, 2024 (photo)

SURVIVAL ON 245 CALORIES A DAY – Middle East Monitor reports: People in the north of Gaza have been forced to survive on an average of 245 calories a day — less than a 400g (14 oz.) can of fava beans — since January, as Israeli forces continue their military onslaught, Oxfam has revealed. Over 300,000 people are believed to still be trapped there, unable to leave.

The minuscule amount of food represents less than 12 per cent of the recommended daily 2,100 calories intake needed per person, calculated using demographic data considering variations by age and gender. Last week, the Israeli government told UNRWA, by far the largest aid provider in Gaza, that its convoys would no longer be allowed into the north of the enclave.

Oxfam’s analysis is based on the latest available data used in the recent Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis for the Gaza Strip. The NGO also found that the total food deliveries allowed into Gaza for the entire 2.2 million population since last October amounted to an average of just 41 per cent of the daily calories needed per person.

The Israeli government has known for nearly two decades exactly how many daily calories are needed to prevent malnutrition in Gaza, calculating this according to both age and gender within its “Food Consumption in the Gaza Strip – Red Line” document. Not only did it use a higher calculation of 2,279 calories per person, but it also took into account domestic food production in Gaza, which the Israeli military has now virtually obliterated.

“RETURN TO SENDER” – Reuters reports: A sea convoy of undelivered food for Gaza returned to Cyprus on Wednesday after aid workers of World Central Kitchen (WCK) were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Monday evening.

A cargo ship carrying 240 metric tons of food that had been destined for the people of the beseiged Palestinian enclave sailed back to Larnaca in Cyprus following the deadly attack, dropping anchor just outside the port.

A second ship, the Open Arms owned by a Spanish NGO working with WCK, arrived earlier.

The undelivered aid was part of a consignment of about 340 tons sent to Gaza from Cyprus on March 30. The aid workers killed in Gaza had just finished unloading 100 tons from a barge, also sent from Cyprus.

WCK, active in Gaza since October, has paused operations in the territory since the killings, and turned around its flotilla of ships back to Cyprus.

NBC anchor asks Catherine Russell, executive director of UNICEF, about the situation in Gaza for the 1 in 3 babies with acute malnutrition:

180-Day statistics for Gaza

Al Jazeera reports: Gaza’s media office has released updated “key figures” to mark 180 days since Israel launched its deadly assault on the besieged enclave.

Here are some of the most notable figures, according to the office:

    • At least 32,975 Palestinians have been killed, including 14,500 children.
    • Thousands more remain missing or trapped under the rubble.
    • At least 484 medical staff members have been killed.
    • More than 75,500 Palestinians have sustained injuries.
    • Around 17,000 children have lost either one or both parents.
    • More than one million people have been affected by infectious diseases due to repeated displacement.
    • More than 300 medical staff members and 12 journalists have been arrested by Israeli forces.
    • At least two million Palestinians are now internally displaced in Gaza.
    • 70,000 housing units have been completely destroyed.

As’ad Essam Al-Qoneiri
As’ad Essam Al-Qoneiri (photo)

Deaths – journalists & West Bank

Gaza’s media office says two more Palestinian journalists have been killed in attacks by Israeli forces in the enclave. This brings the total number of journalists and media representatives killed since October 7 to 140, it said.

IMEMC reports: On Thursday dawn, Israeli soldiers assassinated a Palestinian, As’ad Essam Al-Qoneiri, 28, in Ya’bad town, south of Jenin in the occupied West Bank’s northern part. The Palestinian Health Ministry has confirmed that undercover Israeli soldiers surrounded a home, shot, and killed As’ad Essam Al-Qoneiri, 28.

Media sources said the soldiers left As’ad, a former political prisoner, bleeding without any medical aid until he succumbed to his wounds after they refused to allow Palestinian medics to reach him.

Destruction of Al Shifa Hospital

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) commented Wednesday on the destruction at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City following the Israeli army’s two-week raid. Following are excerpts:

“Over the last few days, WHO’s team in Gaza has been seeking permission to access what is left of the hospital, to speak with staff and to see what can be saved. But at the moment, the situation looks disastrous.

“Al-Shifa was the largest hospital and main referral centre in the Gaza Strip, with 750 beds, 26 operating rooms, 32 intensive care rooms, a dialysis department and a central laboratory.

“I repeat: hospitals must be respected and protected; they must not be used as battlefields.”

The head of the nursing department at Al-Shifa Hospital, Dr Jadallah Sahafie, said Israel’s two-week raid on Gaza’s largest medical complex is a ‘deliberate’ act to destroy the hospital that had been catering to over 2,000 patients and performing more than 100 surgical operations daily.”

The hospital also had over 26 operating theatres, 32 intensive care rooms, a central laboratory, and a 62-bed emergency centre, providing services to more than 250,000 people annually, including some 17,000 surgical operations.

Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza lies in ruins after 2-week Israeli siege
Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza lies in ruins after 2-week Israeli siege (photo)

More on the World Central Kitchen massacre

Ha’aretz reports: The army’s killing of seven aid workers in the Gaza Strip on Monday night stemmed from poor discipline among field commanders, not a lack of coordination between the army and aid organizations, army sources said on Tuesday.

The sources accused the IDF’s Southern Command of trying to deflect blame. A source in the intelligence branch said the command “knows exactly what the cause of the attack was – in Gaza, everyone does as he pleases.”

Army regulations say that final approval for any action against sensitive targets like aid organizations must be given by senior officers – the division commander, the head of the command or even the chief of staff. But in Gaza, the source said, “every commander sets the rules for himself” and gives his own interpretation of the rules of engagement.

Israeli doctor: legs amputated due to handcuff injuries is a routine event

Ha’aretz reports: A doctor at the field hospital set up at the Sde Teiman detention center to hold arrested Gazans described conditions that he said could compromise the inmates’ health and put the government at risk of violating the law, in a letter sent last week to Israel’s defense minister, health minister, and attorney general.

He wrote, “Just this week, two prisoners had their legs amputated due to handcuff injuries, which unfortunately is a routine event,” the physician said in the letter. He said inmates are fed through straws, defecate in diapers, and are held constant restraints, which violate medical ethics and the law.

“From the first days of the medical facility’s operation until today, I have faced serious ethical dilemmas. More than that, I am writing [this letter] to warn you that the facilities’ operations do not comply with a single section among those dealing with health in the Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law,” the doctor writes.

According to the doctor, more than half of the patients at the facility’s hospital are there due to injuries sustained due to constantly being handcuffed during their detention in Israel. The handcuffs, he said, cause serious injuries that “require repeated surgical interventions.”

He stressed that all the patients at the hospital are handcuffed by all four limbs, regardless of how dangerous they are deemed

Palestinian prisoners were brought to Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah in south of Gaza as a result of the torture inflicted upon them during detention by Israeli forces in inhumane conditions
Released Palestinian prisoners were brought to Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah in south of Gaza as a result of the torture inflicted upon them during detention by Israeli forces in inhumane conditions (photo)


– The Guardian reports: The UN Human Rights Council will consider a draft resolution on Friday calling for an arms embargo on Israel, citing the “plausible risk of genocide in Gaza”, reports Agence France-Presse (AFP).

If the draft resolution is adopted, it would mark the first time that the UN’s top rights body has taken a position on the war in Gaza.

Barron’s reports: “The draft resolution circulated on Wednesday condemns the ‘use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in Gaza”‘and demands Israel ‘uphold its legal responsibility to prevent genocide.'”

It “calls upon all states to cease the sale, transfer and diversion of arms, munitions and other military equipment to Israel… in order to prevent further violations of international humanitarian law and violations and abuses of human rights”.

The council will reportedly discuss on Friday whether to adopt the resolution, alongside three other resolutions concerning Israeli settlements, the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, and human rights in the occupied Syrian Golan.

Riyad H. Mansour (born 21 May 1947) is a Palestinian-American diplomat and since 2005 has been the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations.
Riyad H. Mansour (born 21 May 1947) is a Palestinian-American diplomat and since 2005 has been the Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations. (photo)


Reuters reports: The Palestinian Authority wants the United Nations Security Council to vote this month to make it a full member of the world body, the Palestinian U.N. envoy told Reuters, a move that can be blocked by Israel’s ally the United States.

Riyad Mansour, who has permanent observer status in the U.N., made the Palestinian plans public as the war between Israel and Palestinian Hamas militants in Gaza nears a six-month milestone and Israel is expanding settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Middle East Monitor adds: The US believes that a Palestinian state must be born through direct negotiations and not within the framework of the UN, according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller.

“That is something that should be done through direct negotiations through the parties, something we are pursuing at this time, and not at the United Nations,” Miller told reporters. He did not clarify whether the US would use its veto against any such proposal. The stance is ironic, given that the occupation state of Israel claims legitimacy through the UN Partition Plan for Palestine adopted in November 1947 as General Assembly Resolution 181.

Biden’s Iftar dinner cancelled

From Al Jazeera: The White House has cancelled a Ramadan iftar meal after several Muslim Americans declined the invitation in protest of President Joe Biden’s support for Israel’s war on Gaza, according to two people familiar with the matter.

President Joe Biden attends an event on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in the Rose Garden.
President Joe Biden attends an event on Friday, Sept. 22, 2023, in the Rose Garden. (photo)

The sources, who spoke to Al Jazeera on condition of anonymity, said the cancellation on Tuesday came after Muslim community members warned leaders against attending the White House meal.

Edward Ahmed Mitchell, the deputy director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also said the event was nixed because so many people chose not to attend, including invitees who had initially agreed to go.

“The American Muslim community said very early on that it would be completely unacceptable for us to break bread with the very same White House that is enabling the Israeli government to starve and slaughter the Palestinian people in Gaza,” Mitchell told Al Jazeera.

Both CNN and NPR had reported on Monday that the White House was preparing a small community iftar.

But hours later, on Tuesday, the White House announced instead that it would be hosting a meal for Muslim government staffers only and holding a separate meeting with a few Muslim American community figures.

The cancelled iftar underscores Biden’s struggle to stem growing anger in US Arab and Muslim communities over his unconditional support for Israel.

Critics warn the outrage could translate into peril for Biden at the ballot box during November’s presidential election.

More news

Middle East Eye: Israel won’t release journalist whose sick baby is solely reliant on breast milk
Al Jazeera: Gaza ceasefire talks stall as Israel and Hamas dig in
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – April 3: at least 33,713* (33,249 in Gaza* (14,280 children, 9,340 women), and at least 464 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 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 Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – April 3: at least 80,577 (including at least 75,577 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 3: ~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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