More hospital invasions, massacres, rape – and UNRWA banned in north – Day 170

More hospital invasions, massacres, rape – and UNRWA banned in north – Day 170

Now three hospitals in Gaza under siege, with horrific stories coming out; Israel bans all UNRWA aid deliveries in northern Gaza, as famine draws closer; sexual violence against Gazan women is underreported, say UN rapporteurs; yet another flour massacre kills at least 20; NGOs pressure Biden admin to honestly engage with Israel on compliance with int’l law; Palestinian children in prison; US implies consequences are a possibility if Israel attacks Rafah; more

By IAK staff, from reports

HOSPITALS INVADED – Andalou Agency reports: With Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City already under a brutal siege for nearly a week, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported on Sunday that Israeli forces stormed the Nasser Medical Complex and Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

“Israeli occupation vehicles are besieging both Al-Amal Hospital and Al-Naser Hospital amidst very intense shelling and heavy gunfire,” the society said in a statement.

“All of our teams are in extreme danger at the moment and are completely immobilized,” it also said.

New York Times adds: The raid on Al-Shifa has also focused international attention on the dire situation faced by hospitals and the patients sheltering there, according to local authorities. Many of the 30,000 Palestinians who the Gaza Health Ministry said had been sheltering at Al-Shifa were displaced once again by the raid.

The Gazan authorities said that at least 13 patients had died as a result of the raid because they were deprived of medicine and treatment, or when their ventilators stopped working after the Israelis cut the electricity. Those claims could not be verified.

The Gaza Health Ministry said on Saturday that patients still in Al-Shifa were in critical condition, with maggots beginning to infect wounds.

The Israeli military troops killed five medical staff inside al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, according to Gaza’s government media office. They are still trapping hundreds of patients and displaced people inside this medical facility.

Earlier Sunday, Israeli military vehicles suddenly entered near the Nasser Medical Complex, coinciding with a series of Israeli raids in various areas of the city causing deaths and injuries, according to eyewitnesses.

The PRCS added that Israeli troops closed the gates of the hospital with barriers, and everyone in the hospital was told to leave naked.

French President Emmanuel Macron warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that forcible population transfer is a war crime that violates international law, condemning “Israeli announcements on settlements” in talks with the Israeli leader.

UNRWA BANNED FROM NORTHERN GAZA – Al Jazeera reports: The head of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) says Israel informed the UN that it will no longer approve any aid convoys run by the agency.

The announcement comes just days after Israel had opened an additional crossing in northern Gaza.

“This is outrageous [and] makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a man made famine. These restrictions must be lifted”, Philippe Lazzarini wrote in an X post.

He warned that the move will speed up the coming of famine in the north of the Gaza Strip, and said that “many more will die of hunger, dehydration”.

Famine is likely to occur by May in northern Gaza and could spread across the enclave by July, the world’s hunger watchdog, known as the Integrated Food-Security Phase Classification (IPC), said last week.

The IPC said 70 percent of people in parts of northern Gaza were suffering the most severe level of food shortage, more than triple the 20 percent threshold to be considered famine. In all, 1.1 million Palestinians in Gaza, about half the population, were experiencing “catastrophic” shortages of food.

A photo taken by Al-Jazeera journalist Anas Al-Sharif shows a Palestinian family eating grass in Gaza
A photo taken by Al-Jazeera journalist Anas Al-Sharif shows a Palestinian family eating grass in Gaza (photo)

SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST PALESTINIAN WOMEN UNDERREPORTED – Al Jazeera reports: As accounts of sexual violence against Palestinian women in Gaza are coming out, two women special rapporteurs of the UN say the issue is underreported and undervalued.

Reem Alsalem, the UN special rapporteur on violence against women and girls, said in a post on X that it is “abhorrent” that reports of rape by Israeli forces keep coming out without any consequences.

“Rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide! It must stop!”

Francesca Albanese, the UN special rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territory, said, “I lost count of how many renowned journalists interviewed me on the alleged mistreatment of/sexual abuse against Palestinian women by Israeli forces, and never published any article on this”.

Also read: Report: Israeli forces strip, rape pregnant Gazan woman in public
Shmuel Eliyahu
Shmuel Eliyahu, chief rabbi of Safad, who justified the rape of non-Jewish women and advocated genocide in Gaza. (Mercaz HaRav)

UNRWA LEADER RESPONDS TO BAN – Al Jazeera reports: Martin Griffiths, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator at the UN, says he repeatedly urged Israel to lift all its restrictions on aid to Gaza, but it has now done the exact opposite.

“UNRWA is the beating heart of the humanitarian response in Gaza,” he said about the UN organisation for Palestinian refugees, which has now been told by Israel that its food convoys to northern Gaza will be blocked entirely despite the humanitarian disaster there.

“The decision to block its food convoys to the north only pushes thousands closer to famine. It must be revoked.”

Palestine Chronicle adds: The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs saw the decision as “a direct threat to a prestigious and credible UN institution that serves the issues of Palestinian refugees and is concerned with their rights, not only in the occupied Palestinian territory, but also for Palestinian refugees in the region, especially their right to return.”

NOTE: UNRWA lost millions in funding at the end of January, after dozens of countries, led by the US, suspended its financial support following allegations by Israel that some of its employees were involved in the October 7 resistance operation. Israel has yet to provide evidence for its claims.
The EU, Canada and Sweden announced earlier this month that they will resume funding for UNRWA while investigations by an independent UN-appointed panel into the workings of the agency continue.
On Saturday, US President Joe Biden signed into law a $1.2 trillion budget bill, which halts funding to UNRWA until March 2025.
UNRWA was created by the UN General Assembly more than 70 years ago to carry out direct relief and works programmes for Palestine refugees.
More at Palestine Chronicle“No Words Can Describe the Suffering” – Horrific Testimonies from Al Shifa


A man carries children injured in the Israeli bombardment of Rafah
A man carries children injured in the Israeli bombardment of Rafah (photo)

YET ANOTHER FLOUR MASSACRE – Al Jazeera reports: Israel has again attacked the roundabout in the south of Gaza City, a major distribution point for the little humanitarian aid that reaches the starving Palestinians there, our colleagues at Al Jazeera Arabic are reporting.

Our correspondents say that the attack was on members of a tribal committee that organizes aid distribution at the roundabout. Earlier this month, Israel carried out an attack on the same committee, killing at least 20.

Video verified by Al Jazeera from a Palestinian journalist shows the casualties caused by this attack, the exact number of which is unclear at this time.

NGOs: ISRAEL IS LYING ABOUT WEAPONS COMPLIANCE – Middle East Eye reports: In a joint statement, 14 NGOs have come together to state that Israel is not in compliance with US President Joe Biden’s national security memorandum that barred recipients of US weapons from obstructing humanitarian aid in conflict zones.

The statement was backed by 13 other organizations supporting their findings.

“Our organizations and partners have experienced these blockages of aid and attacks first hand, and they are costing Palestinian lives,” the groups said, adding that “sufficient public information is available to the U.S. government that documents these constraints on humanitarian access and violations of international humanitarian law.”

“Given the tempo of the conflict in Gaza, rapid deterioration in the humanitarian crisis, and impending famine, we urgently request that the U.S. government speed up its assessment timeline and demand full and unimpeded humanitarian access into and across Gaza, adherence to international humanitarian law, and an immediate and sustained cease-fire,” they add.

Among those to sign the statement include Doctors Without Borders, International Rescue Committee, Oxfam America and Save the Children US while groups like Amnesty International USA and Refugees International lent their support.

Four of six Palestinian brothers (Nasser, Nasr, and Sharif) pose with their parents. They have been in jail since 2002. Two more brothers, Mohammad and Islam, are in prison as well; a sixth brother, Abdul Meniem, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in 1994.
Four of six Palestinian brothers (Nasser, Nasr, and Sharif) pose with their parents. They have been in jail since 2002. Two more brothers, Mohammad and Islam, are in prison as well; a sixth brother, Abdul Meniem, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers in 1994. (photo)

CHILDREN IN PRISON – Andalou Agency reports: Some 24 Palestinian children from the Gaza Strip are held by Israel at Megiddo Prison, according to prisoners’ affairs groups on Sunday.

“Around 94 children are held at the prison in northern Israel, including 24 from Gaza,” the Commission of Detainees’ Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoners Society said in a joint statement.

According to the statement, Israeli authorities keep in custody some 200 Palestinian children, including more than 40 held without charge or trial under Israel’s notorious policy of administrative detention.

US ON RAFAH – Al Jazeera reports: US Vice President Kamala Harris tells ABC News that the US has been “clear” that a military operation against Rafah operation would be a “huge mistake”.

“I have studied the maps. There is nowhere for those folks to go and we’re looking at about a million and a half people in Rafah who are there because they were told to go there,” Harris said.

“We’ve been very clear that it would be a mistake to move into Rafah with any type of military operation”.

When asked if there would be any consequences if Israel presses on with its plans despite US condemnation, Harris said she was “ruling out nothing”.

Palestinians inspect the damage of residential buildings after an Israeli air strike in Rafah
Palestinians inspect the damage of residential buildings after an Israeli air strike in Rafah (photo)

ISRAELIS KILL A PALESTINIAN CONVERT TO JUDAISM – JTA reports: The Israeli military is investigating reservist soldiers who shot dead David Ben Avraham, a Palestinian who converted to Judaism to honor his grandfather for rescuing Jews during the deadly 1929 Hebron riots.

The soldiers considered the 63-year old suspicious when he got off the bus on Thursday in the West Bank near Elazar, an Israeli settlement where Jews normally alight, Israeli media said. They found a small knife that he kept for self-defense while searching his belongings and shot him. There was no reported evidence that he tried to use the knife.

One of the first reports of the incident was by Noam Arnon, a spokesman for Israeli settlers in Hebron, where Ben Avraham lived. Arnon, in grief-stricken language, reported the incident on Arutz Sheva, a right-leaning Israeli news site.

“This morning, the life of David Ben Avraham, a convert who above all wanted to join the people of Israel, came to a tragic end,” Arnon wrote.

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