Netanyahu says Rafah invasion is inevitable – Day 206

Netanyahu says Rafah invasion is inevitable – Day 206

10,000 Gazans missing under rubble; hostage deal or not, Rafah invasion will go on; ICC and ICJ news on several fronts; price tag for Gaza pier reaches $320 million; boycott news; growing campus protests; false report of ‘antisemitism’

By IAK staff, from reports

Over 10,000 people missing under rubble across Gaza since start of Israeli onslaught on Oct. 7

Andalou Agency reports: The Palestinian Civil Defense service on Tuesday said more than 10,000 people are still missing under the rubble across the Gaza Strip since the start of the Israeli onslaught against Gaza on Oct. 7.

“We estimate that there are over 10,000 missing people under the rubble of hundreds of destroyed homes since the start of the (Israeli) aggression,” a statement by the Civil Defense said.

It noted that those missing people are not included in the Health Ministry death toll list, “therefore, the number of martyrs exceeds 44,000.”

Its rescue teams started to recover bodies that are completely decomposed, from under the rubble from buildings in northern Gaza, it added.

Netanyahu says will invade Rafah ‘with or without a deal’

Associated Press reports: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged Tuesday to launch an incursion into the southern Gaza city of Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are sheltering from the almost 7-month-long war, as cease-fire negotiations between Israel and Hamas appear to be gaining steam.

Israeli PM Netanyahu is reportedly "frightened and unusually stressed" by the possibility of an imminent arrest warrant.
Israeli PM Netanyahu is reportedly “frightened and unusually stressed” by the possibility of an imminent arrest warrant. (photo)

Netanyahu’s comments came hours before U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrives in Israel to advance the truce talks — which appear to be one of the most serious rounds of negotiations between Israel and Hamas since the war began. The deal is meant to free hostages, bring some relief to the population and avert an Israeli offensive into Rafah and the potential harm to civilians there.

Netanyahu said Israel would enter Rafah to destroy Hamas’ battalions there regardless of whether a truce-for-hostages deal was struck or not. Netanyahu’s comments appeared to be meant to appease his nationalist governing partners but it was not clear whether they would have any bearing on any emerging deal with Hamas.

Middle East Eye adds: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his forces have started evacuating Palestinians from Rafah in preparation for their upcoming operation there.

He added that the chances of reaching a ceasefire and hostage deal are “slim” and that Israel will not accept a complete withdrawal from Gaza.

NOTE: The Biden administration has been clear in its disapproval of Israel’s plan to invade Rafah, but has funded it anyway, in spite of worldwide calls for an end to arms transfers and an end to the war, and despite the International Court of Justice’s ruling that Israel is plausibly committing genocide. Netanyahu has ignored almost all Biden administration demands thus far.

Gaza hospital staff questioned by ICC war crimes prosecutors

Reuters reports: Prosecutors from the International Criminal Court have interviewed staff from Gaza’s two biggest hospitals, two sources told Reuters, the first confirmation that ICC investigators were speaking to medics about possible crimes in the Gaza Strip.

The sources, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the subject, told Reuters ICC investigators had taken testimony from staff who had worked in the main hospital in Gaza City in the north of the enclave, Al Shifa, and the main hospital in Khan Younis in the south, Nasser.

Mass graves at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis
Mass graves at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis (photo)

US says ICC has no jurisdiction over Israel’s war on Gaza


NOTE: We will bring regular updates about the 2024 Freedom Flotilla until it arrives in Gaza.
NOTE: Read about the individuals who launched the flotilla movement over 16 years ago here.


Demonstrations are widespread – so are arrests

Associated Press reports: From coast to coast, demonstrators are sparring over the Israel-Hamas war and its mounting death toll, and the number of arrests at campuses nationwide is approaching 1,000 as the final days of class wrap up. The outcry is forcing colleges to reckon with their financial ties to Israel, as well as their support for free speech.

The plight of students who have been arrested has become a central part of protests, with the students and a growing number of faculty demanding amnesty for protesters. At issue is whether the suspensions and legal records will follow students through their adult lives.

RECOMMENDED READING (+972 Magazine): Israeli media’s inevitable hysteria over U.S. campus protests

Parents condemn NYPD sweep of NYU protests, call for president’s resignation

NYU’s independent student newspaper, Washington Square News, reports: Almost 600 “parents, guardians and loved ones” signed a letter criticizing President Linda Mills for what they said was “unnecessary and extreme violence” inflicted on students and faculty after the university authorized the New York City Police Department to sweep Gould Plaza’s Gaza Solidarity Encampment.

The letter, which also called on Mills to resign, came in response to an email to parents from Mills, Campus Safety head Fountain Walker and dean of students Rafael Rodriguez, which said there had been “disorderly, disruptive and antagonizing behavior” and reports of “intimidating chants and of antisemitic incidents” at the encampment.

The parents’ letter challenged Mills’ account of what occurred at the encampment, and said they had not been “offered any proof” of antisemitic incidents and that NYU’s claim was “touted to justify the brutalization” of students. They added that prior to the arrests, demonstrators had been “leading the group in a Jewish prayer and Seder service.”

NYU’s account of events has also been disputed by the university’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors, which said those inside the encampment and identified NYU protesters did not engage in any antisemitic behavior or intimidation.

Beckman previously told WSN the university received reports of antisemitic incidents through its Bias Response Line during the encampment, including “antisemitic chants and a Jewish student who was spat on, had something thrown at them and was the object of antisemitic slurs, while holding an Israeli flag.”

The parents wrote in their letter that NYU’s choice to deploy the NYPD reflects “the hypocrisy of the university’s restriction of free speech and freedom of assembly.”

“Democracy and freedom of speech, values that NYU supposedly upholds, were rendered obsolete in the light of recent events,” Faten Jaber, a signatory and parent of a Steinhardt student, told WSN. “Inviting the riot police to brutally arrest peaceful protesters of all backgrounds is in clear violation of students rights. NYU administration single-handedly proved that democracy is nothing but an exclusionary illusion.”

There are indications that some Israel partisans may be intentionally communicating false reports of alleged antisemitic incidents:


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Statement in solidarity with student protests for Gaza

Almost 200 civil rights and progressive groups in the United States have expressed solidarity with university students protesting against US support for Israel amid the war on Gaza.

The groups lauded the student protesters in a joint statement on Monday.

We, the undersigned organizations, stand in solidarity with the students nationwide and globally who are bravely protesting in encampments and otherwise to condemn Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza–actions which human rights organizations, a federal U.S. court, and the International Court of Justice have said “plausibly” constitute genocide.

We commend the students who are exercising their right to protest peacefully despite an overwhelming atmosphere of pressure, intimidation and retaliation, to raise awareness about Israel’s assault on Gaza – with U.S. weapons and funding. These students have come forth with clear demands that their universities divest from corporations profiting from Israeli occupation, and demanding safe environments for Palestinians across their campuses. The students’ courage and determination in the face of adversity inspire us all to take action and speak out against injustice wherever it occurs. As they risk everything right now, it is critical that all of us do everything we can to support them.

We join them in calling for an immediate and lasting ceasefire and an end to the U.S. government’s and institutions’ role in the ongoing genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.

As we stand in solidarity with the students protesting in encampments across the country, we reaffirm our commitment to amplifying their voices, condemn the university administration officials’ violent response to their activism, and demand that universities remove the presence of police and other militarized forces from their campuses.

(See the list of signatories here.)

Rights groups say pro-Palestinian protests ‘repressed’ in Europe

Al Jazeera reports: Rights groups say authorities in Europe are clamping down on pro-Palestinian protests.

“We see hate speech laws and counterterrorism laws being instrumentalized, being weaponized to go after what is legitimate speech under international standards,” Amnesty International researcher Julia Hall said.

Hall added that there has been “an avalanche of cancellations and targeting of peaceful protesters, academics, anyone who is basically out there in solidarity with Palestinian human rights or is criticizing the state of Israel”.

In at least 12 EU member states, authorities have taken “disproportionate measures, including the preemptive banning of protests based on apparent risk to ‘public order’ and ‘security’”, the Brussels-based European Civic Forum said in a report published this month.

French authorities have banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations, cancelled conferences and most recently summoned two far-left politicians for police questioning over alleged “support for terrorism” while Germany this month barred entry to former Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis “to prevent any anti-Semitic and anti-Israel propaganda”.

Al Jazeera: ‘We scorned them’: Military, political and human costs of Israeli hubris
Palestine Chronicle: As pro-Palestinian protests escalate, Israel lobby’s attack on academic freedom continues
Middle East Monitor: Israel army ‘deliberately’ leaves explosives in citizens’ homes in Gaza, gov’t media office alleges
IMEMC News Reports


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – April 29: at least 35,154* (34,654 in Gaza* (at least 14,690 children, 9,680 women), and at least 500 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 42,510 Palestinian deaths.

At least 42 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 1.1 million (out of total population of 2.3 million) are facing Catastrophic levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – April 29: at least 81,664 (including at least 77,229 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 29: ~1,418 (~1,139 on October 7, 2023, of which ~32 were Americans, and ~36 were children); 263 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 16 in the West Bank) and~8,730 injured.

Times of Israel reports: The IDF also listed 41 soldiers killed due to friendly fire in Gaza and other military-related accidents – nearly 16%.

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.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.

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