Netanyahu wants to ethnically cleanse Gazans using US-made port – Day 166

Netanyahu wants to ethnically cleanse Gazans using US-made port – Day 166

Netanyahu’s ethnic cleansing scheme; aid workers killed; Israel won’t coordinate rescue for injured; new film on October 7th; multiple Palestinians killed in West Bank; Netanyahu + Congress; Jack Lew’s laughable endorsement of Israel; Canada halts arms exports to Israel; campaign to get Israel boycott in FIFA; more

By IAK staff, from reports

NETANYAHU’S ETHNIC CLEANSING SCHEME – Middle East Monitor reports: The head of the Israeli occupation government, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has proposed the use of the “new port” to be built by the US on the Gaza coast to displace Palestinians from the enclave, Israel’s Kan broadcaster has reported. Kan noted that the proposal was presented by Netanyahu at a special meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.

“The port can facilitate the exit of the Palestinians from Gaza,” Netanyahu was quoted as saying. “There is no obstacle to the Palestinians leaving the Gaza Strip, except for the unwillingness of other countries to accept them.”

Netanyahu’s proposal to displace the Palestinians was met with Palestinian anger. The Secretary-General of the Palestinian National Initiative (PNI), Mustafa Barghouti, said in a post on X, “Netanyahu revealed his intentions towards the American port in Gaza in his presentation at Israeli Knesset security committee saying that the port can be used to transfer Palestinians out of Gaza. He never gave up his dream of a complete ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in Gaza.”

Palestinians walk past the ruins of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Gaza City
Palestinians walk past the ruins of houses destroyed by Israeli strikes in Gaza City (photo)

AID WORKERS KILLED – More than 100 aid workers have been killed and dozens wounded over the past week in eight attacks carried out by Israeli forces, according to the Government Media Office in Gaza.

The media office said in a statement the targeting of aid workers was part of Israel’s strategy to “perpetuate the policy of starvation and deepen famine on a broader scale”.

NO HELP FOR THE INJURED – A spokesperson for Gaza civil defense Mahmoud Basal said that Israel refused to coordinate with international groups such as the Red Cross in order to allow rescue crews access to “hundreds” of wounded Palestinians in the vicinity of al-Shifa Hospital in north Gaza.

Basal called Israel’s decision “an extension of the policy of slow execution of innocent and wounded citizens under siege.”

On Monday, Israeli forces launched a new assault on the medical complex and its surrounding area, killing at least 90 people and detaining hundreds. (Read eyewitness accounts of the hospital raid here and here.)

HAMAS REJECTS ISRAEL’S HOSPITAL NARRATIVE – Reuters reports: Hamas has rejected Israel’s claim that its forces “eliminated terrorists and located weapons in the hospital area” of al-Shifa Medical Complex during its raid that began on Monday.

The Israel military said in a statement that it killed about 90 “terrorists” at the hospital “while preventing harm to civilians, patients, medical teams, and medical equipment”. It also published the names and photographs of two Israeli soldiers killed in the operation.

Ismail al-Thawabta, director of Gaza’s Hamas-run government media office, stated that all of those killed had been wounded patients and displaced people inside the hospital.

An injured Palestinian woman walks in the emergency area in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah on March 19, 2024, following Israeli bombardment in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip
An injured Palestinian woman walks in the emergency area in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir el-Balah on March 19, 2024, following Israeli bombardment in the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip (photo)

NEW FILM ON OCTOBER 7In an investigation called “October 7,” Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit (I-Unit) reveals widespread human rights abuses by Hamas and other fighters, but it also shows how many of the worst stories that came out in the days after the attacks in southern Israel were false.

The I-Unit examined seven hours of footage from CCTV, dashcams, personal phones and headcams of dead Hamas fighters. It reviewed the testimonies of hundreds of survivors, military personnel and first responders, drawing up a comprehensive list of the dead.

The investigation also found that many claims after the attack were untrue, including about a house in the Be’eri kibbutz, where the Israeli army said eight babies were killed.

The list of the dead reveals there were no babies there and, in fact, the 12 Israelis who died were almost certainly killed by Israeli ground forces.

October 7 is a deep dive into a bloody day that has led to the killings of tens of thousands of people, the significance of which will reverberate for decades. (Trigger Warning.)

WAFA REPORTS ON MULTIPLE PALESTINIAN DEATHS IN WEST BANK: Three Palestinians were killed and one was seriously injured Wednesday evening in Israeli drone bombings that targeted a Palestinian vehicle on the outskirts of Jenin, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS).

Eyewitnesses said that Israeli drones targeted the vehicle with at least two missiles, setting it ablaze.

Additionally, between Wednesday night and Thursday morning, Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian young men during a massive, wide-scale raid by Israeli occupation forces into the occupied West Bank city of Tulkarm and Nur Shams refugee camp.

During the raid, Israeli forces called on the residents of Al-Mansheya neighborhood in the camp via loudspeakers to leave their homes, before leaving them outdoors in the cold weather, and turned a number of houses to military barracks while shooting randomly at everything moving.

This raid reportedly involved over 50 Israeli military vehicles and heavy bulldozers; Israeli surveillance and reconnaissance drones hovered over the camp and the adjacent city of Tulkarm, amid reports of intense gunfire and explosions.

Also, one Palestinian, an 18-year-old young man, was killed, two others were injured, by Israeli gunfire in the refugee camp of al-Am’ari, near Ramallah, security sources confirmed. He died as a result of critical wounds he sustained after being shot in the head.

In addition, a 63-year-old Palestinian man was killed on Thursday morning by Israeli occupation forces south of Bethlehem.

Palestinian ambulance crews were not allowed to approach or transport the slain Palestinian’s body, but an Israeli ambulance confiscated the body.

Ha’aretz adds that the man was stopped at a checkpoint, where Israeli soldiers took his bag to check it. When he lowered his hands, he was shot by one of the soldiers, who claimed that he feared the man would attack them.

The soldiers involved belong to the IDF’s “regional defense” battalions [Hagmar battalions in Hebrew]. These battalions are made up of settlers who were recruited to reserve duty with the purpose of protecting the settlements in the West Bank.

The Israeli army stated that it was not an attempted attack, and added that it is investigating the details of the incident.

NETANYAHU MAY ADDRESS CONGRESS – CNN reports: US House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson says he’s considering inviting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress.

“It’s one of the things that we have in mind, and we may try to arrange for that,” Johnson told reporters. He said it’s “very important” for the United States to show solidarity and support for Israel “right now in their time of great struggle”.

Middle East Monitor adds: Yesterday, Netanyahu spoke about the war on Gaza in a video call with Republican senators, and then requested to deliver a speech to the Democratic senators on the same day. US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer rejected the request of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address the Senate Democratic caucus.

An American official reported that Schumer told Netanyahu that these talks should not be conducted in a “partisan manner” and that meetings with foreign leaders in the Senate are always held together with Democratic and Republican lawmakers.

Schumer is described as the highest-ranking Jewish elected official in the US and formerly a close friend of Netanyahu.

Children wait to receive food from a charity kitchen in Rafah in southern Gaza
Children wait to receive food from a charity kitchen in Rafah in southern Gaza (photo)

SENATORS URGE BIDEN ON 2-STATE SOLUTION – In a letter to President Biden, nineteen Democratic senators have said the Middle East crisis had “reached an inflection point” that required US leadership beyond past “facilitation” of Israeli-Palestinian talks.

“As such, we request the Biden administration promptly establish a bold, public framework outlining the steps necessary” to establish a Palestinian state over both the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the senators wrote.

The senators said they have been “particularly disappointed” by Netanyahu’s “refusal to engage on a path to a Palestinian state.”

Jack Lew, US ambassador to Israel
Jack Lew, US ambassador to Israel (photo)

ASSURANCE ON LAWFUL USE OF US ARMS  “COMICAL,” “ABSURD” – Huffington Post reports: U.S. Ambassador to Israel Jack Lew on Tuesday privately told the State Department that Israel is following American and international law in its handling of weapons and humanitarian aid in its offensive in Gaza — deepening divisions between senior figures in the Biden administration, and other U.S. officials and aid experts who say Israel’s actions are breaking the law.

Lew made the claim in a diplomatic cable endorsing a letter he received from Israeli defense minister Yoav Gallant last week, two U.S. officials who saw the cable told HuffPost.

A US policy requires all countries that receive American military support to abide by U.S. and international law. For Biden to maintain his backing of Israel, Secretary of State Antony Blinken must endorse Israel’s commitments to abide by the policy by March 25, a process that one U.S. official said Lew’s cable is meant to help advance.

U.S. official who read Lew’s cable told HuffPost that it made “an absurd argument.” Brian Finucane, a former State Department lawyer, reacted to Tuesday’s revelation by deeming Lew’s assessment almost comical.

CANADA SUSPENDS ARMS EXPORTS TO ISRAEL – Reuters reports: Canada has not approved new arms export permits to Israel since Jan. 8 and the freeze will continue until Ottawa can ensure the weapons are used in accordance with Canadian law, the government said on Wednesday in a statement, drawing the ire of Israeli leaders.

“Canada has one of the most rigorous export permit regimes in the world. There are no open permits for exports of lethal goods to Israel,” the statement said, adding, “Since January 8th, the government has not approved new arms export permits to Israel and this will continue until we can ensure full compliance with our export regime.”

Canadian law bars the export of weapons if they could be used in “a serious violation of international humanitarian law” or “serious acts of violence against women and children”. Ottawa must also consider whether the arms “would contribute to peace and security or undermine it”.

Israel has historically been a top recipient of Canadian arms exports with $15.6m worth of military materiel exported to Israel in 2022, according to government data.

A baby, hospitalised due to malnutrition and dehydration, lies in an incubator at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, Gaza
A baby, hospitalised due to malnutrition and dehydration, lies in an incubator at Kamal Adwan Hospital in Beit Lahiya, Gaza (photo)

FIFA TO DISCUSS SANCTIONING ISRAEL – Sportstar reports: The Palestine Football Association is urging FIFA sanctions against Israel. A statement says “the loss of innocent lives, including no less than 99 footballers” and the “destruction of residential units … are clear violations of international laws…”>All the football infrastructure in Gaza has been either destroyed or seriously damaged.”

Six other member nations have reportedly endorsed the proposal, and it will be on the agenda at FIFA’s upcoming congress in May.

Israel’s football association responded to the petition by saying it “always followed FIFA regulations and always will”.

FIFA has taken action against member nations over the actions by their governments before, banning Russian teams from international competition following its 2022 invasion of Ukraine.

ISRAELI SPOKESMAN SUSPENDED – Ha’aretz reports: Israel’s English-language government spokesman and professional hasbara expert Eylon Levy has been suspended from his post by the National Public Diplomacy Director, Moshik Aviv. The Prime Minister’s office confirmed the suspension but did not specify the reason.

According to speculation by Israeli news outlets, including a report on Channel 12’s evening news program on Tuesday, Levy’s suspension stems from controversial comments he made on X in response to British Foreign Secretary David Cameron’s post concerning humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians.

More news:

IMEMC news reports
Al Jazeera: Gaza ceasefire talks: What are Israel and Hamas saying?
Al Jazeera: In Indonesia and Malaysia, boycotts hammer McDonald’s, Starbucks
Axios: Scoop: White House will propose alternative Rafah options to Israel
Mondoweiss: There is nothing we can do about Israel other than everything
Middle East Monitor: Israeli Chief of Staff admits targeting senior officials to put pressure on Hamas in negotiations
Middle East Monitor: Israel stripped of ‘liberal democracy’ status by prominent global index
Middle East Eye: Palestinian mothers express hope and fear on Int’l Mother’s Day

Translation: Major destruction to the home of a Palestinian family in the El-Geneina neighbourhood in Rafah, after an Israeli air strike killed and wounded several people. 


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – March 18: at least 32,423* (31,988 in Gaza* (72% women and children), and at least 435 in the West Bank (116 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 Famine levels of food insecurity.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – March 20: at least 78,878 (including at least 74,188 in Gaza and 4,690 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – March 20: ~1,403 (~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); 251 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 15 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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