‘Our children are dying from hunger’ – Day 62

‘Our children are dying from hunger’ – Day 62

Gaza on ‘brink of full-blown collapse’, Israeli troops strip and kidnap dozens of Gazan civilians; State Dept. officials fear Netanyahu will drag US into wider war; US resumes drone flights over Gaza; US vetoes Security Council resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza

Network of wealthy pro-Israel investors, tech executives, & Israeli officials work to shape online discourse and silence pro-Palestinian voices

Palestinian deaths since Oct 6 now over 17,000 (nearly 8,000 are children & infants), Israeli deaths ~1,147 (~30 are children)

Humanitarian update

‘Our children are dying from hunger’: Hundreds of displaced people have been queuing at the UN aid distribution center in Deir el-Balah, hoping to receive essential supplies during the Israeli bombardment. Shaban Halawa, a displaced Palestinian from northern Gaza, says he was promised he’d find food upon reaching the area.

“We arrived here and found a famine. Everyone is dying of hunger,” he said, adding that he’s been waiting for nearly a week to receive flour rations. Halawa says his children are “crying from hunger”.

A trickle of humanitarian aid: The Palestinian Red Crescent says its teams have received 69 aid trucks containing “essential supplies.” It said it received the trucks despite the “challenges in receiving and distributing aid” via the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.

No space left: Influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to Rafah continued on 7 December. Since 3 December, tens of thousands of IDPs have arrived, the majority from across the Khan Younis governorate. Humanitarian actors in Gaza are reporting extreme overcrowded conditions and lack of basic resources in Rafah, where there is no empty space left for people to shelter, not even in the streets and other open areas. Thousands of people wait for hours in large crowds around aid distribution centers as people are in desperate need of food, water, shelter, health, and protection. There are concerns of a breakdown in law and order under these conditions.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Are Israel’s attempts to demoralise the Palestinians backfiring?
Yaffa Hospital severely damaged by Israeli attacks in Gaza’s Deir el-Balah
Yaffa Hospital severely damaged by Israeli attacks in Gaza’s Deir el-Balah (photo)

Other Gaza news

Males of all ages were arrested, beaten, and stripped by Israeli soldiers Thursday. They were taken to an undisclosed location.
Males of all ages were arrested, beaten, and stripped by Israeli soldiers Thursday. They were taken to an undisclosed location. (photo)

Hundreds of Palestinian men stripped, detained by Israeli army in Gaza: Hundreds of Palestinian boys and men over the age of 15 have been rounded up by occupation forces in northern Gaza, stripped of their clothes and taken away. Shocking images and video footage circulating online show the boys and men stripped to their underwear and left sitting on the ground in the cold winter temperatures in Gaza. They can be seen surrounded by heavily armed Israeli occupation soldiers who are screaming orders at them. Further images show an army people carrier filled with the men being driven away.

It is not clear how many boys and men were disappeared, but some reports have put the figure as high as 700. They are said to have been taken from shelter schools in northern Gaza where thousands of displaced civilians were forced to take shelter as a result of the bombing and destruction of their neighborhoods and homes.

Several men were reportedly shot dead when they hesitated to remove their clothes.

Based on a fraudulent briefing by an Israeli military spokesperson, Israeli and some Western media have misreported this as an incident of Hamas members surrendering to Israeli forces.

For more details, see this and this.

An aerial photo shows displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Younis setting up camp in Rafah, December 7, 2023
An aerial photo shows displaced Palestinians who fled Khan Younis setting up camp in Rafah, December 7, 2023 (photo)
Palestinians walk through destruction in Gaza City on November 24, 2023
Palestinians walk through destruction in Gaza City on November 24, 2023 (photo)

West Bank, Jerusalem news

Palestinians prevented from worshipping at Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem: Every week, young worshippers heading to Al-Aqsa Mosque are prevented from entering. Israeli forces, every Friday, push them back with tear gas and water spray. They only allow those who are older to get past.

Usually, around 60,000 to 70,000 worshippers attend Friday prayer at Islam’s third holiest site. Last week, it was around 5,000.

Israelis are saying they’re doing this to prevent any tension because there’s a war and under an emergency law. But Palestinians see it as another excuse to prevent movement and to stop them from being able to go about their daily lives.

Israeli forces stand guard as Palestinian Muslims perform Friday noon prayers on the street in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud on December 1, 2023
Israeli forces stand guard as Palestinian Muslims perform Friday noon prayers on the street in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Ras al-Amud on December 1, 2023 (photo)

Israel news

Estimated 3-4 more weeks of war in Gaza: A senior Israeli defense official said Israel expects the high-intensity phase of the war would likely last another three to four weeks, and would include operations in southern Gaza.

A senior Israeli official said Israeli Defense Forces “have made significant progress” in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, but that the operation in the southern city of Khan Younis, where Israel believes Hamas leadership is located, “has just started.”

Netanyahu threatens Hezbollah: Netanyahu’s threat, in the form of an X post accompanying a video message, came after the Israeli army said anti-tank fire from Lebanon hit an Israeli civilian. “If Hezbollah makes a mistake, it will turn Beirut and South Lebanon into Gaza and Khan Yunis,” the Israeli prime minister’s threat reads.

The Israeli army said it “attacked the sources of the fire using helicopter gunships, tanks and artillery fire”.

Police cancel ultranationalist march in Jerusalem, saying terms were violated: A far-right march organized by Kahanists and Jewish ultranationalists which had been slated to go through the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem was stopped by police Thursday night before it even got going.

Police had approved the controversial march on Wednesday despite high tensions in the country amid the ongoing war with Hamas in Gaza, but blocked the procession as soon as it set out from IDF Square

A police spokesperson said marchers had violated the terms of the event as agreed with police, by bringing inflammatory signs and leading provocative chants. [Read more about ultranationalist Israelis here.]

The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups towards Israeli population centers has continued over the past 24 hours, with no reported fatalities. (Information on rocket attacks is here.) It appears that the last time a rocket killed an Israeli was October 7-8, as reported by Ha’aretz and the Times of Israel. 15 Israelis were killed – 10 of them Palestinian Israelis who reportedly had no access to bomb shelters.  Rockets have killed a total of 35 Israelis over the 22 years they’ve been fired.

Latest from US and elsewhere

U.S. Officials privately raise fears of conflict sparking a broader war: “One week into the resumed Israeli military campaign in Gaza, U.S. officials and foreign policy experts are increasingly afraid Israel’s operation will fuel a broader conflict, drawing in Lebanon and expanding throughout the Middle East, potentially forcing American troops into the fight.”

A loose network of wealthy pro-Israel investors, tech executives, and Israeli government officials work to promote Israel:

The wealthy individuals, advocates, and groups hound Israel critics on social media; fire pro-Palestine employees and cancel speaking engagements; smear Palestinian journalists; and attempt to ship military-grade equipment to the IDF.

They identify enemies, and collaborate on ways to defend Israel in the media, academia, and the business world.

“The participants included major venture capitalists and technology executives, such as Jordan Blashek, the President of America’s Frontier Fund, a national security investment firm backed by former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.” Also Oded Hermoni, Batsheva Moshe, and “prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist Jeff Epstein – a former CFO of Oracle – and Andy David, a diplomat-cum-venture capitalist who also serves as the Israeli foreign ministry’s head of innovation, entrepreneurship, and tech.”

“Gadi Hutt, senior director of business development at Amazon-owned subsidiary Annapurna Labs, has helped the J-Ventures team pressure the Amazon online marketplace.”

“The group also includes individuals affiliated with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC)

“‘You guys are our frontline soldiers,” said Tamar Schwarzbard, head of Digital Diplomacy at the Israeli Foreign Ministry.'”

prominent Silicon Valley venture capitalist Jeff Epstein, a former CFO of Oracle, is part of a group working on behalf of Israel. (photo)

“Yet again American diplomacy is leaving scorched earth and destruction in its wake,” said the deputy Russian envoy to the UN, adding that Washington has failed to exhibit “common sense”. Riyad Mansour, the Palestinian envoy called the move “beyond regrettable.”

It is disastrous. The Security Council was again prevented from rising to this moment to uphold its clear responsibilities in the face of this grave crisis threatening human lives and threatening regional and international peace and security.

Instead of allowing this council to uphold its mandate by finally making a clear call after two months of massacres that the atrocities must end, the war criminals are given more time to perpetuate them.

How can this be justified?

Gilad Erdan, representative from Israel, said in a tweet, “I thank the United States and President Biden for standing firmly by our side, today and showing their leadership and values.”

US Ambassador Alternate Representative of the US for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations Robert A. Wood raises his hand during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Gaza, at UN headquarters in New York City on December 8, 2023.
US Ambassador Alternate Representative of the US for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations Robert A. Wood raises his hand during a United Nations Security Council meeting on Gaza, at UN headquarters in New York City on December 8, 2023. (photo)

US deputy ambassador to UN refers to Israel as ‘our people’: Speaking at the Security Council, US envoy Robert Wood referred to the October 7 Hamas attacks as the “worst attack on our people” in decades. Al Jazeera’s senior political analyst Marwan Bishara said the statement underscores that Israel is treated as the “51st state” of the US.

“The Biden administration the past two months have been parroting the Israeli lines, sometimes you would think they were basically taking exactly the same words phrases and sentences and using them as their own,” he said. The statement by Wood, he said, is “actually echoing the thing that people have been saying for the last two months: You don’t know if it’s America speaking for America or it’s America speaking for Israel.”

Biden administration asks Congress’ approval for more weapons sales to Israel: The Biden administration has asked Congress to approve the sale of 45,000 shells for Israel’s Merkava tanks for use in its offensive against Hamas in Gaza, according to a U.S. official and a former U.S. official.

The potential sale, worth more than $500 million, is not part of President Joe Biden’s $110.5 billion supplemental request that includes funding for Ukraine and Israel. It is under informal review by the Senate Foreign Relations and House of Representatives Foreign Affairs committees, which allows members the privilege to stall the sale, or have informal discussions with the administration about concerns [read about Biden’s proposed military aid package here].

Israeli Merkava tanks positioned in the upper Galilee in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon on October 11
Israeli Merkava tanks positioned in the upper Galilee in northern Israel near the border with Lebanon on October 11 (photo)

New Pew poll shows low approval for Biden’s handling of Gaza war: The prominent US pollster’s newest study says that only 35 percent of people in the US approve of the Biden administration’s response to the war. Among members of the US president’s own Democratic Party, only 44 percent approve of his handling.

Twenty-seven percent of those polled by Pew say that Israel has gone too far in its military operations in Gaza, and 16 percent say Israel is not going far enough. Among Democrats, 45 percent say Israel has gone too far.

Harvard, Penn, MIT presidents testify about alleged “antisemitism” on campus: Earlier this week, the presidents of Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania and the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology testified at Congress on how their colleges are combating campus anti-Semitism, which observers say has been on the rise since Hamas’s October 7 attack.

But the testimonies from the college heads have made them targets of criticism from supporters of Israel and Palestine alike. Some have even called for their resignations or legal action.

Congress members argued that under free speech protections, anti-Semitic comments and behavior had been enabled on their college campuses. However, pro-Palestine students have pushed back, saying that calls for Palestinian liberation should not be conflated with anti-Semitism.

RECOMMENDED VIEWING: Activists challenge claims of anti-semitism

Blinken says gap exists between Israel’s ‘intent’ to protect civilians and reality: Speaking during a news conference with UK Foreign Minister David Cameron, the top US diplomat defended what he described as some of Israel’s efforts to prevent civilian casualties in its operation in Gaza. However, Blinken said, there remains a “gap” between their intent and the reality on the ground. “As we stand here, almost a week into this campaign in the south after the end of the humanitarian pause … it remains imperative that Israel put a premium on civilian protection,” he said.

US resumes drone flights over Gaza: The surveillance flights, which had been paused during the break in fighting agreed to by Israel and Hamas, have been resumed in an effort to locate the captives still held in the enclave.

US official: We have not given Israel a cut-off date for Gaza war: White House aide John Finer said the US has “not given a firm deadline to Israel” to end its military operations in Gaza:

It’s not really our role, this is their conflict.

That said, we do have influence, even if we don’t have ultimate control over what happens on the ground in Gaza, and we are trying to use our influence to steer that conflict in the most constructive, in our view, way possible.

Earlier this week, CNN reported that the US expects Israel to wrap up major combat operations in Gaza “by January”.

Senate Dems propose amendment adding conditions to Israel aid: Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), one of the amendment sponsors, said in a statement,“It is imperative that all assistance to Israel abide by U.S. and international law, prioritize the protection of civilians, assure the provision of desperately needed humanitarian assistance to civilians in Gaza, and align with a long-term vision for peace, security, and two-state diplomatic solution,”

The amendment, sponsored by 13 Senate Democrats, takes aim at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s resistance to allow humanitarian aid to enter the Gaza Strip, with the early days of the operation against Hamas marked by Israel cutting off electricity, fuel, water, food and aid deliveries into Gaza.

‘What is taking so long?’: Palestinian envoy asks why no ICC action against Israel: Speaking at an event at the UN, Palestinian ambassador Majed Bamya asked why the International Criminal Court (ICC) has yet to prosecute Israel for violations of international law against Palestinians:

Nine years we have been party to the ICC, nine years no consequences. What is taking so long?”

Is there any single legal expert – a decent legal expert – that can tell me [why] it’s hard to make a case about settlements against Israeli leaders?”

The comments come after ICC prosecutor Karim Khan said he would intensify an ongoing investigation into crimes against Palestinians. That came after a much-criticized visit to Israel and the occupied West Bank, with some Palestinians who met Khan accusing him of being disengaged and uninformed on the issues facing the territories.

Israeli authorities have recently approved the construction of more than 1,700 new homes, according to Israeli NGO Peace Now.

Israeli settlements in occupied territories are illegal under international law.

WATCH: Israeli army shoots Palestinian street vendor: A Palestinian man with special needs, who was trying to make his way home from work in Hebron in the occupied West Bank, has been shot at point-blank range by Israeli soldiers.

Statistics as of Dec. 7:

Palestinian death toll: OCHA reports at least 17,276* (~17,016 in Gaza* (6,121 women and 7,870 children), and at least 260 in the West Bank). This does not include an estimated 7,780 more still buried under rubble. Euro-Med Monitor reports 20,360 Palestinian deaths.

*IAK does not yet include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile is being disputed; although much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, experts are still looking into the incidentIsrael is blocking an international investigation. Israel killed more Palestinians in a little over a month after Oct. 7 than in all the previous 22 years combined.

Palestinian injuries: 49,368** (including at least 46,000 in Gaza** and 3,368 in the West Bank). **NOTE: it is impossible to offer an accurate number of injuries in Gaza due to the ongoing bombardment and communication disruption. 

It remains unknown how many Americans are among the casualties. in Gaza**. About 1.9 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population).

Reported Israeli death toll ~1,147  (7 killed in West Bank, 93 in Gaza), including 32 Americans, and 5,431 injured, approximately 30 children).

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel may have been caused by Israeli soldiers; additionally, since Israel has a policy of universal conscription, it is unknown how many of those attending the outdoor rave a few miles from Gaza on stolen Palestinian land were Israeli soldiers.

Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates hereFor more news, go here and here.**** Live broadcast news from the region is here.

Hover over each bar for exact numbers.
Source: IsraelPalestineTimeline.org

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