US has no plans to reduce arms shipments to Israel, rebuffs “immediate ceasefire,” prefers to wait for negotiated ceasefire – as Israel prepares to attack Rafah, where half of Gazans are now sheltering; meanwhile, in a PR nightmare for Biden, half of Americans say Israel has “gone too far” and Arab and Muslim Americans give him cold shoulder;
Rafah is “a pressure cooker of despair, and we fear for what comes next”; World Food Program still struggling against Israel’s restrictions on aid; 800 Western officials criticize Western policy toward Gaza, Israel; Bernie Sanders wants to “ensure zero funding for the continuation of Netanyahu’s illegal, immoral war”; US strikes Syrian and Iraqi targets, but “does not seek conflict in the Middle East,” and more
By IAK staff, from reports
The United Nations reports: More than 100,000 Palestinians are either dead, injured, or missing and presumed dead in the besieged Gaza Strip, the World Health Organization (WHO) has announced.
“An estimated 17,000 children are unaccompanied or separated from their parents – 1% of the 1.7M displaced population. Gaza is being strangled and the world seems to have lost its humanity.”
Associated Press reports: Half of U.S. adults say Israel’s 15-week-old military campaign in Gaza has “gone too far,” a finding driven mainly by growing disapproval among Republicans and political independents, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
The poll shows 33% of Republicans now say Israel’s military response has gone too far, up from 18% in November. Fifty-two percent of independents say that, up from 39%. Sixty-two percent of Democrats say they feel that way, roughly the same majority as in November.
In all, 50% of U.S. adults now believe Israel’s military offensive has gone beyond what it should have, the poll found. That’s up from 40% in an AP-NORC poll conducted in November.
Middle East Monitor reports: The US Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, Barbara Leaf, said yesterday that Washington has no plans to reduce arms shipments to Israel.
“In a word, no – we are not contemplating that,” Leaf said when asked if the Biden administration is currently contemplating a reduction in the pace of arms deliveries to Israel.
Leaf was at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, an Israel Lobby organization connected to AIPAC, from 2018 until joining the Biden administration in January 2021, a director of the Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics.
Electronic Intifada reports: Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza is turning into a public relations disaster for the US. It is a startling case of tail wagging dog.
And in a country that styles itself as the world’s preeminent superpower, the question has to be: How long will Washington allow itself to be embarrassed and humiliated by an ally that is effectively on trial for genocide?
Might Washington seize on the International Court of Justice ruling that Israel has a genocide case to answer as an excuse to finally put its murderous ally back in its box?
Or will Netanyahu’s defiance of his main supporter be brushed under the carpet as it has been for decades, not least since the Oslo accords were signed 30 years ago, a period in which Israel has vigorously pursued a settlement project in occupied territory that is intended to undermine the very possibility of an independent Palestinian entity that Washington says it wants, and which the US has simply ignored. (Read the full article here.)
RECOMMENDED READING (The New Arab): On Gaza war, Biden stopped worrying about facts and spread misinformation from world’s top pulpit
The New Arab reports: Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant said on Thursday that the military has completed the mission of “dismantling Hamas” in Khan Younis, the largest city in Gaza’s south, and will turn its attention towards Rafah, a border city where tens of thousands of Palestinians have fled to.
There, Gallant claimed, Israel would “eliminate everyone there who is a terrorist who is trying to harm us.”
A few hours after Gallant’s speech, Israel intensified its attacks on Rafah, which now hosts at least half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population, many of whom have fled there from Khan Younis and Gaza City.
Many now fear that a military assault on Rafah and could become a humanitarian breaking point, given the huge number of civilians crammed into such a small urban area.
Beyond Rafah is the Egyptian border, which has been sealed tightly by Cairo – meaning that there is no escape from Gaza.
Reuters reports: On Friday, Israeli forces shelled the outskirts of Rafah, the last refuge on the southern edge of the Gaza Strip. The displaced population, penned against the border fence in their hundreds of thousands, has nowhere left to flee.
More than half of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are now homeless and crammed into Rafah. Tens of thousands more have arrived in recent days, carrying belongings in their arms and pulling children on carts, since Israeli forces last week launched one of the biggest assaults of the war to capture adjacent Khan Yunis, the main southern city.
Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said, “Rafah is a pressure cooker of despair, and we fear for what comes next.”
As Israel prepares for an unprecedented attack on Rafah, Reuters reports: U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said on Friday that Algeria’s draft Security Council resolution calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire could jeopardize “sensitive negotiations” aimed at brokering a pause in Israel’s war.
The U.S. and Israel oppose a ceasefire, believing it would only benefit Hamas. Washington instead supports pauses in fighting to protect civilians and free hostages taken by Hamas.
Washington traditionally shields its ally Israel from U.N. action and has already twice vetoed council action since Oct. 7. But it has also abstained twice, allowing the council to adopt resolutions that aimed to boost humanitarian aid to Gaza and called for urgent and extended humanitarian pauses in fighting.
The World Food Program has said that convoys delivering food assistance have been barred from reaching northern Gaza throughout the week, even as the prospect of famine stalks the strip. Humanitarian officials have consistently reported that Israeli authorities are overwhelmingly rejecting aid delivery efforts, especially to northern Gaza.
“For the third time this week, convoys meant for northern Gaza haven’t been able to reach. We need faster and sustained access to prevent famine,” said Matthew Hollingworth, WFP director for Palestine.
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RECOMMENDED READING (Al Jazeera): One week after ICJ ruling, is Israel following the court’s orders?
CNN reports: More than 800 officials from the United States and Europe have signed a scathing criticism of Western policy towards Israel and Gaza, accusing their governments of possible complicity in war crimes. Among them are around 80 United States officials and diplomats, a source told CNN.
The statement, entitled “It Is Our Duty To Speak Out When Governments’ Policies Are Wrong,” declares there is a “plausible risk that our governments’ policies are contributing to grave violations of international humanitarian law, war crimes and even ethnic cleansing or genocide.”
The officials accuse their governments of failing to hold Israel to the same standards they apply to other countries and weakening their own “moral standing” in the world.
The statement “shows the depths of concerns and outrage and just horror that all of us are witnessing,” a US official with more than 25 years’ experience, who signed the letter, told CNN on Friday.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today released a statement Friday announcing his plan to introduce an amendment to the foreign aid supplemental package that would remove $10.1 billion in emergency offensive weaponry funding for Netanyahu’s right-wing government.
The amendment preserves funding for defensive systems that will protect Israeli civilians against incoming missile and rocket attacks.
The statement calls the level of death and destruction in Israel “unacceptable,” adding, “The United States cannot be complicit in this humanitarian disaster.” His amendment would “ensure zero funding for the continuation of Netanyahu’s illegal, immoral war against the Palestinian people.”
Al Jazeera reports: The United States military has launched dozens of air strikes against targets in Syria and Iraq in the first retaliation for a drone attack that killed three soldiers at a remote US base in Jordan.
CENTCOM said the 85 targets that were struck included command and control operations centers, intelligence centers, weapons storage sites and other facilities connected to the militias or the IRGC’s Quds Force, the Guard’s expeditionary unit that handles Tehran’s relationship and arming of regional groups.
“These airstrikes constitute a violation of Iraqi sovereignty … and pose a threat that could lead Iraq and the region into dire consequences,” Iraqi military spokesman Yahya Rasool said in a statement after the strikes.
A White House statement declares, “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”
France 24 reports: “The US strikes in the west of Iraq killed at least 16 people, including civilians, Iraqi government spokesman Bassem al-Awadi said on Saturday.
The US strikes in the west of Iraq killed at least 16 people, including civilians, Iraqi government spokesman Bassem al-Awadi said on Saturday.
“The security of Iraq and the region will find itself on the brink of an abyss” because of the strikes, Awadi said in a statement, and denied “false allegations” that there had been “prior coordination” with Washington over the strikes. The US strikes overnight in eastern Syria killed 23 pro-Iran fighters, a war monitor said Saturday in a new toll.”
Washington Post reports: President Biden made his first campaign visit to Michigan on Thursday, studiously avoiding any interaction with the large Arab American community in this state, which has been outraged over U.S. support for Israel’s war in Gaza.
RECOMMENDED READING (Al Jazeera): ‘Love of my life’: Shot dead, waiting for her husband in the West Bank
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – FEBRUARY 2:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 2: at least 27,401* (27,131 in Gaza* (over 11,000 children, 7,500 women), and at least 382 in the West Bank (98 children). This does not include an estimated 8,000 more still buried under rubble (70% women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 33,360 Palestinian deaths.
About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.
Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 2: ~1,705 (~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); 224 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 10 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.”
*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.
Find previous daily casualty figures and daily news updates here.
- NYT: Where Is Hamas Getting Its Weapons? Increasingly, From Israel.
- 12 Essential Facts for Understanding the Current Israel-Gaza Violence
- Falk: Israel used Oct 7 attack as a pretext for its plan to expel Palestinians
- Synopsis of ICJ’s decision on Israeli genocide, reactions, and take-aways
- The West’s complete contempt for the lives of Palestinians will not be forgotten
- Israel has repeatedly rejected Hamas truce offers
- Why the Guardian’s ‘Hamas mass rape’ story doesn’t pass the sniff test
- Israel’s torture and humiliation of female and male Gazan prisoners
- Coverage of Gaza War in NYTimes & other major papers heavily favored Israel, analysis shows
- Two reports debunk New York Times ‘investigative report’ of mass rape on October 7th
- Israel’s Assault on Gaza Is Unlike Any War in Recent Memory
- US poised to give Israel $18 billion in aid this year
- Gaza Civilians, Under Israeli Barrage, Are Being Killed at Historic Pace