Hamas’ ceasefire counterproposal; Israeli troops shoot at Gazans waiting for aid, kill another journalist, prepare to invade Rafah; Israeli leaders in denial about torture of Gazans, settler violence; January figures show Israel’s belligerence about humanitarian aid deliveries; investigation starting on possible Israeli killing of its own on October 7th; West Bank violence, terrible prison conditions; Harvard under investigation; Palestinian in Texas stabbed; Pro-Israel billionaires back anti-Palestinian propaganda in US…
By IAK staff, from reports
OCHA reports: Flooding has been a significant issue; the area around Pumping Station 7B is flooded posing a potential crisis with overflow of sewage in the vicinity of the station. This is further compounded by fuel shortage, which impedes the operation of sewage stations.
Reports of people coming into direct contact with sewage-contaminated floodwaters in the streets are deeply troubling. Technical assessments are needed to estimate damage and potential impacts.
The initial findings from screenings for malnutrition indicate a sharp increase in acute malnutrition. About 3,500 children aged 6 to 59 months, were screened; global acute malnutrition (GAM) was found at a rate of 9.6 per cent, representing a twelve-fold increase compared to the GAM rate of 0.8 per cent recorded before the beginning of hostilities.
Furthermore, data from northern Gaza indicate a 16.2 per cent GAM rate, which is above the World Health Organization (WHO) critical threshold of 15 per cent. This sharp rise in acute malnutrition suggests that, without adequate preventive and curative services, the situation will worsen.
— الجزيرة فلسطين (@AJA_Palestine) February 6, 2024
Jake Morland of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said he had never before been confronted with “such extreme suffering” as witnessed in Gaza City.
In a video interview, Morland recounts a mission to Gaza City in December to evacuate 12 critically injured patients from the Ahli Arab Hospital.
“As we entered the hospital, we saw wagons driven by five, six-year-old children, donkey carts, being driven into the hospital compound with their dying parents on the wagon behind,” Morland recounts in the video, released on social media by the UN.
“I don’t think I've ever been anywhere where I've seen such extreme suffering.”
In December, humanitarians coordinated a mission to #Gaza City to evacuate critically injured patients.
What they encountered was deeply harrowing.
Jake Morland, from our team, recounts that day. pic.twitter.com/E83oiZTJaM
— UN Humanitarian (@UNOCHA) February 5, 2024
Reuters reports: Hamas has proposed a ceasefire to quiet the guns in Gaza for four-and-a-half months, during which all hostages would go free, Israel would withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip and an agreement would be reached on an end to the war.
The group’s proposal – a response to an offer sent last week by Qatari and Egyptian mediators and cleared by Israel and the United States – came during the biggest diplomatic push yet for an extended halt to the fighting.
Israel’s Channel 13 cited a senior official as saying some of the demands presented by Hamas were not acceptable to Israel, without providing details. Israel has previously said it will not pull its troops out of Gaza until Hamas is wiped out.
The report quoted the unidentified official as saying Israeli authorities would debate whether to reject Hamas’s proposals outright or ask for alternative conditions.
But the Hamas offer, in a document seen by Reuters and confirmed by sources, appears to finesse Hamas’s longstanding demand for a full end to the war as a pre-condition before releasing hostages it seized on Oct. 7 in the raid that precipitated Israel’s assault.
Read the full text of Hamas’ response to the ceasefire proposal here.
Al Jazeera’s Hani Mahmoud reports from Rafah: It’s just non-stop Israeli attacks on the people of Gaza, not only people lining up for aid in Gaza City but others fleeing residential homes seeking shelter elsewhere. They’re being fired at either by attack drones or heavy machine guns. Armored vehicles are also raiding evacuation centers in neighborhoods across Gaza City and other northern areas.
Hungry, cold and traumatized people were waiting for aid trucks yesterday when Israeli forces opened fire on them in Gaza City. Many were women and children trying to get their hands on whatever was available. The wounded were rushed to al-Shifa Hospital – overrun and almost out of service. The vast majority of those who arrived lost their lives.
In southern Khan Younis city, the exact same scenario is repeating itself: more bombing, more killing, more maiming. The destruction cycle continues.
RECOMMENDED READING: Gaza: Palestinian returns to his area but hardly recognises where he lived
Israel’s +972 Mag reports: In recent days, the Israeli army has dropped leaflets ordering residents to evacuate Khan Younis, and some 120,000 Palestinians have fled the city through a supposedly “safe corridor” spanning from the west of the refugee camp to the area of Al-Mawasi near Al-Aqsa University.
The passage through this corridor, however, which is made up of three Israeli military checkpoints, has for many Palestinians been one of the most harrowing ordeals since the war began.
According to testimonies from Palestinians who have made the journey, including one of the authors, those passing through the corridor were forced to chant slogans against Hamas; many had their belongings confiscated; and men were separated from their families, stripped, and subjected to hours of physical abuse and deprivation. All the while, thousands remain trapped inside Khan Younis, unable to leave their shelters out of fear of being shot on the streets.
Read some of their stories here.
Al Jazeera reports: Israeli authorities are reviewing military plans for an attack on southern Rafah, a city once called a “safe zone” where Palestinians were ordered to move to.
“Residents of the Gaza Strip will be evacuated from Rafah before initiating military operations there,” Israeli public broadcaster KAN quoted “political sources” as saying.
On Monday, Israel’s Defense Minister Yoav Gallant reiterated the military’s “next target” in Gaza will be Rafah, claiming it’s the last remaining Hamas stronghold.
Rights groups have warned against any Israeli offensive in Rafah, which could result in a huge loss of lives with an estimated 1.4 million people sheltering there.
Quds News Network reports: The Gaza Government Media Office announces the death of Journalist Dr. Rizk Al-Gharabli, director of the Palestinian Media Center in the Gaza Strip, bringing the journalist death toll in Gaza to 123 since the start of the Israeli genocide.
Palestine Chronicle reports: At least 135 crimes were committed by Israeli forces against Palestinian journalists, including the killing of 12 media members, in January.
According to the Freedom Committee at the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, eight journalists were killed by direct missile and small-arms attacks on their homes in the Gaza Strip, and four others died while on the job.
In the occupied West Bank, the Syndicate reported 50 cases of attacks against journalists, including physical assault, detaining press crews, preventing them from doing their job, and targeting them with live fire.
"We stand all night. Our children are sick because of the cold and the rain"
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) February 6, 2024
Translation: Sewage water floats on the tents of displaced people in the city of Rafah, south of the Gaza Strip.
Times of Israel reports: US State Department spokesperson Vedant Patel said footage of an Israeli soldier standing over a stripped, bound and wounded Palestinian in Gaza is “deeply troubling”.
The short clip, taken inside a school in Gaza City’s Remal neighborhood, was uploaded to Instagram by Yosee Gamzoo, who appears to be the featured soldier. He deleted the post as well as his Instagram account after the post went viral.
The unidentified Palestinian is shown sitting on a chair with his hands bound behind his back. An open wound is seen on one thigh, a nail in one of his bare toes.
Asked about the footage in a briefing, Patel said, “I will leave it to the IDF to speak to those specific situations, but we have been clear to them that the respect for basic human rights, that humanitarian law needs to be respected and that those who do not comply need to be held accountable,” he added.
The IDF says the clip was filmed during questioning, and that the suspect was not hurt.
“After a short questioning, the detainee was released,” the IDF added.
Since October 7th, released Palestinian prisoners have consistently reported torture; the use of torture – including toward children – is a staple of Israeli incarceration of Palestinians.
"The guy himself published this picture, imagine the things we don't know"
State Department confronted about Israeli soldier who posted photo of himself torturing a handcuffed, wounded naked Palestinian man pic.twitter.com/LgC1SdD76u
— In Context (@incontextmedia) February 6, 2024
Al Jazeera reports: Israeli protesters at the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing have blocked 132 humanitarian aid trucks from entering Gaza, according to Israel’s Channel 12. The media outlet also reported that 70 trucks had managed to enter the Gaza Strip before the blockade by the protesters began.
Video footage appears to show very few troops in the area, which was declared a closed military zone in order to keep protesters away.
OCHA reports on January humanitarian aid statistics:
Aid to North of Wadi Gaza: 16% of planned aid missions were facilitated.
Aid to South of Wadi Gaza: 57% of planned aid missions were facilitated.
0 of 22 requests for military checkpoints to open early materialized.
Fuel to North Wadi Gaza: 2 (10%) of 21 planned missions were facilitated.
Fuel to South Wadi Gaza: 15 (71%) of 21 planned missions to areas requiring coordination were facilitated.
Aid is delivered on the basis of independent assessments of humanitarian needs and prioritization. In some cases, Israeli forces interfered with mission programs, often forcing their cancellation. At times, the Israeli military required the provision of justifications for fuel quantities for health facilities. In other cases, it facilitated access under the condition that no delivery is made to hospitals.
In some instances, it imposed reductions on the volume of assistance, such as the quantity of food.
Finally, it repeatedly denied access to Nasser hospital for the delivery of fuel, even as other aid missions to the same location were facilitated. The coordination mechanism, which was developed to improve security to aid missions, is undermined when used to restrict their operations.
Among the planned convoys that were not facilitated, there were 13 consecutive access denials for missions destined to water and wastewater pumping stations.
Reuters reports: Israel has begun investigating possible breaches of the law by its forces during the Hamas attack on Oct. 7, the military said on Tuesday, following reports some Israeli civilians may have been killed by friendly fire in the fighting.