“Staggering escalation” in childhood malnutrition in Gaza – Day 161

“Staggering escalation” in childhood malnutrition in Gaza – Day 161

Children starve, parents searching for food are killed – as humanitarian ship unloads millions of meals; is Rafah invasion imminent?; illegal buffer zone may be half mile wide; West Bank death; the Elders chide Biden; EU leader accuses Israel of weaponizing food; Nicaragua to have its day in court vs. Germany for “facilitating genocide”; Australia to restart donations to UNRWA; more

By IAK staff, from reports

CHILD MALNUTRITION – UNICEF says 31 percent, or one in three kids under the age of two in northern Gaza are now suffering from acute malnutrition, a “staggering escalation” from 15.6 percent in January.

“Malnutrition among children is spreading fast and reaching devastating and unprecedented levels in the Gaza Strip due to the wide-reaching impacts of the war and ongoing restrictions on aid delivery,” UNICEF said in a report.

NOTE: According to international law, “To the fullest extent of the means available to it, the occupying power must ensure sufficient hygiene and public health standards, as well as the provision of food and medical care to the population under occupation.” International consensus (including the US) is that Israel is indeed occupying Gaza.

AID-SEEKERS KILLED – Al Jazeera reports: The Israeli military carried out five separate attacks on aid distribution centers in the past 48 hours in the Gaza Strip, killing 56 people and injuring more than 300 others.

This is in addition to over 400 killed since the “flour massacre” in late February.

The humanitarian aid arriving in Gaza, on Friday.
The humanitarian aid arriving in Gaza, on Friday. (photo)

FOOD AID – The New Arab reports: World Central Kitchen said in a statement that its team in devastated Gaza had finished unloading the first maritime aid shipment to reach the enclave.

“All cargo was offloaded and is being readied for distribution in Gaza,” noting that the aid was “almost 200 tonnes (about 220 tons) of food”.

The group is preparing a second boat of 240 tonnes of food to set sail from Cyprus, the starting point of a new maritime aid route across the eastern Mediterranean.

“That shipment includes pallets of canned goods and bulk product including beans, carrots, canned tuna, chickpeas, canned corn, parboiled rice, flour, oil and salt,” World Central Kitchen said. The second shipment would also include a forklift and a crane to assist with deliveries, it added.

The first shipment reportedly contains the equivalent of 37 million meals for Palestinians.

[The ship presumably docked along the coast of northern Gaza, south of Gaza city, at a landing jetty built by World Central Kitchen out of materials from destroyed buildings and rubble.]

NOTE: Previously, a civilian project to take aid to Gaza by boat, originated by activists Greta Berlin and Paul Larudee, had resulted in multiple humanitarian flotillas attempting to deliver aid to Gaza.
Israeli forces attacked them, killing 9 people on one of the boats, including an American citizen, 19.

IS RAFAH INVASION IMMINENT? – Al Jazeera reports: Israeli media have questioned Prime Minister Netanyahu’s declaration of his approval for military plans to imminently launch a ground invasion of Rafah city, where about 1.5 million Palestinians are sheltering from attacks.

“Netanyahu’s talk of an imminent operation in Rafah appears more geared toward pressuring Hamas to agree to a hostage deal,” the Times of Israel reports.

It noted that Channel 12 and the Ynet news outlets also are skeptical of the Rafah attack. “The networks indicate that despite Netanyahu’s declarations, an operation in Rafah is not imminent.”

Map of Gaza (left), likely buffer zone (right)
Map of Gaza (left), likely buffer zone (right) (graphic)

POTENTIAL BUFFER ZONE – Wall Street Journal reports: Israeli forces are carving through farmland and demolishing Palestinian homes and schools in the Gaza Strip to create a buffer zone alongside the enclave’s border with Israel.

Israeli officials say the exclusion zone—from which Palestinians would be barred—is a critical security measure in their plan to demilitarize Gaza and assure Israelis that they can return safely to the towns and communities near the border.

The plans, sketched out by Israeli officials since the first days of the war, would leave a no man’s land more than half a mile wide where Israeli troops would be able to see and stop anyone approaching the border.

The Israeli military declined to comment on the buffer zone.

If fully realized, the buffer zone would reportedly reduce the area of the 25-mile-long enclave by 16%.

The Biden administration is opposed to the plan and has warned against any proposal that would threaten the territorial integrity of the Gaza Strip, which at around 140 square miles is about the size of Philadelphia. In some places, the strip is less than 4 miles wide.

According to UN human rights chief Volker Turk, “Destructions carried out to create a ‘buffer zone’ for general security purposes do not appear consistent with the narrow ‘military operations’ exception set out in international humanitarian law.”

WEST BANK – IMEMC reports: A Palestinian young man was pronounced dead on Friday, eight months after he sustained a critical gunshot wound in the Al-Fawwar refugee camp, south of Hebron in the southern occupied West Bank.

According to medical sources at the Al-Ahly Hospital in Hebron, Mahmoud Naseem Al-Anati, 26, succumbed to a critical injury he sustained on July 17, 2023.

NOTE: Israeli soldiers and/or settlers have killed at least 433 Palestinians in the West Bank (116 children).
We recommend visiting the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC) for more regional news.

WISDOM SPEAKSThe Elders, a group of global leaders founded by Nelson Mandela, says President Biden should stop arming Israel in an effort to stop the war on Gaza, instead of focusing on sending limited amounts of aid to the besieged enclave.

“The United States can influence Israel by not continuing to provide arms. It has provided a lot of the arms, bombs and other arms that have been used on the Palestinian people, and [Biden] is continuing to do that. He’s also providing money,” said Mary Robinson, chairwoman of the organization.

“This government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is on the wrong side of history completely.”

Open market in Rafah, where Gazans shop for Ramadan food, if they can afford it.
Open market in Rafah, where Gazans shop for Ramadan food, if they can afford it. (photo)
Open market in Deir al Balah, where Gazans shop for Ramadan food, if they can afford it.
Open market in Deir al Balah, where Gazans shop for Ramadan food, if they can afford it. (PHOTO)

EU IMPLICATES ISRAEL – Middle East Monitor reports: High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell confirmed that there is evidence that Israel prevents the entry of aid into the Gaza Strip.

This was included in his remarks to US channel PBS on Friday, in response to a question about his statements at the United Nations (UN) Security Council in which he asserted: “Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war.”

“There’s a lot of evidence that the controls in the border prevent the support to come in.” adding, “I don’t think Israel can say that it’s doing everything in order to support coming into Gaza.”

NOTE: According to Refugees International, Israel has generated “famine-like conditions” in the Gaza Strip “while obstructing and undermining the humanitarian response.”
The group’s research in Egypt, Jordan and Israel revealed that Tel Aviv “consistently and groundlessly impeded aid operations within Gaza, blocked legitimate relief operations and resisted implementing measures that would genuinely enhance the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza”. (Read more here, see the full report here.)

Judges at the International Court of Justice attend a hearing of the genocide case against Israel brought by South Africa in The Hague
Judges at the International Court of Justice attend a hearing of the genocide case against Israel brought by South Africa in The Hague (photo)

NICARAGUA V. GERMANY – Al Jazeera reports: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) says that April 8, it will publicly hear Nicaragua’s case against Germany, which accuses Berlin of “facilitating the commission of genocide” in Gaza, followed by Germany’s response on April 9.

Nicaragua asked for interim rulings, such as the ones the ICJ issued for Israel in late January to stop “genocidal acts” in the Gaza Strip, saying its case is “a matter of extreme urgency”.

UNRWA FUNDINGAustralia is the third country to reinstate UNRWA funding, after Canada and Sweden.

More news:

Palestine Chronicle: In the Midst of Genocide in Gaza – The Legacy of Rachel Corrie Lives On
The New Arab: Adidas to donate $150 million to pro-Israel ADL over Kanye West antisemitism


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – March 15: at least 31,986* (31,553 in Gaza* (72% women and children), and at least 433 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 39 Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons (27 from Gaza, 12 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 15: at least 78,236 (including at least 73,546 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 15: ~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); 249 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.
Source: IsraelPalestineTimeline.org

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