The amount of force Israel is using against the people of Gaza is “staggering” – Day 138

The amount of force Israel is using against the people of Gaza is “staggering” – Day 138

Israeli military gets slap on the wrist for unacceptable conduct; Israel may shut down Al Jazeera; IDF kills more men, women, & children in Gaza & West Bank; Palestinian olive production takes a big hit; Israeli killed near settlement; 23 Americans killed fighting for Israel; US congressman incites genocide; Day Three of Int’l Court of Justice proceedings against Israeli occupation; and more

By IAK staff, from reports

Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) has released a statement confirming that an Israeli tank had fired on a home sheltering 64 MSF employees and family members, killing 2 family members of an MSF worker.

MSF says Israeli forces had been “clearly informed of the precise location of this MSF shelter,” and that the building had a large MSF flag.

In addition, the group says that bullets were fired at the shelter, and that shelling prevented an ambulance from reaching the facility for over two hours.

MSF general director Meinie Nicolai said, “The amount of force being used in densely populated urban environments is staggering, and targeting a building knowing it is full of humanitarian workers and their families is unconscionable.”

Palestinians carry the bodies of children killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip
Palestinians carry the bodies of children killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip (photo)

Al Jazeera reports: Palestinian Center for Human Rights says that one of its lawyers, Nour Naser Abu al-Nour, was killed along with seven of her family members, including her two-year-old daughter, in an Israeli attack on her home in Rafah.

Abo al-Nour spent her career documenting human rights violations and fighting injustice, the organization says.

WAFA reports: Medical sources announced the killing of journalist Ihab Nasrallah and his wife after being targeted by the occupation forces moving into the Zeitoun neighborhood of Gaza City. The journalist’s three children were severely burned in the attack.

Andalou Agency reports: Israel’s communications minister said Wednesday that the government has prepared the “necessary procedures” to close the Qatar-funded Al Jazeera television, citing a bill before the Knesset  “to order the closure of a media outlet if it is found as harming national security.” The minister claims that Al Jazeera fuels anti-Israel sentiment.

Under the bill, the Communications Minister will be empowered to shut down foreign networks if the Defense Minister identifies that their broadcast poses “an actual harm to the state’s security”.

Andalou Agency reports: In a letter to the Israeli army Wednesday, Israeli military’s highest legal officer, Yifat Tomer-Yerushalmi, said, “We have encountered cases of unacceptable conduct that deviate from IDF (army) values and protocols.”

“Some incidents go beyond the disciplinary domain, and cross the criminal threshold...Following the investigations into these acts, the military prosecution would decide what measures to be taken against the suspects,” adding that the behavior is causing Israel and the army “strategic damage in the international arena.”

Critical Threats adds: The Israeli Chief of Staff Major General Herzi Halevi issued a letter to Israeli commanders stressing the standard conduct of war. 

Halevi wrote, “we are not on a killing spree, revenge, or genocide” and issued orders to “not to use force where it is not required, to distinguish between a terrorist* and [not] a terrorist, not to take anything that is not ours a souvenir or a military item and not to shoot revenge videos.”

NOTE: Numerous videos have circulated on social media of Israeli soldiers shooting and bombing civilians, destroying Gaza’s public infrastructure and private property, and looting personal items. Israeli soldiers are rarely held accountable for illegal actions.
*In reality, international law supports the efforts of resistance groups against an occupying power, even to the point of armed resistance. Hamas has clearly and openly stated that its enemy is not the Jewish people, but the racist ideology of Zionism – the ideology under which Israel dispossessed 750,000 Palestinian people and exiled them to Gaza and other locations. The use of the word “terrorist” for a group that resists occupation and oppression is a political, not fact-based choice.

Bloomberg reports: Israel remains determined to push ahead with a goal to drive out more than 1.5 million displaced Palestinians from Rafah, although Israeli officials have acknowledged in private that they have no precise strategy for how to do it, how long it will take, or where the people in Rafah will go.

The report quoted former national security adviser Yaakov Amidror as saying Israeli forces would move into Rafah in March and estimating that the fighting would last until the end of April.

“We can then move to a configuration of smaller forces like we have in the north,” Amidror was quoted as saying.

NOTE: Forced transfer of a people group is a crime against humanity.

WEST BANK – Israeli occupation forces killed a Palestinian youth in cold blood in the town of Azzun, east of Qalqilya city in the occupied West Bank.

The Ministry of Health said that the 14-year-old child Fadi Saeed Suleiman died as a result of a direct gunshot wound that penetrated his heart.

Fadi Saeed Suleiman, 14, shot dead (photo)

Middle East Eye reports: Israeli forces killed three Palestinians during on overnight raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Wednesday, according to the Israeli military – at least 1 of which was confirmed by the Palestinian health ministry on Wednesday morning.

The military said its soldiers detained 14 “suspects” and located weapons and explosive devices “planted under routes in order to attack IDF soldiers”. [The routes are in Palestinian territory.]

The Israeli army said that an Israeli aircraft was used to target Palestinian fighters.

Israeli forces stop Muslim worshippers at Lion’s Gate as they make their way to Al-Aqsa Mosque
Israeli forces stop Muslim worshippers at Lion’s Gate as they make their way to Al-Aqsa Mosque (photo)

WEST BANK/EAST JERUSALEM – Al Jazeera reports: Advocate and researcher Fakhri Abu Diab says that since October 7, Israel has been pursuing an “iron fist” policy against Palestinian Jerusalemites and subjecting them to collective punishment.

“The occupation has militarized Jerusalem, cutting off its connections. Demolitions have increased, and so have arrests and interrogations. Almost every family has had a member called in for questioning – all of this is to scare Jerusalemites,” Abu Diab told Al Jazeera.

He added that local Israeli authorities are intensifying their tax collection efforts, raiding businesses and enforcing municipal codes in a draconian way – fining people over minor offenses.

He said since October 7, Israeli authorities have not granted building permits for Palestinians in East Jerusalem while demolishing 217 structures.

WEST BANK – OCHA reports: Palestinian olive oil production in the occupied West Bank’s 2023 harvest has suffered a $10m hit, due to Israel restricting access to “more than 96,000 dunums [9,600 hectares or 23,722 acres] of olive-cultivated lands.”

Israeli settlers also attacked Palestinian farmers and vandalized 2,000 trees, during the harvest season, which took place around September to November.

According to the report, on at least 38 occasions, Palestinian farmers or other eyewitnesses reported that Israeli forces had accompanied the attackers or that settlers had been wearing military uniforms while expelling Palestinians from farmlands or taking over olives and tools.

Palestinians have faced increased harassment from Israeli settlers since the war began
Palestinians have faced increased harassment from Israeli settlers since the war began (photo)

WEST BANK – Al Jazeera reports: Israeli military forces continue their destruction of Palestinian civilian infrastructure and cultural heritage in the occupied West Bank.

In a video clip verified by Al Jazeera Arabic, an Israeli military bulldozer attempts to demolish a monument to Palestinian martyrs in the town of Tammun.

NOTE: According to scholars of international law, the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage during a conflict can constitute a war crime.

Police at the scene of a terror shooting attack outside of Ma’ale Adumim in the West Bank. February 22, 2024.
Police at the scene of a terror shooting attack outside of Ma’ale Adumim in the West Bank. February 22, 2024. (photo)

Times of Israel reports: An Israeli man was killed and 11 others were wounded in a shooting attack carried out by three Palestinians during a traffic jam near the West Bank settlement city of Ma’ale Adumim on Thursday morning, police and medics said. [Ma’ale Adumim is an iliegal Jewish-only colony built on Palestinian land]

Two of the gunmen were shot dead at the scene; the third gunman was “neutralized” a short while later.

Local politicians blame the long lines at West Bank checkpoints. The mayor of the settlement said, “we have dozens of times alerted the security forces to the concern of terror attacks on that congested road.”

The New Arab adds: In response to the incident, Israel’s far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich called for “a security response,” but also demanded approval of plans for more settlements – considered illegal under international law – in the West Bank to supposedly bolster security for Israelis.

NOTE: Israel has illegally built around 280 settlements on Palestinian land in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are home to more than 700,000 illegal settlers. Israeli settlements and settlers on Palestinian land are a violation of international law. Settlers, moreover, have a history of violence against Palestinians, often with the assistance of Israeli military forces.

Washington Post reports: Twenty-one Americans in Israeli military units have been killed inside Gaza. Another died along Israel’s northern border with Lebanon, where soldiers exchange fire with Hezbollah militants on a near-daily basis. A 23rd U.S. citizen was killed in Jerusalem while serving in Israel’s border police.

A scathing report in independent, Hebrew-language Israeli site exposes that 10 Israeli hostages were killed by Israeli air strikes in Gaza – some even as IDF had intel they were residing in buildings that were targeted. The IDF reported they “died in Hamas captivity.” (Read the report here.)

Summary of International Court of Justice proceedings, Wednesday

  • Hungary called on the ICJ to decline to exercise its jurisdiction as its advisory opinion could “directly contribute to the escalation of the conflict”.
  • Guyana said “Israel’s occupation must end, immediately, comprehensively, irreversibly”.
  • The Gambia asked the ICJ to affirm that the occupation is illegal. It also argued that Israel was under an obligation to end its occupation immediately.
  • France said all damage caused to the Palestinian population as a result of Israeli policies and practices illegal under international law must be the object of restitution and, failing that, compensation.
  • Russia called for the establishment of the Palestinian state, saying “a negotiated two-state solution with an independent and viable Palestinian state peacefully coexisting with Israel will be the best recipe for bringing an end to Israel’s violations, creating guarantees of their non-repetition and redressing the damage”.

Many Palestinian rights advocates questioned why the above comment by Republican US Congressman Andy Ogles (TN-5) has not garnered a forceful rejection from mainstream politicians.

“Not a peep from Congressional leadership in response to this murderous statement and open support for genocide,” Jewish Voice for Peace Action said in a social media post.

Republicans in the US House of Representatives were joined by more than 20 Democrats in November to censure Rashida Tlaib, the only Palestinian American in Congress, over her criticism of Israel.

Anti-Palestinian at the Core: The Origins and Growing Dangers of U.S. Antiterrorism Law, a white paper published by Palestine Legal and the Center for Constitutional Rights, shows how core features of U.S. “antiterrorism” law were driven by anti-Palestinian agendas from the beginning.

Such laws have been pushed by Israel-aligned groups exploiting moments of crisis in order to reflexively cast the veil of “terrorism” on Palestinians. Over time, these legal mechanisms, shaped by U.S. support for Israel, were expanded and “brought home” to repress other protest movements.

This paper reconstructs the history of a joint U.S.-Israeli effort to suppress Palestinian opposition to Israel’s colonization of Palestine whether diplomatic, armed struggle, or other forms of protest.

RECOMMENDED READING (Al Jazeera): World slams US ceasefire veto at UN Security Council on Israel’s Gaza war


Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 21: at least 29,490* (29,410 in Gaza* (over 12,660 children, 8,570 women), and at least 401 in the West Bank (100 children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 36,671 Palestinian deaths.

About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.

Palestinian injuries from October 7 – February 21: at least 73,539** (including at least 69,465 in Gaza and 4,511 in the West Bank).

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

Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 21: ~1,387 (~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); 236 military forces since the ground invasion began in Gaza;, 12 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.

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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