Gaza’s journalists; Israel imprisoned for almost 2 months an 82-year-old Gaza woman with Alzheimer’s disease; Israel makes accusations, provides no evidence against UNRWA, then freezes bank account; spitting at Christian clergy in Jerusalem; West Bank demolitions; Israeli leaders lie, then come clean about an unauthorized Telegram channel that dehumanized Palestinians; Wall Street Journal’s Islamophobic op-ed; latest on US attempts to rationalize strikes in the Middle East; Israel to import workers to replace Palestinians; Bernie Sanders says”no aid to Israel” as Congress is saying yes
By IAK staff, from reports
Water is life &📍#Gaza is out of water.
There is very limited access to clean water & sanitation amid relentless bombardment.
The humanitarian crisis, antagonised by limited aid deliveries & destruction of infrastructure, puts thousands of vulnerable people at risk of disease. pic.twitter.com/WS5kBQ5Ycm
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) February 4, 2024
— Sarah Wilkinson (@swilkinsonbc) February 4, 2024
Al Jazeera reports: Recent statistics from the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate:
- At least 73 media offices have been bombed since October 7
- All of Gaza’s radio stations are no longer operating due to bombardment, power outages, or the killing or displacement of staff
- Only 40 journalists remain in northern Gaza and they are besieged and isolated, with no means to send food or relief items to them
- Some 70 journalists have lost close family members
Ha’aretz (Amira Hass) reports: The Israel Defense Forces and the Israel Prison Authority arrested and imprisoned for almost two months an 82-year-old Gaza woman who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. She was jailed under the Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law.
Because she was considered an unlawful combatant, Damon Prison in Israel’s north also refused a request by a lawyer to meet with her. She was released two weeks ago after an appeal was filed over the refusal to permit her to meet with the lawyer.
Fahamiya Khalidi, who was born in 1942, was arrested in the Gaza Strip at the beginning of December by Israeli soldiers.
As a result of her medical condition and the fact that her children live abroad, she had a full-time caregiver with her. The caregiver was also arrested but was not released when Khalidi was, and as far as we know is still in custody. Many of the details regarding Khalidi’s incarceration remain unknown because, since her release, she hasn’t been able to reconstruct what happened to her. (Read the full story here.)
Financial Times reports: Philippe Lazzarini, head of UNRWA, the struggling UN agency for Palestinian refugees, is defying Israeli demands for his resignation following allegations that a dozen of his Gazan staff took part in Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel.
The allegations — still unproven — have prompted the US and 14 other donors to suspend about $440mn of funding to the agency.
Lazzarini said Israel had not presented evidence of its allegations to UNRWA.
The intelligence assessment, which has been seen by the FT, provides no evidence for the claims, which it says are based on smartphone intercepts and captured identity cards. But the US has said it found them “highly, highly credible”.
EAST JERUSALEM: Al Jazeera reports: Two Israelis have been placed under house arrest on suspicion of spitting at Nikodemus Schnabel, a Christian abbot from Germany, in Jerusalem.
The two, one of whom is 17-year-old, were seen spitting and cursing at Schnabel near Jerusalem’s Old City’s Zion Gate in videos widely circulated on social media.
Steffen Seibert, Germany’s ambassador to Israel, described their behavior as “appalling” in a post on X.
RECOMMENDED READING (Ha’aretz): Prominent Israeli Settler Says Spitting on Christians ‘Ancient Jewish Custom’
According to the abbot it was this afternoon.
Appalling behaviour from these young guys, but what really makes me furious are those who teach them that Judaism means despising Christians or any other religion. This must stop. https://t.co/ZyfybYlQFk
— Steffen Seibert (@GerAmbTLV) February 3, 2024
WEST BANK: Andalou Agency reports: The Israeli army demolished 58 Palestinian structures in the occupied West Bank in January. “The demolished structures included 22 inhabited houses and 16 agricultural facilities,” the Colonization and Wall Resistance Commission said in a statement.
It said most of the demolitions occurred in the cities of Hebron, Bethlehem, East Jerusalem and Qalqilya.
The commission also reported 1,593 attacks against Palestinians in January, of which 1,407 were carried out by army forces and 186 by settlers.
Ha’aretz reports: Israeli bank Bank Luemi told the United Nations Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) that it is blocking their bank account due to “tangible suspicions it is transferring funds to terror groups in Gaza,” amid the allegations that some of the agency’s employees participated in the October 7 massacre.
The bank also received information on unusual activity in UNRWA’s account, and sent them multiple alerts.
The letter sent to UNRWA said that the publications about the agency raised suspicions that they are using the funds for purposes of terror against Israel – following which multiple countries, including the U.S. and Britain, froze their funding – along with untraceable transfers made from the account without explanation, have strengthened the concerns that UNRWA funds are being transferred to terror groups in Gaza.
NOTE: UNRWA’s commissioner-general said his agency had not yet been shown any evidence to corroborate these claims.
RECOMMENDED READING (MintPress): Israeli banks pay over $1 billion in fines for US tax evasion schemes
RECOMMENDED READING (Ha’aretz): Israel’s Largest Bank Named in New Canadian Investigation
RECOMMENDED READING (various): Israeli kingpins behind ‘monstrous’ international financial scam ‘binary options’
Ha’aretz reports: Reversing an earlier denial, Israeli military officials have admitted that the Telegram channel “72 Virgins – Uncensored” was operated by members of a department of the Israel Defense Forces’ Operations Directorate. The unit in question is in charge of psychological warfare targeting the enemy and foreign audiences, but the channel’s target audience was Israeli.
The admission comes after a Haaretz published an exposé on the channel last month, which led to an internal investigation into the matter.
In the wake of the findings, the unit’s wartime commander is to end his military service.
The channel’s administrators created “72 Virgins – Uncensored” on October 9, two days after the war began, without official approval and without being authorized to do so, then uploaded thousands of videos and still images of the killing of Palestinian fighters and destruction in the Strip, and encouraged the channel’s followers to share the content so that “everyone can see we’re screwing them.”
Photos of Palestinian men captured by the IDF in the Strip and the bodies of terrorists were captioned: “Exterminating the roaches… exterminating the Hamas rats… Share this beauty.”
In an apparent response to the Wall Street Journal column that called Dearborn, Michigan – home to a large Arab community – “America’s Jihad Capital”, the US president has denounced “hate in all forms”.
“That’s exactly what can lead to Islamophobia and anti-Arab hate, and it shouldn’t happen to the residents of Dearborn – or any American town. We must continue to condemn hate in all forms,” he tweeted.
Last week, Arab American officials in Michigan – a key swing state – refused to meet with Biden’s campaign manager over the president’s unwavering support for Israel’s war on Gaza.
RECOMMENDED READING: ‘War criminal’: Arab Americans rebuff Biden campaign outreach over Gaza
Statement from US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin: “Strikes against military targets in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen send a clear message to the Houthis that they will continue to bear further consequences if they do not end their illegal attacks on international shipping and naval vessels.”
“We will not hesitate to defend lives and the free flow of commerce in one of the world’s most critical waterways.”
In a post on social media Mohammed al-Bukhaiti, a member of the Houthi political bureau, said: “Our military operations against the Zionist entity will continue until the aggression against Gaza stops.”
The reason for the Houthi threat, which American leaders have yet to address, is Israel’s brutal war against Gaza.
Reuters reports: Israel’s government said on Sunday it would bring in 65,000 foreign workers from India, Sri Lanka and Uzbekistan to resume construction stalled since Oct. 7 when Palestinian workers were sent home in the wake of the attack on Israel by Hamas.
Some 72,000 Palestinian workers were employed on construction sites in Israel prior to the attack, which prompted the government to lay them off and exclude them from Israel for security reasons.
Some 20,000 foreign workers remain but almost half the country’s building sites have been closed down due to the labour shortage.
Progressive US Senator Bernie Sanders has called for ending Washington’s funding for “the horrific war against the Palestinian people”.
“For the sake of the Palestinian people and our own standing in the world we must not provide another dollar for the Netanyahu war machine,” Sanders said in a statement.
His comments come as the US House of Representatives prepares to pass a $17.6bn aid package for Israel, which stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice.
RECOMMENDED READING (If Americans Knew): Daily Aid to Israel and the Palestinians; US poised to give Israel $18 billion in aid this year
Despite repeated calls, there is still no humanitarian ceasefire.
— UNRWA (@UNRWA) February 4, 2024
STATISTICS OCTOBER 7 – FEBRUARY 4:
Palestinian death toll from October 7 – February 4: at least 27,747* (27,365 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 35,096 Palestinian deaths.
About 1.7 million, or 75% of Gaza’s population are currently displaced.
Reported Israeli death toll from October 7 – February 4: ~1,374 (~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); 225 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.
- October 7th myths are still out there, killing Palestinians
- 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