Winter will bring “an unbearable avalanche of human suffering” to Gaza – Day 90

Winter will bring “an unbearable avalanche of human suffering” to Gaza – Day 90

Hunger, cold, and lack of basic necessities – plus Israeli bombardment put Gazans at risk; another journalist killed; Israel’s search for a place to send ethnically cleansed Gazans – and other post-war possibilities; West Bank death; Palestinian prisoners; MacDonalds boycott

Winter will bring “an unbearable avalanche of human suffering” to Gaza, Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian physician who previously worked in the besieged enclave, said, adding, “The combination of winter cold, wind and precipitation will make the risk of hypothermia overwhelmingly dangerous.”

“This is particularly true for those who are small and those who are already starving or sick – which a large portion of the people are. [Hypothermia] weakens the body, weakens the immune system, and if there is a bleeding injury, causes bleeding to occur more quickly. Hypothermia is a death trap.”

The UN’s agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) says it does not have enough basic supplies, even diapers, to care for babies it is sheltering.

Palestinians seeking refuge in southern Gaza say every day has become a struggle to find food, water, medicine and working bathrooms. All the while, they live in fear of Israeli airstrikes and the growing threat of illnesses.

Israel’s bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza, now in its 13th week, have pushed almost all Palestinians toward the southern city of Rafah along the Egyptian border. The area had a prewar population of around 280,000, a figure that has bulged to over 1 million in recent days, according to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees.

Rafah’s apartment blocks are crammed with people, often extended families who have opened their doors to displaced relatives. West of the city, thousands of nylon tents have sprung up. Thousands more people are sleeping in the open, despite the cool and often rainy winter weather.

A 25-kilogram (55-pound) bag of flour before Oct. 7 cost around $10. Since then it has fluctuated between $40 and $100.

On 5 January, the World Food Program (WFP) provided wheat flour, salt, yeast to nine bakeries in Deir al Balah and Rafah to produce bread at a subsidized price. Six of the nine bakeries have started operations, while three remain non-functional, as a result of evacuation orders, but are expected to be operational soon. Bread is the most requested food item, particularly as many families lack the basic means for cooking.

RECOMMENDED READING: ‘He’s breathing’: My two hours under Gaza’s rubble after an Israeli strike

A UNICEF survey released on Friday has found that 90 percent of children under the age of two in Gaza are eating two or fewer food groups each day. Most families said their children are only getting grains – including bread – or milk, meeting the definition of “severe food poverty.” Only 2 weeks ago, the number was 80 percent.

The survey also found that about 25 percent of pregnant women in the besieged strip are only eating from one food group each day.

Evidence has shown that children with poor health and nutrition are more vulnerable to serious infections like acute diarrhea. Acute and prolonged diarrhea seriously exacerbates poor health and malnutrition in children, putting them at high risk of death.

UNICEF’s Executive Director stated that “time is running out. Many children already face severe acute malnutrition in Gaza. As the threat of famine intensifies, hundreds of thousands more young children could soon be severely malnourished, with some at risk of death. We cannot allow that to happen.”


Earlier today, a bridge that connects Gaza City with central Gaza was bombed and destroyed. This is on the coastal road Israel ordered people to take to evacuate to southern Gaza.

Another Palestinian journalist succumbed to his wounds sustained in Israeli army fire in Gaza City, the Government Media Office in Gaza said on Friday, Anadolu Agency reports. The death of journalist, Akram Al-Shafe’i, who worked for the local Safa news agency, brings the number of journalists killed in Gaza since 7 October to 107.

An Al Jazeera reporter in Rafah in southern Gaza says mass bombardment is continuing in central Gaza, as the Israeli military and its armored vehicles push deeper into the area. The military is creating a path to the Nuseirat refugee camp, which was evacuated – but hundreds of thousands of people stayed simply because they have nowhere else to go, or they’ve concluded that no place is safer.

In addition to artillery shelling and air strikes, Israel is using low-flying drones. In one reported case, a person was called by name to come out of his house, and then shot dead by a drone.

Israeli artillery shelling and drones are targeting the area around the Palestinian Red Crescent Society headquarters in the southern city of Khan Younis again. This comes after the building was attacked three times over as many days. Seven people, including a five-day-old baby, have been killed and 11 people wounded in the attacks.

The Palestinian Red Crescent in the West Bank also reported that their ambulances were targeted in two different cities with rubber bullets and that glass fragments injured some of the medics there.

RECOMMENDED READING: US uses humanitarian aid to prolong Gaza genocide

Israeli officials are in talks with Rwanda and Chad, in addition to Congo, to receive Palestinians pushed out of the Gaza Strip as part of a “voluntary” resettlement plan, the Israeli news site Zman Yisrael reported on Friday.

The countries have expressed an interest in continuing talks, according to unnamed sources, unlike other countries which have refused in principle. According to the Israeli outlet, the initiative is spearheaded by the foreign ministry and Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service.

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

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a public building in the Israeli city of Sderot, near the Gaza border. There were no injuries and damage was caused to one of the walls of the building. A woman who was inside the building at the time of the impact was not harmed.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip hit a public building in the Israeli city of Sderot, near the Gaza border. There were no injuries and damage was caused to one of the walls of the building.
Rocket damage in Sderot (photo)

(Information on rocket attacks is here.) It appears that the last time a rocket killed an Israeli was October 7-8, as reported by Ha’aretz and the Times of Israel. 15 Israelis were killed – 10 of them Palestinian Israelis who reportedly had no access to bomb shelters.

A 35-year-old Jerusalem resident charged with beheading a donkey and placing its head outside a Muslim cemetery in the Old City of Jerusalem a week ago, the State Prosecutor’s Office said.

Israeli NGO Peace Now reports an unprecedented ‘surge’ in settlement activity in occupied West Bank since October 7, including the construction of outposts, roads, fences, and roadblocks by settlers. There has been a record number of nine new outposts in a span of about three months, and 18 illegal settler-only roads.

The widespread phenomenon of roadblocks prevent Palestinians from accessing main roads in the occupied West Bank, Peace Now said.

Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant released a statement outlining plans for the next stage of the war and the future of Gaza. The statement described tactics to be used in various parts of Gaza as the war continues, including the statement that the war “will continue for as long as is deemed necessary.” Post-war, the main points of his plan include:

    • Hamas would no longer control Gaza, and “Palestinian bodies” would be in charge of running the enclave.
    • Israel would reserve its operational freedom of action, and the new people running Gaza woould not be hostile towards Israel in any way.
    • There would be a “multi-national task force” comprised of Western and Arab nations to govern the border area.
    • Israel wants to lead this force, and also wants it to be in charge of the restructuring and redevelopment of the Gaza Strip.

Notably, Palestinians have not been consulted for this plan, and it is at odds with the US vision, which is for Gaza to be run by a revitalized Palestinian Authority. Far-right Israeli ministers want Palestinians to be relocated out of Gaza.

(US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be visiting Israel in the coming days.)

Israeli security forces arrest Palestinian men during a military raid in Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem, West Bank on January 3, 2024
Israeli security forces arrest Palestinian men during a military raid in Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem, West Bank on January 3, 2024 (photo)

West Bank: A teenager was shot dead and at least seven others wounded in an ambush set up by Israeli occupation soldiers last night in the town of Beit Rima, located northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, according to medical sources.

The sources confirmed the death of 17-year-old Osaid Tareq al-Rimawi, a high school student, who succumbed to a gunshot wound to the chest in the deadly incident.

There are now more than 8,000 Palestinians being held in Israeli jails following a wave of arrests in recent months, according to human rights groups. Fast-tracked legislation, backed by Israel’s hardline National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, has placed Palestinian detainees under a “state of emergency”, further restricting their rights within Israeli prisons.

Enduring harsh conditions, six Palestinians have died in Israeli prisons as a result of torture and abuse since October 7, according to advocacy group the Palestinian Prisoners Club.

Watch the full report below (< 2 minutes):

At least 500 people, including women and children, have been interrogated by Israeli forces in the Nur Shams refugee camp in the city of Tulkarm in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian prisoner groups said on Friday. “The occupation transferred about 150 Palestinians to one of its military barracks and arrested 20 others,” a statement by the Palestinian Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs Authority and the Palestinian Prisoners Society said.

Israeli forces carried out a massive raid on the refugee camp that lasted for two days. Dozens of people were wounded and homes were bombed.

Scotland’s First Minister Humza Yousaf said in an interview with the British TV channel Sky News that “Senior ministers in Netanyahu’s government have made statements that the population of Gaza should be resettled and moved out of Gaza, even going as far as saying that Israeli settlements should be in Gaza. If that’s not tantamount to ethnic cleansing, then I don’t know what is.”

Politico reports: Biden administration officials are drawing up plans for the U.S. to respond to what they’re increasingly concerned could expand from a war in Gaza to a wider, protracted regional conflict.

The military is drafting plans to hit back at Iran-backed Houthi militants who have been attacking commercial shipping in the Red Sea, according to three U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the discussions. That includes striking Houthi targets in Yemen, according to one of the officials, an option the military has previously presented.

The potential for wider conflict is growing, officials said, following a series of confrontations in Iraq, Lebanon and Iran over the past several days. Those have convinced some in the administration that the war in Gaza has officially escalated far beyond the strip’s borders — a scenario the U.S. has tried to avoid for months.

The scramble inside the administration to draw up reports on potential points of attacks and possible US responses this week came as a result of orders from the top echelons of the administration over fears that the violence in the region will only continue to grow and that Washington will eventually have to intervene. (Read the full report here.)

McDonald’s announced a “meaningful business impact” following calls for a boycott of the fast-food chain. In a blog post, CEO Chris Kempczinski wrote: “Several markets in the Middle East and some outside the region are experiencing a meaningful business impact due to the war and associated misinformation that is affecting brands like McDonald’s.”

McDonald’s faced criticism from pro-Palestinian campaigners as images and videos on social media revealed franchised stores in Israel providing free meals to its soldiers fighting in the war against Gaza, which sparked the anger of the Arab public and fueled calls for a boycott.

Any country that involves itself with the United States-led Red Sea coalition will lose its maritime security and be targeted, said Mohammed Ali al-Houthi, head of Yemen’s Houthi supreme revolutionary committee. Al-Houthi made the comments on Friday in an interview with the BBC.

The reason for the Houthi threat is Israel’s brutal war against Gaza.


Palestinian death toll since October 7: at least 22,455* (~22,129 in Gaza* (at least 9,100 children), and at least 326 in the West Bank, about 77 of them children). This does not include an estimated 7,000 more still buried under rubble (4,900 women and children). Euro-Med Monitor reports 30,034 Palestinian deaths.

*IAK does not yet include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile is being disputed; although much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, experts are still looking into the incidentIsrael is blocking an international investigation.

About 1.9 million people have been displaced (about 85% of the population).

Palestinian injuries since October 7: at least 61,245** (including at least 57,910 in Gaza** and 3,949 in the West Bank). **NOTE: it is impossible to provide an accurate number of injuries in Gaza due to the ongoing bombardment and communication disruption. 

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

Reported Israeli death toll since October 7: ~1,139  (7 killed in West Bank, 173 in Gaza), including 32 Americans, and 8,730 injured, approximately 36 children).

NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel may have been caused by Israeli soldiers; additionally, since Israel has a policy of universal conscription, it is unknown how many of those attending the outdoor rave a few miles from Gaza on stolen Palestinian land were Israeli soldiers.

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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