LUISTER NAAR DE JOODSE STEMMEN OVER

DE ISRAELISCHE MEGA-MISDRIJVEN TEGEN

HET INTERNATIONAAL HUMANITAIR RECHT

JEGENS DE PALESTIJNEN !

THE JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE - JVP

  LEES "THE WIRE" !

 

 

BERICHTEN NA 30-11-2023 STAAN HIER 

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #81

In Gaza, the humanitarian community is working relentlessly to save lives, but the conditions for a meaningful aid operation are not there. Now nearing its end, 2023 is the deadliest year since the UN started recording casualties in the occupied Palestinian territory, 18 years ago. The Secretary-General has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages. Photo by WHO

 

31 december 2023

 

Key points

 

  • On 30 December, heavy Israeli bombardment from air, land, and sea, continued across most of the Gaza Strip, especially in the refugee camps in central Gaza. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel also continued. Ground operations and intense fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups, with airstrikes and missiles striking housing units and infrastructure, reportedly resulted in high numbers of fatalities. This occurred in areas where Palestinians have relocated following orders from Israeli forces to move from northern Gaza.
  • Between the afternoons of 29 and 30 December, 165 Palestinians were killed, and another 250 people were injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. Overall, between 7 October and 7:00 on 30 December, at least 21,672 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, according to the MoH in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of then, 56,165 Palestinians have reportedly been injured. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery. 
  • On 30 December, the Israeli military announced that one additional soldier had been killed in Gaza and one had succumbed to injuries sustained last week. Overall, since the start of the ground operation, 168 soldiers have been killed, and 955 soldiers injured in Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
  • On 30 December, the MoH in Gaza declared that it had succeeded in resuming some services, increasing thereby the capacity of a number of hospitals in the north of Gaza, including Al Ahli Arab Hospital, the Patients Friends charity hospital, Al Helou International hospital, and Al Awda hospital, in addition to a number of other primary care centres. This occurred amidst great risks surrounding the movement and work of medical teams due to the continuous bombing of residential neighborhoods and the vicinity of health facilities. Furthermore, the MoH in Gaza, UNRWA and WHO are coordinating on a plan for the reactivation of health centres to meet the needs of displaced people in all places of displacement.
  • On 30 December, the MoH in Gaza emphasized the need to prioritize the evacuation of more than 5,300 wounded and sick people who are facing serious and complex medical conditions in Gaza. The objective is to facilitate getting them adequate care. The MoH and WHO are attempting to find effective mechanisms with all parties to facilitate the exit of the wounded and sick for treatment abroad. 
  • On 30 December, 103 trucks with food and medical supplies entered Gaza. The volume of aid remains woefully inadequate. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator declared “that this is an impossible situation for the people of Gaza and for those trying to help them. The fighting must stop.” 
  • On the morning of 29 December, the Director of UNRWA’s Gaza Field Office announced that Israeli forces had fired at an aid convoy that was returning from northern Gaza and had been taking a route which was designated by the Israeli army. While no one was injured, one vehicle sustained damage. The UNRWA director reiterated that aid workers should never be a target. The Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator condemned this attack by stating: “The convoy was clearly marked and its movements were coordinated with the parties. Attacks on humanitarian workers are unlawful. The conflict must stop.”

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are examples of incidents resulting in fatalities reported between 29 December and 30 December: 
    • On 29 December, at about 23:20, the house of journalist Jaber Abu Hadrous was reportedly hit in An Nuseirat Camp, Middle Gaza. The journalist was reportedly killed along with six members of his family, including children. An unconfirmed number of the injured were reportedly transferred to Al Aqsa Hospital.
    • On 29 December, at about 14:30, two internally displaced people (IDPs) were reportedly killed and another one injured when UNRWA elementary school for boys in Al Bureij camp, Middle Gaza, was reportedly hit.
  • As of 27 December, 144 UN staff members have been killed in hosilities, including 142 UNRWA staff, one UNDP staff member and one WHO staff member.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. By the end 2023,  according to UNRWA, 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times, as families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety. Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, further exacerbate the already dire living conditions of IDPs, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease. 
  • Preliminary estimates by humanitarian actors on the ground continue to witness a high influx of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have arrived in Rafah, the most southernly city in Gaza in recent days, following the intensification of hostilities in Khan Younis and Deir al Balah, and the Israeli army’s evacuation orders. Already on 20 December, Rafah was estimated to be the most densely populated area in Gaza, exceeding 12,000 people per square kilometre. The new influx of IDPs has further exacerbated conditions related to the already overcrowded space and limited resources.
  • The spread of diseases in Gaza has reportedly intensified, particularly due to the recent mass displacements across the south of Gaza. Some families have been forced to move multiple times. This situation adds strain to an already overwhelmed health system, which is struggling to meet the immense needs of the population. On 29 December, the head of the WHO in the occupied Palestinian territory announced that people living in shelters in Gaza have continued to fall ill. Close to 180,000 people are suffering from upper respiratory infections; there are 136,400 cases of diarrhea (half of these among children under five years old); 55,400 cases of lice and scabies; 5,330 cases of chickenpox; 42,700 cases of skin rash (including 4,722 cases of impetigo); 4,683 cases of Acute Jaundice Syndrome; and 126 cases of meningitis.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. The communications and fuel shutdown continues to significantly hinder the aid community’s efforts to assess the full extent of needs in Gaza and to adequately respond to the deepening humanitarian crisis. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 30 December, media reported an air raid in the vicinity of the European Hospital injuring an unconfirmed number of civilians and killing five people.
  • On 29 December, the vicinity of several hospitals continued being struck. A house near An Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis was hit, injuring ten people. On the same day, a house near the Jordanian Field Hospital, west of Khan Younis was struck, killing three Palestinians, and injuring five others.
  • On 30 December, the MoH in Gaza raised concerns for children and women highlighting that they are exposed to multiple psychological disorders due to heavy bombardment and serious physical injuries, including the loss of body parts, ailments compounded by death of family members and loss of homes and dignity.  
  • On 29 December, 600,000 vaccines were delivered to the Gaza Strip by UNICEF, as part of the routine immunization programme. In 2024, the vaccines will be administered to over 292,000 eligible infants and children under five by the MoH, in cooperation with humanitarian partners, including UNRWA and local NGOs in operating health centres and in shelters. Since the start of hostilities, over 16,854 infants missed one or more routine vaccines.
  • According to WHO, as of 27 December, 13 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional; nine in the south and four in the north. Those in the north have been offering maternity, trauma, and emergency care services. However, they face challenges such as a shortage of medical staff, including specialized surgeons, neurosurgeons, and intensive care staff, as well as a lack of medical supplies such as anesthesia, antibiotics, pain relief medicines, and external fixators. Additionally, they have an urgent need for fuel, food, and drinking water. The situation of hospitals and the level of functionality depend on fluctuating capacity and minimum level of supplies being able to reach the facilities.
  • The nine partially functional hospitals in the south are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. 

Food security

 

  • The Famine Review Committee (FRC), activated due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5 (Catastrophic threshold) in the Gaza Strip, warns that the risk of famine increases daily amid intense conflict and restricted humanitarian access. The committee added that, to eliminate the famine risk, it is imperative to halt the deterioration of health, nutrition, food security, and mortality situation through the restoration of health, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. In addition, the FRC call for the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of humanitarian space for delivering multisectoral assistance are vital first steps to eliminate any risk of famine. 

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October. 
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 128 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza. 

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October and as of 30 December, 307 Palestinians, including 79 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 298 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another one either by forces or settlers, which is in the process of being verified. This toll represents over 60 per cent of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank in 2023. With a total of 506 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October and as of 30 December, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him). The number of Israelis killed in the West Bank and Israel so far in 2023 (36) marks the highest number of Israelis killed in the West Bank since OCHA started recording casualties in 2005.
  • Among the 506 Palestinians killed, some seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes. So far, since the beginning of the year, 75 per cent of the Palestinians killed across the West Bank occurred during Israeli forces operations, which in some cases led to exchanges of fire. The number of Palestinians killed in Israeli forces operations is more than four times higher than those reported in 2022.
  • Since 7 October and as of 30 December, Israeli forces have injured 3,822 Palestinians, including at least 582 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations. Another 91 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 12 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023. 

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October and as of 30 December, OCHA has recorded 370 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (36 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (287 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (47 incidents). The number of such incidents represents almost one third of all settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank in 2023. In a new report on the situation of human rights in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the UN Human Rights Office called on the Government of Israel to “ensure that all incidents of violence by settlers and Israeli security forces against Palestinians, including violence against women, and damage to their property, are promptly, effectively, thoroughly and transparently investigated; that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, and that victims are provided with effective remedies, including adequate compensation, in accordance with international standards.”
  • Since the beginning of the year, 1,225 incidents involving settlers (with or without Israeli forces) resulted in Palestinian casualties and/or property damage in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Some 909 of these incidents resulted in damage, 163 resulted in casualties and 153 resulted in both. This is the highest number since OCHA started recording incidents involving settlers in 2006. 
  • The weekly average of such incidents since 7 October stands at 32, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 11 incidents between 16 and 22 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October and as of 30 December, at least 198 Palestinian households comprising 1,208 people, including 586 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from at least 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities. They represent 78 per cent of all displacement reported due to settler violence and access restrictions since the beginning of the year (1,539 people, including 756 children). 
  • Additionally, Since 7 October and as of 30 December, a total of 429 Palestinians, including 220 children, were displaced following the demolition of their homes due to lack of Israeli-issued permits in Area C and East Jerusalem. This represents 37 per cent of all displacement reported due to the lack of building permit since the beginning of the year (1,160 people). The monthly average of displacement in this context between 7 October and 7 December represents a 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year. 
  • A total of 19 homes have been demolished on punitive grounds since 7 October, resulting in the displacement of 95 Palestinians, including 42 children. Between January and September 2023, 16 homes were punitively demolished, resulting in the displacement of 78 Palestinians. Punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law. 
  • Another 483 Palestinians, including 222 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 73 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm). This represents 57 per cent of all displacement reported due to the destruction of homes during Israeli military operations since the beginning of the year (854 people)

Funding

 

  • As of 30 December, Member States have disbursed US$633 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes 52 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 18-25 December

Health

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational south of Wadi Gaza, recording 10,095 patient visits on 21 December, including refugees and non-refugees.
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. On 21 December, 221 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to.
  • UNRWA continues to provide health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team comprises one or two doctors and a nurse. On 21-22 December, UNRWA medical teams attended to 21,004 IDPs.
  • On 20-21 December, mental health, and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services were resumed in the Deir al Balah and Khan Younis governorates, with a team of two psychiatrists and 16 counsellors and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters.

Food security

 

  • Between 18 and 24 December, the Food Security Sector reached about 250,000 people a day, accounting for duplications. Given that it aims at reaching Gaza’s 2.2 million people daily, this represents a fraction of the target.
  • Amid immense access challenges, 800 people in the north, including IDPs residing in public shelters and those with host families, received food parcels. Additionally, 780 hot meals were provided in northern Gaza.
  • In southern Gaza, food parcels reached 268,333 people in UNRWA shelters, 2,800 in public shelters, 23,841 staying with host families, and 1,000 who are not displaced. In addition, 53,000 hot meals were distributed to people in public shelters and host families; ready-to-eat rations were provided to 3,500 people in similar circumstances; and flour distribution benefited 1,722,792 people.
  • Additionally, between 23-26 December, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided 18,822 people outside shelters with food parcels through partner distribution points. It also provided about 500,000 IDPs in UN shelters south of Wadi Gaza with food parcels, wheat flour, high-energy biscuits, and lipid-based nutrient supplements. Additionally, it provided 16,420 hot meals in Rafah, Deir al Balah, and Gaza city through five community-led kitchens. Finally, 50 metric tons of wheat flour are scheduled for dispatch to 14 bakeries.

Education

 

  • The Education Cluster reported that 352 schools have sustained damage across the Gaza Strip, affecting the education of 400,700 students (52.1 per cent girls). Three governorates (Gaza, Khan Younis and North Gaza) are highly affected, accounting for 74 per cent of the total damage. About 90 per cent of school buildings are being utilized as shelters by IDPs and/or sustained damage, with the severity of damage varying from minor (128 schools), moderate (110 schools), major (96 schools) and destruction (8 schools).
  • The Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in Gaza have reached 84,262 students and teachers since 7 October, with the provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), south of Wadi Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential to prevent and or cure malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • Juzoor reached 21,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women with iron-foliate and multiple micronutrients supplementation in Rafah and Deir al Balah.
  • UNICEF delivered lipid-based supplements covering the needs of 11,200 children (ages 6-24 months) inside shelters for one month.
  • UNICEF delivered ready-to-use infant formulas to address the needs of 400 non-breastfed infants (ages up to 5 months) for one month.

Multi-purpose Cash Assistance (MCPA)

 

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, nearly 110,000 households (comprising almost 750,000 people) have received emergency MPCA. With about 80,000 households having already cashed out their assistance, cash out rates stand at 73 per cent, and are declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been delivered across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the southern governorates.
  • While formal markets are largely depleted, informal markets are now the key sources of basics goods and services. This includes trades of personal belongings, small household-based production (bread, vegetables), humanitarian assistance, and other items.
  • Post distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance point to food, medicines, debt repayment, drinking water, and transportation as the top expenditures reported. The percentage of expenditures on food has further decreased over the past weeks, while the percentage of expenditures on medicines has doubled. Some 70 per cent of respondents report that unrestricted cash has helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially, while 87 per cent report unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

Logistics

 

  • The results of the rapid , conducted by the Global Logistics Cluster, HELP Logistics, JSI, and partners, have been shared with partners. The assessment was conducted during November and December through field visits to 23 locations in Khan Yunis and Rafah governorates.
  • The IMPACCT Working Group continues to engage with various ministries for clarifications on customs procedures for the importation of humanitarian aid. The Standard Operating Procedures on the importation processes are under development.
  • The Logistics Cluster continues to facilitate access to common services in the Gaza Strip and Egypt through common storage services, road transport to the storage location, and cargo notification transshipment services. In Gaza, two warehouses in Rafah are currently available for partners’ storage, one managed by ACTED (70 square metres) and one by WFP (1,000 square metres). The common warehouses in Deir al Balah and Khan Yunis are currently on hold until further notice. The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport services from Rafah to the Logistics Cluster common warehouses in Gaza. Additionally, a cargo notification service is available to inform partners once their cargo has arrived at the Rafah handover point. In Egypt, the Logistics Cluster facilitates common storage services in Port Said with 800 pallet positions.

Emergency Telecommunications

 

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) and its partners continue to engage with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) for authorization to import telecommunications equipment and set up an independent, efficient, and reliable communications platform for humanitarian responders.
  • The ETC met for a technical engagement with UNDSS in Jerusalem on 18 December and discussed the status of the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio network security communications system (SCS) in Gaza, which has four repeaters in Jabalya, Gaza city, Khan Yunis, and Rafah. Only Khan Yunis and Rafah were functional when the system was reactivated on 3 December, and the Khan Yunis repeater broke down on 13 December and is currently inaccessible because of the prevailing insecurity.
  • On 18 December, ETC partner, REACH, completed a communications and information needs assessment for the population in Gaza using the secondary data review methodology of all available data from sources on the ground. The report was shared with all ETC global partners on 22 December to inform and guide humanitarian responders on their current and planned activities in Gaza.

May we commit to making the impossible possible together in 2024.

31 december 2023

 

My heart is shattered. The images of my people in Gaza suffering under a cruel, unrelenting Israeli genocide haunt my days and nights. I hesitate to reach out to my friends from Gaza, afraid of the news they have heard from their families. Did they survive the night? Have they been forced to relocate yet again? Were they able to find food?

The only solace in all this madness is the people.

You, the people showing up to protest, block weapon shipments, and disrupt holiday shopping.

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #80

The new influx of displaced people into Rafah has further exacerbated conditions related to the already overcrowded space and limited resources. The spread of diseases in Gaza has reportedly intensified. Photo by UNRWA

 

30 december 2023

 

 

Key points

 

  • On 29 December, heavy Israeli bombardment from air, land, and sea, continued across most of the Gaza Strip, especially in the refugee camps in central Gaza and the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel also continued. Ground operations and intense fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups were also reported in most areas. Multiple locations were targeted in Khan Yunis and Rafah in southern Gaza, with airstrikes and missiles striking housing units and infrastructure, reportedly resulting in high numbers of fatalities in areas where Palestinians have relocated, following orders from Israeli forces to move from northern Gaza. In northern Gaza itself, Palestinian casualties were reported from air and missile strikes in Jabalya, Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun.
  • On 29 December, the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, stated that as “hostilities in Gaza intensify, I remain gravely concerned about further spillover of this conflict, which could have devastating consequences for the entire region. I reiterate my call for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire and release of all hostages.”
  • Between the afternoons of 28 and 29 December, 187 Palestinians were killed, and another 312 people were injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. According to the MoH in Gaza, between 7 October and 7:00 on 29 December, at least 21,507 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of then, 55,915 Palestinians have been injured. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery.
  • On 29 December, the Israeli military announced that one additional soldier had been killed in Gaza. Overall, since the start of the ground operation, 166 soldiers have been killed, and 936 soldiers injured in Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
  • Preliminary estimates by humanitarian actors on the ground indicate that at least 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have arrived in Rafah, the most southernly city in Gaza in recent days, following the intensification of hostilities in Khan Younis and Deir al Balah, and the Israeli army’s evacuation orders. Already on 20 December, Rafah was estimated to be the most densely populated area in Gaza, exceeding 12,000 people per square kilometre. The new influx of IDPs has further exacerbated conditions related to the already overcrowded space and limited resources.
  • The spread of diseases in Gaza has reportedly intensified, particularly due to the recent mass displacements across the south of Gaza. Some families have been forced to move multiple times. This situation adds strain to an already overwhelmed health system, which is struggling to meet the immense needs of the population. On 29 December, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) in the occupied Palestinian territory announced that people living in shelters in Gaza have continued to fall ill. Close to 180,000 people are suffering from upper respiratory infections; there are 136,400 cases of diarrhea (half of these among children under five years old); 55,400 cases of lice and scabies; 5,330 cases of chickenpox; 42,700 cases of skin rash (including 4,722 cases of impetigo); 4,683 cases of Acute Jaundice Syndrome; and 126 cases of meningitis.
  • On 29 December, 600,000 vaccines were delivered to the Gaza Strip by UNICEF, as part of the routine immunization programme. In 2024, the vaccines will be administered to over 292,000 eligible infants and children under five by the MoH, in cooperation with humanitarian partners, including UNRWA and local NGOs in operating health centres and in shelters. Since the start of hostilities, over 16,854 infants missed one or more routine vaccines.
  • Due to significant security incidents in the vicinity of the Kerem Shalom crossing since its initial opening on 17 December, humanitarian aid through the crossing was suspended between 25 and 28 December. Incidents included a drone strike on 25 December which killed four people, the seizing of aid from food convoys by members of desperate local communities, and unannounced and uncoordinated prisoner and casualty transfers from Israel which rendered the crossing unusable for hours at a time. Dispatch of aid through the crossing has now resumed. In total 81 trucks carrying food and medicine entered Gaza on 29 December through Kerem Shalom and Rafah crossings. The volume of aid remains woefully inadequate. The Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator “that this is an impossible situation for the people of Gaza and for those trying to help them. The fighting must stop.”
  • On the morning of 29 December, the Director of UNRWA’s Gaza Field Office announced that Israeli forces had fired at an aid convoy that was returning from northern Gaza and had been taking a route which was designated by the Israeli army. While no one was injured, one vehicle sustained damage. The UNRWA director reiterated that aid workers should never be a target.
  • Two recent reports have highlighted the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the West Bank. UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa observed that “this year has been the deadliest year on record for children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with conflict-related violence reaching unprecedented levels.”

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported between 28 December and 29 December:
    • On 28 December, at about 18:30, 21 Palestinians were reportedly killed and another 50 Palestinians were injured when a residential building in Rafah, southern Gaza, which was sheltering people displaced from Gaza City, was struck.
    • On 28 December, at about 21:00, 11 Palestinians were reportedly killed when a residential building in Al-Fukhari, east of Khan Yunis, was struck.
    • On 28 December, at about 20:30, ten Palestinians, including eight women, were reportedly killed, and several others were injured, when a residential building in Al Maghazi Camp, central Gaza, was struck.
    • On 29 December, at about 1:30, 20 Palestinians were reportedly killed and tens of others were injured when airstrikes and artillery shelling reportedly struck three houses in An Nuseirat, central Gaza.
  • According to the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate in Gaza, 103 Palestinian journalists and media workers have been killed in airstrikes since 7 October. According to the Gaza MoH, 311 Palestinian medics have been killed. According to the Palestinian Civil Defense, at least 40 of their members have been killed since the start of hostilities.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 28 December, and for the fourth consecutive day, the Israeli military reiterated its call upon residents to leave an area, originally designated for evacuation on 22 December, covering about 15 per cent, or roughly nine square kilometres, of Deir al Balah governorate in central Gaza. Before the onset of hostilities, it was home to nearly 90,000 people, and it now includes six shelters that have accommodated about 61,000 IDPs, mostly from the north. The affected areas include Al Bureij and An Nuseirat refugee camps and north of An Nuseirat (Az Zaharaa, and Al Moughraga). Instructions accompanying an online map published by the Israeli authorities call on residents to move immediately to shelters in Deir Al Balah, which are already overcrowded, hosting several hundred thousand IDPs. The scope of displacement resulting from this evacuation order remains unclear.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times, as families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety. Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, further exacerbate the already dire living conditions of IDPs, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease.
  • On 28 December, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), in collaboration with the Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS) began establishing and equipping a shelter camp for IDPs, southwest of Khan Yunis. The camp can accommodate more than 6,000 people and will reportedly provide relief and medical services, in addition to meeting the daily basic needs of food and water for the camp residents.
  • On 28 December, Israeli forces reportedly raided the Abu Helu School, east of Al Bureij Camp, central Gaza, and detained and transferred all the male to an unknown destination. On the same day, Israeli forces also reportedly raided the Al Bureij Girls Preparatory School in Al Bureij Camp, with no further news on arrests.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. The communications and fuel shutdown continues to significantly hinder the aid community’s efforts to assess the full extent of needs in Gaza and to adequately respond to the deepening humanitarian crisis. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 28 December, the vicinity of Al Amal hospital was struck for the second day in a row and for the fifth time this week, according to PRCS. Ten people were reportedly killed as a result of this latest strike and 31 were reported killed the previous day. In both incidents, dozens were reportedly wounded. It is estimated that 14,000 IDPs are sheltering in the hospital and its surroundings.
  • According to WHO, as of 27 December, 13 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional; nine in the south and four in the north. The four hospitals that are partially functional in the north have been offering maternity, trauma, and emergency care services. However, they face challenges such as a shortage of medical staff, including specialized surgeons, neurosurgeons, and intensive care staff, as well as a lack of medical supplies such as anesthesia, antibiotics, pain relief medicines, and external fixators. Additionally, they have an urgent need for fuel, food, and drinking water. The situation of hospitals and the level of functionality depend on fluctuating capacity and minimum level of supplies being able to reach the facilities.
  • The nine partially functional hospitals in the south are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units.

Food security

 

  • On 28 December, World Food Programme (WFP) conducted a large-scale distribution of food parcels for 10,000 displaced families in makeshift camps in Rafah. About 200 community leaders were identified to collect assistance on behalf of surrounding families in their communities – each parcel covers a family’s food needs for ten days. This distribution was done in cooperation with Global Communities, and UNRWA. Due to time and safety constraints, only 45 per cent of people targeted with assistance were reached on the first day. The distribution was set to continue on 29 December. WFP also distributed food parcels to 10,000 people across two distributions sites in Rafah. Additional distributions also took place across four WFP-contracted shops.
  • The Famine Review Committee (FRC), activated due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5 (Catastrophic threshold) in the Gaza Strip, warns that the risk of famine increases daily amid intense conflict and restricted humanitarian access. The committee added that, to eliminate the famine risk, it is imperative to halt the deterioration of health, nutrition, food security, and mortality situation through the restoration of health, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. In addition, FRC call for the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of humanitarian space for delivering multisectoral assistance are vital first steps to eliminate any risk of famine.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 128 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • In two separate incidents on 28 and 29 December, two Palestinian attacks against Israeli forces were reported in Khallet an Nu'man (Bethlehem) and Wadi ash Shajina (Hebron) respectively, resulting in the injury of six Israeli soldiers. Two Palestinian perpetrators were killed by Israeli forces in both incidents. Another Palestinian man was killed by Israeli forces on 28 December, in Beit Jala (Bethlehem) allegedly when he attempted to open a military gate close to his home that has been closed for more than two months now.
  • Since 7 October, 307 Palestinians, including 79 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 298 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another one either by forces or settlers, which is in the process of being verified. This toll represents over 60 per cent of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank in 2023. With a total of 506 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him). The number of Israelis killed in the West Bank and Israel so far in 2023 (36) marks the highest number of Israelis killed in the West Bank since OCHA started recording casualties in 2005.
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes. So far, since the beginning of the year, 75 per cent of the Palestinians killed across the West Bank occurred during Israeli forces operations, which in some cases led to exchanges of fire. The number of Palestinians killed in Israeli forces operations is more than four times higher than those reported in 2022.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,822 Palestinians, including at least 582 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations. Another 91 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 12 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 370 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (36 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (287 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (47 incidents). The number of such incidents represents almost one third of all settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank in 2023. In a new report on the situation of human rights in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the UN Human Rights Office called on the Government of Israel to “ensure that all incidents of violence by settlers and Israeli security forces against Palestinians, including violence against women, and damage to their property, are promptly, effectively, thoroughly and transparently investigated; that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, and that victims are provided with effective remedies, including adequate compensation, in accordance with international standards.”
  • Since the beginning of the year, 1,225 incidents involving settlers (with or without Israeli forces) resulted in Palestinian casualties and/or property damage in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Some 909 of these incidents resulted in damage, 163 resulted in casualties and 153 resulted in both. This is the highest number since OCHA started recording incidents involving settlers in 2006.
  • The weekly average of such incidents since 7 October stands at 32, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 11 incidents between 16 and 22 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 198 Palestinian households comprising 1,208 people, including 586 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from at least 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities. They represent 78 per cent of all displacement reported due to settler violence and access restrictions since the beginning of the year (1,539 people, including 756 children).
  • Additionally, since 7 October, a total of 429 Palestinians, including 220 children, were displaced following the demolition of their homes due to lack of Israeli-issued permits in Area C and East Jerusalem. This represents 37 per cent of all displacement reported due to the lack of building permit since the beginning of the year (1,160 people). The monthly average of displacement in this context between 7 October and 7 December represents a 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year.
  • A total of 19 homes have been demolished on punitive grounds since 7 October, resulting in the displacement of 95 Palestinians, including 42 children. Between January and September 2023, 16 homes were punitively demolished, resulting in the displacement of 78 Palestinians. Punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law.
  • Another 483 Palestinians, including 222 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 73 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm). This represents 57 per cent of all displacement reported due to the destruction of homes during Israeli military operations since the beginning of the year (854 people).

Funding

 

  • As of 29 December, Member States have disbursed $633 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes 52 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 18-25 December

Health

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational south of Wadi Gaza, recording 10,095 patient visits on 21 December, including refugees and non-refugees.
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. On 21 December, 221 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to.
  • UNRWA continues to provide health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team comprises one or two doctors and a nurse. On 21-22 December, UNRWA medical teams attended to 21,004 IDPs.
  • On 20-21 December, mental health, and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services were resumed in the Deir al Balah and Khan Younis governorates, with a team of two psychiatrists and 16 counsellors and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters.

Food security

 

  • Between 18 and 24 December, the Food Security Sector reached about 250,000 people a day, accounting for duplications. Given that it aims at reaching Gaza’s 2.2 million people daily, this represents a fraction of the target.
  • Amid immense access challenges, 800 people in the north, including IDPs residing in public shelters and those with host families, received food parcels. Additionally, 780 hot meals were provided in northern Gaza.
  • In southern Gaza, food parcels reached 268,333 people in UNRWA shelters, 2,800 in public shelters, 23,841 staying with host families, and 1,000 who are not displaced. In addition, 53,000 hot meals were distributed to people in public shelters and host families; ready-to-eat rations were provided to 3,500 people in similar circumstances; and flour distribution benefited 1,722,792 people.
  • Additionally, between 23-26 December, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided 18,822 people outside shelters with food parcels through partner distribution points. It also provided about 500,000 IDPs in UN shelters south of Wadi Gaza with food parcels, wheat flour, high-energy biscuits, and lipid-based nutrient supplements. Additionally, it provided 16,420 hot meals in Rafah, Deir al Balah, and Gaza city through five community-led kitchens. Finally, 50 metric tons of wheat flour are scheduled for dispatch to 14 bakeries.

Education

 

  • The Education Cluster reported that 352 schools have sustained damage across the Gaza Strip, affecting the education of 400,700 students (52.1 per cent girls). Three governorates (Gaza, Khan Younis and North Gaza) are highly affected, accounting for 74 per cent of the total damage. About 90 per cent of school buildings are being utilized as shelters by IDPs and/or sustained damage, with the severity of damage varying from minor (128 schools), moderate (110 schools), major (96 schools) and destruction (8 schools).
  • The Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in Gaza have reached 84,262 students and teachers since 7 October, with the provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), south of Wadi Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential to prevent and or cure malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • Juzoor reached 21,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women with iron-foliate and multiple micronutrients supplementation in Rafah and Deir al Balah.
  • UNICEF delivered lipid-based supplements covering the needs of 11,200 children (ages 6-24 months) inside shelters for one month.
  • UNICEF delivered ready-to-use infant formulas to address the needs of 400 non-breastfed infants (ages up to 5 months) for one month.

Multi-purpose Cash Assistance (MCPA)

 

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, nearly 110,000 households (comprising almost 750,000 people) have received emergency MPCA. With about 80,000 households having already cashed out their assistance, cash out rates stand at 73 per cent, and are declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been delivered across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the southern governorates.
  • While formal markets are largely depleted, informal markets are now the key sources of basics goods and services. This includes trades of personal belongings, small household-based production (bread, vegetables), humanitarian assistance, and other items.
  • Post distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance point to food, medicines, debt repayment, drinking water, and transportation as the top expenditures reported. The percentage of expenditures on food has further decreased over the past weeks, while the percentage of expenditures on medicines has doubled. Some 70 per cent of respondents report that unrestricted cash has helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially, while 87 per cent report unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

Logistics

 

  • The results of the rapid , conducted by the Global Logistics Cluster, HELP Logistics, JSI, and partners, have been shared with partners. The assessment was conducted during November and December through field visits to 23 locations in Khan Yunis and Rafah governorates.
  • The IMPACCT Working Group continues to engage with various ministries for clarifications on customs procedures for the importation of humanitarian aid. The Standard Operating Procedures on the importation processes are under development.
  • The Logistics Cluster continues to facilitate access to common services in the Gaza Strip and Egypt through common storage services, road transport to the storage location, and cargo notification transshipment services. In Gaza, two warehouses in Rafah are currently available for partners’ storage, one managed by ACTED (70 square metres) and one by WFP (1,000 square metres). The common warehouses in Deir al Balah and Khan Yunis are currently on hold until further notice. The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport services from Rafah to the Logistics Cluster common warehouses in Gaza. Additionally, a cargo notification service is available to inform partners once their cargo has arrived at the Rafah handover point. In Egypt, the Logistics Cluster facilitates common storage services in Port Said with 800 pallet positions.

Emergency Telecommunications

 

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) and its partners continue to engage with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) for authorization to import telecommunications equipment and set up an independent, efficient, and reliable communications platform for humanitarian responders.
  • The ETC met for a technical engagement with UNDSS in Jerusalem on 18 December and discussed the status of the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio network security communications system (SCS) in Gaza, which has four repeaters in Jabalya, Gaza city, Khan Yunis, and Rafah. Only Khan Yunis and Rafah were functional when the system was reactivated on 3 December, and the Khan Yunis repeater broke down on 13 December and is currently inaccessible because of the prevailing insecurity.
  • On 18 December, ETC partner, REACH, completed a communications and information needs assessment for the population in Gaza using the secondary data review methodology of all available data from sources on the ground. The report was shared with all ETC global partners on 22 December to inform and guide humanitarian responders on their current and planned activities in Gaza.

Let’s make this the largest protest for Gaza ever!

30 december 2023

 

We're two weeks away from one of the largest mass mobilization efforts for Gaza in history! On January 13th, AMP and our partners are bringing people from all over the U.S. to stand for Gaza.

After 12 straight weeks of destruction in Gaza, we cannot allow those guilty of genocide to think that they are getting away with this. That's why we are starting this pivotal year with this national march.

The Israeli government and the Biden Administration expect us to forget and move on. But we are not stopping. Let's come together on January 13th, 2024, and let the world know that Gaza is not a fad or a trend, it’s a justice movement that will not stop until we end the genocide, until we end the occupation.

 

Sincerely,

Mohamad Habehh
Lead Organizer & Director of Development

30 december 2023

 

 

We sluiten dit jaar af met een heel zwaar gemoed. Voor de eerste keer in de geschiedenis maken we mee dat een genocide volledig gelivestreamd wordt. Rechtstreeks uitgezonden op tv en sociale media. De genocide op 2,3 miljoen Palestijnen onder bezetting en blokkade in Gaza. Al 84 dagen lang bombardementen. Meer dan 20.000 doden. Bijna de gehele bevolking op de vlucht, zonder uitweg, en zelfs op de vlucht worden ze gebombardeerd. Honger als oorlogswapen. En niemand die ingrijpt. Maar veel erger nog: we worden geconditioneerd om de genocide te accepteren, zelfs om de genocide te rechtvaardigen. Om de slachtoffers ervan de schuld te geven.

Met de volledige steun van onze politici. Onze media die Israëlische propaganda blijven overschrijven. Op geen enkele media heb ik het eerlijke verhaal over Gaza gezien: 16 jaar blokkade, opsluiting van 2,3 miljoen mensen, mondjesmaat toelaten van voedsel, water en medicijnen, waarbij letterlijk calorieën worden geteld en Israël vindt dat Palestijnen wel genoeg hebben aan de helft van de normale standaard. Mensen die dood gaan omdat ze geen toestemming krijgen om Gaza te verlaten voor medische behandeling. 6 eenzijdige “oorlogen” oftewel massabombardementen op een opgesloten bevolking en voortdurend aanvallen. Een man made humanitaire en milieuramp.

Mensen, het is tijd voor de waarheid. En die waarheid is dat dit de verantwoordelijkheid en de schuld is van het koloniale Westen, de Verenigde Staten en Europa, ook Nederland. Van de genocide nu en van de voortdurende Nakba. Want we weten allemaal dat als de Verenigde Staten en Europa het daadwerkelijk hadden gewild, dit allang gestopt zou zijn en zelfs nooit zou zijn gebeurd.

En dat heeft helemaal niks te maken met zogenaamde historische banden of vriendschap. En ook niet met een zogenaamd schuldgevoel voor het roekeloos uitleveren van onze joodse landgenoten aan de nazis of het eeuwenlange Europese antisemitisme dat daartoe heeft geleid. En al helemaal niet het zogenaamde “recht op zelfverdediging”. Dit draait enkel om onze imperiale belangen, wapenhandel, de pijpleidingen voor olie en gas, handelsroutes en politieke invloed in de regio.

Het is tijd dat onze politici en media voor de waarheid uitkomen: wij geven geen moer om mensenlevens. Onze geopolitieke en economische belangen is het enige wat telt. De vele imperiale oorlogen om grondstoffen en macht, ons koloniale verleden en ons slavernijverleden zijn daarvan het bewijs. Onze strijd is intersectioneel precies om die reden: als we nu worden geconditioneerd om een live uitgezonden genocide te slikken, schept dat een precedent voor de volgende keer dat onze neoliberale, en imperiale belangen in het geding zijn, waar ook ter wereld.

Steun BDS!

Daarom betaalt Europa al decennialang de rekening van de bezetting. Europa financiert de Palestijnse Autoriteit en grotendeels ook onderwijs, zorg en infrastructuur in de bezette gebieden, terwijl dat volgens internationaal recht de verplichting is van de bezettende macht, Israël. De bezetting is voor Israël een verdienmodel. En voor Europa en het Westen een middel om de Palestijnse Autoriteit in de tang te houden. Israël sloopt en Europa betaalt én bepaalt.

Daarom heeft nog geen enkel medium eerlijk verteld wat de 16 jaar blokkade van Gaza inhoudt.

En wie denk je dat straks de wederopbouw van Gaza gaat betalen? De internationale gemeenschap. Terwijl ook dat volgens internationaal recht de verplichting is van Israël. En Israël gaat de voorwaarden scheppen, zoals dat materialen in Israël gekocht moeten worden. Een business model dus.

Daarom geeft Amerika jaarlijks miljarden aan militaire steun met de voorwaarde dat die miljarden worden uitgegeven aan Amerikaanse wapens. Een ordinaire subsidie voor de Amerikaanse wapenindustrie dus, uitgetest op Palestijnen.

Nederlandse en Europese banken, pensioenfondsen, verzekeraars en vermogensbeheerders investeerden het afgelopen jaar 280 miljard euro in illegale nederzettingen. Maar de Nederlandse overheid doet net alsof ze zakendoen met illegale nederzettingen “ontmoedigen”, terwijl ze het in feite faciliteert.

ING 6,6 miljard

ABP 2,6 miljard

Rabobank 845 miljoen

Aegon 512 miljoen

Het narcistische Westen en Israël staan boven de wet. Zij hoeven zich niet aan internationaal recht te houden. De talloze VN resoluties lapt Israël aan de laars, zonder enige consequentie, dankzij hun Amerikaanse en Europese bondgenoten.

Het internationaal strafhof – het ICC – weigert al jarenlang om Israëlische oorlogsmisdadigers te vervolgen. En het richt zich voornamelijk op Afrikaanse en andere niet-westerse figuren. Amerikaanse en Europese oorlogsmisdadigers worden nooit ter verantwoording te roepen.

De Zuid-Afrikaanse minister van Buitenlandse Zaken heeft het ICC opgeroepen arrestatiebevelen uit te vaardigen tegen Netanyahu en andere Israëlische leiders die verantwoordelijk zijn voor genocide. Ze zei: “Als dit niet gebeurt, zal het groeiende cynisme dat het internationaal recht selectief wordt toegepast voor politieke doeleinden, verergeren.”

Wij, de mensen, moeten onze krachten bundelen om onze medeplichtigheid aan de genocide te stoppen en de Israëlische apartheid te ontmantelen!

Wij eisen:

  • Een Permanent staakt-het-vuren en opheffing van de blokkade van Gaza.
  • Sancties tegen Israël, waaronder een militair embargo.
  • Druk op het Internationaal Strafhof (ICC) om arrestatiebevelen uit te vaardigen tegen Israëlische leiders.

Wij moeten een einde maken aan de medeplichtigheid van onze overheden en bedrijven door:

  • het organiseren van vreedzame verstoringen, sit-ins, bezettingen, enz.
  • Het verstoren van het transport van wapens, of wapenonderdelen, naar Israël
  • Het onder druk zetten van onze overheid om de militaire samenwerkingen met Israël te beëindigen
  • Intensivering van alle BDS-campagnes.
  • Het uitroepen van onze buurthuizen, werkplekken, vakbonden, onderwijsinstellingen, organisaties en gemeenten tot Apartheidsvrije Zone (AFZ).
  • Eisen dat het Internationaal Strafhof (ICC) arrestatiebevelen uitvaardigt tegen Israëlische leiders.

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #79

An estimated 100,000 people have moved over the past days to Rafah, already the most densely populated area in Gaza. Their movement, often a repeated displacement, followed the intensification of hostilities in Khan Younis and Deir Al Balah as well as orders by the Israeli military to evacuate certain areas. Photo by UNRWA

 

29 december 2023

 

Key points

 

  • On 28 December, heavy Israeli bombardment from air, land, and sea, continued across most of the Gaza Strip. Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups also continued in most areas, except for Rafah, as did the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel.
  • Between the afternoons of 27 and 28 December, 210 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and another 325 people were injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. According to the MoH in Gaza, between 7 October and 7:00 on 28 December, at least 21,320 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of then, 55,603 Palestinians have been injured. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery. 
  • On 28 December, the Israeli military announced that three additional soldiers had been killed in Gaza. Overall, since the start of the ground operation, 165 soldiers have been killed, and 921 soldiers have been injured in Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
  • Preliminary estimates by humanitarian actors on the ground indicate that at least 100,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have arrived in Rafah over the past days, following the intensification of hostilities in Khan Younis and Deir al Balah, and the Israeli army’s evacuation orders. Already on 20 December, Rafah was estimated to be the most densely populated area in Gaza, exceeding 12,000 people per square kilometre. The new influx of IDPs has further exacerbated conditions related to the already overcrowded space and limited resources.
  • Reflecting of the findings of a new report on the West Bank, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, stated on 28 December that “the use of military tactics means and weapons in law enforcement contexts, the use of unnecessary or disproportionate force, and the enforcement of broad, arbitrary and discriminatory movement restrictions that affect Palestinians are extremely troubling.” 
  • Also on 28 December, UNICEF’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa stated that “this year has been the deadliest year on record for children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, with conflict-related violence reaching unprecedented levels.”  The number of children killed in West Bank in twelve weeks since 7 October is more than double the number of children killed in twelve months of 2022. 
  • On 28 December, the MoH in Gaza stated that, within shelters, 50 per cent of pregnant women suffer from thirst, malnutrition, and a lack of health care, and that 50 per cent of displaced children and are exposed to dehydration, malnutrition, respiratory and skin diseases, severe cold and lack of vaccinations for newborns.
  • Supplies of medical aid and food have continued to entered Gaza in the past days through Rafah crossing with Egypt. This included 110 trucks on 27 December and another 76 trucks on 28 December. These quantities remain well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October. Key impediments remain on carrying out humanitarian operations inside Gaza. As noted by the Secretary-General, “an effective aid operation in Gaza requires security; staff who can work in safety; logistical capacity; and the resumption of commercial activity. These four elements do not exist.”

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported between 27 December and 28 December: 
    • On 28 December, at about 09:45, a residential bloc was hit in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza, killing at least 30 people, reportedly including two Palestinian journalists, and injuring several others.
    • On 27 December, at about 13:50, a residential building was struck in front of Al Amal Hospital in western Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, killing at least 25 people, and injuring tens of others.
    • On 28 December, at about 00:10 hours, a house was hit in Deir Al Balah, killing eight people, and injuring several others. At about 00:30 a civilian car transporting the victims of the incident to Al Aqsa hospital was reportedly hit by an Israeli military drone on the Al Mashaalah Bridge, Deir al Balah, where at least one Palestinian was killed, and several others injured.
  • According to the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate in Gaza, 103 Palestinian journalists and media workers have been killed in airstrikes since 7 October. According to the Gaza MoH, 311 Palestinian medics have been killed. According to the Palestinian Civil Defense, at least 40 of their members have been killed since the start of hostilities.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 27 December, and for the third consecutive day, the Israeli military reiterated its call upon residents to leave an area, originally designated for evacuation on 22 December, covering about 15 per cent, or roughly nine square kilometres, of Deir Al Balah governorate in central Gaza. Before the onset of hostilities, it was home to nearly 90,000 people, and it now includes six shelters that have accommodated about 61,000 IDPs, mostly from the north. The affected areas include Al Bureij and An Nuseirat Refugee Camps and north of An Nuseirat (Az Zaharaa, and Al Moughraga). Instructions accompanying an online map published by the Israeli authorities call on residents to move immediately to shelters in Deir al Balah, which are already overcrowded, hosting several hundred thousand IDPs. The scope of displacement resulting from this evacuation order remains unclear.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times, as families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety. Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, further exacerbate the already dire living conditions of IDPs, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease. 

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 28 December, the vicinity of Al Amal hospital was struck for the second day in a row and for the fifth time this week, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Ten people were reportedly killed as a result of this latest strike and 31 were reported killed the previous day. In both incidents, dozens were reportedly wounded. It is estimated that 14,000 IDPs are sheltering in the hospital and its surroundings.
  • On 27 December, at about 16:30, Israeli forces reportedly hit the Maghazi Health Centre, causing fire in the premises. No casualties were reported. Furthermore, the vicinity of Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Yunis was struck several times, according to MoH in Gaza.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 27 December, 13 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional; nine in the south and four in the north. The four hospitals that are partially functional in the north have been offering maternity, trauma, and emergency care services. However, they face challenges such as a shortage of medical staff, including specialized surgeons, neurosurgeons, and intensive care staff, as well as a lack of medical supplies such as anesthesia, antibiotics, pain relief medicines, and external fixators. Additionally, they have an urgent need for fuel, food, and drinking water. The situation of hospitals and the level of functionality depend on fluctuating capacity and minimum level of supplies being able to reach the facilities.
  • The nine partially functional hospitals in the south are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. 

Food security

 

  • On 28 December, World Food Programme (WFP) conducted a large-scale distribution of food parcels for 10,000 displaced families in makeshift camps in Rafah. About 200 community leaders were identified to collect assistance on behalf of surrounding families in their communities – each parcel covers a family’s food needs for ten days. This distribution was done in cooperation with Global Communities, and UNRWA. Due to time and safety constraints, only 45 per cent of people targeted with assistance were reached on the first day, and the distribution is set to continue on 29 December. WFP also distributed food parcels to 10,000 people across two distributions sites in Rafah. Additional distributions also took place across 4 WFP-contracted shops.
  • The Famine Review Committee (FRC), activated due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5 (Catastrophic threshold) in the Gaza Strip, warns that the risk of famine increases daily amid intense conflict and restricted humanitarian access. The committee added that, to eliminate the famine risk, it is imperative to halt the deterioration of health, nutrition, food security, and mortality situation through the restoration of health, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services. In addition, FRC call for the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of humanitarian space for delivering multisectoral assistance are vital first steps to eliminate any risk of famine.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. On 28 December, according to Israeli media, it was announced that an Israeli who had been listed among those presumed to be hostage had been killed on 7 October and her body was being held in Gaza. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 128 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza. On 22 December, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his call for all remaining hostages to be released immediately and unconditionally. 

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • On 28 December, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man during a search-and-arrest operation that involved exchange of fire in Ramallah. Another Palestinian man died from wounds he sustained from Israeli forces during an operation in Nablus city on 18 December.
  • Since 7 October, 304 Palestinians, including 79 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 295 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another one either by forces or settlers, which is in the process of being verified. This toll represents nearly 60 per cent of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank in 2023. With a total of 504 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him). 
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,812 Palestinians, including at least 580 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations. Another 91 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 12 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 370 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (36 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (287 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (47 incidents). In a new report on the situation of human rights in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, the UN Human Rights Office called on the government of Israel to “ensure that all incidents of violence by settlers and Israeli security forces against Palestinians, including violence against women, and damage to their property, are promptly, effectively, thoroughly and transparently investigated; that perpetrators are prosecuted and, if convicted, punished with appropriate sanctions, and that victims are provided with effective remedies, including adequate compensation, in accordance with international standards.”
  • The weekly average of such incidents since 7 October stands at 32, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 11 incidents between 16 and 22 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 198 Palestinian households comprising 1,208 people, including 586 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from at least 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities. 
  • On 26 and 27 December, seven Palestinian families comprising 36 people, including 12 children, were displaced after their homes were demolished in Al Jwaya (Hebron) and Furush Beit Dajan (Nablus). These demolitions were carried out due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. This brings to 429 the number of Palestinians displaced following the demolition of their homes due to lack of Israeli issued permits in Area C and East Jerusalem. Among them are 220 children. The monthly average of displacement in this context between 7 October and 7 December represents a 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year. 
  • A total of 19 homes have been demolished on punitive grounds since 7 October, resulting in the displacement of 95 Palestinians, including 42 children. This figure is higher than the 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year, resulting in the displacement of 78 Palestinians. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law. 
  • Another 483 Palestinians, including 222 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 73 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 27 December, Member States have disbursed US$637.8 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes 52 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 18-25 December

Health

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational south of Wadi Gaza, recording 10,095 patient visits on 21 December, including refugees and non-refugees.
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. On 21 December, 221 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to.
  • UNRWA continues to provide health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team comprises one or two doctors and a nurse. On 21-22 December, UNRWA medical teams attended to 21,004 IDPs.
  • On 20-21 December, mental health, and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services were resumed in the Middle Area and Khan Younis governorates, with a team of two psychiatrists and 16 counsellors and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters.

Food security

 

  • Between 18 and 24 December, the Food Security Sector reached 1,783,565 people. Given that it aims at reaching Gaza’s 2.2 million people daily, this represents 12 per cent of the target.
  • Amid immense access challenges, 800 people in the north, including IDPs residing in public shelters and those with host families, received food parcels. Additionally, 780 hot meals were provided in northern Gaza.
  • In southern Gaza, food parcels reached 268,333 people in UNRWA shelters, 2,800 in public shelters, 23,841 staying with host families, and 1,000 who are not displaced. In addition, 53,000 hot meals were distributed to people in public shelters and host families; ready-to-eat rations were provided to 3,500 people in similar circumstances; and flour distribution benefited 1,722,792 people.
  • Additionally, between 23-26 December, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided 18,822 people outside shelters with food parcels through partner distribution points. It also provided about 500,000 IDPs in UN shelters south of Wadi Gaza with food parcels, wheat flour, high-energy biscuits and lipid-based nutrient supplements. Additionally, it provided 16,420 hot meals in Rafah, the Middle Area, and Gaza city through five community-led kitchens. Finally, 50 metric tons of wheat flour are scheduled for dispatch to 14 bakeries.

Education

 

  • The Education Cluster reported that 352 schools have sustained damage across the Gaza Strip, affecting the education of 400,700 students (52.1 per cent girls). Three governorates (Gaza, Khan Younis and North Gaza) are highly affected, accounting for 74 per cent of the total damage. About 90 per cent of school buildings are being utilized as shelters by IDPs and/or sustained damage, with the severity of damage varying from minor (128 schools), moderate (110 schools), major (96 schools) and destruction (8 schools).
  • The Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in Gaza have reached 84,262 students and teachers since 7 October, with the provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), south of Wadi Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential to prevent and or cure malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • Juzoor reached 21,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women with iron-foliate and multiple micronutrients supplementation in Rafah and the Middle Area.
  • UNICEF delivered lipid-based supplements covering the needs of 11,200 children (ages 6-24 months) inside shelters for one month.
  • UNICEF delivered ready-to-use infant formulas to address the needs of 400 non-breastfed infants (ages up to 5 months) for one month.

Multi-purpose Cash Assistance (MCPA)

 

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, nearly 110,000 households (comprising almost 750,000 people) have received emergency MPCA. With about 80,000 households having already cashed out their assistance, cash out rates stand at 73 per cent, and are declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been delivered across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the southern governorates.
  • While formal markets are largely depleted, informal markets are now the key sources of basics goods and services. This includes trades of personal belongings, small household-based production (bread, vegetables), humanitarian assistance, and other items.
  • Post distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance point to food, medicines, debt repayment, drinking water, and transportation as the top expenditures reported. The percentage of expenditures on food has further decreased over the past weeks, while the percentage of expenditures on medicines has doubled. Some 70 per cent of respondents report that unrestricted cash has helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially, while 87 per cent report unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

Logistics

 

  • The results of the rapid , conducted by the Global Logistics Cluster, HELP Logistics, JSI, and partners, have been shared with partners. The assessment was conducted during November and December through field visits to 23 locations in Khan Yunis and Rafah governorates.
  • The IMPACCT Working Group continues to engage with various ministries for clarifications on customs procedures for the importation of humanitarian aid. The Standard Operating Procedures on the importation processes are under development.
  • The Logistics Cluster continues to facilitate access to common services in the Gaza Strip and Egypt through common storage services, road transport to the storage location, and cargo notification transshipment services. In Gaza, two warehouses in Rafah are currently available for partners’ storage, one managed by ACTED (70 square metres) and one by WFP (1,000 square metres). The common warehouses in Deir al Balah and Khan Yunis are currently on hold until further notice. The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport services from Rafah to the Logistics Cluster common warehouses in Gaza. Additionally, a cargo notification service is available to inform partners once their cargo has arrived at the Rafah handover point. In Egypt, the Logistics Cluster facilitates common storage services in Port Said with 800 pallet positions.

Emergency Telecommunications

 

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) and its partners continue to engage with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) for authorization to import telecommunications equipment and set up an independent, efficient, and reliable communications platform for humanitarian responders.
  • The ETC met for a technical engagement with UNDSS in Jerusalem on 18 December and discussed the status of the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio network security communications system (SCS) in Gaza, which has four repeaters in Jabalya, Gaza city, Khan Yunis, and Rafah. Only Khan Yunis and Rafah were functional when the system was reactivated on 3 December, and the Khan Yunis repeater broke down on 13 December and is currently inaccessible because of the prevailing insecurity.
  • On 18 December, ETC partner, REACH, completed a communications and information needs assessment for the population in Gaza using the secondary data review methodology of all available data from sources on the ground. The report was shared with all ETC global partners on 22 December to inform and guide humanitarian responders on their current and planned activities in Gaza.

U.S. enablement of the genocide in Gaza must come to an end; enough is enough

As the year comes to an end, the devastating loss of Palestinian lives in Gaza demands our immediate attention. Over the past three months, Israel's military actions have resulted in over 21,000 Palestinian deaths and left more than 54,000 injured, with a significant majority being women and children. This includes the targeted killing of over 90 journalists and 200+ medical professionals, further exacerbating the dire situation.

The selective morality exhibited by the current administration is unacceptable. The safety and lives of Palestinian civilians should not be compromised for political expediency.

We urge you to sign the petition to pressure President Biden to act swiftly and decisively. Every signature counts, and together, we can make a difference. Time is of the essence, and the lives of thousands hang in the balance. 

Take action and share widely. 

 

Take Action Now

 

Sincerely,

Dr. Osama Abu IrshaidExecutive Director, AJP Action

29 december 2023

 

At MPower we are working every waking hour for what the people of Gaza desperately need: a permanent ceasefire, and a chance to live. I am haunted by the words of a 4-year-old child in Gaza

who said: “When the war ends, I'm going to live.”

 I want her to LIVE. I want all of us to live. And I want her to be free, I want freedom for all of us. I want that for my Palestinian, Muslim, and Arab families. I want that for my Black, Brown,

Asian, and Jewish allies. I want freedom for all of us who are dying inside watching the horrific killing of our sisters and brothers in Gaza.

We will only achieve that freedom when we stop this genocide and build more power. Thank you for everything you’ve done this year.

I am motivated by the necessity of this time. We have no choice but to keep the pressure on and stay loud and responsible.

 

In solidarity,

Linda and the MPower Change team

29 december 2023

 

2023 is coming to an end, and this year has brought immense pain and destruction to the people of Palestine. As a community, these past 12 weeks have been full of pain and despair. This period stands out as the deadliest for Palestinians in decades with a full-blown genocide taking place in Gaza and ethnic cleansing taking place in the West Bank. Adding to the distress, this period has brought about some of the worst repression against our students, professionals, and organizations here at home in years.

It is in moments of darkness and despair like this that many lose hope. But here at AMP, these moments are when we redouble our efforts. We draw strength from the families in Gaza, who steadfastly refuse to be forced out of their land. We draw inspiration from our elders in Al Quds, who are unwavering in protecting our holy and historical sites. Additionally, we draw resilience from the people of the West Bank, who, despite an armed settler push to evict them from their homes, adamantly resist conceding to their oppressors. These are the people we cannot afford to let down, especially as the U.S. Government aids the crimes against them.

In these 12 weeks alone, AMP has led our community to take effective action through our protests taking place nationwide, our educational events happening every day in communities across the country, and our advocacy days and trainings that have contributed to our movement's overall success in centering our narrative in the halls of Congress. It is heartening to witness a growing wave of support for the Palestinian cause both within the United States and internationally.

Dr. Osama Abu Irshaid
Executive Director

29 december 2023

 

When I introduced the Ceasefire Now Resolution on October 16, I never imagined that we would still be fighting for a ceasefire today.

I never imagined that over 80 days later, we would still be fighting for the Biden administration to call for a ceasefire amidst mass executions, overnight Christmas eve massacres at refugee camps, the forced displacement of millions of people, and a death toll of over 21,000 Palestinians–more than 8,000 children–murdered with weapons that have been manufactured and purchased with our tax dollars.

I also never could have imagined the unprecedented solidarity movement we’ve built together.

We’ve seen dozens of major unions like the United Auto Workers and American Postal Workers Union, countless public figures and artists, Congressional and Administration staffers, the UN, not to mention the pope, join our urgent call for a ceasefire.

A majority of voters now support a ceasefire in Gaza, including 76% of Democrats, 57% of Independents, and 49% of Republicans. Remarkably, 76% of Democrats support conditioning U.S. military aid to Israel. This is a sea change that many of us believed would take decades to achieve. But we know it’s still not nearly enough.

My beliefs are rooted in my experience as an activist in the movement to save Black lives in Ferguson.

As I marched and protested, I was frequently joined by my Palestinian and Jewish siblings - including Sandra Tamari, the Executive Director of Adalah Justice Project.

Together, we demanded an end to the violence, the brutality and the oppression that is killing Black people in America.

But our commitment to ending violence, brutality and oppression was not conditional: it was universal.

To me, the shared struggles between the people of Ferguson and the people of Palestine are crystal clear.

We must be against state sanctioned violence wherever it happens. We must fight for equality, justice, safety, and dignity for everyone, everywhere. All human life is equally precious.


With solidarity,

Cori Bush

28 december 2023

28 december 2023

 

Last week, while Congress spent its final hours in session debating whether to send $14.3 billion in additional military funding to Israel, movement leaders from 80+ organizations came together at the Capitol Rotunda to demand one thing: that we live free of occupation and free of genocide.

 

From protesting at the Capitol, to shutting down major bridges and highways, to disrupting panels, conferences, fundraisers, and more, there is no business as usual while the U.S. supports Israel’s ongoing genocide in Palestine. And in this pivotal moment, we must hold onto hope and keep fighting for justice.

 

As we watch Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people in real time, millions of people across the U.S. and around the world are rising up and joining our movement for Palestinian liberation.

 

Recent poll numbers from Quinnipiac show that, for the first time ever, a strong majority of Democrats, 58%, support our demand to stop arming Israel. A shocking 1 in 3 Democrats dropped their previous support for weapons to Israel over the past two months.

 

When the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights launched our campaign to end U.S. military funding to Israel, “Palestine Will Be Free: #StopArmingIsrael & Fund Our Communities”, earlier this year, we knew we had a long road ahead of us.

 

But in this moment, Nico, Palestinian liberation feels closer than ever.

 

You and I both know that a better future is possible—a world where we all live free and safe from state violence, a world where Palestinian people can live liberated in our ancestral homeland.

 

Together, we are unshakable, and until Palestine is free, we must use our collective power to keep organizing, keep resisting, and keep fighting with everything we’ve got. Justice cannot wait.

 

In solidarity,

IMAN ABID

Organizing & Advocacy Director

 

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #78

Most people in Gaza are displaced, as families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety. Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene further exacerbate people’s dire living conditions, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease. Photo by UNICEF/El Baba

28 december 2023

Key points

 

  • Following a shutdown of the telecommunications and internet services in Gaza on 26 December, services are being gradually restored to all areas of Gaza on 27 December. The frequent disruption in communications, along with intensified hostilities, insecurity, blocked roads, and scarcity of fuel, pose significant challenges to humanitarian operations.
  • On 27 December, heavy Israeli bombardment from air, land, and sea, continued across most of the Gaza Strip. In the north, Gaza City and Jabalya were most affected; in the Middle Area, hostilities continued in the four refugee camps – Al Bureij, An Nuseirat, Deir Al Balah and Al Maghazi. Simultaneously, Israeli forces struck multiple targets in the southern cities of Khan Yunis and Rafah. Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups also continued in most areas, except for Rafah, as did the firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel.
  • Between 26 and 27 December, 195 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and another 325 people were injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. Between 26 and 27 December, 22 Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in Gaza. Since the start of the ground operation, 162 soldiers have been killed, and 898 soldiers have been injured in Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 27 December, 13 out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional; nine in the south and four in the north. The four hospitals partially functional in the north have been offering maternity, trauma, and emergency care services. However, they face challenges such as a shortage of medical staff, including specialized surgeons, neurosurgeons, and intensive care staff, as well as a lack of medical supplies such as anesthesia, antibiotics, pain relief medicines, and external fixators. Additionally, they have an urgent need for fuel, food, and drinking water. The nine partially functional hospitals in the south are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units.
  • On 25 December, a team from the WHO visited Al Aqsa Hospital, in the Middle Area, where many of the injured from the strike on Al Mahghazi Camp were taken, to assess the situation, and heard “harrowing accounts” shared by health workers and patients alike. On 27 December, the WHO Director-General appealed to the international community “to take urgent steps to alleviate the grave peril facing the population of Gaza and jeopardizing the ability of humanitarian workers to help people with terrible injuries, acute hunger, and at severe risk of disease.”
  • According to the MoH in Gaza, between 7 October and 00:00 on 28 December, at least 21,110 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of 27 December, 55,243 Palestinians have been injured. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, with many still waiting for rescue or recovery.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported on 27 December:
    • On 26 December, at around 18:45, the Israeli air force reportedly struck a house in An Nuseirat camp, Middle Gaza, killing at least five Palestinians, including children, and injuring others.
    • On 26 December, at about 20:00, media sources reported that Israeli forces struck a three-storey building in the vicinity of Al Azhar University in Gaza city; as a result, more than 60 people are reported missing.
    • On 27 December, in the morning, six Palestinians were reportedly killed by Israeli snipers in the Al Saftawi area, Gaza city; the bodies were transferred to Al Shifa Hospital.
    • On 22 December, local media sources reported that Israeli forces killed nine Palestinian men from the Al Khaldi family in Ash Sheikh Redwan neighborhood in Gaza city. According to information received from relatives of those who were allegedly killed, on 21 December, at about 18:00, Israeli Forces raided the family house, where around 35 persons, including women and children, where sheltering, and fired randomly at people in the living room, killing at least nine men and injuring others.
  • On 26 December, the bodies of 80 Palestinians reportedly killed in northern Gaza were returned through the Kerem Shalom crossing to the local authorities and buried in a mass grave in Rafah. According to Israeli media, the bodies had reportedly been taken to Israel for inspection, to determine whether any of them were hostages.
  • According to Ministry of Education, between 7 October and 26 December, more than 4,037 students and 209 educational staff were killed, and more than 7,259 students and 619 teachers were injured in Gaza.
  • According to the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate in Gaza, 103 Palestinian journalists and media workers have been killed in airstrikes since 7 October. According to the Gaza MoH, 311 Palestinian medics have been killed. According to the Palestinian Civil Defense at least 40 civil defense members have been killed since the start of hostilities.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 27 December, at about 9:15, Israeli forces reportedly struck the UNRWA Preparatory School for Girls in Al Maghazi camp, Middle Gaza, killing at least five Palestinians, and injuring several others. The school was sheltering internally displaced people (IDP) and was evacuated following the strike.
  • On 26 December, the Israeli military reiterated its call upon residents to leave an area, originally designated for evacuation on 22 December, covering about 15 per cent, or roughly nine square kilometres, of Deir Al Balah governorate in central Gaza. Before the onset of hostilities, it was home to nearly 90,000 people, and it now includes six shelters that have accommodated about 61,000 IDPs, mostly from the north. The affected areas include Al Bureij and An Nuseirat Refugee Camps and north of An Nuseirat (Az Zaharaa, and Al Moughraga). Instructions accompanying the online map call on residents to move immediately to shelters in Deir al Balah, which is already overcrowded, hosting several hundred thousand IDPs. The scope of displacement resulting from this evacuation order remains unclear.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times, as families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety.Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, further exacerbate the already dire living conditions of IDPs, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 26 December, at about 15:30, Israeli forces reportedly struck and destroyed an UNRWA medical clinic in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza. No report of civilian casualties.
  • On 26 December, at about 20:50, The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reported that it had lost communication with its teams working in Gaza, due to the disruption of telecommunications and internet services. PRCS also reported that the VHF radio communication network, the sole means of communication during this blackout, sustained damage from alleged artillery shelling that targeted the upper floors of its headquarters in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, in the early morning of 26 December. In reference to the incident, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) declared that “humanitarian workers, vehicles and buildings must be protected during conflict. They provide lifesaving assistance and must be able to conduct their work safely.”

Food security

 

  • The Chief Economist of the World Food Programme (WFP) has noted that the scale and speed of the unfolding acute food insecurity situation in Gaza, observed over just two months, are unprecedented in their severity. The entire population in the Gaza Strip faces an imminent risk of famine, according to the latest estimates from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) global partnership on 21 December. The proportion of households affected by acute food insecurity is the largest ever recorded globally, according to IPC report.
  • The Famine Review Committee (FRC), activated due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5 (Catastrophic threshold) in the Gaza Strip, warns that the risk of famine increases daily amid intense conflict and restricted humanitarian access. The committee added that to eliminate the famine risk, it is imperative to halt the deterioration of health, nutrition, food security, and mortality through the restoration of health and WASH services. In addition, the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of humanitarian space for delivering multisectoral assistance are vital first steps to eliminate any risk of famine.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 129 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza. On 22 December, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his call for all remaining hostages to be released immediately and unconditionally.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • On 27 December, clashes erupted with Palestinians after Israeli forces raided Nur Shams Refugee Camp, Tulkarm, which reportedly included the use of explosives by the former. Israeli forces killed six Palestinians, including two children, and injured two others by rockets fired from a drone.
  • Another Palestinian man died from wounds he sustained from Israeli forces during an operation in Tulkarm Refugee Camp on 14 November.
  • Since 7 October, 300 Palestinians, including 79 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 292 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents nearly 60 per cent of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 502 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him).
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,805 Palestinians, including at least 576 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations. Another 91 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 12 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 367 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (36 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (285 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (46 incidents).
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 32, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 11 incidents between 16 and 22 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 198 Palestinian households comprising 1,208 people, including 586 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from at least 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • On 26 December, three Palestinian families were forced to demolish their residential structures in Jabal al Mukkabir and Shu’fat (both in East Jerusalem) to avoid the payment of fines imposed by Israeli authorities due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. As a result, seven people, including four children, were displaced.
  • This brings the total number of people displaced following the demolition of their homes, due to lack of Israeli issued permits, to 393 Palestinians, including 208 children, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement in this context between 7 October and 7 December represents a 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year.
  • A total of 19 homes have been demolished on punitive grounds since 7 October, resulting in the displacement of 95 Palestinians, including 42 children. This figure is higher than the 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year, resulting in the displacement of 78 Palestinians. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law.
  • Another 483 Palestinians, including 222 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 73 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 27 December, Member States have disbursed US$637 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes 52 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 18-25 December

Health

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational south of Wadi Gaza, recording 10,095 patient visits on 21 December, including refugees and non-refugees.
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. On 21 December, 221 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to.
  • UNRWA continues to provide health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team comprises one or two doctors and a nurse. On 21-22 December, UNRWA medical teams attended to 21,004 IDPs.
  • On 20-21 December, mental health, and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services were resumed in the Middle Area and Khan Younis governorates, with a team of two psychiatrists and 16 counsellors and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters.

Food security

 

  • Between 18 and 24 December, the Food Security Sector reached 1,783,565 people. Given that it aims at reaching Gaza’s 2.2 million people daily, this represents 12 per cent of the target.
  • Amid immense access challenges, 800 people in the north, including IDPs residing in public shelters and those with host families, received food parcels. Additionally, 780 hot meals were provided in northern Gaza.
  • In southern Gaza, food parcels reached 268,333 people in UNRWA shelters, 2,800 in public shelters, 23,841 staying with host families, and 1,000 who are not displaced. In addition, 53,000 hot meals were distributed to people in public shelters and host families; ready-to-eat rations were provided to 3,500 people in similar circumstances; and flour distribution benefited 1,722,792 people.
  • Additionally, between 23-26 December, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided 18,822 people outside shelters with food parcels through partner distribution points. It also provided about 500,000 IDPs in UN shelters south of Wadi Gaza with food parcels, wheat flour, high-energy biscuits and lipid-based nutrient supplements. Additionally, it provided 16,420 hot meals in Rafah, the Middle Area, and Gaza city through five community-led kitchens. Finally, 50 metric tons of wheat flour are scheduled for dispatch to 14 bakeries.

Education

 

  • The Education Cluster reported that 352 schools have sustained damage across the Gaza Strip, affecting the education of 400,700 students (52.1 per cent girls). Three governorates (Gaza, Khan Younis and North Gaza) are highly affected, accounting for 74 per cent of the total damage. About 90 per cent of school buildings are being utilized as shelters by IDPs and/or sustained damage, with the severity of damage varying from minor (128 schools), moderate (110 schools), major (96 schools) and destruction (8 schools).
  • The Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in Gaza have reached 84,262 students and teachers since 7 October, with the provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), south of Wadi Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential to prevent and or cure malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • Juzoor reached 21,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women with iron-foliate and multiple micronutrients supplementation in Rafah and the Middle Area.
  • UNICEF delivered lipid-based supplements covering the needs of 11,200 children (ages 6-24 months) inside shelters for one month.
  • UNICEF delivered ready-to-use infant formulas to address the needs of 400 non-breastfed infants (ages up to 5 months) for one month.

Multi-purpose Cash Assistance (MCPA)

 

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, nearly 110,000 households (comprising almost 750,000 people) have received emergency MPCA. With about 80,000 households having already cashed out their assistance, cash out rates stand at 73 per cent, and are declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been delivered across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the southern governorates.
  • While formal markets are largely depleted, informal markets are now the key sources of basics goods and services. This includes trades of personal belongings, small household-based production (bread, vegetables), humanitarian assistance, and other items.
  • Post distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance point to food, medicines, debt repayment, drinking water, and transportation as the top expenditures reported. The percentage of expenditures on food has further decreased over the past weeks, while the percentage of expenditures on medicines has doubled. Some 70 per cent of respondents report that unrestricted cash has helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially, while 87 per cent report unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

Logistics

 

  • The results of the rapid , conducted by the Global Logistics Cluster, HELP Logistics, JSI, and partners, have been shared with partners. The assessment was conducted during November and December through field visits to 23 locations in Khan Yunis and Rafah governorates.
  • The IMPACCT Working Group continues to engage with various ministries for clarifications on customs procedures for the importation of humanitarian aid. The Standard Operating Procedures on the importation processes are under development.
  • The Logistics Cluster continues to facilitate access to common services in the Gaza Strip and Egypt through common storage services, road transport to the storage location, and cargo notification transshipment services. In Gaza, two warehouses in Rafah are currently available for partners’ storage, one managed by ACTED (70 square metres) and one by WFP (1,000 square metres). The common warehouses in Deir al Balah and Khan Yunis are currently on hold until further notice. The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport services from Rafah to the Logistics Cluster common warehouses in Gaza. Additionally, a cargo notification service is available to inform partners once their cargo has arrived at the Rafah handover point. In Egypt, the Logistics Cluster facilitates common storage services in Port Said with 800 pallet positions.

Emergency Telecommunications

 

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) and its partners continue to engage with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) for authorization to import telecommunications equipment and set up an independent, efficient, and reliable communications platform for humanitarian responders.
  • The ETC met for a technical engagement with UNDSS in Jerusalem on 18 December and discussed the status of the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio network security communications system (SCS) in Gaza, which has four repeaters in Jabalya, Gaza city, Khan Yunis, and Rafah. Only Khan Yunis and Rafah were functional when the system was reactivated on 3 December, and the Khan Yunis repeater broke down on 13 December and is currently inaccessible because of the prevailing insecurity.
  • On 18 December, ETC partner, REACH, completed a communications and information needs assessment for the population in Gaza using the secondary data review methodology of all available data from sources on the ground. The report was shared with all ETC global partners on 22 December to inform and guide humanitarian responders on their current and planned activities in Gaza.

28 december 2023

Reflecting on 2023 and Navigating the Path Forward for Palestinian Advocacy in the United States

27 december 2023

 

As we approach the end of 2023, we are reaching out to you with a greater sense of mission and responsibility than ever before. The genocidal war waged by Israel in Gaza, and our government’s unprecedented enablement of it, demands that we double our efforts in 2024 to bring an end to the ongoing genocide in Gaza and prevent this crime against humanity from ever happening again. “Never again” should genuinely mean never again. 

Being American brings great responsibilities. We are citizens of the world’s greatest superpower and Israel’s greatest benefactor. It is because of our government’s unwavering support for Israel that the zionist entity has the political cover and the military capability to carry out its genocide and occupation of Palestinians as it pleases. We have a responsibility to our Palestinian brothers and sisters suffering at the hands of Israel and imperialism to hold our government accountable for aiding and abetting Israel’s crimes against humanity. Many of us have become motivated in recent months after we have collectively watched, with great disgust, the role the Biden administration has played in enabling, materially supporting, and politically shielding Israel as it actively commits genocide in Gaza and expands its occupation and harassment of Palestinians across the whole of Palestine. This, while they also do nothing to protect Palestinians, Arabs, and Muslims here in the United States who stand up for Palestine.

At AJP Action, we have always been aware of the negative role played by successive American administrations in placing apartheid Israel above international law and basic human morals. We are also mindful of the moral price we pay as a nation and its geopolitical ramifications for American national interests as the Biden administration refuses to correct course on its blind support for the colonialist entity. Therefore, we have been at the forefront of advocating for a more just American foreign policy—specifically in occupied Palestine. We strive to ensure our elected officials know that the public is aware and ready to hold them accountable for the policies they support. This is evident in the central role we have played in mobilizing protests and public actions against this administration and Congress and in the advocacy we’ve engaged in since Israel’s genocide of Gaza began. In line with our mission, we present some incredible journeys we have undertaken together in 2023.

 

Over the past twelve months, AJP Action has been at the forefront of some of the most significant developments in the history of Palestine advocacy. We have worked tirelessly to amplify the voices of the Palestinian people and push for justice and equality. From grassroots initiatives to high-level policy engagements, our community has shown an unwavering commitment to making a real impact.

In solidarity.

27 december 2023

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #77

The intensity of attacks and scale of devastation are among the impediments to the delivery of relief aid to those in need across Gaza. The UN Secretary-General has stated that an effective aid operation requires ”security; staff who can work in safety; logistical capacity; and the resumption of commercial activity.” These four elements do not exist, he warned. Photo by UNRWA

 

27 december 2023

Key points

 

  • On 26 December, at about 19:00, the primary telecommunications provider in the Gaza Strip announced a halt in communication and internet services due to reported damage to its infrastructure. This followed a partial shutdown a few hours earlier due to ongoing hostilities. Humanitarian agencies and first responders have warned that blackouts jeopardize the already constrained provision of life-saving assistance in Gaza.    
  • Between 23 and 26 December, heavy Israeli bombardment from air, land, and sea, continued across most of the Gaza Strip, specifically the Middle Area, where Israeli forces reportedly carried out more than 50 strikes on 24-25 December, on three refugee camps – Al Bureij, An Nuseirat, and Al Maghazi. Dozens of fatalities were reported and the roads connecting these camps were destroyed, hindering the delivery of relief aid to those in need.
  • Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued in most areas. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel also continued. Between 23 and 26 December, 858 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and another 1,598 people were injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. Between 22 and 26 December, 24 Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in Gaza. Since the start of the ground operation, 164 soldiers have been killed, and 874 soldiers have been injured in Gaza, according to the Israeli military.
  • On 24 December, around 21:00, Israeli forces reportedly struck a residential block comprising several houses of the Qandil, Abu Ahed Abu Hamida, Abu Rahma, Si-Salem, and Al-Nawasra families in various locations in Al-Maghazi Camp, middle Gaza, killing more than 70 Palestinians and injuring tens of others including children and women. An unknown number of people are still believed to be trapped under the rubble. A spokesperson for The UN Human Rights Office expressed its grave concern about the continued bombardment of middle Gaza by Israeli forces, adding that “it is particularly concerning that the latest intense bombardment comes after Israeli forces ordered residents from the south of Wadi Gaza to move to Middle Gaza and Tal Al-sultan in Rafah.”
  • On 25 December, a team from the World Health Organization (WHO) visited Al Aqsa Hospital, in the middle area where many of the injured from the strike on Al Mahghazi Camp were taken and heard “harrowing accounts” shared by health workers and patients alike. The WHO Director-General expressed his concern regarding “the unbearable strain that escalating hostilities are putting on the few hospitals across Gaza that remain open – with most of the health system decimated and brought to its knees.”
  • According to the MoH in Gaza, between 7 October and 00:00 on 26 December, at least 20,915 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of 26 December, 54,918 Palestinians have been injured. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, with many still waiting for rescue or recovery.
  • Humanitarian operations are facing increasing operational challenges due to intensified hostilities, insecurity, blocked roads, scarcity of fuel, and extremely limited communications. These four elements do not exist.”
  • On 23 December, two UN missions reached the north of Gaza, and distributed 19,200 litres of fuel, medical supplies, and food to four hospitals, including Shifa. Shifa was formerly Gaza’s largest hospital, but continuing hostilities and a surge in the number of wounded people have overwhelmed its capacities. The hospital can now only provide the most basic first aid and is currently hosting about 50,000 internally displaced people (IDPs).
  • On 25 December, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) with the International Red Crescent Society (ICRC) managed to evacuate 21 patients from Al Ahli Baptist Hospital and 13 patients from Shifa to Khan Younis, in the south. PRCS also evacuated teams from the ambulance centre in Jabalya, in the north, after Israeli forces reportedly forced them to leave the centre and destroyed the ambulances on 20 December, according to PRCS.
  • On 25 December, Israeli media published a video reportedly showing Israeli forces detaining hundreds of Palestinians inside Al Yarmouk football stadium in Gaza city. The video shows the detainees, including children, older people and persons with disabilities, being forced to strip to their underwear in degrading conditions. On 26 December, the media published video testimonies from Palestinian detainees who had been taken to Israel and then reportedly released back into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. The detainees, including older persons, alleged that they had been tortured and ill-treated in captivity, with video footage showing bruises and burns on their bodies. They also reported being deprived of food, water, and access to toilets and being exposed to the elements.
  • As of 25 December, at 20:20, the Gaza Water Authority announced that the Israeli pipelines supplying water to the Bani Suhaila area east of Khan Younis had stopped working as a result of airstrikes that caused severe damage to the lines, which led to the failure to pump water to all areas of Khan Yunis. This line supplies about 14,400 cubic metres of water per day and is one out of two lines that supplies drinking water to the southern area; the Israeli pipelines supplying water to the north are not functioning since 8 October. 
  • On 26 December, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres announced the appointment of Ms. Sigrid Kaag of the Netherlands as Senior Humanitarian and Reconstruction Coordinator for Gaza pursuant to recent Security Council Resolution 2720.  Ms. Kaag will facilitate, coordinate, monitor, and verify humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza. She will also establish a UN mechanism to accelerate humanitarian relief consignments to Gaza through States which are not party to the conflict. In executing these functions, she will be supported by the UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS). Ms. Kaag is expected to begin her assignment on 8 January 2024.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported between 22 and 25 December: 
    • On 22 December at about 13:00, at least 40 Palestinians were reportedly killed after eight residential buildings in Jabalya city in the north, were struck.
    • On 24 December, at about 21:40, at least 21 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and many others were injured, when their house was struck in Khan Yunis.
    • On 25 December, at about 15:30, ten Palestinians were reportedly killed, and many others were injured, when their house, near the European Hospital, east of Khan Yunis, was hit. 
  • On 26 December, the bodies of 80 Palestinians reportedly killed in northern Gaza were returned through the Kerem Shalom crossing to the local authorities and buried in a mass grave in Rafah. According to Israeli media, the bodies had reportedly been taken to Israel for inspection, to determine whether any of them were hostages.
  • On 23 December, two IDPs were killed when two UNRWA schools sheltering IDPs in An Nuseirat, Middle Area, were hit. In Jabalya (North), airstrikes reportedly hit the vicinity of schools sheltering IDPs, killing and injuring tens of Palestinians.
  • According to Ministry of Education, between 7 October and 26 December, more than 4,037 students and 209 educational staff were killed, and more than 7,259 students and 619 teachers were injured in Gaza.
  • According to the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate in Gaza, 82 Palestinian journalists and media workers have been killed in airstrikes since 7 October. According to the Gaza MoH, 310 Palestinian medics have been killed. According to the Palestinian Civil Defense at least 20 civil defense members have been killed since the start of hostilities.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Today, on 26 December, the Israeli military reiterated its call upon residents to leave an area, originally designated for evacuation on 22 December, covering about 15 per cent, or roughly 9 square kilometres, of Deir Al Balah governorate in central Gaza. Before the onset of hostilities, it was home to nearly 90,000 people, and it now includes six shelters that have accommodated about 61,000 internally displaced people, mostly from the north. In recent days, humanitarian partners have reported an influx of internally displaced people from Deir Al Balah governorate to the already overcrowded south.    
  • The affected areas include Al Bureij and An Nuseirat Refugee Camps and north of An Nuseirat (Az Zaharaa, and Al Moughraga). Instructions accompanying the map call on residents to move immediately to shelters in Deir al Balah, which is already overcrowded, hosting several hundred thousand IDPs. The scope of displacement resulting from this evacuation order remains unclear at the time of reporting.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times, as families are forced to move repeatedly in search of safety.
  • Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, further exacerbate the already dire living conditions of IDPs, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease. 

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 25 December, in two separate incidents, Al Kheir hospital in Jabalya and the vicinity of the Indonesian hospital in Beit Lahia (both north of Gaza city) were hit and destroyed. Both were empty and non-operational at the time they were hit; in the latter, three Palestinians were killed, and others were injured.
  • On 26 December, several IDPs were injured when the upper floors of the PRCS headquarters, in Khan Yunis, where thousands of IDPs are sheltering, were hit and damaged.
  • On 25 December, UNRWA delivered 80,000 vials of the measles, mumps and rubella vaccine to Gaza to protect children against vaccine preventable diseases. 
  • According to WHO, as of 22 December, nine out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional, all located in the south. These hospitals are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. 
  • On 23 December, WHO stated that northern Gaza had been left without a functional hospital due to the lack of fuel, staff, and medical supplies. Al Ahli Hospital is still treating patients but not admitting new ones, along with Shifa, Al Awda and Al Sahaba hospitals. These hospitals are not accessible by new patients, and they continue to care for existing patients while also sheltering thousands of IDPs.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

 

  • On 22 December, at about 19:37 hours, An Nile desalination plant, in Jabalya city (north) was destroyed. It was the only desalination plant used by the residents of North Gaza.
  • On 20 December, UNICEF stated that children in Gaza are not able to access 90 per cent of their normal water use. The impact on children is severe, as they are more susceptible to dehydration, diarrhoea, disease, and malnutrition. Concerns of waterborne diseases, such as cholera and chronic diarrhoea, are heightened given the lack of safe water, especially following seasonal rains and flooding. Officials have recorded almost 20 times the monthly average of reported cases of diarrhoea among children under the age of five, 160,000 cases of acute respiratory infection, and increases in other infectious conditions and illnesses, such as scabies, lice, chicken pox, and skin rashes.
  • On 20 December, the Director General of WHO echoed a concern for the rises in infectious disease stating that “Gaza is already experiencing soaring rates of infectious disease outbreaks. Diarrhoea cases among children aged under 5 are 25 times what they were before the conflict. Such illnesses can be lethal for malnourished children, more so in the absence of functioning health services.”

Food security

 

  • On 24 December, in Gaza city, the Jordanian military carried out its seventh airdrop of humanitarian aid and food supplies to assist those taking shelter inside the Church of Saint Porphyrius. An estimated 800 people are in the church, reported to be facing food shortages and a severe lack of necessities.
  • The Chief Economist of the World Food Programme (WFP) has noted that the scale and speed of the unfolding acute food insecurity situation in Gaza, observed over just two months, are unprecedented in their severity. The entire population in the Gaza Strip faces an imminent risk of famine, according to the latest estimates from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) global partnership on 21 December. The proportion of households affected by acute food insecurity is the largest ever recorded globally, according to IPC report.
  • The Famine Review Committee (FRC), activated due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5 (Catastrophic threshold) in the Gaza Strip, warns that the risk of famine increases daily amid intense conflict and restricted humanitarian access. The committee added that to eliminate the famine risk, it is imperative to halt the deterioration of health, nutrition, food security, and mortality through the restoration of health and WASH services. In addition to the cessation of hostilities and the restoration of humanitarian space for delivering multisectoral assistance are vital first steps to eliminate any risk of famine.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 129 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza. On 22 December, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his call for all remaining hostages to be released immediately and unconditionally. 

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • On 26 December, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, including a 17-year-old child, and injured two others with live ammunition in Al Fawwar Refugee Camp in Hebron during a search-and-arrest operation. 
  • Since 7 October, 295 Palestinians, including 77 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 285 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents nearly 60 per cent of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 495 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him). 
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,803 Palestinians, including at least 576 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations. Another 88 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • Between 23 and 26 December, eight settler attacks resulting in damage to Palestinian-owned property were reported. In six of the incidents, settlers vandalized a total of 1,588 trees and crops in the Palestinian communities of Deir Istiya (Salfit), Khirbet at Tawamin, Tuba, Qawawis and Susiya (all in Hebron), Jalud (Nablus) in addition to the destruction of an agricultural room, and two stone fences. In another incident, armed assailants who are known by Palestinian residents to be settlers but were wearing Israeli military uniforms, raided the community of Umm At Tiran (Hebron); they demolished two residential structures, and a solar system. In another incident, settlers open fire at a Palestinian farmer working on his land, causing damage to two water tanks and forcing him to leave the area. 
  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 367 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (36 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (285 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (46 incidents). 
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 32, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 11 incidents between 16 and 22 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 198 Palestinian households comprising 1,208 people, including 586 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from at least 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • On 26 December, three Palestinian families were forced to demolish their residential structures in Jabal al Mukkabir and Shu’fat (both in East Jerusalem) to avoid the payment of fines imposed by Israeli authorities due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, which are almost impossible to obtain. As a result, seven people, including four children, were displaced. 
  • This brings the total number of people displaced following the demolition of their homes, due to lack of Israeli issued permits, to 393 Palestinians, including 208 children, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement in this context between 7 October and 7 December represents a 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year. 
  • A total of 19 homes have been demolished on punitive grounds since 7 October, resulting in the displacement of 95 Palestinians, including 42 children. This figure is higher than the 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year, resulting in the displacement of 78 Palestinians. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law. 
  • Another 483 Palestinians, including 222 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 73 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 26 December, Member States have disbursed US$622.6 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes 51 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 18-25 December

Health

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational south of Wadi Gaza, recording 10,095 patient visits on 21 December, including refugees and non-refugees. 
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. On 21 December, 221 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to.
  • UNRWA continues to provide health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team comprises one or two doctors and a nurse. On 21-22 December, UNRWA medical teams attended to 21,004 IDPs.
  • On 20-21 December, mental health, and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services were resumed in the Middle Area and Khan Younis governorates, with a team of two psychiatrists and 16 counsellors and supervisors to assist special cases referred from health centres and shelters.

Food security

 

  • Between 18 and 24 December, the Food Security Sector reached 1,783,565 people. Given that it aims at reaching Gaza’s 2.2 million people daily, this represents 12 per cent of the target.
  • Amid immense access challenges, 800 people in the north, including IDPs residing in public shelters and those with host families, received food parcels. Additionally, 780 hot meals were provided in northern Gaza.
  • In southern Gaza, food parcels reached 268,333 people in UNRWA shelters, 2,800 in public shelters, 23,841 staying with host families, and 1,000 who are not displaced. In addition, 53,000 hot meals were distributed to people in public shelters and host families; ready-to-eat rations were provided to 3,500 people in similar circumstances; and flour distribution benefited 1,722,792 people.
  • Additionally, between 23-26 December, the World Food Programme (WFP) provided 18,822 people outside shelters with food parcels through partner distribution points. It also provided about 500,000 IDPs in UN shelters south of Wadi Gaza with food parcels, wheat flour, high-energy biscuits and lipid-based nutrient supplements. Additionally, it provided 16,420 hot meals in Rafah, the Middle Area, and Gaza city through five community-led kitchens. Finally, 50 metric tons of wheat flour are scheduled for dispatch to 14 bakeries.

Education

  • The Education Cluster reported that 352 schools have sustained damage across the Gaza Strip, affecting the education of 400,700 students (52.1 per cent girls). Three governorates (Gaza, Khan Younis and North Gaza) are highly affected, accounting for 74 per cent of the total damage. About 90 per cent of school buildings are being utilized as shelters by IDPs and/or sustained damage, with the severity of damage varying from minor (128 schools), moderate (110 schools), major (96 schools) and destruction (8 schools).
  • The Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in Gaza have reached 84,262 students and teachers since 7 October, with the provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), south of Wadi Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential to prevent and or cure malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • Juzoor reached 21,000 pregnant and breastfeeding women with iron-foliate and multiple micronutrients supplementation in Rafah and the Middle Area.
  • UNICEF delivered lipid-based supplements covering the needs of 11,200 children (ages 6-24 months) inside shelters for one month. 
  • UNICEF delivered ready-to-use infant formulas to address the needs of 400 non-breastfed infants (ages up to 5 months) for one month.

Multi-purpose Cash Assistance (MCPA)

 

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, nearly 110,000 households (comprising almost 750,000 people) have received emergency MPCA. With about 80,000 households having already cashed out their assistance, cash out rates stand at 73 per cent, and are declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been delivered across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the southern governorates.
  • While formal markets are largely depleted, informal markets are now the key sources of basics goods and services. This includes trades of personal belongings, small household-based production (bread, vegetables), humanitarian assistance, and other items.
  • Post distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance point to food, medicines, debt repayment, drinking water, and transportation as the top expenditures reported. The percentage of expenditures on food has further decreased over the past weeks, while the percentage of expenditures on medicines has doubled. Some 70 per cent of respondents report that unrestricted cash has helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially, while 87 per cent report unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

Logistics

 

  • The results of the rapid Logistics Capacity Assessment, conducted by the Global Logistics Cluster, HELP Logistics, JSI, and partners, have been shared with partners. The assessment was conducted during November and December through field visits to 23 locations in Khan Yunis and Rafah governorates. 
  • The IMPACCT Working Group continues to engage with various ministries for clarifications on customs procedures for the importation of humanitarian aid. The Standard Operating Procedures on the importation processes are under development.
  • The Logistics Cluster continues to facilitate access to common services in the Gaza Strip and Egypt through common storage services, road transport to the storage location, and cargo notification transshipment services. In Gaza, two warehouses in Rafah are currently available for partners’ storage, one managed by ACTED (70 square metres) and one by WFP (1,000 square metres). The common warehouses in Deir al Balah and Khan Yunis are currently on hold until further notice. The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport services from Rafah to the Logistics Cluster common warehouses in Gaza. Additionally, a cargo notification service is available to inform partners once their cargo has arrived at the Rafah handover point. In Egypt, the Logistics Cluster facilitates common storage services in Port Said with 800 pallet positions. 

Emergency Telecommunications

 

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) and its partners continue to engage with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) for authorization to import telecommunications equipment and set up an independent, efficient, and reliable communications platform for humanitarian responders. 
  • The ETC met for a technical engagement with UNDSS in Jerusalem on 18 December and discussed the status of the Very High Frequency (VHF) radio network security communications system (SCS) in Gaza, which has four repeaters in Jabalya, Gaza city, Khan Yunis, and Rafah. Only Khan Yunis and Rafah were functional when the system was reactivated on 3 December, and the Khan Yunis repeater broke down on 13 December and is currently inaccessible because of the prevailing insecurity. 
  • On 18 December, ETC partner, REACH, completed a communications and information needs assessment for the population in Gaza using the secondary data review methodology of all available data from sources on the ground. The report was shared with all ETC global partners on 22 December to inform and guide humanitarian responders on their current and planned activities in Gaza.

26 december 2023

 

As we mark the 81st day of Israel’s brutal genocide in Gaza, my heart is filled with unrelenting grief, rage, and sadness.

 

What gives me hope, though, is that so many millions across the U.S. and around the world, are joining a powerful moment of popular resistance and solidarity with the Palestinian people.

 

Our movement for justice and liberation is growing!

 

Our strength lies in our people power, in the mass movement of millions of diverse supporters rising up for Palestinian rights across the country.

 

Together, we will make our voices heard. We will force our representatives to listen to their constituents and respect human rights. We will fight to end U.S. military funding to Israel.

 

These are dark days, truly.


In solidarity,

 

AHMAD ABUZNAID

Executive Director

25 december 2023

25 december 2023

 

This year marks 20 years since the foundation of the Refuser Solidarity Network (RSN).

The Second Intifada broke out in 2000. It brought with it death and destruction on a huge scale, and Israeli oppression of the Palestinians became even more extreme. A group of brave young Israelis decided to take a stand against the consensus. They declared that they would refuse to serve in the army while the occupation continued. Initially, they stood alone. The Israeli political climate of the time made getting their voice out - and building a base of supporters - close to impossible.

 

RSN was established to help them overcome this challenge. Since 2003, we have dedicated ourselves to backing these refusers. We work to amplify their voices, as well as those of the wider anti-Occupation movement, and to help them build a base of political and financial supporters.

Over the years we brought the stories of the Israeli refusers to our community to the wider world. We organized online events and booked speaking tours. We produced videos seen by millions. We built mechanisms to provide crucial funding for legal, psychological, political and material aid. When we started, we were a very small community. Today, we’re over 8,000. We’ve built something meaningful.

This past year felt like a roller coaster ride. When it started, it seemed like any other year. When the pro-democracy protests took over the Israeli streets, they brought with them a glimmer of hope. More and more Israelis began to understand how their freedom was dependent on the freedom for the Palestinians. The anti-Occupation movement grew. A massive refusal movement of unprecedented proportions changed public discourse. We dared hope that an end to the occupation might be near; that we were in an historic moment.

Then came the massacre of October 7, followed by the brutal Israeli assault that continues to this day. Everything changed. Public opinion swung heavily to the right. Many of the democracy refusers reenlisted. A crackdown on dissent made war resistance extremely difficult.

I still have hope. Not only because even under current conditions, the war resistance movement is active and some brave Israelis have dared refuse. Also because I think this horrifying war can be a turning point. The shock and pain of the Yom Kippur War in 1973 weakened the status quo and led to the peace agreement between Israel and Egypt. I believe that the shock and pain of the Gaza War could lead to a similar change; that Israel may finally come to the understanding that it will not be secure until the Occupation ends.

I believe that the “day after” after this war will present an opportunity. I know that we need to be ready to make the most of it. We’ll need a strong Israeli anti-occupation movement, with a solid base of international supporters, to make the critical push when the moment comes.



Together, Israelis, Palestinians, and international supporters, can end this war. Together we can end the Occupation.

In solidarity,

Mattan Helman
Executive Director
Refuser Solidarity Network

23/24 december 2023

23 december 2023

 

Like you, my heart has been breaking on repeat for 78 days.  Gaza is facing a crisis like we've never seen before. It has been 2 and a half months of heartache and fear, and the need for a ceasefire is urgent.

I'm writing to you from Ramallah. Even though Gaza is only 65 miles away, it feels like it's on the other side of the world. Everyday I wake up wishing I could jump high enough to intercept the F-16s I hear flying overhead towards Gaza. Being situated in the West Bank while my people, including friends and former colleagues, are being killed in Gaza has been a new form of psychological torture I have never experienced before.

Since October 7th, restrictions have increased on us in the West Bank and Palestinians across historic Palestine. Fear is growing as we see our neighbors and community members around us  kidnapped by Israeli soldiers for something as simple as social media posts. Our ability to move between cities and villages has become even more restricted, with random checkpoints stopping cars and soldiers searching phones and arresting people for any small indication that we are sympathetic to Gaza. And not to mention, the continuation of daily invasions and murders across West Bank cities, villages, and refugee camps.

If it wasn’t for the mass mobilizations happening across the world, and especially across the U.S. – Palestinians inside Palestine would feel isolated and hopeless. For 76 days, we have been witnessing hearts stirring on the streets and on our newsfeeds, voices rising in a chorus, urging their leaders to end this horrific nightmare. This is what is bringing us hope.

I believe that the Adalah Justice Project has been a lighthouse during these dark days. To witness my colleagues, undeterred and fierce, rise to challenge and disrupt the currents of injustice, is nothing less than awe-inspiring. I am proud to be working alongside this Palestinian women-led organization that is bound by a shared vision of collective liberation.

In this moment of pivotal change, I am reaching out to you. As we are mobilizing for an immediate ceasefire so that the killing can stop, we are also simultaneously mobilizing to stop the flow of U.S. arms and military funding to Israel. After the bombs stop, we know we’ll have to keep mobilizing, harder than ever.



Thank you for your consideration and your unyielding solidarity.

Sincerely,
Izzy Mustafa

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #76

Women and girls in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, holding pots and other empty containers in front of a group of volunteers preparing soup for displaced families. On 22 December, the Secretary-General warned that ”widespread famine looms,” following the Integrated Phase Classification (IPC) Special Briefs produced by the IPC global initiative on Gaza. Screenshot from a video by UNICEF

 

23 december 2023

Key points

 

  • Following a shutdown of telecommunications and internet services in Gaza on 20 December, a partial restoration of services was achieved in the southern and central parts of the Gaza Strip on 21 December at about 20:40.
  • On 22 December, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea, continued across most of the Gaza Strip. Except for Rafah, intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continue, in most areas. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel also continued. Between 18 and 20 December, 390 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and another 734 people were injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza.
  • According to the MoH in Gaza, between 7 October and 7:00 on 22 December, at least 20,057 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of then, 53,320 Palestinians have been injured. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery. On 22 December, the UN Secretary-General stated: “There is no effective protection of civilians in the Gaza Strip” as “intense Israeli bombardment and ground operations continue.”
  • Between 21 and 22 December, two Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in Gaza. Since the start of the ground operation, 140 soldiers have been killed in Gaza, and 784 soldiers have been injured, according to the Israeli military.
  • On 22 December, the Israeli military designated a new area covering about 15 per cent (approximately 9 square kilometres) of the Middle Area governorate for evacuation. The area was marked in an online map published on social media. Prior to the onset of hostilities, this area was home to nearly 90,000 people. The area also includes six shelters that accommodated about 61,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), the vast majority of whom were previously displaced from the north.
  • The affected areas include Al Bureij and An Nuseirat Refugee Camps and north of An Nuseirat (Az Zaharaa, and Al Moughraga). Instructions accompanying the map call residents to move immediately to shelters in Deir al Balah, which is already overcrowded, hosting several hundred thousand of IDPs. The scope of displacement resulting from this evacuation order remains unclear.
  • The Chief Economist of the World Food Programme (WFP) noted that the scale and speed of the unfolding acute food insecurity situation in Gaza, observed over just two months, are unprecedented in their severity. The entire population in the Gaza Strip faces an imminent risk of famine, according to the latest estimates from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) global partnership on 21 December. The proportion of households affected by acute food insecurity is the largest ever recorded globally, according to IPC report.
  • The Famine Review Committee (FRC), activated due to evidence surpassing the acute food insecurity Phase 5 (Catastrophic threshold) in the Gaza Strip, warns that the risk of famine increases daily amid intense conflict and restricted humanitarian access. The committee added that to eliminate the famine risk, it's imperative to halt the deterioration of health, nutrition, food security, and mortality through the restoration of health and WASH services. The cessation of hostilities and the restoration of humanitarian space for delivering multisectoral assistance are vital first steps to eliminate any risk of famine.
  • On 22 December, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 2722 on expanding the immediate, safe and unhindered delivery of humanitarian assistance at scale into Gaza. The UN Secretary-General emphasized that evaluating the effectiveness of the humanitarian aid operation in Gaza should not solely rely on the number of trucks entering the enclave. “The real problem is that the way Israel is conducting its offensive is creating massive obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid inside Gaza,” he said. “An effective aid operation in Gaza requires security; staff who can work in safety; logistical capacity; and the resumption of commercial activity. These four elements do not exist,” the Secretary-General concluded, urging Israel to take measures that would remove barriers in the way of aid distribution.
  • On 22 December, 69 trucks carrying supplies and five ambulances entered Gaza through Rafah crossing and 23 trucks entered through Kerem Shalom crossing. This remains well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported on 22 December:
    • On 21 December at about 21:57, a residential building in Old Gaza Street, in Jabalya City, where tens of IDPs were sheltering was truck. On the following day, 22 December, 16 Palestinian bodies were reportedly pulled out from the rubble and more than 50 Palestinian injuries were reported.
    • On 21 December, at 15:00, seven Palestinians were reportedly killed when a house was struck in west of An Nuseirat Refugee Camp.
    • On 21 December, at about 21:55, eight Palestinians were reportedly killed when a house was struck in the customs control area, in the Ma’an area, east of Khan Yunis.
    • On 22 December, at about 10:50, four Palestinians were reportedly killed when a residential building was struck in Jabalya city.
  • On 22 December, a UNDP staff member was killed along with his wife, three sons, and two daughters as an airstrike hit the area where they were sheltering in Gaza city. The airstrike also reportedly claimed the lives of more than 70 members of his extended family. A total of 136 UNRWA staff, one WHO staff and one UNDP staff have been killed since 7 October.
  • According to the Palestinian Journalist Syndicate in Gaza, 82 Palestinian journalists and media workers have been killed in Israeli airstrikes since 7 October. According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, 310 Palestinian medics have been killed. According to the Palestinian Civil Defense at least 20 civil defense members have been killed.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Areas encompassing about 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map. Access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Following multiple orders by Israeli forces for Palestinians to evacuate, many IDPs are now in southern Gaza. The two largest sites in the Rafah governorate, where thousands have relocated to and erected makeshift structures and tents, are in an under-construction hospital (‘the Qatari field hospital’) and the campus of the Al Quds Open University.
  • Tens of thousands of IDPs, who have arrived in Rafah since 3 December, continue to face extremely overcrowded conditions both inside and outside shelters. Large crowds wait for hours around aid distribution centres, in desperate need of food, water, shelter, health, and protection. Without enough latrines, open-air defecation is prevalent, increasing concerns of further spread of disease, particularly during rains and related flooding.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times.
  • Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, further exacerbate the already dire living conditions, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this dashboard.
  • Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)
  • On 22 December, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) announced that some of its staff members and paramedics who had been arrested on 21 December, were released late in the evening after being subjected to beatings, while eight staff members remained in custody. Additionally, PRCS reported that during the military operation, Israeli forces destroyed the wireless communication system in the centre along with ambulances in the branch.
  • On 21 and 22 December, the vicinities of Al Amal and European hospitals, both located in Khan Younis in the south of Gaza and operational medical facilities were struck. While no casualties were reported, PRCS announced that shrapnel scattered into the building of Al Amal Hospital, causing fear and panic among patients and IDPs.
  • According to World Health Organization (WHO), as of 22 December, nine out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional, all located in the south. These hospitals are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel, while some are hit. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units.
  • On 21 December, the World Health Organization (WHO) stated that northern Gaza had been left without a functional hospital due to the lack of fuel, staff, and medical supplies. Al Ahli Hospital is still treating patients but not admitting new ones, along with Shifa, Al Awda and Al Sahaba hospitals. These hospitals are not accessible, resupply is currently not possible, and continue to care for existing patients while also sheltering thousands of IDPs.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

 

  • On 20 December, UNICEF stated that children in Gaza are not able to access 90 per cent of their normal water use. The impact on children is severe, as they are more susceptible to dehydration, diarrhoea, disease, and malnutrition. Concerns of waterborne diseases such as cholera and chronic diarrhoea are particularly heightened given the lack of safe water, especially following the seasonal rains and flooding. Officials have recorded almost 20 times the monthly average of reported cases of diarrhoea among children under the age of 5, 160,000 cases of acute respiratory infection, and increases in other infectious conditions and illnesses, such as scabies, lice, chicken pox, and skin rashes.
  • On 20 December, the Director General of WHO echoed a concern for the rises in infectious disease stating that “Gaza is already experiencing soaring rates of infectious disease outbreaks. Diarrhoea cases among children aged under 5 are 25 times what they were before the conflict. Such illnesses can be lethal for malnourished children, more so in the absence of functioning health services.”

Food security

 

  • The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), identifies five Phases of classification for food security: Minimal (1), stressed (2), crisis (3), emergency (4) and catastrophe/Famine (5). The recent estimates from the IPC reveal an unprecedented level of acute food insecurity in the Gaza Strip. Over 90 per cent of the population in the Gaza Strip (about 2.08 million people) was estimated to face high levels of acute food insecurity, classified in IPC Phase 3 or above (Crisis or worse). Among these, over 40 per cent of the population (939,000 people) were in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and over 15 per cent (378,000 people) were in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).
  • Furthermore, in the projected period from the latest IPC findings, spanning from 8 December 2023 to 7 February 2024, the entire population of the Gaza Strip (approximately 2.2 million people) is anticipated to experience severe food insecurity, classified as IPC Phase 3 or higher (Crisis or worse). The IPC Famine Review Committee has been activated amid evidence exceeding acute food insecurity Phase 5 threshold. Among these, over half a million people are facing catastrophic conditions—IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe), characterized by households experiencing an extreme lack of food, starvation, and exhaustion of coping capacities.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 129 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza. On 22 December, the UN Secretary-General reiterated his call for all remaining hostages to be released immediately and unconditionally.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, 293 Palestinians, including 76 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 283 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents nearly 60 per cent of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 493 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him).
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,801 Palestinians, including at least 575 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations. Another 88 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 353 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (272 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (46 incidents).
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 33, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 198 Palestinian households comprising 1,208 people, including 586 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from at least 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • On December 21, Israeli forces demolished seven residential and livelihood structures in the Tell al Khashaba community (Nablus) due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank. As a result, three households, comprising 19 people, including 11 children, were displaced.
  • This brings the total number of people displaced following the demolition of their homes to 386 Palestinians, including 204 children, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year.
  • A total of 19 homes have been demolished on punitive grounds since 7 October, resulting in the displacement of 95 Palestinians, including 42 children. This figure is higher than the 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year, resulting in the displacement of 78 Palestinians. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law.
  • Another 451 Palestinians, including 207 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 69 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 22 December, Member States have disbursed US$620 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 50 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 11-17 December

Health

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational in the middle and southern areas of Gaza. On 13 December, 8,265 refugees and non-refugees received health services.
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day. A total of 124 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to at health centres.
  • UNRWA continued providing health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team is composed of one or two doctors and a nurse. Some 591 health workers in health centres and shelters provided support to 12,305 patients.

Protection

 

  • The situation in Gaza has deteriorated to the extent whereby protection actors are largely unable to operate, due to communication outages, safety and security risks and the lack of access to northern Gaza, and severe constraints on the activities of service providers and frontline actors.
  • There are major and mounting protection concerns for vulnerable groups, including children separated from their families, pregnant and lactating women (PLWs), newborns, persons with disabilities (PwDs), and the elderly.
  • The following activities were undertaken during past week included:
    • The Palestine Medical Relief Society distributed 1,616 dignity kits to PwDs and vulnerable women/girls in UNRWA shelters in Khan Younis
    • The Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture provided 25 people with remote psychological first aid support.

Food security

 

  • Between 7 October to 10 December, UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people, including 75,000 families outside shelters.
  • Since the beginning of December, WFP distributed high energy biscuits (HEB) to about 600,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in designated shelters. WFP has also distributed food parcels or wheat flour to about 110,000 IDPs during the past two week.
  • Some 11,385 IDPs residing in host communities received food parcels to support their food needs for 15 days.
  • Throughout the reporting week, only two partners—UAWC and Taawon—managed to implement operations in the northern area of Gaza; they distributed food parcels to approximately 46,250 IDPs in public shelters.
  • In the southern area, 11 partners have provided ready-to-eat (RTE) food, food parcels, flour, and hot meals to about 2.5 million people over the past week.
  • World Central Kitchen (WCK), in partnership with ANERA and MECA, provided hot meals and RTE to a variety of family sizes. WCK plans to provide community kitchen kits, wood pellets or charcoal, and food products for 28,000 meals.
  • The Food Security Cluster (FSS) has set a primary objective to meet the daily food needs of 2.2 million people, for a weekly cumulative target of 15.4 million people. In the current reporting week, FSS partners achieved a coverage of only 18 per cent of the cumulative weekly target.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) quantities to its partners, Juzour and UNRWA, to launch the implementation of the simplified approached for the management of wasting, for children under five with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).
  • UNICEF managed to deliver Lipid-based supplements (SQ-LNS) covering the need of 61,600 children (6-24 months) inside shelters for one month; micronutrient supplements for 1,660 pregnant and breastfeeding women; and Vitamin A supplements for 3,370 infants (6-11 months).
  • UNRWA distributed HEBs to 320,000 people and 27,184 date bars to people in shelters, as an immediate urgent food response in emergency.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

  • A total of 20 WASH partners are currently active and operating across the Gaza Strip. Several organizations are trying to reactivate their operations in Rafah (15), Khan Younis (15), Gaza City (10), and northern Gaza (7).
  • The constraints on the import of dual-use items inhibits an adequate WASH response. A consignment of piping and generators were not allowed into Gaza during the humanitarian pause. During the pause, few WASH supplies entered Gaza, despite the use of the prioritization list for entry. No new storage tanks, jerry cans, or cleaning kits entered through Rafah crossing. No latrines were built.
  • Water quality and access standards remain unachieved. Access is a key challenge. Water networks are fractured, production points are reduced, power for pumping and distribution is restricted, and storage and outlets are minimized. Many communities are isolated across Gaza, particularly north of Wadi Gaza.
  • The CMWU and WASH agencies have produced on average 41,068 cubic metres of water, and have distributed around 80,000 litres of fuel, approximately 11,430 litres daily.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

  • During the reporting period, despite some progress in delivering and distributing basic NFIs, including bedding, there remains significant shortages of shelter winterization materials, including tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting.
  • IDPs are increasingly seeking shelter in large ad hoc sites.
  • Shelter Cluster partners distributed the following items inside and outside collective centres in the southern governorates:
    • 2,300 kitchen kits
    • 56,800 blankets and 27,450 mattresses
    • 2,000 mats
    • 7,300 tarpaulin sheets

Logistics

 

  • The Logistics Cluster, together with HELP Logistics and JSI, coordinated an assessment of the Gaza public health capacity for warehousing and logistics between November-December 2023, available here.
  • The Cluster has handed over and installed a total of 14 Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) that have augmented the offloading capacity in the Rafah handover point and the storage capacity of four UN Agencies and International NGOs.
  • In Al Arish, Egypt, the Logistics Cluster augmented the ERC storage capacity with the installation of 10 MSUs with a dedicated set-up for the temperature-controlled cargo through four inflatable cold rooms, in addition to eight prefabs and four ablution units.

Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

 

  • To enhance communication with communities, the PSEA network adopted a new visual identity named 'Sanad,’ which regularly disseminates safeguarding messages through various mediums, including printed brochures, stickers, and radio spots tailored to the emergency context.
  • Given communication challenges in Gaza and limited internet access, the network predominantly relies on printed brochures and stickers to reach the population. UNICEF sent 500,000 Sanad brochures to Gaza for distribution, alongside hygiene kits.
  • Sanad initiated social media channels to convey safeguarding messages. In the initial two weeks, messages on these platforms reached about 150,000 users, with over 90 per cent from the West Bank. There are further plans to increase the reach of these channels to a broader audience in the weeks ahead.

Protection against sexual abuse and exploitation (PSEA) remains a cross-cutting priority for all clusters. The SAWA helpline, reachable at 121 and through WhatsApp at +972 59-4040121 (East Jerusalem at 1-800-500-121), operates 24/7. This toll-free number is widely disseminated across all areas of intervention to report cases of SEA and to facilitate emergency counselling and referrals for affected communities to access life-saving services. The PSEA Network monitors calls daily and will increase the number of counsellors if necessary.

22 december 2023

 

While Congress has left for a holiday recess, celebrating in the comfort of their homes, Christmas is canceled in Bethlehem.

For the Palestinian people, there is no joy during genocide. All across the world, we are mourning. We cannot celebrate or move on as usual while Israel is brutally killing, starving, and displacing our people in Gaza.

Nor should there be any joy for politicians who have blood on their hands—for Genocide Joe’s administration as they block a ceasefire at the UN, and for all the members of Congress who have not yet called for a ceasefire. They are complicit in every atrocity of this horrific genocide.

On Tuesday, I got arrested on Capitol Hill for protesting the genocide of my people, along with 60 fellow movement leaders. Now that we’ve been released, this is my message to you:

DISRUPT. DISRUPT. DISRUPT.

Wherever you are this next week, you can refuse to normalize U.S.-funded genocide. Take every opportunity you can to disrupt.

Here are some ideas
 

 

  1. Disrupt holiday celebrations: Protest, pass out flyers, or go ceasefire caroling at a visible location.
  2. Boycott: Raise awareness with BDS stickers and flyers.
  3. Wheatpaste: Get out your message by wheatpasting flyers (with water + flour mixture boiled).
  4. Send a big message: Drop a banner in a visible location, or broadcast a light projection with your message at night.
  5. Mobilize your family gathering: Bring pre-addressed letters and envelopes, and invite everyone to write letters to their elected officials.
  6. Mobilize a social media storm: Pick a date/time for a social media storm targeting your government, and flood their feeds with your demands.
  7. Hold a vigil for Gaza: Mourn and pray to honor our Palestinian martyrs killed. Close by taking action together.

Let’s keep pushing until Palestine is free.

Onward to liberation,

 

 

 

AHMAD ABUZNAID
Executive Director

 

Let’s start 2024 on the right track, Marching on Washington for Gaza

22 december 2023

 

We are 11 weeks into one of the worst crimes against humanity witnessed this century: the Gaza genocide. The perpetrator is apartheid Israel, aided and abetted by the Biden Administration. For weeks, we have called on Biden’s administration and the U.S. Congress to end the bloodshed, with little to no avail. Instead, they choose to ignore our demands while funding atrocities against our families.

We refuse to be ignored. Every single day since this began, AMP and our partners in the Palestine movement have worked to mobilize our base and ensure that the people of Gaza are heard and seen - and we are not going to stop.

On January 13th, 2024, AMP, along with our partners in the American Muslim Task Force for Palestine, will host the March On Washington for Gaza. We call on all our supporters to join us for this monumental event and make sure their demands for justice are met.

The President and his team claim that our people will forget Gaza and move on. We are going to prove him wrong. Join us as we make it clear that we will continue to advocate for Gaza and an end to the blockade and all aid to Israel.

 

Sincerely,

Mohamad Habehh
Lead Organizer & Director of Development

22 december 2023

 

Wist u dat pensioenfonds PFZW miljarden investeert in de Israëlische bezetting en kolonisering van Palestina?

Daarvoor gebruikt het pensioengeld van miljoenen Nederlanders. Misschien ook wel dat van u!

Dat moet stoppen. Het is tijd voor actie.

Onze eis aan PFZW luidt: stop met investeren in de bezetting van Palestina!

Doet u ook mee?

Serie Waarom handel met Israëls nederzettingen verboden zou moeten zijn, maar dat niet is

In het tweede artikel on onze serie over het zogenoemde Nederlandse ‘ontmoedigingsbeleid’ staan we stil bij de illegale status van Israëls kolonies (‘nederzettingen’) in bezet Palestijns gebied. De Nederlandse regering staat handel met de kolonies niettemin toe, zo blijkt onder meer uit documenten die wij verkregen onder de Wet open overheid (Woo) en waarover wij in ons eerdere artikel schreven. In meerdere gevallen blijken relaties met de nederzettingen met actieve steun of zelfs op initiatief van de overheid tot stand te zijn gebracht.

Honderdvijftig rijksambtenaren demonstreren tegen Nederlands Israël-beleid

Zo’n honderdvijftig rijksambtenaren hielden donderdagmiddag een sit-in voor het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. Zij eisten dat Nederland zich actief inzet voor een staakt-het-vuren in Gaza.

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #75

Gaza grapples with catastrophic hunger as new report predicts famine if conflict continues. A displaced Palestinian man cooking food on wood fire due to gas shortages in the schools where he takes shelter with his family. Photo by UNICEF/Omar Al-Qattaa, 7 December 2023

 

22 december 2023

 

Key points

 

  • On 21 December, at about 20:40, the main telecommunication provider in Gaza announced that its services were gradually returning to the southern and central Gaza. This followed a shut down since 14 December, apart from 18 to 20 December, where there was a partial resumption at about ten per cent capacity in southern Gaza. Humanitarian agencies and first responders have warned that telecommunication blackouts jeopardize the already constrained provision of life-saving assistance. As a result of limited communication throughout the day, this Flash Update provides limited updated information about the humanitarian situation in Gaza over the past 24 hours.
  • On 21 December, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea, continued across most of the Gaza Strip. Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued, in most areas of Gaza, with the exception of Rafah. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel continued.
  • Between 7 October and 19 December, 19,667 fatalities were reported by the Gaza Ministry of Health (MoH), which has not published updated tolls since then. The Gaza Government Media Office reported on the fatalities as of 21 December, although their methodology is unknown. Taken together, with the noted caveats, these figures amount to about 20,000. Of them, more than 8,000 are said to be children and more than 6,200 women. The Under-General Secretary stated: “That such a brutal conflict has been allowed to continue and for this long – despite the widespread condemnation, the physical and mental toll and the massive destruction – is an indelible stain on our collective conscience.”
  • Between 20 and 21 December, four Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in Gaza. Since the start of the ground operations, 138 soldiers have been killed in Gaza, and 771 soldiers have been injured, according to the Israeli military.
  • The entire population in the Gaza Strip faces an imminent risk of famine, according to the latest estimates from the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) global partnership on 21 December. Bombardment, ground operations, and the besiegement of the entire population, coupled with restricted humanitarian access, have resulted in catastrophic levels of acute food insecurity, intensifying the risk of famine each day, according to IPC. 
  • Should the situation continue, it is precited that between 8 December 2023 and 7 February 2024, Gaza’s population will be the highest share of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity ever classified by the IPC initiative for any given area or country, since its establishment in 2004. (More details under the food security section).
  • On 20 December, Israeli forces raided the Palestine Red Crescent Society’s (PRCS) ambulance centre in Jabalya, north of Gaza, after a two-day siege. Reportedly, staff members and paramedics were arrested and taken to an unknown location. Some 127 people, including 22 injured patients who were being treated by staff, were inside the building. Contact was lost with the operations room and PRCS team in Gaza, due to the telecommunications blackout. 
  • On 21 December, The World Health Organization (WHO) stated that northern Gaza had been left without a functional hospital due to the lack of fuel, staff, and supplies. Only nine out of 36 health facilities are partially functional in the whole of Gaza, with no functional hospital in the north. Al Ahli is still treating patients but not admitting new ones, along with Al-Shifa, Al Awda and Al Sahaba hospitals. These hospitals are still sheltering thousands of displaced people
  • Under such conditions, people are unable to avail of hospitals’ services. For example, 42 babies have been born within a school functioning as a shelter in Deir al Balah (Middle Area), according to UNRWA, instead of in health facilities. 
  • On 20 December, the International Labour Organization and the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics assessed that at least 66 per cent of employment, the equivalent of 192,000 jobs, has been lost in Gaza since the escalation of hostilities on 7 October. The effects of the escalation are also felt in the West Bank, where 32 per cent of employment has been lost, the equivalent of 276,000 jobs, in the same time period, according to the two bodies.
  • On 21 December, 78 trucks carrying supplies and five ambulances entered Gaza through Rafah crossing and 22 trucks entered through Kerem Shalom crossing. This remains well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October. 

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported on 21 December: 
    • At about 19:00, 28 Palestinians, including children and women, were reportedly killed, and tens of others were injured, when two houses and agricultural land sheltering internally displaced persons (IDPs) were struck near the European Hospital, in Khan Yunis.
    • At about 17:10, 13 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and ten others were reportedly injured when a house was struck in Al-Amal neighbourhood, west of Khan Yunis.
  • On 20 December, at about 17:20, Israeli forces reportedly forced Palestinian families out of their homes before setting those structures on fire at An Nazla area in Jabalya city, northern Gaza.
  • On 20 December, the UN Human Rights Office issued a statement on reports of an incident on 19 December between 20:00 and 23:00, whereby Israeli forces reportedly shot and killed at least 11 Palestinian men, and allegedly injured an unconfirmed number of women and children in the Al Awda residential building, also known as the “Annan building,” in Ar Remal neighbourhood, Gaza city. Three related families were sheltering inside this building during the incidents. Initial witness reports circulating through media allege that the men were separated from women and children and were then shot and killed in what may amount to a war crime. The details of this incident are yet to be verified.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Areas encompassing about 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map. Access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Inflow of IDPs to Rafah governorate continued on 20 December. As shelters in Rafah city have exceeded their capacity significantly, most newly arriving IDPs have settled in the streets and in empty spaces across the city. Rafah governorate has become the most densely populated area in the Gaza Strip, with hundreds of thousands of IDPs squeezed into extremely overcrowded spaces and in dire living conditions. Population density is assessed to now exceed 12,000 people per square kilometre, a fourfold increase prior to the escalation. Thousands of people line up before aid distribution centres in need of food, water, shelter, and protection, amid the absence of latrines and adequate water and sanitation facilities in informal displacement sites and makeshift shelters. This situation is compounded by the cold winter and rain over the last week, which have flooded tents and other makeshift shelters.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times.
  • Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, exacerbate the already dire living conditions, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease. 

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this  dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • According to WHO, as of 19 December, nine out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional, all located in the south. These hospitals are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

 

  • On 20 December, UNICEF stated that children in Gaza are not able to access 90 per cent of their normal water use. The impact on children is severe, as they are more susceptible to dehydration, diarrhoea, disease, and malnutrition. Concerns of waterborne diseases such as cholera and chronic diarrhoea are particularly heightened given the lack of safe water, especially following the seasonal rains and flooding. Officials have recorded almost 20 times the monthly average of reported cases of diarrhoea among children under the age of 5, 160,000 cases of acute respiratory infection, and increases in other infectious conditions and illnesses, such as scabies, lice, chicken pox, and skin rashes.
  • On 20 December, the Director General of WHO echoed a concern for the rises in infectious disease stating that “Gaza is already experiencing soaring rates of infectious disease outbreaks. Diarrhoea cases among children aged under 5 are 25 times what they were before the conflict. Such illnesses can be lethal for malnourished children, more so in the absence of functioning health services.”

Food security

 

  • On 19 December, according to WFP’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, half of Gaza’s population is starving in a situation of extreme or severe hunger, and 90 per cent of the population regularly go without food for a whole day. Only ten per cent of the food currently required for 2.2 million people has entered Gaza in the last 70 days. On 17 December, media reported people jumping onto aid trucks, attempting to secure food and other supplies.
  • The Inegrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC), identify 5 Phases of classification for food security: Generally Food Secure (1), Borderline Food Insecure (2), Acute food and Livelihood Crisis (3), Humanitarian Emergency (4) and Famine/Humanitarian Catastrophe (5). The recent estimates from the IPC reveal an unprecedented level of acute food insecurity in the Gaza Strip. Over 90 percent of the population in the Gaza Strip (about 2.08 million people) was estimated to face high levels of acute food insecurity, classified in IPC Phase 3 or above (Crisis or worse). Among these, over 40 percent of the population (939,000 people) were in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and over 15 percent (378,000 people) were in Catastrophe (IPC Phase 5).
  • Furthermore, in the projected period from the latest IPC findings, spanning from 8 December 2023 to 7 February 2024, the entire population in the Gaza Strip (approximately 2.2 million people) is anticipated to experience severe food insecurity, classified as IPC Phase 3 or higher (Crisis or worse).  The IPC Famine Review Committee has been activated amid evidence exceeding acute food insecurity Phase 5 threshold. Among these, over half a million people are facing catastrophic conditions—IPC Phase 5 (Catastrophe), characterized by households experiencing an extreme lack of food, starvation, and exhaustion of coping capacities.
  • On 20 December, WFP delivered hot meals to 2,000 people in Gaza city communities. These were done in addition to the distribution of food parcels to 2,500 people in Rafah communities.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October. 
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 129 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza. On 21 December, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, called for the immediate, safe, and unconditional release of remaining hostages.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • On 20 December, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian child and injured seven others with live ammunition in Husan (Bethlehem), during confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinians which erupted during a search-and-arrest operation. On the same day, Israeli forces shot and killed one Palestinian man while inside his vehicle on Road 60 next to a military checkpoint near Beit ‘Einoun (Hebron). According to Israeli authorities, the man tried to run over soldiers; no Israeli injuries were reported. Ambulances were prevented from accessing the body as Israeli authorities withheld it.
  • Since 7 October, 293 Palestinians, including 76 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 283 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 493 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him). 
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,801 Palestinians, including at least 575 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations. Another 88 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 353 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (27 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (46 incidents). 
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 33, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 198 Palestinian households comprising 1,208 people, including 586 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from at least 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • Also, since 7 October, 378 Palestinians, including 198 children, have been displaced following the demolition of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year. 
  • A total of 19 homes have been demolished on punitive grounds since 7 October, resulting in the displacement of 95 Palestinians, including 42 children. This figure is higher than the 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year, resulting in the displacement of 78 Palestinians. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law. 
  • Another 451 Palestinians, including 207 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 69 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 20 December, Member States have disbursed US$609.5 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 50 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 11-17 December

Health

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational in the middle and southern areas of Gaza. On 13 December, 8,265 refugees and non-refugees received health services.
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day. A total of 124 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to at health centres.
  • UNRWA continued providing health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team is composed of one or two doctors and a nurse. Some 591 health workers in health centres and shelters provided support to 12,305 patients.

Protection

 

  • The situation in Gaza has deteriorated to the extent whereby protection actors are largely unable to operate, due to communication outages, safety and security risks and the lack of access to northern Gaza, and severe constraints on the activities of service providers and frontline actors.
  • There are major and mounting protection concerns for vulnerable groups, including children separated from their families, pregnant and lactating women (PLWs), newborns, persons with disabilities (PwDs), and the elderly.
  • The following activities were undertaken during past week included:
    • The Palestine Medical Relief Society distributed 1,616 dignity kits to PwDs and vulnerable women/girls in UNRWA shelters in Khan Younis
    • The Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture provided 25 people with remote psychological first aid support.

Food security

 

  • Between 7 October to 10 December, UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people, including 75,000 families outside shelters.
  • Since the beginning of December, WFP distributed high energy biscuits (HEB) to about 600,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in designated shelters. WFP has also distributed food parcels or wheat flour to about 110,000 IDPs during the past two week.
  • Some 11,385 IDPs residing in host communities received food parcels to support their food needs for 15 days.
  • Throughout the reporting week, only two partners—UAWC and Taawon—managed to implement operations in the northern area of Gaza; they distributed food parcels to approximately 46,250 IDPs in public shelters.
  • In the southern area, 11 partners have provided ready-to-eat (RTE) food, food parcels, flour, and hot meals to about 2.5 million people over the past week.
  • World Central Kitchen (WCK), in partnership with ANERA and MECA, provided hot meals and RTE to a variety of family sizes. WCK plans to provide community kitchen kits, wood pellets or charcoal, and food products for 28,000 meals.
  • The Food Security Cluster (FSS) has set a primary objective to meet the daily food needs of 2.2 million people, for a weekly cumulative target of 15.4 million people. In the current reporting week, FSS partners achieved a coverage of only 18 per cent of the cumulative weekly target.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) quantities to its partners, Juzour and UNRWA, to launch the implementation of the simplified approached for the management of wasting, for children under five with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).
  • UNICEF managed to deliver Lipid-based supplements (SQ-LNS) covering the need of 61,600 children (6-24 months) inside shelters for one month; micronutrient supplements for 1,660 pregnant and breastfeeding women; and Vitamin A supplements for 3,370 infants (6-11 months).
  • UNRWA distributed HEBs to 320,000 people and 27,184 date bars to people in shelters, as an immediate urgent food response in emergency.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

  • A total of 20 WASH partners are currently active and operating across the Gaza Strip. Several organizations are trying to reactivate their operations in Rafah (15), Khan Younis (15), Gaza City (10), and northern Gaza (7).
  • The constraints on the import of dual-use items inhibits an adequate WASH response. A consignment of piping and generators were not allowed into Gaza during the humanitarian pause. During the pause, few WASH supplies entered Gaza, despite the use of the prioritization list for entry. No new storage tanks, jerry cans, or cleaning kits entered through Rafah crossing. No latrines were built.
  • Water quality and access standards remain unachieved. Access is a key challenge. Water networks are fractured, production points are reduced, power for pumping and distribution is restricted, and storage and outlets are minimized. Many communities are isolated across Gaza, particularly north of Wadi Gaza.
  • The CMWU and WASH agencies have produced on average 41,068 cubic metres of water, and have distributed around 80,000 litres of fuel, approximately 11,430 litres daily.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

  • During the reporting period, despite some progress in delivering and distributing basic NFIs, including bedding, there remains significant shortages of shelter winterization materials, including tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting.
  • IDPs are increasingly seeking shelter in large ad hoc sites.
  • Shelter Cluster partners distributed the following items inside and outside collective centres in the southern governorates:
    • 2,300 kitchen kits
    • 56,800 blankets and 27,450 mattresses
    • 2,000 mats
    • 7,300 tarpaulin sheets

Logistics

 

  • The Logistics Cluster, together with HELP Logistics and JSI, coordinated an assessment of the Gaza public health capacity for warehousing and logistics between November-December 2023, available here.
  • The Cluster has handed over and installed a total of 14 Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) that have augmented the offloading capacity in the Rafah handover point and the storage capacity of four UN Agencies and International NGOs.
  • In Al Arish, Egypt, the Logistics Cluster augmented the ERC storage capacity with the installation of 10 MSUs with a dedicated set-up for the temperature-controlled cargo through four inflatable cold rooms, in addition to eight prefabs and four ablution units.
  • Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
  • To enhance communication with communities, the PSEA network adopted a new visual identity named 'Sanad,’ which regularly disseminates safeguarding messages through various mediums, including printed brochures, stickers, and radio spots tailored to the emergency context.
  • Given communication challenges in Gaza and limited internet access, the network predominantly relies on printed brochures and stickers to reach the population. UNICEF sent 500,000 Sanad brochures to Gaza for distribution, alongside hygiene kits.
  • Sanad initiated social media channels to convey safeguarding messages. In the initial two weeks, messages on these platforms reached about 150,000 users, with over 90 per cent from the West Bank. There are further plans to increase the reach of these channels to a broader audience in the weeks ahead.

Protection against sexual abuse and exploitation (PSEA) remains a cross-cutting priority for all clusters. The SAWA helpline, reachable at 121 and through WhatsApp at +972 59-4040121 (East Jerusalem at 1-800-500-121), operates 24/7. This toll-free number is widely disseminated across all areas of intervention to report cases of SEA and to facilitate emergency counselling and referrals for affected communities to access life-saving services. The PSEA Network monitors calls daily and will increase the number of counsellors if necessary.

21 december 2023

 

Viewer, on Friday, Al Jazeera Arabic journalists Samer Abudaqa and Wael Al-Dahdouh were among the many who were hit by an Israeli drone strike targeting yet another school in Gaza. Yet another school in Gaza… “In today’s bombing in Khan Younis, Israeli drones fired missiles at a school where civilians sought refuge, resulting in indiscriminate casualties,” Al Jazeera said in a statement. With shrapnel wounds to his arm, Wael Al-Dahdouh managed to escape the blast site and walk on foot to Nasser Hospital.

Samer, on the other hand, didn’t make it out—he couldn’t. “Following Samer’s injury,” the statement continues, “he was left to bleed to death for over 5 hours, as Israeli forces prevented ambulances and rescue workers from reaching him, denying the much-needed emergency treatment.”

My heart breaks all over again every time I find myself wondering, often through tears, what thoughts were going through Samer’s head in those final hours, his last on this cruel, callous earth. It’s in the nature of all living things to strive, above everything else, to keep living, to cling tightly to the light in us, the light that is us, and to fight desperately to hold onto our lives when our lives are threatened. I hope Samer knew how sorry we were, and how wrong we were, to have let this happen to him, and I know how little that must have meant as he laid there, fighting to hold onto life among the dead and screaming. I hope he knew how grateful the world was to him, and to all our slain media colleagues and fellow workers, for giving their lives to show us the truth. I hope he knew we saw it, and we won’t forget it. I hope, but doubt, he could find some final comfort in that as he writhed in pain, mortally wounded, clinging to life as it bled away, back into the earth, while Israeli military forces used bombs and guns to prevent anyone from coming to help him. He was still somebody’s baby. Everyone is. He was, too. He was somebody’s baby, and they let him die there on the blistered ground, preventing anyone from helping him.

I can’t imagine the weight Samer and all our fellow journalists in Gaza must have felt in their eyelids when they closed them for good in each of their final moments, in that place that is being obliterated before our eyes—and our eyes can only see the destruction because they kept theirs open. By doing so, they were not just doing, and dying for, their professional and civic duty as journalists to document history as it is happening, they were carrying out an even more sacred charge in the name of humanity. Their reporting in the line of fire has provided to the world irrefutable testimony of those who refuse to be erased from history and this land. They have borne unblinking witness to Israel’s genocidal crimes.

With the overwhelming majority of reporting coming from inside Israel itself, with so many so-called journalists dutifully filtering the reality of Israel’s war on Palestinian existence through Israel’s own hand-fed talking points or IDF-curated Hamas safaris, our access to life and death in Gaza comes almost exclusively from Palestinian journalists embedded in the carnage—the same vest-and-helmet-wearing martyrs who are being targeted and murdered en masse. Each of these beautiful souls has been the eyes bearing witness to an ethnic cleansing with genocidal intent happening in real time; their eyes have shown the truth of a population, a homeland, a civilization, being disappeared from Gaza; and, one by one, their eyes are being shut.

“As of December 19, 2023,” according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, “at least 68 journalists and media workers were among the more than 19,000 killed since the war began on October 7—with more than 18,000 Palestinian deaths in Gaza and the West Bank and 1,200 deaths in Israel.” According to the Palestinian Journalists Syndicate, the real number is even higher.

We know why Israel is doing this, why they are relentlessly murdering journalists, why they have tried so flagrantly to cut off Gaza’s electricity and communications and connection to the world beyond their enclosed death chamber. They don’t want us to see the horror, the inhumanity, the atrocity of Israel’s settler-colonial dream realized, with the full backing of the US. As Karren Attiah writes in The Washington Post, “The slaughter of Palestinian journalists is an erasure of those attempting to record the first rough draft of history in Gaza. Like the destruction of art and archives, the killing of journalists is an assault on memory, truth and Palestinian culture. The tacit blank check given to Israel to eliminate civilian targets, including journalists it doesn’t like, puts anyone covering the region in danger.”

“They’re killing the truth,” journalist Abby Martin rightly asserts. “That’s what they’re scared of: They’re scared of Americans turning against this colonial, genocidal project. [And that’s why] they don’t want us to see the truth.” They’re scared of the human stain every slaughtered Palestinian will leave on the rubble-strewn streets upon which their bloodsoaked utopia will be built—and in every story they tell hereafter about where it came from. But because our journalist colleagues in Gaza have kept their eyes open, because they have refused to let themselves or the world look away, they have, with their final actions in this life, splattered the parchment on which Israel will try to rewrite its own history with streaks of red that can never, ever be washed out.

For many of these journalists, it seems, death came more quickly than it did for Samer Abudaqa. But still with enough time, I imagine, for a final chill to run down their spine as they realized, in their last moments of consciousness, that they were hearing the screaming whistle from the sky that comes before your death, before your eyes are forcibly closed forever. But in every video you see from these brave, brave journalists, these martyrs, in every post on social media, every interview they’ve done when they can connect with the outside world, you can tell in their eyes that they’ve known the whole time that whistle could be over their heads next—and dozens of them have been right.

These are the conditions under which our colleagues in Gaza, our siblings, our fellow human beings, are working and dying in. And the number of deaths is unprecedented for our industry. They are the real-life saints and superheroes who are fighting and dying for truth, for life, for human dignity, for freedom. I am in awe of their bravery, of their courage in the face of death. I cannot fathom their strength… to hold a microphone through trembling fingers, standing in front of the abyss, and keeping a light and a camera fixed on the face of evil and the truth of Israel’s genocidal war until their last breath. But I am grateful to them, more grateful than I could ever communicate; and I am sorry, too, more than they could ever know. All I can do to honor their sacrifice, all we can do, is promise to never stop fighting for life, for peace, for an end to this unbearable madness—and, while there is any light left in us, to never, ever, close our eyes.

Solidarity always,

Maximillian Alvarez
Editor-in-Chief
The Real News Network

Israel’s assault on Gaza is unlike any war in recent memory.

21 december 2023

 

It took just two months for the Israeli government to kill more than 17,000 Palestinians in Gaza — a death toll that’s been recognized as accurate by leading humanitarian groups, the US State Department, a senior Biden administration official, the esteemed Lancet medical journal, and even the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

That’s an important statistic, because it’s maybe the leading indicator — but by no means the only one — that what we are seeing play out in Gaza daily is not “just another terrible war” but something altogether different.

Consider the verdict of those who have spent their lives and careers in the world’s worst war zones. Martin Griffiths — a long-serving United Nations humanitarian official who started his career in genocide-ravaged Cambodia and served everywhere from Yemen to post-earthquake Syria — has called Gaza the “worst ever” humanitarian crisis he’s seen. Other UN officials have called Gaza “a living nightmare” and “absolutely unprecedented and staggering,” and have described the conditions on the ground as “apocalyptic.”

21 december 2023

 

Beste Palestijnse landgenoten,

Ik ben geen Palestijn dus ik weet niet hoe jullie je voelen. Hoe gaat het met jullie? Hoe voelt het om machteloos te moeten toekijken naar de genocide op 2,3 miljoen Palestijnen onder blokkade en bezetting in Gaza? Open en bloot zichtbaar voor de hele wereld en niemand die ingrijpt. De eindeloze beelden van dood en vernietiging, van mensen op de vlucht? Heb je er familie wonen? Hoe voelt het om wanhopig een teken van leven proberen te krijgen van je familie die al 16 jaar opgesloten zit in Gaza, nu helemaal zonder water, voedsel en medicijnen? Of als je familie in de Westelijke Jordaanoever zomaar straffeloos kan worden neergeschoten door door de overheid bewapende kolonisten? Zit je al wekenlang aan de buis gekluisterd of sluit je je uit zelfbescherming af? Hoe kom je de dag door? Slaap je nog wel?

En hoe voelen de reacties van politici en media? Politici die over elkaar heen buitelden om onverwaardelijke steun aan Israël te betuigen, de Israëlische vlaggen op overheidsgebouwen, ook ná de publiekelijk aangekondigde genocidale plannen. Die daar groen licht voor geven. Die maar blijven spreken over Israëls “recht op zelfverdediging”. Nederland dat nog steeds niet voor een staakt-het-vuren heeft gestemd in VN-verband. Premier Rutte die onthutst reageerde dat dit conflict zich nu op "gewone mensen" richtte, daarmee enkel Israëlis bedoelend, zoals Ramsey Nasr duidde, de pijn in zijn ogen zichtbaar. Alsof dit conflict zich niet al meer dan 75 jaar op “gewone Palestijnen” richt. En de media die Israëlische persberichten klakkeloos overschrijven en geheel meegaan in de demonisering en criminalisering van Gazanen en Palestijnen in het algemeen. En die daar nog een racistisch schepje bovenop doen, door solidariteitsdemonstraties al bij voorbaat af te doen als eng en potentieel gevaarlijk. Potentieel gevaarlijk omdat zoveel mensen van kleur de straat opgaan, nogmaals met de neus op het pijnlijke feit gedrukt dat de levens van mensen die op hen lijken, er simpelweg een heel stuk minder toe doen, dat zij tweederangsburgers zijn.

Terwijl Israël onverminderd doorgaat met deze etnische zuivering, zwakt de media-aandacht inmiddels alweer af. Wekenlang werden de talkshows avond na avond gevuld met politici, oorlogverslaggevers, militaire specialisten, Midden-Oostendeskundigen en Israëllobbyisten. Iedereen en zijn moeder had een analyse en een mening over jullie. En de media klopten zichzelf op de borst want ze nodigden jullie deze keer zowaar wél uit. Uiteraard op voorwaarde, al dan niet uitgesproken, dat je de aanvallen van Hamas publiekelijk veroordeelt. Eenzelfde vereiste geldt andersom nooit. Nooit wordt vanzelfsprekend verwacht dat men de oorlogsmisdaden van Israël, van nu of van de afgelopen 75 jaar, veroordeelt, laat staan de Westerse medeplichtigheid daaraan. Integendeel, het recht op zelfverdediging van Israël moet vooral worden benadrukt.

 

Ik zie in jullie ogen hoe jullie worstelen met de media. Jullie aarzeling en wantrouwen zijn groot. En terecht. Al die jaren hebben jullie op alle mogelijke manieren geprobeerd om aandacht te krijgen voor jullie verhaal, maar jullie werden stelselmatig en doelbewust genegeerd. Dus hoe kun je er zeker van zijn dat deze interesse nu oprecht en integer is? Dat men er niet op uit is om je in een hoek te drijven om je van steun aan terrorisme te kunnen beschuldigen en zo je hele verhaal van tafel te kunnen vegen? Of gaat het ze alleen om de clicks en de kijkcijfers?

Het liefst wil je het uitschreeuwen van verdriet, van onmacht, moedeloosheid en woede, maar dat doe je niet. Ik zie hoe je elk woord met de grootste zorgvuldigheid kiest en afweegt, hoe je op eieren loopt. Want er staat een hele grote olifant in de kamer. De olifant die antisemitisme heet. Terwijl het het eeuwenlange Europese antisemitisme was dat Europese joden naar Palestina dreef. Daar hebben jij en je voorouders part noch deel aan. Ook jouw volk is daarvan indirect het slachtoffer, tot de dag van vandaag.

Dat wil je komen vertellen, het verhaal van 75 jaar Westerse kolonisatie, verdrijving, onderdrukking, bezetting en apartheid. Van de verstikkende blokkade van Gaza, die al 16 jaar duurt. En hoe Westerse landen dat mogelijk maken en in stand houden, uit eigen geopolitiek en economisch belang. Het verhaal dat je al zolang wil vertellen, maar dat het koloniale Westen nooit heeft willen horen. Dat in het Westen wordt neergezet als een religieus conflict om de eigen medeplichtigheid te verdoezelen en om de eigen islamofobe agenda te dienen.

Ik zie, hoor en bewonder jullie. Ik kan niet weten hoe het voelt om Palestijn te zijn. Maar ik, wij, kunnen wèl zij aan zij met jullie staan en alles binnen onze mogelijkheid doen om jullie een stem te geven en jullie verhaal een podium, ook nu de media hun blik alweer beginnen af te wenden. Totdat alle Palestijnen vrij zijn, from the river to the sea, en in de diaspora.

Met solidaire groeten,

Dorien

21 december 2023

 

In the past 75 days of this genocide, millions of Americans have taken action for Palestinian rights, pouring into the streets to protest and making the phones in Congress ring off the hook.

This much is clear: The people support Palestinian rights. Breaking poll numbers yesterday from Quinnipiac showed that, for the first time ever, a strong majority of Democrats, 58%, support our demand to stop arming Israel. A shocking 1 in 3 Democrats dropped their previous support for weapons to Israel over the past two months.

 

Yet the majority of Congress, out of touch with the public, have shamefully dragged their feet on calling for a ceasefire—killing hundreds of Palestinian people every day.

It is our people power and advocacy that stopped Biden’s deadly deal with $14.3 billion of weapons to Israel, currently stalled in the Senate until January, and now we must go bigger.

As we head into the 2024 election year, I’m proud to announce that the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights is launching our advocacy and political arm, 

 

USCPR Action will make sure our elected officials know the power of the people rising up together. Our voices, our bodies, our dollars, and our votes.

USCPR Action is fiscally sponsored by Tides Advocacy, a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization, which means USCPR Action can channel our people power in new ways, from advocating for legislation to ensuring people know how their vote will impact Palestinian rights, and even endorsing candidates.

We can make Palestine a non-negotiable part of the progressive agenda in 2024 and beyond.

We can shout “NO CEASEFIRE, NO VOTES!” and make it known that we will not compromise on Palestinian rights. If elected officials want our support, they’ll have to take a stand for justice.

 

Thank you for taking action. Let’s keep fighting until we end U.S. military funding to Israel.

 

AHMAD ABUZNAID

Executive Director, USCPR Action

Families in Hebron are trapped in their homes! For two months, a terrible lockdown has prevented parents from working and mothers are struggling to provide for their children.

They need your support!

21 december 2023

 

Families are struggling to afford food and supplies. Since Oct 7th, the children have been unable to go to school or even play outside. Israeli soldiers and armed extremists settlers patrol the area and point their guns at families if they dare open their windows. We are fundraising for families to support them through this dark time.

Tomorrow Dec. 22nd will be the longest night of the year. Help bring light into Palestinian lives and support them through this dark time. In Hebron's heavily restricted area of 800 Palestinian families, we are collecting funds for the most vulnerable mothers to provide for their children. We will also be bringing toys for the children who are not allowed to play outside to give them some hope and joy. Let us show these kids that there are many people out there who care about them!

In a separate campaign, we are continuing to collect funds to protect Palestinian families to install security cameras and fire alarms in Palestinian homes and protect them against Israeli settler and soldier violence.

Other updates:

Two days from now will mark two months of arbitrary detention of Mohammad Zoghayer without charge or trial. Israeli forces rounded up hundreds of Palestinians from Hebron on the same day that they burst into Mohammad's home and detained him indefinitely. Administrative detention is an abusive practice where detainees often end up spending years behind bars without due process. Please consider signing in support.

 

With peace,

Friends of Hebron

Working for Peace and Justice

https://www.friendsofhebron.com/

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #74

Early on 20 December, Israeli forces reportedly destroyed 56 buildings in Ash Shuja’iyeh, eastern Gaza city. This is one of multiple incidents resulting in casualties, devastation, or both, reported over the past day despite the ongoing telecommunications shutdown. Photo by PRCS volunteer Fuad Khamash, 20 December 2023

 

21 december 2023

Key points

 

  • On 20 December at about 9:30, the main telecommunication provider in Gaza announced that all telecommunications services had shut down due to cuts in the main fibre routes in Khan Younis. This followed the longest shutdown across the Strip between 14 and 18 December, and a partial resumption at about ten per cent capacity in southern Gaza. Humanitarian agencies and first responders have warned that telecommunications blackouts jeopardize the already constrained provision of life-saving assistance. As a result, this Flash Update provides limited updated information about the humanitarian situation in Gaza over the past 24 hours.
  • On 20 December, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea, continued across Gaza, with the most intense shelling reported in Beit Lahiya and multiple areas in Gaza city (north), eastern Khan Yunis and the eastern and western areas of Rafah city (south). Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued, in northern Gaza, Gaza City, the Middle Area, and Khan Younis, in southern Gaza. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel also continued.
  • On 19 December, at about 17:37, a five-storey building was reportedly struck in Ar Remal neighbourhood in Gaza city, resulting in damage to the building. Reportedly, more than 100 people were killed and another 16 people injured. Additional 50 people are reported missing under the rubble.
  • On 20 December, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza did not update its casualty figures. The latest reported figures as of 19 December afternoon stood at 19,667 Palestinians who have been killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of then, about 52,586 people have been injured, according to the MoH. Many other people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery.
  • Between 19 and 20 December, two Israeli soldiers were reported killed in Gaza. Since the start of the ground operations, 134 soldiers have been killed in Gaza, and 740 soldiers have been injured, according to the Israeli military.
  • On 20 December, the UN Human Rights Office issued a statement on reports of an incident on 19 December between 20:00 and 23:00, whereby Israeli forces reportedly shot and killed at least 11 Palestinian men, and allegedly injured an unconfirmed number of women and children in the Al Awda residential building, also known as the “Annan building,” in Ar Remal neighbourhood, Gaza city. Three related families were sheltering inside this building during the incidents. Initial witness reports circulating through media allege that the men were separated from women and children and were then shot and killed in what may amount to a war crime. The details of this incident are yet to be verified.
  • On 20 December, the Israeli military designated a new area covering about 20 per cent of central and south of Khan Younis city for immediate evacuation. The area was marked in an online map published on social media. Prior to the onset of hostilities, this area was home to nearly 111,542 people. The area also includes 32 shelters that accommodated about 141,451 internally displaced persons (IDPs), the vast majority of whom were previously displaced from the north. Instructions accompanying the map call residents to move immediately to shelters further south of Khan Younis, specifically in Ash Shaboura, Tel as Sultan and Az Zahur neighbourhoods in Rafah governorate which are already overcrowded. The scope of displacement resulting from the order to evacuate is unclear.
  • On 20 December, 71 trucks carrying supplies entered Gaza through Rafah crossing and 120 trucks entered through Kerem Shalom crossing, including 46 trucks carrying more than 750 metric tons of life saving food organized by World Food Programme (WFP) and the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization (JHCO). This marks the first time a direct aid convoy enters the Strip through Jordan. This remains well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October.
  • On 19 December, 55 injured people, 56 of their accompaniers and 548 dual nationals, were evacuated from Gaza to Egypt. Updates for 20 December are unavailable as of midnight on 20 December. The total number of wounded Palestinians and other medical cases evacuated since 7 October represents one per cent of the reported injury toll.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported on 19 and 20 December:
    • On 19 December, at about 19:20, 13 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and more than 34 Palestinians were injured, including women and children when a residential on Al-Beshara Street in Deir Al-Balah, Middle Gaza was struck.
    • On 19 December, at about 19:30, 15 Palestinians were reportedly killed, and several others were injured, when a house in Block "G", in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza was struck.
  • On 20 December, in the early morning hours, Israeli forces reportedly destroyed 56 buildings in the suburb of Ash Shuja’iyeh, eastern Gaza city. Casualty numbers are unavailable as of the time of reporting.
  • On 19 December, at about 16:50, an Israeli military drone (quadcopter) reportedly opened fire inside Al Hanawi School, western Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, injuring four IDPs. It is not clear how many IDPs were sheltering at the school at the time of the attack. This is the second such incident of casualties from drones’ strikes on schools in western Khan Yunis, following the killing of a girl on 14 December.
  • According to UNRWA as of 18 December, 55 of its installations have been directly hit, and 62 others sustained collateral damage, resulting in the killing of at least 299 IDPs who were sheltering in UNRWA shelters and the injury of at least 1,037 IDPs since the beginning of hostilities.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Areas encompassing about 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map. Access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Inflow of IDPs to Rafah governorate continued on 20 December. As shelters in Rafah city have exceeded their capacity significantly, most newly arriving IDPs have settled in the streets and in empty spaces across the city. Rafah governorate has become the most densely populated area in the Gaza Strip, with hundreds of thousands of IDPs squeezed into extremely overcrowded spaces and in dire living conditions. Population density is assessed to now exceed 12,000 people per square kilometre, a fourfold increase prior to the escalation. Thousands of people line up before aid distribution centres in need of food, water, shelter, and protection, amid the absence of latrines and adequate water and sanitation facilities in informal displacement sites and makeshift shelters. This situation is compounded by the cold winter and rain over the last week, which have flooded tents and other makeshift shelters.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times.
  • Nearly 1.4 million of these IDPs are registered in 155 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, including more than 1.2 million in 98 UNRWA shelters in the Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah governorates. The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters located south of Wadi Gaza is about 12,400 people, more than four times its capacity.
  • Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, exacerbate the already dire living conditions, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease. More than 360,000 cases of infectious diseases, including acute respiratory infections, meningitis, jaundice, impetigo, and chickenpox, have been recorded in UNRWA shelters.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 18 December, WHO, OCHA and UNDSS jointly visited Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis, where one person was killed, and four others injured in an incident on the same day. The team met with the health staff to discuss the incident and to observe the damage caused by the shelling.
  • On 20 December, a WHO-led mission delivered medical supplies to Al Ahli and Shifa hospitals in Gaza city, together with OCHA and UNDSS. Encumbered by the ongoing hostilities, risk of unexploded ordnances, and other impediments, this is only the third humanitarian convoy to reach areas north of Wadi Gaza since the end of the humanitarian pause on 1 December. Humanitarian needs in that area remain immense and widespread.
  • On 20 December, As Sahaba Hospital was the only functional maternity hospital in the north reported that it is expected to run out of fuel imminently. The hospital is located in an area where the delivery of fuel is very difficult due to insecurity. On the same day, at about 07:00, Al Aqsa Hospital was struck in Deir Al Balah, Middle Area, with no reported casualties.
  • On 20 December, according to Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), Israeli forces besieged its ambulance centre in Jabalya, north of Gaza. Some 127 people, including 22 injured patients being treated by staff, are inside the building. Contact was lost with the operations room and PRCS team in Gaza, due to the telecommunications blackout.
  • According to WHO, as of 19 December, nine out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional, all located in the south. These hospitals are operating at three times their capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

 

  • On 20 December, UNICEF stated that children in Gaza are not able to access 90 per cent of their normal water use. The impact on children is severe, as they are more susceptible to dehydration, diarrhoea, disease, and malnutrition. Concerns of waterborne diseases such as cholera and chronic diarrhoea are particularly heightened given the lack of safe water, especially following the seasonal rains and flooding. Officials have recorded almost 20 times the monthly average of reported cases of diarrhoea among children under the age of 5, 160,000 cases of acute respiratory infection, and increases in other infectious conditions and illnesses, such as scabies, lice, chicken pox, and skin rashes.
  • On 20 December, the Director General of WHO echoed a concern for the rises in infectious disease stating that, “Gaza is already experiencing soaring rates of infectious disease outbreaks. Diarrhoea cases among children aged under 5 are 25 times what they were before the conflict. Such illnesses can be lethal for malnourished children, more so in the absence of functioning health services.”

Food security

 

  • On 19 December, according to WFP’s Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, half of Gaza’s population is starving in a situation of extreme or severe hunger, and 90 per cent of the population regularly go without food for a whole day. Only ten per cent of the food currently required for 2.2 million people has entered Gaza in the last 70 days. On 17 December, media reported people jumping onto aid trucks, attempting to secure food and other supplies.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 129 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, 291 Palestinians, including 75 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 281 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 491 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him).
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,665 Palestinians, including at least 56 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations and. Another 88 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • On 19 and 20 December, two settler attacks resulting in damage to Palestinian-owned property were reported. In two of the incidents, Israeli settlers bulldozed privately owned Palestinian lands in Ramin (Tulkarm) and Umm Safa (Ramallah), vandalizing at least 70 olive trees and demolishing an agricultural room.
  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 353 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (27 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (46 incidents).
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 33, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 198 Palestinian households comprising 1,208 people, including 586 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from at least 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • Also, since 7 October, 378 Palestinians, including 198 children, have been displaced following the demolition of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year.
  • On 19 December, in Area B of Aqraba (Nablus), Israeli forces demolished, on punitive grounds, a three-storey residential building belonging to family whose member was accused of killing two Israelis in Huwwara in August 2023. As a result, one household comprising nine people, including two children, were displaced.
  • Bringing the total number of people displaced following the demolition of 19 homes on punitive grounds since 7 October to 95 Palestinians, including 42 children. This is compared with 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year, resulting in the displacement of 78 Palestinians. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law.
  • Another 451 Palestinians, including 207 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 69 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 20 December, Member States have disbursed US$609.5 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 50 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 11-17 December

Health

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational in the middle and southern areas of Gaza. On 13 December, 8,265 refugees and non-refugees received health services.
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day. A total of 124 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to at health centres.
  • UNRWA continued providing health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team is composed of one or two doctors and a nurse. Some 591 health workers in health centres and shelters provided support to 12,305 patients.

Protection

 

  • The situation in Gaza has deteriorated to the extent whereby protection actors are largely unable to operate, due to communication outages, safety and security risks and the lack of access to northern Gaza, and severe constraints on the activities of service providers and frontline actors.
  • There are major and mounting protection concerns for vulnerable groups, including children separated from their families, pregnant and lactating women (PLWs), newborns, persons with disabilities (PwDs), and the elderly.
  • The following activities were undertaken during past week included:
    • The Palestine Medical Relief Society distributed 1,616 dignity kits to PwDs and vulnerable women/girls in UNRWA shelters in Khan Younis
    • The Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture provided 25 people with remote psychological first aid support.

Food security

 

  • Between 7 October to 10 December, UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people, including 75,000 families outside shelters.
  • Since the beginning of December, WFP distributed high energy biscuits (HEB) to about 600,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in designated shelters. WFP has also distributed food parcels or wheat flour to about 110,000 IDPs during the past two week.
  • Some 11,385 IDPs residing in host communities received food parcels to support their food needs for 15 days.
  • Throughout the reporting week, only two partners—UAWC and Taawon—managed to implement operations in the northern area of Gaza; they distributed food parcels to approximately 46,250 IDPs in public shelters.
  • In the southern area, 11 partners have provided ready-to-eat (RTE) food, food parcels, flour, and hot meals to about 2.5 million people over the past week.
  • World Central Kitchen (WCK), in partnership with ANERA and MECA, provided hot meals and RTE to a variety of family sizes. WCK plans to provide community kitchen kits, wood pellets or charcoal, and food products for 28,000 meals.
  • The Food Security Cluster (FSS) has set a primary objective to meet the daily food needs of 2.2 million people, for a weekly cumulative target of 15.4 million people. In the current reporting week, FSS partners achieved a coverage of only 18 per cent of the cumulative weekly target.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) quantities to its partners, Juzour and UNRWA, to launch the implementation of the simplified approached for the management of wasting, for children under five with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).
  • UNICEF managed to deliver Lipid-based supplements (SQ-LNS) covering the need of 61,600 children (6-24 months) inside shelters for one month; micronutrient supplements for 1,660 pregnant and breastfeeding women; and Vitamin A supplements for 3,370 infants (6-11 months).
  • UNRWA distributed HEBs to 320,000 people and 27,184 date bars to people in shelters, as an immediate urgent food response in emergency.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

  • A total of 20 WASH partners are currently active and operating across the Gaza Strip. Several organizations are trying to reactivate their operations in Rafah (15), Khan Younis (15), Gaza City (10), and northern Gaza (7).
  • The constraints on the import of dual-use items inhibits an adequate WASH response. A consignment of piping and generators were not allowed into Gaza during the humanitarian pause. During the pause, few WASH supplies entered Gaza, despite the use of the prioritization list for entry. No new storage tanks, jerry cans, or cleaning kits entered through Rafah crossing. No latrines were built.
  • Water quality and access standards remain unachieved. Access is a key challenge. Water networks are fractured, production points are reduced, power for pumping and distribution is restricted, and storage and outlets are minimized. Many communities are isolated across Gaza, particularly north of Wadi Gaza.
  • The CMWU and WASH agencies have produced on average 41,068 cubic metres of water, and have distributed around 80,000 litres of fuel, approximately 11,430 litres daily.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

  • During the reporting period, despite some progress in delivering and distributing basic NFIs, including bedding, there remains significant shortages of shelter winterization materials, including tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting.
  • IDPs are increasingly seeking shelter in large ad hoc sites.
  • Shelter Cluster partners distributed the following items inside and outside collective centres in the southern governorates:
    • 2,300 kitchen kits
    • 56,800 blankets and 27,450 mattresses
    • 2,000 mats
    • 7,300 tarpaulin sheets

Logistics

 

  • The Logistics Cluster, together with HELP Logistics and JSI, coordinated an assessment of the Gaza public health capacity for warehousing and logistics between November-December 2023, available here.
  • The Cluster has handed over and installed a total of 14 Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) that have augmented the offloading capacity in the Rafah handover point and the storage capacity of four UN Agencies and International NGOs.
  • In Al Arish, Egypt, the Logistics Cluster augmented the ERC storage capacity with the installation of 10 MSUs with a dedicated set-up for the temperature-controlled cargo through four inflatable cold rooms, in addition to eight prefabs and four ablution units.
  • Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse
  • To enhance communication with communities, the PSEA network adopted a new visual identity named 'Sanad,’ which regularly disseminates safeguarding messages through various mediums, including printed brochures, stickers, and radio spots tailored to the emergency context.
  • Given communication challenges in Gaza and limited internet access, the network predominantly relies on printed brochures and stickers to reach the population. UNICEF sent 500,000 Sanad brochures to Gaza for distribution, alongside hygiene kits.
  • Sanad initiated social media channels to convey safeguarding messages. In the initial two weeks, messages on these platforms reached about 150,000 users, with over 90 per cent from the West Bank. There are further plans to increase the reach of these channels to a broader audience in the weeks ahead.

21 december 2023

 

Israel’s live-streamed genocide is unprecedented in history. It has banned the entry of live-sustaining food, water, fuel and medical supplies to 2.3 million Palestinians in the occupied and besieged Gaza Strip. In parallel, it has deliberately destroyed hospitals, universities, schools, UN shelters, bakeries, solar panels, carpet-bombing residential neighborhoods, telecommunications facilities, water and sewage treatment infrastructure.

 

Based on the depraved, dehumanizing statements and revealed plans of its fascist leaders, Israel is “rolling out” a “second Nakba,” ethnically cleansing Indigenous Palestinians en masse, and as admitted by Israeli military officials, “everything is intentional.” This has prompted UN experts to warn of a “genocide in the making” and forced the timid UN Secretary General to accuse Israel of turning Gaza into a “graveyard for children” and of posing a serious threat to world peace and security.

 

After a critical mass of pressure ultimately stops the genocide, we shall need to escalate action like never before to end business-as-usual with this genocidal regime in every field, academic, cultural, sports, economic, military, financial, etc. Apartheid Israel deserves the apartheid South Africa treatment: massive boycotts, divestment and unprecedented lawful sanctions, starting with a comprehensive military embargo. 

 

Israel’s genocide has been “in the making” for decades. In Gaza, it’s now far deadlier, more visible, and indeed televised. The Palestinian leadership of the global BDS movement promises our people in Gaza, across historic Palestine, and in exile that we shall not rest until we’ve built the necessary people’s power to dismantle Israel’s regime of settler-colonial apartheid, the root cause of this oppression and unspeakable violence.

 

Mahmoud Nawajaa

BDS Movement

21 december 2023

 

Toen ik begin dit jaar lid werd van het bestuur van The Rights Forum verwachtte ik niet dat ik een half jaar later dit bericht zou sturen.

Toen was al duidelijk dat de steeds verder uitbreidende Israëlische bezetting onhoudbaar was. Zeker was ook dat de vlam onvermijdelijk in de pan zou slaan.

Maar de orgie van geweld waarin de Palestijnen nu worden ondergedompeld in, met onvoorwaardelijke steun van onze eigen regering - die had ik niet voorspeld.

Ziekenhuis in Khan Yunis, Gaza, vorige maand. Israëlische aanvallen hebben duizenden kinderen gedood, tienduizenden verwond en miljoenen getraumatiseerd.

Mijn verhaal
In 2008 ging ik vol idealen aan de slag bij Buitenlandse Zaken. Van 2019 tot 2021 als diplomaat in Jeruzalem en Ramallah, en ook Gaza bezocht ik af en toe.

Ik zag hoe de rechten van Palestijnen overal worden geschonden onder de Israëlische bezetting. Het Nederlandse beleid richt zich niet op het veranderen van die situatie. Ik voelde mij echt medeplichtig aan het voortduren van de apartheid en gewelddadige onderdrukking van Palestijnen.

Diplomaten moeten niet alleen een politieke opdracht uitvoeren, maar ook vakmensen zijn met een professioneel en moreel kompas. In de situatie van Israël-Palestina worden ambtenaren en diplomaten niet geacht die ten volle te gebruiken. Daarom nam ik ontslag.

Nederland wordt wakker

Opiniepeilingen laten zien dat Nederlanders anders beginnen aan te kijken tegen de situatie. Het sprookje van ‘de enige democratie in het Midden-Oosten’ brokkelt snel af. Mensen ontdekken het grote onrecht dat al tientallen jaren voortduurt. Met politieke steun van hun gekozen leiders. Bekostigd met hun belastinggeld.

We zien nu hoe ver Israël bereid is te gaan in het vervullen van zijn territoriale droom, onder de valse mantel van zelfverdediging. En we zien ook hoe ver de VS en de EU, met Nederland als een van de actiefste spelers, bereid zijn te gaan om schendingen van mensenrechten te bedekken onder een grote mantel van blinde Israël-liefde.
 

Lichtpuntjes

Er heerst een diepe duisternis. Toch zijn er dappere journalisten in Gaza die met gevaar voor eigen leven met camera en microfoon gaten weten te schieten in de dikke laag Israëlische desinformatie - zelfs als ze de dag ervoor hun eigen familieleden hebben moeten begraven.

 

En in Nederland zijn er ambtenaren die, met de weinige wapens die zij hebben, proberen de regering ervan te doordringen dat ze zich aan de Grondwet en het internationale recht moet houden.

Nú moeten we onze leiders harder dan ooit ter verantwoording roepen en ze dwingen tot een andere koers.

Het kort geding tegen de Nederlandse staat dat wij hebben aangespannen was een noodzakelijke stap. De uitspraak was teleurstellend. Maar we gaan in hoger beroep! En daarnaast gaat het gewone werk door.

Want als één ding duidelijk. Het is extreem belangrijk dat er goede, betrouwbare en toegankelijke informatie beschikbaar is. Voor iedereen.

Bestuurslid The Rights Forum

On The Wrong Side of History — The United States Must Not Veto another United Nations Security Council Ceasefire Resolution

21 december 2023

 

In the wake of the unfolding genocide being committed in Gaza, the global outcry against Israel’s assault has reached a critical juncture, compelling nations worldwide to unite in a call for an immediate end to Israel’s onslaught against Palestinians. Notably, the United States finds itself increasingly isolated as crucial allies such as the United Kingdom, France, and Canada join the chorus of countries urging for a ceasefire.

Meanwhile, the Biden Administration is remaining defiant in the face of mounting international pressure and has become the sole major power to oppose a ceasefire. The most recent international event happened on December 8, in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) where the United States vetoed an immediate humanitarian cease-fire in Gaza, standing defiantly in the 15-member council where the vote was 13-1, with the United Kingdom abstaining. In the last few days, the United States threatened a veto against a toned-down resolution that only urged for a “cessation in hostilities” to increase aid deliveries into Gaza, causing the resolution to be postponed for a vote twice at the request of the United States for further negotiations. This will be the third instance since the war on Gaza began where the U.S. has vetoed or threatened to use its veto power to block a resolution in the UNSC. Earlier this month the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly approved by a vote of 153 in favor and 10 against, and 23 abstentions a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

By resisting calls for a ceasefire, the Biden Administration is tarnishing the international standing of the United States, portraying the nation as hypocritical in its commitment to a “rule-based order.” The refusal to align with the global consensus and the vetoing of resolutions aimed at halting Israel’s war on Gaza paint a picture of complicity in the face of widespread war crimes, and violations of international law. The Biden administration has proven over and over again for the last 76 days to be an accomplice in Israel’s genocide against the Palestinians, by providing Israel weapons, intelligence, and political cover. The most the Administration has done in the 10 weeks this genocide has been going is meekly ask Israel for a "reduction" of casualties and entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Yet, the United States has continued to not leverage the fact that Israel is completely reliant on the United States to wage its genocidal war to accomplish even these weak goals.

It is imperative that the Biden Administration reevaluate its position and vote for the UNSC resolution calling for a cessation of hostilities. The continued objections by the US, which stand as the primary impediment to a swift end to the Israeli aggression, a blatant hypocrisy. We call on President Biden to reconsider this stance, recognizing that the U.S. not only risks further damage to its international reputation but is actively contributing to the tragic humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza. The Biden administration must abandon its complicit role, cease supporting Israel’s actions, and genuinely commit to ending the atrocities being perpetrated against the Palestinian people.

 

Signed,
Americans for Justice in Palestine Action (AJP Action)

We've all been watching what's been unfolding in front of us with horror for the last 3 months, with millions displaced, thousands killed and entire neighborhoods destroyed. Instead of preparing for the incredible artists of color delegation we'd been planning at Eyewitness Palestine for the last 4 years, we've pivoted to help educate and motivate action around the current genocide in Gaza. At this moment, your support for Eyewitness Palestine is instrumental to ensure that as soon as we can, we resume our delegations including historic efforts we are in partnership with many others for Gaza and the West Bank.

In solidarity and toward a liberated Palestine,

 

Jayeesha Dutta

Co-Chair, Board of Directors

Eyewitness Palestine

Email: info@eyewitnesspalestine.org

 

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #73

Nine out of 36 hospitals in Gaza are operational, although only partially. They are functioning at triple their bed capacity, grappling with no electricity and little fuel for backup generators, and confronting critical scarcities of essential supplies. Photo of Shifa by WHO, 16 December 2023

 

20 december 2023

 

Key points

 

  • On 19 December, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea, continued across Gaza, with the most intense shelling reported in Beit Hanoun, Jabaliya, and Beit Lahiya, all in the north. Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued on 19 December, especially in the Middle Area and Khan Younis, in southern Gaza. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel continued.
  • On 19 December, for the sixth day in a row, most areas of the Gaza Strip had no telecommunications or internet services severely affecting emergency operations and access to information. Services in the southern area were partially restored on 18 December.
  • According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, between 7 October and 19 December afternoon, at least 19,667 people Palestinians have been  killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of then, about 52,586 people have been injured, according to the MoH. Many other people  are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery. 
  • Between 18 December and 19 December, three Israeli soldiers were reported killed in Gaza. Since the start of the ground operations, 132 soldiers have been killed in Gaza, and 719 soldiers have been injured, according to the Israeli military.
  • On 19 December, according to the World Food Programme’s (WFP) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, half of Gaza’s population is starving in a situation of extreme or severe hunger, and 90 per cent of the population regularly go without food for a whole day.  Only ten per cent of the food currently required for 2.2 million people has entered Gaza in the last 70 days. On 17 December, media reported people jumping onto aid trucks, attempting  to secure food and other supplies.
  • On 18 and 19 December, multiple health facilities and personnel were attacked across the Gaza strip (see Health Care section for more details). On 18 December, Israeli forces troops reportedly raided the vicinity of Al Awda hospital in Jabalya (the north). Males over 16 years old, including medical staff, patients and internally displaced persons (IDPs) were taken out of the hospital and arrested, stripped, bound and interrogated, according to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF). While most of them were sent back into the hospital, the hospital administration and MoH reported that six people, including medical staff and the hospital director, remain in Israeli custody. The hospital was besieged for 14 days, where the 240 people inside, including 80 medical staff, 40 patients, and 120 IDPs, faced severe shortage of food, water and medicine. 
  • The UN's Human Rights Office (OHCHR) issued a press statement on 16 December,  citing reports from the north of Gaza, about mass detentions, ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances of potentially thousands of Palestinians, including children and women by the Israeli forces. Detentions occurred during the evacuations to the south of Gaza or during military operations conducted in homes, hospitals, schools, and other places sheltering IDPs in the north of Gaza. Allegations include serious ill-treatment which in some instances may amount to torture. Further reports also allege Palestinians being stripped, blindfolded, tightly handcuffed, filmed and photographed in humiliating positions. Detained people were reportedly transported to an unknown location without clothing, and with limited food, and water.
  • On 18 December, 60 trucks carrying supplies entered Gaza through Rafah crossing and 64 trucks entered through Kerem Shalom crossing. On 19 December, initial reports indicate that 104 trucks entered through Rafah and 60 through Kerem Shalom This is well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October. 
  • On 18 December, 55 injured people, 56 of their accompaniers and 548 dual nationals, were evacuated from Gaza to Egypt. The total number of wounded Palestinians and other medical cases evacuated since 7 October represents one per cent of the reported injury toll. 
  • The occupied Palestinian territory Humanitarian Fund (oPt HF) launched a US$40 million allocation on 19 December in line with the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement a response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This allocation represents the first phase of planned responses for the evolving situation.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported on 18 and 19 December: 
    • On 18 December, at about 21:00, at least eight people were reportedly killed, including at least three children, with many others injured, when a residential building in Bashit Refugee Camp, central Rafah, southern Gaza, was hit.
    • On 19 December, at about 1:00, at least 30 people, including at least three children and a journalist, were reportedly killed, and many others were injured, when three residential buildings in Rafah city, were hit.
  • On 17 December, several strikes hit UNRWA facilities sheltering IDPs; two IDPs were killed and others, including at least three children sheltering in schools in Khan Younis, were injured by shrapnel due to a direct hit into these shelters or nearby strikes. In another incident, a school in Gaza city sheltering about 2,500 IDPs sustained damage, reportedly due to a direct hit by a tank shelling, with no reported casualties. 
  • According to UNRWA as of 18 December, 55 different UNRWA installations were directly hit, and 62 others sustained collateral damage, resulting in the killing of at least 299 of IDPs who were sheltering in UNRWA shelters. Additionally, at least another 1,037 IDPs have been injured since the beginning of hostilities.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Areas encompassing nearly 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map. Access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times.
  • Nearly 1.4 million of these IDPs are registered in 155 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, including more than 1.2 million in 98 UNRWA shelters in the Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah governorates. The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters located south of Wadi Gaza is about 12,400 people, more than four times their capacity.
  • Rafah governorate has become the most densely populated area in the Gaza Strip, with hundreds of thousands of IDPs squeezed into extremely overcrowded spaces and in dire living conditions. Population density is assessed to now exceed 12,000 people per square kilometre, a fourfold increase prior to the escalation. Thousands of people line up before aid distribution centres in need of food, water, shelter, and protection, amid the absence of latrines and adequate water and sanitation facilities in informal displacement sites and makeshift shelters. The suffering of displaced people is compounded by the cold winter and rain that flooded tents and other makeshift shelters over the past week.
  • Lack of food, basic survival items, and poor hygiene, exacerbate dire living conditions, amplify protection and mental health issues, and increase the spread of disease. More than 360,000 cases of infectious diseases including acute respiratory infections, meningitis, jaundice, impetigo, and chickenpox, have been recorded in UNRWA shelters. 

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza Strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • According to the World Health Organization (WHO), as of 19 December,  nine out of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are partially functional, all in the south. These hospitals are operating at three times their  capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units.
  • According to WHO, four hospitals in the north are providing extremely limited services to patients who have already been admitted. These hospitals are not accessible and are unable to admit new patients,Israeli tanks and troops are surrounding their vicinities, and the hospitals  do not have electricity or supplies.
  • On 19 December, according to the MoH in Gaza, Israeli forces raided the premises of Al Ahli Hospital in the east of Gaza city, destroying the main entrance and reportedly arresting several  medical staff and patients. 
  • On 18 December, in Jabalya, in the north, shelling and live ammunition reportedly hit the vicinity of Al Yaman as Saeed Hospital, injuring Palestinian Civil Defence personnel.
  • On 19 December, UNICEF’s spokesperson warned that the risk of disease would have a devastating impact on children, stating: “Without sufficient safe water, food and sanitation that only a humanitarian ceasefire can bring – child deaths due to disease could surpass those killed in bombardments.” 

Food security

 

  • On 19 December, WFP delivered food parcels to 2,350 people and hot meals to 1,750 people in Rafah. These were done in addition to the distribution of food parcels, wheat flour, and date bars in shelters located in Rafah and the Middle area.
  • On 18 December, Human Rights Watch accused the Israeli government of, “using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare,” in Gaza and of, “deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, while wilfully impeding humanitarian assistance, apparently razing agricultural areas, and depriving the civilian population of objects indispensable to their survival.”

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October. 
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 129 Israelis and foreign nationals remain captive in Gaza.
  • Since 7 October, 291 Palestinians, including 75 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 281 were killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 491 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Another four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him). 
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,659 Palestinians, including at least 562 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations and. Another 88 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • On 18 December, an Israeli – reportedly from Rotem settlement – stabbed and injured a Palestinian herder and rammed over its livestock, killing two goats, in Area C of Al Farisiya-Nab'a al Ghazal, Tubas. Additionally, between 17 and 18 December, three settler attacks resulting in damage to Palestinian-owned property were reported. In two of the incidents, Israeli settlers vandalized at least 220 olive trees and agricultural equipment in the Palestinian communities of Susiya and Ar Rakeez (both in Hebron).
  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 351 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (270 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (46 incidents). 
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 33, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 189 Palestinian households comprising 1,257 people, including 582 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • Also, since 7 October, 378 Palestinians, including 198 children, have been displaced following the demolition of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year. 
  • Another 86 Palestinians, including 40 children, have been displaced following the demolition of 18 homes on punitive grounds since 7 October, compared with 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law. 
  • Another 451 Palestinians, including 207 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 69 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 19 December, Member States have disbursed US$551.5 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 45 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 11-17 December

Health

 

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational in the middle and southern areas of Gaza. On 13 December, 8,265 refugees and non-refugees received health care in these centres. 
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day. A total of 124 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to at health centres. 
  • UNRWA continued providing health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team is composed of one or two doctors and a nurse. Some 591 health workers in health centres and shelters provided support to 12,305 patients. 

Protection

 

  • The situation in Gaza has deteriorated to the point whereby protection actors are largely unable to operate, due to communication outages, safety and security risks and the lack of access to northern Gaza, as well as severe constraints on the activities of service providers and frontline actors. 
  • There are major and mounting protection concerns for vulnerable groups, including children separated from their families, pregnant and lactating women (PLWs), newborns, persons with disabilities (PwDs), and the elderly. 
  • The following activities were undertaken during past week included: 
    • The Palestine Medical Relief Society distributed 1,616 dignity kits to PwDs and vulnerable women/girls in UNRWA shelters in Khan Younis
    • The Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture provided 25 people with remote psychological first aid support.

Food security

 

  • Between 7 October to 10 December, UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people, including 75,000 families outside shelters. 
  • Since the beginning of December, WFP distributed high energy biscuits (HEB) to about 600,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in designated shelters. WFP has also distributed food parcels or wheat flour to about 110,000 IDPs during the past two week. 
  • Some 11,385 IDPs residing in host communities received food parcels to support their food needs for 15 days.
  • Throughout the reporting week, only two partners—UAWC and Taawon—managed to implement operations in the northern area of Gaza; they distributed food parcels to approximately 46,250 IDPs in public shelters.
  • In the southern area, 11 partners have provided ready-to-eat (RTE) food, food parcels, flour, and hot meals to about 2.5 million people over the past week. 
  • World Central Kitchen (WCK), in partnership with ANERA and MECA, provided hot meals and RTE to a variety of family sizes. WCK plans to provide community kitchen kits, wood pellets or charcoal, and food products for 28,000 meals. 
  • The Food Security Cluster (FSS) has set a primary objective to meet the daily food needs of 2.2 million people, for a weekly cumulative target of 15.4 million people. In the current reporting week, FSS partners achieved a coverage of only 18 per cent of the cumulative weekly target. 

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) quantities to its partners, Juzour and UNRWA, to launch the implementation of the simplified approached for the management of wasting, for children under five with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM). 
  • UNICEF managed to deliver Lipid-based supplements (SQ-LNS) covering the need of 61,600 children (6-24 months) inside shelters for one month; micronutrient supplements for 1,660 pregnant and breastfeeding women; and Vitamin A supplements for 3,370 infants (6-11 months).
  • UNRWA distributed HEBs to 320,000 people and 27,184 date bars to people in shelters, as an immediate urgent food response in emergency.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

  • A total of 20 WASH partners are currently active and operating across the Gaza Strip. Several organizations are trying to reactivate their operations in Rafah (15), Khan Younis (15), Gaza City (10), and northern Gaza (7).
  • The constraints on the import of dual-use items inhibits an adequate WASH response. A consignment of piping and generators were not allowed into Gaza during the humanitarian pause. During the pause, few WASH supplies entered Gaza, despite the use of the prioritization list for entry. No new storage tanks, jerry cans, or cleaning kits entered through Rafah crossing. No latrines were built. 
  • Water quality and access standards remain unachieved. Access is a key challenge. Water networks are fractured, production points are reduced, power for pumping and distribution is restricted, and storage and outlets are minimized. Many communities are isolated across Gaza, particularly north of Wadi Gaza. 
  • The CMWU and WASH agencies have produced on average 41,068 cubic metres of water, and have distributed around 80,000 litres of fuel, approximately 11,430 litres daily.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

  • During the reporting period, despite some progress in delivering and distributing basic NFIs, including bedding, there remains   significant shortages of shelter winterization materials, including tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting for use as sealing off kits. 
  • IDPs are increasingly seeking shelter in large ad hoc sites. 
  • Shelter Cluster partners distributed the following items inside and outside collective centres in the southern governorates: 
    • 2,300 kitchen kits 
    • 56,800 blankets and 27,450 mattresses
    • 2,000 mats 
    • 7,300 tarpaulin sheets

Logistics

 

  • The Logistics Cluster, together with HELP Logistics and JSI, coordinated an assessment of the Gaza public health capacity for warehousing and logistics between November-December 2023, available here.
  • The Cluster has handed over and installed a total of 14 Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) that have augmented the offloading capacity in the Rafah handover point and the storage capacity of four UN Agencies and International NGOs. 
  • In Al Arish, Egypt, the Logistics Cluster augmented the ERC storage capacity with the installation of 10 MSUs with a dedicated set-up for the temperature-controlled cargo through four inflatable cold rooms, in addition to eight prefabs and four ablution units.

Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

 

  • To enhance communication with communities, the PSEA network adopted a new visual identity named 'Sanad,’ which regularly disseminates safeguarding messages through various mediums, including printed brochures, stickers, and radio spots tailored to the emergency context.
  • Given communication challenges in Gaza and limited internet access, the network predominantly relies on printed brochures and stickers to reach the population. UNICEF sent 500,000 Sanad brochures to Gaza for distribution, alongside hygiene kits.
  • Sanad initiated social media channels to convey safeguarding messages. In the initial two weeks, messages on these platforms reached about 150,000 users, with over 90 per cent from the West Bank. There are further plans to increase the reach of these channels to a broader audience in the weeks ahead.

WRITE CONGRESS NOW

19 december 2023

 

I just watched my boss being taken away in handcuffs.

Sandra Tamari, the Executive Director of Adalah Justice Project, just joined other high level directors from 74 progressive organizations in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building to stage a sit-in.

Over 50 were arrested by Capitol Police for refusing to leave until they spoke with Senate representatives.

Organizations working on immigration justice, veteran services, climate justice, youth services, racial equity, and economic inequality all came together to stop a shocking deal.

Right now Senate Democrats are offering to reinstate Trump-era immigration policies of family separation, along with billions more to further militarize our Southern border and target migrants. In return, they are asking their Republican colleagues to help send another $14.3 billion for Israeli weapons to continue killing Palestinian families in Gaza.

As our representatives rush through this process to return to their families for winter break - they are sacrificing millions of families in Gaza and at the U.S.-Mexico border.


Stand with the movement leaders putting their bodies on the line.

I know that it has been months and months now of watching Israel commit the horrors of genocide and destruction on an unfathomable scale in Gaza. We’ve seen bloody and dead children in our feeds and watched the count of the dead mount higher and higher.

But we can’t turn away. Our opposition is counting on us to get tired. To shift our focus now to the holidays, to our families, to the new year.

We’ve seen it in the past; when the world stops watching, Israel’s assaults on Gaza ramp up and become even more brutal.

Keep your eyes on Gaza.

 

Keep asking your friends and families to join this fight.

And then keep organizing your own communities to get louder, and more unstoppable.


Together we can stop this.

With love and solidarity,
Audrey Bruner

Adalah Justice Project is a Palestinian-led advocacy organization based in the U.S. that builds cross-movement coalitions to achieve collective liberation. Our work is rooted in the conviction that drawing the linkages between US policy abroad and repressive state practices at home is crucial to shifting the balance of power.

If someone forwarded you this email, sign up here to get updates from AJP.

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #72

Technicians repairing a heavily damaged fibre-optic cable. On 18 December, thanks to the efforts of such teams, working under high risk, telecommunications were partially restored in Gaza. The shutdown, beginning on 14 December, has severely affected humanitarian and emergency operations, hindering access to vital information. Photo by Paltel, 18 December 2023

 

19 december 2023

Key points

 

  • Following the longest shutdown of telecommunications and internet services in Gaza, which started on 14 December, services to the southern parts of Gaza Strip have been partially restored. This marked the fifth blackout since 7 October.
  • On 18 December, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea, continued across Gaza, with the most intense airstrikes reported in Jabalya, as well as in Ash Sheikh Redwan, Ar Rimal, Ash Shujai’yeh, and Ad Daraj areas of Gaza city. Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued on 18 December, especially in Khan Younis and Rafah, in southern Gaza. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel continued.
  • According to the MoH in Gaza, between 7 October and 18 December afternoon, at least 19,453 Palestinians were killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of then, about 52,286 Palestinians have been injured, according to the MoH. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery. Between 16 December and 18 December, ten Israeli soldiers were killed because of the fighting in Gaza, including one soldier who died as a result of injuries sustained on 14 December. According to the Israeli military, since the start of the ground operations, 129 soldiers have been killed in Gaza, and 704 have been injured.
  • Heavy strikes have caused a high number of casualties in northern Gaza; between 17 December and 18 December overnight, more than 100 people were reportedly killed in Jabalya with many more missing and injured, according to the MoH in Gaza. On 17 December, houses and buildings in Ash Sheikh Redwan, Ar Rimal, Ash Shuja’iyeh, and Ad Daraj neighbourhoods were heavily bombarded, with at least 54 fatalities reaching Al Shifa Hospital, according to the media.
  • On 17 December, at least 31 people were reportedly killed in Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza city. Three people were reportedly shot and injured inside the hospital compound, and another three persons were shot and injured when they were trying to fetch water near the hospital gate. On 18 December, in the early morning, Al Shifa Hospital was struck again, including the entrance gate and the Surgery Building. Reportedly, the strikes killed five people, including children. At about 10:30, the hospital was struck again where IDPs were sheltering, reportedly killing 26 Palestinians and injuring others.
  • Since 7 October and as of 16 December, UNRWA reported that at least 297 IDPs seeking refuge in its shelters have been killed and at least 1,032 injured. A total of 342 school buildings have sustained damage (about 70 per cent of all school buildings in Gaza). Seventy of the schools damaged are UNRWA schools, with at least 56 serving as shelters for IDPs. Several schools, including UNRWA schools, have been directly hit by Israeli airstrikes or tank shells.
  • On 17 December, 102 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies and four tankers of fuel entered Gaza through Rafah crossing and 79 trucks entered through Kerem Shalom crossing. This is well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October. Figures for 18 December are unconfirmed as of 22:00.
  • Between 16 and 18 December, Israeli forces killed 12 Palestinians in the West Bank, including three children and another Palestinian died from wounds sustained in a previous Israeli forces' operation, bringing the fatality toll to 291, including 75 children by Israeli forces or/and Israeli settlers since 7 October, which represents almost 60 per cent of the total Palestinian fatalities since 1 January 2023.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported on 17 and 18 December:
    • On 17 December, at about 19:00, at least 55 Palestinians were reportedly killed, including more than 15 children, many others injured, and more than 100 reported as missing when several houses in a residential block were reportedly hit in Old Gaza Street, Jabalya city, North Gaza.
    • On 17 December, at about 11:30, 14 Palestinian were reportedly killed, and tens injured, when the Al Hinnawy School in western Khan Yunis, southern Gaza, was reportedly struck.
    • On 17 December, at about 19:00, 17 Palestinian were reportedly killed, and tens were injured, when several areas in eastern Khan Yunis, southern Gaza were reportedly struck.
  • On 16 December, according to the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem, an elderly woman and her daughter were shot and killed inside the compound of the Holy Family Church in Az Zaitoun, Gaza city. Several others were reportedly shot and injured. Pope Francis condemned the attack on the building, declaring “there are no terrorists, but families, children, people who are sick and have disabilities, and nuns.” The Israeli army reported that its operational findings had disproved the claims of the attack. Also on 16 December, the adjacent Convent of the Sisters of Mother Theresa, was struck, rendering the building uninhabitable, and displacing 54 persons with disabilities who are cared for by the Order.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Areas encompassing nearly 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map that was launched on 1 December. Access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Since 3 December, tens of thousands of IDPs, who have arrived in Rafah governorate, continue to face extremely overcrowded conditions both inside and outside shelters. With an estimated fourfold increase in population density, exceeding 12,000 people per square kilometre, Rafah governorate is now the most densely populated area in the Gaza Strip.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times.
  • Nearly 1.4 million of these IDPs are registered in 155 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, including more than 1.2 million in 98 UNRWA shelters in the Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah governorates. The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters located in the middle and southern areas is about 12,400 people, more than four times their capacity.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza strip, please see this dashboard.
  • Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)
  • On 17 December, the An Nasser Medical Complex, in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, was hit at least twice. An artillery shell struck the maternity ward, killing a 13-year-old child, and injuring several others, according to the MoH in Gaza.
  • As of 18 December, only eight out of 36 hospitals across the Gaza Strip are functional and able to admit new patients, although services are limited. Only one of these hospitals is in the north, according to WHO. The two major hospitals in southern Gaza are operating at three times their bed capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. Additionally, these hospitals are providing shelter to thousands of IDPs.

Food security

 

  • On 18 December, Human Rights Watch accused the Israeli government of “using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare” in Gaza and of “deliberately blocking the delivery of water, food, and fuel, while wilfully impeding humanitarian assistance, apparently razing agricultural areas, and depriving the civilian population of objects indispensable to their survival.”
  • Between 3 and 12 December, WFP conducted a rapid food security assessment, following the significant deterioration of the food security situation in the south of Gaza, following the large influx of IDPs with the resumption of hostilities on 1 December. Very severe hunger levels were reported in 44 per cent of respondent households, compared with 24 per cent in a previous assessment conducted on 27-30 November. The proportion of IDP households reporting members going to sleep hungry at night increased from 34 to 50 per cent of all assessed households. The acute shortage of cooking gas has led to heavy dependence on firewood, wood residues, and waste burning, raising the risk of respiratory diseases. The food security situation in the northern governorates of Gaza is believed to be significantly worse.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 129 people remain captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • Between 16 and 18 December, Israeli forces killed 12 Palestinians, including three children and another Palestinian died from wounds sustained in a previous Israeli forces' operation in Jenin. The deadliest incident, which lasted for over ten hours, took place in Nur Shams Refugee Camp in Tulkarm and resulted in five Palestinians killed. The operation involved armed clashes with Palestinians, and airstrikes, resulting in extensive infrastructure damage. An additional four Palestinians, including two children, were killed in another Israeli forces operation in Al Far'a Refugee Camp (Tubas), during which armed clashes were reported. Another three Palestinians were killed during confrontations during search-and-arrest operations in Beit Ummar (Hebron), Deir ‘Ammar refugee Camp (Ramallah) and in Jenin city. In another separate incident, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man near the barrier gate in Deir Al Ghusun (Tulkarm) while he was reportedly trying to enter Israel through one of the breaches along with a group of Palestinian workers.
  • Since 7 October, 291 Palestinians, including 75 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 281 have been killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 491 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. An additional four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him).
  • Seventy-one per cent of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. Half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,634 Palestinians, including at least 561 children; 51 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations and 41 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations and. Another 88 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 347 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (266 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (46 incidents).
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 33, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 189 Palestinian households comprising 1,257 people, including 582 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • Also, since 7 October, 378 Palestinians, including 198 children, have been displaced following the demolition of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year.
  • Another 86 Palestinians, including 40 children, have been displaced following the demolition of 18 homes on punitive grounds since 7 October, compared with 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law.
  • Another 451 Palestinians, including 207 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 69 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 55 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 39 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 18 December, Member States have disbursed US$525 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 43 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 4 December – 10 December

Health

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Eight out of 22 UNRWA health centres are still operational in the middle and southern areas of Gaza. On 13 December, 8,265 refugees and non-refugees received health care in these centres.
  • Midwives are providing care for post-natal and high-risk pregnant women at the eight operational health centres. There are an estimated 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza, with more than 180 giving birth every day. A total of 124 post-natal and high-risk pregnancy cases were attended to at health centres.
  • UNRWA continued providing health care to IDPs at shelters through 97 medical teams. Each team is composed of one or two doctors and a nurse. Some 591 health workers in health centres and shelters provided support to 12,305 patients.

Protection

 

  • The situation in Gaza has deteriorated to the point whereby protection actors are largely unable to operate, due to communication outages, risks in moving and access cut to northern Gaza, as well as severe constraints on the activities of service providers and frontline actors.
  • There are major and mounting protection concerns for vulnerable groups, including children separated from their families, pregnant and lactating women (PLWs), newborns, persons with disabilities (PwDs), and the elderly.
  • The following activities were undertaken during past week included:
    • The Palestine Medical Relief Society distributed 1,616 dignity kits to PwDs and vulnerable women/girls in UNRWA shelters in Khan Younis
    • The Treatment and Rehabilitation Centre for Victims of Torture provided 25 people with remote psychological first aid support.

Food security

 

  • Between 7 October to 10 December, UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people, including 75,000 families outside shelters.
  • Since the beginning of December, WFP distributed high energy biscuits (HEB) biscuits for one day to about 600,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in designated shelters. In addition, WFP has distributed food parcels or wheat flour to about 110,000 IDPs during the past two week.
  • Some 11,385 IDPs residing in host communities received food parcels to support their food needs for 15 days.
  • Throughout the reporting week, only two partners—UAWC and Taawon—managed to implement operations in the northern area of Gaza; they distributed food parcels to approximately 46,250 IDPs in public shelters.
  • In the southern area, 11 partners have provided ready-to-eat (RTE) food, food parcels, flour, and hot meals to about 2.5 million people over the past week.
  • World Central Kitchen (WCK), in partnership with ANERA and MECA, provided hot meals and RTE to a variety of family sizes. WCK plans to provide community kitchen kits, wood pellets or charcoal, and food products for 28,000 meals.
  • The Food Security Cluster (FSS) has set a primary objective to meet the daily food needs of 2.2 million people, for a weekly cumulative target of 15.4 million people. In the current reporting week, FSS partners achieved a coverage of only 18 per cent of the cumulative weekly target.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) quantities to its partners, Juzour and UNRWA, to launch the implementation of the simplified approached for the management of wasting, for children under five with severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and moderate acute malnutrition (MAM).
  • UNICEF managed to deliver Lipid-based supplements (SQ-LNS) covering the need of 61,600 children (6-24 months) inside shelters for one month; micronutrient supplements for 1,660 pregnant and breastfeeding women; and Vitamin A supplements for 3,370 infants (6-11 months).
  • UNRWA distributed HEBs to 320,000 people and 27,184 date bars to people in shelters, as an immediate urgent food response in emergency.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

  • A total of 20 WASH partners are currently active and operating across the Gaza Strip. Several organizations are trying to reactivate their operations in Rafah (15), Khan Younis (15), Gaza City (10), and northern Gaza (7).
  • The dual-use item constraints prevent a full-fledged WASH response from taking place. A consignment of piping and generators were not allowed into Gaza during the humanitarian pause. During the pause, few WASH supplies entered Gaza, despite the use of the prioritization list for entry; no new storage tanks, jerry cans, cleaning kits entered via Rafah crossing. No latrines were built.
  • Water quality and access standards remain unachieved. Access is a particular challenge as the water networks are fractured, production points are reduced, power for pumping and distribution is restricted and storage and outlets are minimized. Many communities are isolated across Gaza but particularly north of Wadi Gaza.
  • The CMWU and WASH agencies have produced on average 41,068 cubic metres of water, and have distributed around 80,000 litres of fuel, approximately 11,430 litres daily.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

  • During the reporting period, despite some progress in delivering and distributing basic NFIs, including bedding, there is still a significant shortage of shelter winterization materials such as tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting for use as sealing off kits.
  • IDPs are increasingly seeking shelter in large ad hoc sites.
  • Shelter Cluster partners distributed the following items inside and outside collective centres in the southern governorates:
    • 2,300 kitchen kits.
    • 56,800 blankets and 27,450 mattresses.
    • 2,000 mats.
    • 7,300 tarpaulin sheets

Logistics

 

  • The Logistics Cluster, together with HELP Logistics and JSI, coordinated an assessment of the Gaza public health capacity for warehousing and logistics between November-December 2023, available here.
  • The Cluster has handed over and installed a total of 14 Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) that have augmented the offloading capacity in the Rafah handover point and the storage capacity of four UN Agencies and International NGOs.
  • In Al Arish, Egypt, the Logistics Cluster augmented the ERC storage capacity with the installation of 10 MSUs with a dedicated set-up for the temperature-controlled cargo through four inflatable cold rooms, in addition to eight prefabs and four ablution units.

Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

 

  • To enhance communication with communities, the PSEA network adopted a new visual identity named 'Sanad,’ which regularly disseminates safeguarding messages through various mediums, including printed brochures, stickers, and radio spots tailored to the emergency context.
  • Given communication challenges in Gaza and limited internet access, the network predominantly relies on printed brochures and stickers to reach the population. UNICEF sent 500,000 Sanad brochures to Gaza for distribution, alongside hygiene kits.
  • Sanad initiated social media channels to convey safeguarding messages. In the initial two weeks, messages on these platforms reached about 150,000 users, with over 90 per cent from the West Bank. There are further plans to increase the reach of these channels to a broader audience in the weeks ahead.

Pro-Israel billionaires are spending big to oust socialists from office.

18 december 2023

 

Socialists in elected office are standing up for Palestinian rights and demanding a cease-fire in Gaza. A handful of billionaires,  rejecting this progressive and popular agenda, are trying hard to take down these antiwar lawmakers. So capitalism renews its organization power by mobilizing its biggest money. The biggest private money of the world! As well, many conservative and centrist Democratic candidates are launching primary challenges against them, hoping to be the recipients of big campaign cash from the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and similar pro-Israel groups. AIPAC and its allies — like-minded organizations and big donors — told the New York Times that they are going to spend big, probably far more than in previous election cycles, to defeat anyone standing up for Palestine. Many of their targets are members of Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) or close allies of the organization.

It’s essential that we defend those elected officials who are providing principled leadership to the Left in the midst of Israel’s brutal assault on the Gaza Strip, which has so far killed more than nineteen thousand Palestinians. Israeli president Benjamin Netanyahu’s allies have plenty of money, but politically, they’re flailing as international support for Israel’s war gradually declines in the face of its indiscriminate bombing of civilians. The call for a permanent cease-fire in Gaza is broadly popular, as are the economic justice issues these officeholders champion, so these should be winnable fights if the Left can stay organized. A 61 percent majority of likely US voters believes the United States should support a cease-fire, while only 28 percent oppose such a move — even though only sixty-two members of Congress have publicly called for one so far.

Here’s the latest...

It is farcical for US politicians to suggest that Israel is trying to avoid killing civilians in Gaza. Mass destruction and intentional killing is an integral part of the Israeli campaign, intended to break Palestinian resistance to occupation and apartheid.

We shut down 8 bridges in 8 cities on the 8th night of Hanukkah.

18 december 2023

 

Last Thursday, on the eighth night of Hanukkah, JVP members shut down eight bridges and highways in eight cities across the U.S. to demand an end to the genocide of Palestinians.

 

Thousands of Jews and allies protested in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, and San Diego — eight cities symbolizing the eight candles lit on the final night of Hanukkah, plus the shamash, or “helper” candle.

 

JVP members blocked traffic for hours, singing, chanting, carrying giant menorahs, and holding signs reading “Jews says ceasefire now” and “Let Gaza live.” Hundreds were arrested.

 

Our message is clear: As long as Israel is dropping bombs on Gaza, there can be no business as usual.

 

In just over two months, over 19,000 Palestinians have been killed by the Israeli military in Gaza. Over 7,000 of them were children.

 

Two weeks ago, the World Health Organization warned that even more people in Gaza could die of starvation or disease than have already been killed by Israel’s bombs.

 

Today, half of the over two million people who live in Gaza are starving, and the vast majority of them have been forced to flee their homes. But nowhere in Gaza is safe…

‘A new generation rises’

Jehad Abusalim pays tribute in the Nation to his beloved teacher Refaat Alareer, who was murdered in an Israeli airstrike on his sister’s home.

 

He writes, “His classes were journeys, both intellectual and cultural, beyond the confines of the blockade, allowing us to explore new worlds and stories, defying the laws of physics and oppression.”

 

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #71

Heavy bombardments across Gaza continue. On 16 December, the most intense airstrikes were reported in Khan Yunis and Gaza city. Most people are displaced and hungry, the health system is barely functioning, and the conditions for humanitarian operations at a meaningful scale do not exist. No one and nowhere is safe. Photo by UNICEF/El-Baba

 

17 december 2023

Key points

 

  • The shutdown of telecommunications and internet services in Gaza, which started on 14 December, continues as of midnight on 16 December. This marks the fifth blackout since 7 October. As a result, this Flash Update provides limited updated information about the humanitarian situation in Gaza over the past 24 hours.
  • On 16 December, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea across Gaza continued, with the most intense airstrikes reported in Khan Younis, in the south, and Ash Shuja’iyeh, At Tuffah and Ad Darraj areas of Gaza city. Intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued on 16 December, especially in Khan Younis and Rafah, in southern Gaza. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel continued.
  • Since 14 December afternoon, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza has not updated its casualty figures, which stood at 18,787 fatalities. About 70 per cent of those killed are said to be women and children. As of then, about 50,589 Palestinians have been injured, according to MoH. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery.  According to the Israeli military, since the start of the ground operations, 119 soldiers have been killed in Gaza, and 681 have been injured. 
  • On 16 December, Israeli forces withdrew from Kamal Adwan hospital after four days of besieging the facility. According to initial reports by media and video footage, an Israeli military bulldozer flattened the tents of a number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) outside the hospital, killing and wounding an unconfirmed number of people. The MoH in Ramallah has called for an investigation into the incident. According to the Israeli army, it has detained 90 people, and found weapons and munitions inside the hospital.
  • On the morning of 16 December, Israeli forces reportedly struck the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) building in Al Remal area of Gaza city, reportedly killing six Palestinians and injuring many others. Some 250 IDPs were reportedly sheltering in the premises at the time. Also on 16 December, in the Middle Area, Palestinians were reportedly killed in an Israeli attack hit the vicinity of UNRWA’s Al Mazra’a school. 
  • Since 7 October and as of 15 December, UNRWA reported that at least 288 IDPs seeking refuge in its shelters had been killed and at least 998 injured. A total of 342 school buildings have sustained damage (about 70 per cent of all school buildings in Gaza). Seventy of the schools damaged are UNRWA schools, with at least 56 serving as shelters for IDPs. Several schools, including UNRWA schools, have been directly hit by Israeli airstrikes or tank shells.
  • On 16 December, a convoy operated by the World Health Organization (WHO), departing from Rafah, managed to deliver medical supplies for about 500 people in Shifa Hospital, in Gaza city. This is the third humanitarian convoy that has managed to access north Gaza since the end of the humanitarian pause on 1 December. According to the Director-General of WHO, “Gaza’s largest hospital is at the moment able to provide limited trauma stabilization and some dialysis support. Surgery is not yet possible; the hospital has no blood for transfusion, and hardly any staff to care for the constant flow of patients. The hospital needs sustained supplies of medicines, equipment, water, food, fuel, and additional human resources.”
  • On 16 December, 121 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies and four tankers of fuel entered Gaza, based on initial reports as of 22:00. This is well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October.
  • On 15 December, 471 dual nationals and no injured people were evacuated from Gaza to Egypt. The total number of wounded Palestinians and other medical cases evacuated since 7 October, 500 people, represents one per cent of the reported 50,500 injury toll, while about 8,000 injured are said to require immediate medical intervention.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported on 15 and 16 December: 
    • On 16 December, during the morning, 14 people were reportedly killed when two houses were struck in Jabalia, North Gaza. Many other people are said to have remained trapped under the rubble.
    • On 15 December, at about 19:50, four people were reportedly killed and 10 others injured as a residential building was struck in Al Bureij, Middle Area.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Areas encompassing nearly 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map that was launched on 1 December. Access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Since 3 December, tens of thousands of IDPs, who have arrived in Rafah governorate continue to face extremely overcrowded conditions both inside and outside shelters. With an estimated fourfold increase in population density, exceeding 12,000 people per square kilometre, Rafah governorate is now the most densely populated area within the Gaza Strip.
  • Obtaining an accurate figure of the total number of IDPs remains challenging. According to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times. 
  • Nearly 1.3 million of these IDPs are registered in 155 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, including more than 1.2 million in 98 UNRWA shelters in the Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah governorates. The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters located in the middle and southern areas is about 12,400, more than four times their capacity.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 16 December, the director of Al Awda hospital in northern Gaza was quoted in media, stating that medical aid had not reached the facility for the past 67 days, and that oxygen supplies and support for patients had run out. Israeli forces, including tanks, have reportedly surrounded the hospital, blocking the entrance. Additionally, two floors of the hospital have reportedly been hit in attacks, with the surgical wards destroyed, according to the hospital director.
  • Currently, only eight out of 36 hospitals across the Gaza Strip are functional and able to admit new patients, although services are limited. Only one of these hospitals is in the north, according to WHO. The two major hospitals in southern Gaza are operating at three times their bed capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. Additionally, these hospitals are providing shelter to thousands of IDPs. 
  • On 14 December, an airstrike hit the vicinity of Al Ahli Hospital in the east of Gaza city, causing large damage in the hospital facilities with no reported casualties. 

Food security

 

  • On 15 December, the World Food Programme (WFP), through its partners distributed 9,270 hot meals to IDPs outside shelters and with host families and food parcels to IDPs in UNRWA shelters in three locations in Rafah and Deir Al Balah.
  • Between 3 and 12 December, WFP conducted a rapid food security assessment, following the significant deterioration of the food security situation in the south of Gaza, following the large influx of IDPs with the resumption of hostilities on 1 December. Very severe hunger levels were reported in 44 per cent of respondent households, compared with 24 per cent in a previous assessment conducted on 27-30 November. The proportion of IDP households reporting members going to sleep hungry at night increased from 34 to 50 per cent of all assessed households. The acute shortage of cooking gas has led to heavy dependence on firewood, wood residues, and waste burning, raising the risk of respiratory diseases. The food security situation in the northern governorates of Gaza is believed to be significantly worse.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October. 
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 129 people remain captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals. On 16 December, the body of a hostage was discovered in Gaza, according to Israeli officials.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, 278 Palestinians, including 70 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 268 have been killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 477 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. An additional four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him). 
  • Two-thirds of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. More than half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes. 
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,607 Palestinians, including at least 552 children; 45 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations and 46 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations. Another 85 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023. 

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 344 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (264 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (45 incidents). 
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 34, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 189 Palestinian households comprising 1,257 people, including 582 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • Also, since 7 October, 338 Palestinians, including 182 children, have been displaced following the demolition of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year. 
  • Another 86 Palestinians, including 40 children, have been displaced following the demolition of 18 homes on punitive grounds since 7 October, compared with 16 homes punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law. 
  • Another 269 Palestinians, including 121 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 42 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 61 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 29 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 14 December, Member States have disbursed US$525 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 43 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 4 December – 10 December

Health

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Some 97 medical teams attended about 30,000 IDPs in UNRWA shelters.
  • Some 10,700 medical consultations were provided at health centres daily.
  • Some 18,208 patients received health care in eight UNRWA health centres in the middle and south areas of Gaza.
  • Mental health and psycho-social support services (MHPSS) were delivered to about 2,000 people.

Protection

 

  • Explosive Ordnance Risk Education and Conflict Preparedness and Protection messages continue to be disseminated via available channels.
  • UNMAS, Mines Advisory Group and NPA continue with social media campaigns and HI and UNMAS are planning SMS campaigns to educate the public and to mitigate Explosive Remnants of War risks.
  • A total of 35 Child Protection Case Management actors attended remote training on Identification, Documentation, Tracing and Reunification of unaccompanied and separated children.
  • Child protection partners reached 35,290 boys and girls and 13,780 women and men in the past 15 days with awareness raising messages regarding protection issues, MHPSS support, case management and winter clothing kits.
  • Temporary alternative care shelter in Rafah has been arranged for unaccompanied children who are identified and registered. Hosting capacity for children will be arranged in phases, with 15 children accommodated in the first phase.
  • Partners specializing in addressing gender-based violence continue to provide support to women and girls in the south. During the reporting period, partners distributed 17,000 menstrual health management (MHM) kits and 9,500 dignity kits to 26,500 women and girls of reproductive age in the south.

Food security

 

Most food distribution focused on IDPs in UNRWA shelters, public shelters, and host families. Food security partners have provided the following responses during the reporting period:

  • UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people in the north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people.
  • About 100,000 people received food parcels and about 130,000 people received hot meals in southern Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for over 4,850 high-risk children with severe and moderate acute malnutrition.
  • UNICEF delivered additional quantities of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) to 11,760 children under the age of five. To date, 24,000 children have received HEB since the start of the response on 9 November.
  • WFP delivered medium-quantity lipid-based supplements to cover the needs of 57,500 pregnant-breastfeeding women and children under two years of age.
  • Some 500 pregnant and breastfeeding women received iron-folate supplementation to prevent malnutrition.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

No updates were provided for the reporting period. Below are the updates for the period, 27 November to 4 December:

  • Some 3,896 cubic metres of water, and 690 cubic metres of bottled water were distributed to displaced people.
  • Two desalination plants were installed in two IDP centres in Khan Younis. During the ceasefire period, WASH actors increased their activities in IDP locations. However, fewer WASH supplies entered Gaza, and there were no new deliveries of storage tanks, jerry cans, or cleaning kits to Rafah. No latrines were built. A consignment of pipes and generators was refused entry over the ceasefire period. Fuel supply to WASH facilities, currently at 19,520 litres per day is at 35 per cent of the amount needed to operate water production, treatment and distribution, sewage treatment and storm water management.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

During the reporting period, a significant shortage of basic shelter materials was reported, which includes tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting for protection during rainy days, particularly for people living outside shelters. Shelter partners distributed the following items to IDPs:

  • 470 mattresses.
  • 420 water jerrycans.
  • 250 sleeping mats.
  • 150 kitchen sets.

There is still a major gap in shelter winterization materials and essential NFIs, including sealing off kits for damaged houses; a high shortage in bedding sets, including mattresses and blankets to cover the needs of the IDPs in various settings, including UNRWA shelters, as well as winterized tents to protect IDPs in the open air.

Education

 

Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in the Gaza strip have reached 84,262 individual students and teachers since 7 October with provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), in Khan Younis, Rafah and Middle governorates.

The Gaza Education Cluster conducted an Observation Assessment between 25 to 27 November in the three Southern governorates to assess the level of damage of 41 schools and conduct a preliminary mapping of available space for setting up temporary learning spaces as well as the presence of teachers and personnel trained to carry out recreational activities at shelters. All assessed schools sustained some level of damage. The assessment report includes recommendations to the Ministry of Education and UNRWA, Education cluster partners, and for the education cluster coordination team itself. Two task forces for the Gaza response were activated following this exercise, one on MHPSS and recreational activities and one on Continuity of Education. The assessment of school damage will continue if/when security allows.

Multi-Purpose Cash assistance (MPCA)

 

Needs:

  • Post-distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance indicate that food, water, medicines, hygiene products, and clothing are the top expenditures reported.
  • About 81 per cent of respondents reported that unrestricted cash helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially.
  • Over 95 per cent reported unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

Response:

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, 66,870 households (including roughly 449,000 people) received Emergency MPCA.
  • Cash out rates across the response stand at 70-75 per cent but have been declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been provided across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the south.
  • Formal market actors, such as supermarkets and retailers are largely depleted and face major challenges in re-stocking and operating. Therefore, informal markets, such as vendors, minimarts, carts, and stalls are reportedly the main source for goods.

Logistics

  • The Logistics Cluster launched common storage services in Gaza and Egypt.
  • In Gaza, three warehouses, managed by a Logistics Cluster partner, are available for storage in Deir al Balah (495 square metres), Khan Yunis (170 square metres), and Rafah (70 square metres).
  • The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport from Rafah to the three warehouse locations in the Gaza Strip.
  • In Port Said, Egypt, 800 pallet positions are available for common storage for the humanitarian community.
  • Additionally, a cargo notification service in Rafah will support the access of partners’ cargo into Gaza: details of the process in Standard Operating Procedures.
  • The Logistics Cluster installed three Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) at the Rafah transshipment base to increase partners’ offloading capacity in Rafah with an additional 960 square metres. Three more MSUs have been installed at the UNRWA base in Rafah to increase warehousing capacity.
  • An additional eight MSUs will be installed in Gaza by the Logistics Cluster, pending assessment with partners regarding key locations. The IMPACCT Working Group (hosted at the Global Logistics Cluster) held a national workshop on the importation of humanitarian aid with relevant ministries, authorities, the Egyptian Red Crescent, UN and INGOs.

Emergency Telecommunications

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) continues to coordinate a collective approach among partners for the importation of telecommunications equipment into Gaza.
  • On 3 December, the ETC team, UNDSS, the NGO Help, and OCHA met with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to discuss the list of technical equipment submitted for importation into Gaza and install an independent connectivity and security communications services for humanitarian responders.
  • On 3 December, COGAT authorized the team to import 20 satellite phones into Gaza for humanitarian responders.

17 december 2023

 

Each day that passes is more devastating than the last in Palestine. But we cannot lose hope in this moment.

 

Across the U.S. and around the world, people of conscience are rising up by the millions in solidarity with the Palestinian people. Our movement for a permanent ceasefire, and Palestinian liberation, is growing in numbers and strength each and every day.

 

From power hours and phone jams, to protests and sit-ins, you’re part of a powerful movement, and with you by our side, we’re going to keep up the pressure for an immediate ceasefire.

  • Since Rep. Cori Bush first introduced H. Res. 786, the Ceasefire Now Resolution, hundreds of thousands of constituents  have sent over 626,000 emails and made nearly 165,700 calls to your representatives through USCPR’s action tools. And the pressure is working. Over the past two months, calls for a ceasefire have grown from just 13 to over 60 members of Congress.
  • On the local level, organizers across the country are mobilizing their communities to contact City Council members in support of a ceasefire. From Oakland and Seattle, to Atlanta and Detroit, more than 15 City Councils have passed resolutions calling for a ceasefire in just 10 weeks
  • During last month’s #StopArmingIsrael Week of Action, we helped coordinate 33 in-district actions and sit-ins at eight democratic senators’ offices, where hundreds of activists put their bodies on the line and risked arrest to stand for justice. And earlier this week, we joined movement partners in shutting down the atrium of the Hart Senate building to protest against the additional $14 billion in military funding to Israel.
 

 

History is at a turning point.

 

Our immediate demands for a ceasefire and lifting the siege on Gaza—and our long-term goals of cutting all U.S. military funding to Israel and ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine—have more support than ever before.

 

In the days, weeks, and months ahead, we must continue building on this momentum in our fight for Palestinian liberation. Justice cannot wait.

 

In solidarity,

 

AHMAD ABUZNAID

Executive Director

17 december 2023

 

To an outside observer, Israeli public debate appears solid. There seems to be an overwhelming consensus supporting an open-ended war on the Palestinians of Gaza in revenge for the horrors of October 7. The reality is different. Many Israelis, including some directly impacted by the Hamas attack, believe that there is no military solution and that the only way out of this terrible situation is an immediate ceasefire followed by prisoner exchange. They want to speak out, but are hard pressed to find a stage. That’s why we established Voices Against War, which we told you about last week.

Since the outbreak of the war, an active anti war movement has come together in Israel, composed of a variety of  individuals and groups. Our Israeli partners in the struggle against the occupation are central to this movement, and all of them have intensified their war resistance actions. Organizing these activities is harder now than ever: A crackdown on dissent is in progress, and arrests of nonviolent protesters are a daily occurrence.

 

Alongside amplification of their voices on social media, our role at Refuser Solidarity Network (RSN) is to provide support for our partners in the anti war movement. We help fund the logistical needs of protest organizers, from transport to the printing of signs and banners. In addition, we support an array of specialized activities designed to make the most of our partners’ experience and expertise. Here are a few examples:

  • Since the outbreak of the Gaza War, conscientious objectors have been denied access to even the limited recourse available to them normally. Specialized hotlines have been extremely important in providing legal, emotional, and practical support to hundreds of Israeli war refusers, both reservists and conscripts.

  • High school seniors facing conscription are exposed to a deluge of pro-war propaganda, and a largely one-sided public discourse. War resistance networks create a support structure, supporting acts of personal and group refusal. Activists regularly visit schools, conversing with students and distributing leaflets with an Israeli anti-war message.

  • With the world focused on Gaza, repression and displacement of West Bank Palestinians continues unabated. The threats to some vulnerable communities has actually increased, as settler violence has skyrocketed. In response, anti-occupation activists have intensified the solidarity and protection efforts for partner communities in the southern West Bank. Activists visit as often as possible with material aid, and a hotline works 24-7 to exert pressure on the army to respond to settler attacks.

Now, more than two months since the outbreak of the war, there appears to be no end in sight. Repression of dissent has only increased. More than ever, Israelis working to end the war need your support. I’d like to ask you to help us continue to support our Israeli partners. We’re raising $30,000 for this purpose. Please donate.

With your help, we can end this war.

In solidarity,

Mattan Helman
Executive Director
Refuser Solidarity Network

16 december 2023

 

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #70

“These are all our memories, our entire lives. For over 50 years, we have been living here .... Now it's all gone; everything has turned into ashes.” Screenshot from a video by UNRWA

 

16 december 2023

Key points

 

  • Since about 17:45 and as of midnight on 14 December, communication with the Gaza Strip has been severely disrupted due to the shutdown of telecommunication and internet services in the Middle Area and southern Gaza after damage was reported to the main telecommunications fibre lines in Khan Younis. Telecommunication and internet services in North Gaza has been also impacted. This marks the fifth blackout since 7 October. As a result, this Flash Update provides limited updated information about the humanitarian situation in Gaza over the past 24 hours.
  • On 15 December, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea across Gaza continued, with the most intense airstrikes reported in Khan Yunis and Rafah, along with naval shelling off the coast of Rafah. Since 14 December, the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza has not updated its casualty figures. The latest reported figures as of 14 December afternoon stood at 18,787 Palestinians killed.arAbout 70 per cent are said to be women and children. About 50,5897 Palestinians have reportedly been injured. Many people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery.
  • Additionally, intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued, especially in Khan Younis and Rafah in southern Gaza. According to the Israeli military, three Israeli soldiers were killed in Gaza on 15 December, bringing the total number 119 soldiers killed in Gaza since the start of the ground operations with 648 soldiers injured. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel has also continued, reaching Jerusalem and surrounding areas, while a fall was reported near Ramallah in the West Bank.
  • On 15 December, an airstrike struck a school sheltering Internally Displaced People (IDPs), in Khan Yunis, reportedly killing 12 Palestinians, and injuring dozens of others. Since 7 October, at least 288 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA shelters have been killed and at least 998 injured, according to UNRWA. A total of 342 school buildings have sustained damage (about 70 per cent of all school buildings in Gaza). Seventy of the schools damaged are UNRWA schools, with at least 56 serving as shelters for IDPs. Several schools, including UNRWA schools, have been directly hit by Israeli airstrikes or tank shells.
  • On 15 December, two Palestinian journalists were injured from a missile fired from a drone in Khan Younis, with one dying of his wounds after paramedics were impeded from reaching him for hours, according to media reports Expressing its alarm at the unprecedented rate of journalists and media workers killed in Gaza since 7 October, the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) in the occupied Palestinian territory has verified the killing of 50 journalists and media workers, and received information that 30 more may have died, amounting to approximately six per cent of all those registered with the Journalists’ Syndicate in Gaza.
  • Since 3 December, tens of thousands of IDPs, who have arrived in Rafah, continue to face extremely overcrowded conditions both inside and outside shelters. With an estimated fourfold increase in population density, exceeding 12,000 per square kilometre, it is now the most densely populated area within the Gaza Strip.
  • A new World Food Programme (WFP) rapid food security assessment reveals alarming trends in the food security situation in southern Gaza, with 44 per cent of assessed households facing very severe hunger. This is an increase from the 24 per cent recorded in the previous assessment undertaken during the humanitarian pause (24-30 November).
  • On 15 December, as of 22:00, there are initial reports that 115 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies and four tankers of fuel have entered the Gaza Strip. This is well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October.
  • On 14 December, 69 injured people and 543 dual nationals were evacuated from Gaza to Egypt. The total number of wounded Palestinians and other medical cases evacuated since 7 October represents one per cent of the reported injury toll. This corresponds to 500 people, while an additional 8,000 of the reported 50,500 injured are said to require immediate medical intervention.
  • On 15 December, the Israeli Security Cabinet approved the re-opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing for the entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza. Since 13 December, aid trucks have been screened at the crossing, before being allowed to enter Gaza through Rafah crossing. Aid agencies have been advocating the complete re-opening of Kerem Shalom, which prior to 7 October was the main access point for both humanitarian and commercial goods entering and exiting Gaza. Welcoming the announcement, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Martin Griffiths said the, “fast implementation of this agreement will increase the flow of aid. But what the people in Gaza need most is an end to this war.”

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported between 14:00 on 14 and 15 December:
    • On 14 December, at about 12:00, continuous Israeli forces shelling in the centre of Khan Younis, hit several locations including Osama Bin Zaid Mosque, Al Hoob market, and Jasser building killing at least 13 Palestinians and injuring many others.
    • On 14 December, at about 19:20, at least five Palestinians were reportedly killed when a house in Ash Shaboura Refugee Camp, in Rafah was hit.
  • On 14 December, at about 11:10, an Israeli military drone reportedly killed two Palestinians in a school sheltering IDPs in Ad Darraj area, in Gaza city. According to the Ministry of Education (MoE), between7 October and 5 December, more than 3,477 students and 203 educational staff were reportedly killed, and more than 5,429 students and 507 teachers injured.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Areas encompassing nearly 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map that was launched on 1 December. Access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Obtaining an accurate total of the IDPs remains challenging, but as of 12 December, according to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times.
  • Nearly 1.3 million of these IDPs are registered in 155 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, including more than 1.2 million in 98 UNRWA shelters in the Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah governorates.
  • The average number of IDPs in UNRWA shelters located in middle and southern areas is about 12,400 more than four times their capacity.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Currently, only 11 out of 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are functional and able to admit new patients, although services are limited. Only one of these hospitals is in the north, according to WHO. The two major hospitals in southern Gaza are operating at three times their bed capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. Additionally, these hospitals are providing shelter to thousands of IDPs.
  • On 14 December, an airstrike hit the vicinity of Al Ahli Hospital in the east of Gaza City, causing large damage in the hospital facilities with no reported casualties.

Food security

 

  • On 15 December, the World Food Programme (WFP), through its partners distributed 9,270 hot meals to IDP outside shelters and with host families and food parcels to IDPs in UNRWA shelters in three locations in Rafah and Deir Al Balah.
  • Between 3 and 12 December, WFP conducted a rapid food security assessment, following the significant deterioration of the food security situation in the south of Gaza, following the large influx of IDPs with the resumption of hostilities on 1 December. Very severe hunger levels were reported in 44 per cent of respondent households, compared with 24 per cent in a previous assessment conducted on 27-30 November. The proportion of IDP households reporting members going to sleep hungry at night increased from 34 per cent to half of all assessed households. The acute shortage of cooking gas has led to heavy dependence on firewood, wood residues, and waste burning, raising the risk of respiratory diseases. The food security situation in the northern governorates of Gaza is believed to be significantly worse.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 130 people remain captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals. On 15 December, three hostages who are believed to have eluded their captors were mistakenly shot and killed by Israeli forces, according to Israeli officials.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • On 15 December, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man at Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), following an alleged stabbing attack, according to the Israeli army. No Israeli casualties were reported.
  • Since 7 October, 278 Palestinians, including 70 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 268 have been killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 477 Palestinians killed in the West Bank, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. An additional four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him).
  • Two-thirds of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. More than half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,607 Palestinians, including at least 552 children; 45 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations and 46 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations. Another 85 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 other Palestinians injured either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 344 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (264 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (45 incidents).
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 35, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 189 Palestinian households comprising 1,257 people, including 582 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • Also, since 7 October, 338 Palestinians, including 182 children, have been displaced following the demolition of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year.
  • On 14 December, in Area B of ‘Urif (Nablus), Israeli forces demolished, on punitive grounds, two residential buildings belonging to families whose members were accused of killing four Israeli settlers near Eli settlement in June 2023. As a result, three families comprising 18 people were displaced. Punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and are prohibited under international law.
  • Another 68 Palestinians, including 34 children, have been displaced following the demolition of 16 homes on punitive grounds since 7 October. The same number of homes were punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law.
  • Another 269 Palestinians, including 121 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 42 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 61 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 29 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 14 December, Member States have disbursed US$525 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 39 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 4 December – 10 December

Health

 

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Some 97 medical teams attended about 30,000 IDPs in UNRWA shelters.
  • Some 10,700 medical consultations were provided at health centres daily.
  • Some 18,208 patients received health care in eight UNRWA health centres in the middle and south areas of Gaza.
  • Mental health and psycho-social support services (MHPSS) were delivered to about 2,000 people.

Protection

 

  • Explosive Ordnance Risk Education and Conflict Preparedness and Protection messages continue to be disseminated via available channels.
  • UNMAS, Mines Advisory Group and NPA continue with social media campaigns and HI and UNMAS are planning SMS campaigns to educate the public and to mitigate Explosive Remnants of War risks.
  • A total of 35 Child Protection Case Management actors attended remote training on Identification, Documentation, Tracing and Reunification of unaccompanied and separated children.
  • Child protection partners reached 35,290 boys and girls and 13,780 women and men in the past 15 days with awareness raising messages regarding protection issues, MHPSS support, case management and winter clothing kits.
  • Temporary alternative care shelter in Rafah has been arranged for unaccompanied children who are identified and registered. Hosting capacity for children will be arranged in phases, with 15 children accommodated in the first phase.
  • Partners specializing in addressing gender-based violence continue to provide support to women and girls in the south. During the reporting period, partners distributed 17,000 menstrual health management (MHM) kits and 9,500 dignity kits to 26,500 women and girls of reproductive age in the south.

Food security

 

Most food distribution focused on IDPs in UNRWA shelters, public shelters, and host families. Food security partners have provided the following responses during the reporting period:

  • UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people in the north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people.
  • About 100,000 people received food parcels and about 130,000 people received hot meals in southern Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for over 4,850 high-risk children with severe and moderate acute malnutrition.
  • UNICEF delivered additional quantities of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) to 11,760 children under the age of five. To date, 24,000 children have received HEB since the start of the response on 9 November.
  • WFP delivered medium-quantity lipid-based supplements to cover the needs of 57,500 pregnant-breastfeeding women and children under two years of age.
  • Some 500 pregnant and breastfeeding women received iron-folate supplementation to prevent malnutrition.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

No updates were provided for the reporting period. Below are the updates for the period, 27 November to 4 December:

  • Some 3,896 cubic metres of water, and 690 cubic metres of bottled water were distributed to displaced people.
  • Two desalination plants were installed in two IDP centres in Khan Younis. During the ceasefire period, WASH actors increased their activities in IDP locations. However, fewer WASH supplies entered Gaza, and there were no new deliveries of storage tanks, jerry cans, or cleaning kits to Rafah. No latrines were built. A consignment of pipes and generators was refused entry over the ceasefire period. Fuel supply to WASH facilities, currently at 19,520 litres per day is at 35 per cent of the amount needed to operate water production, treatment and distribution, sewage treatment and storm water management.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

During the reporting period, a significant shortage of basic shelter materials was reported, which includes tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting for protection during rainy days, particularly for people living outside shelters. Shelter partners distributed the following items to IDPs:

  • 470 mattresses.
  • 420 water jerrycans.
  • 250 sleeping mats.
  • 150 kitchen sets.

There is still a major gap in shelter winterization materials and essential NFIs, including sealing off kits for damaged houses; a high shortage in bedding sets, including mattresses and blankets to cover the needs of the IDPs in various settings, including UNRWA shelters, as well as winterized tents to protect IDPs in the open air.

Education

 

Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in the Gaza strip have reached 84,262 individual students and teachers since 7 October with provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), in Khan Younis, Rafah and Middle governorates.

The Gaza Education Cluster conducted an Observation Assessment between 25 to 27 November in the three Southern governorates to assess the level of damage of 41 schools and conduct a preliminary mapping of available space for setting up temporary learning spaces as well as the presence of teachers and personnel trained to carry out recreational activities at shelters. All assessed schools sustained some level of damage. The assessment report includes recommendations to the Ministry of Education and UNRWA, Education cluster partners, and for the education cluster coordination team itself. Two task forces for the Gaza response were activated following this exercise, one on MHPSS and recreational activities and one on Continuity of Education. The assessment of school damage will continue if/when security allows.

Multi-Purpose Cash assistance (MPCA)

 

Needs:

  • Post-distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance indicate that food, water, medicines, hygiene products, and clothing are the top expenditures reported.
  • About 81 per cent of respondents reported that unrestricted cash helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially.
  • Over 95 per cent reported unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

 

Response:

 

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, 66,870 households (including roughly 449,000 people) received Emergency MPCA.
  • Cash out rates across the response stand at 70-75 per cent but have been declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been provided across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the south.
  • Formal market actors, such as supermarkets and retailers are largely depleted and face major challenges in re-stocking and operating. Therefore, informal markets, such as vendors, minimarts, carts, and stalls are reportedly the main source for goods.

Logistics

 

  • The Logistics Cluster launched common storage services in Gaza and Egypt.
  • In Gaza, three warehouses, managed by a Logistics Cluster partner, are available for storage in Deir al Balah (495 square metres), Khan Yunis (170 square metres), and Rafah (70 square metres).
  • The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport from Rafah to the three warehouse locations in the Gaza Strip.
  • In Port Said, Egypt, 800 pallet positions are available for common storage for the humanitarian community.
  • Additionally, a cargo notification service in Rafah will support the access of partners’ cargo into Gaza: details of the process in Standard Operating Procedures.
  • The Logistics Cluster installed three Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) at the Rafah transshipment base to increase partners’ offloading capacity in Rafah with an additional 960 square metres. Three more MSUs have been installed at the UNRWA base in Rafah to increase warehousing capacity.
  • An additional eight MSUs will be installed in Gaza by the Logistics Cluster, pending assessment with partners regarding key locations. The IMPACCT Working Group (hosted at the Global Logistics Cluster) held a national workshop on the importation of humanitarian aid with relevant ministries, authorities, the Egyptian Red Crescent, UN and INGOs.

Emergency Telecommunications

 

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) continues to coordinate a collective approach among partners for the importation of telecommunications equipment into Gaza.
  • On 3 December, the ETC team, UNDSS, the NGO Help, and OCHA met with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to discuss the list of technical equipment submitted for importation into Gaza and install an independent connectivity and security communications services for humanitarian responders.
  • On 3 December, COGAT authorized the team to import 20 satellite phones into Gaza for humanitarian responders.

 

Protection against sexual abuse and exploitation (PSEA) remains a cross-cutting priority for all clusters. The SAWA helpline, reachable at 121 and through WhatsApp at +972 59-4040121 (East Jerusalem at 1-800-500-121), operates 24/7. This toll-free number is widely disseminated across all areas of intervention to report cases of SEA and to facilitate emergency counselling and referrals for affected communities to access life-saving services. The PSEA Network monitors calls daily and will increase the number of counsellors if necessary.

War crimes in Gaza have become unremarkable.

15 december 2023

 

It seems like a lifetime ago that attacking a hospital was a scandal.

After Gaza’s al-Ahli hospital was hit by a mysterious blast on October 17, killing numerous civilians, the Israeli government resorted to desperate efforts to deny responsibility for the attack and instead blame Hamas. A deliberate military attack on a hospital is as clear a war crime as they come, and Israeli officials seemed to understand that were they pinned for the blame, it would be devastating to Israel’s international standing and further turn global sentiment against its military campaign.

Fast-forward a month and a half, and Israeli forces have now attacked and shut down Gaza’s largest hospital, bombed a convoy of ambulances, and besieged and bombed Indonesian Hospital, just a few cases out of the more than two dozen Gazan hospitals that Israeli attacks have rendered nonfunctional. All of it has been done out in the open and, more often than not, alongside public justifications for the attacks — with devastating consequences for those trapped inside, and with a modicum of the outcry that once greeted al-Ahli’s bombing. This “unrelenting war” on the Gaza health sector, as one United Nations official has called it, continues as you read this, with Israeli forces turning their guns on al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza to little public attention.

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #69

More people are reported killed, injured or missing across the Gaza Strip, with intense fighting continuing around hospitals, as most of the population is displaced and the humanitarian community unable respond to their needs. Picture of men walking through a devastated street in Gaza, by WHO

 

15 december 2023

Key points

 

  • On 14 December, heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea across Gaza continued, especially in Jabalya, Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya, in the northern Gaza Strip. Between the afternoons of 13 and 14 December, at least 179 Palestinians were killed and another 303 were injured, according to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza. Overall, according to MoH, between 7 October and 14 December afternoon, at least 18,787 Palestinians have been  killed in Gaza. About 70 per cent are said to be women and children, and about 50,5897 were reportedly injured. Many  people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery. 
  • Additionally, intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued, especially in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza. According to the Israeli military, one Israeli soldier was killed in Gaza on 14 December, bringing the total number of Israeli soldiers who have been killed in Gaza since the start of the ground operations to 116, with 648 injured, according to the Israeli military. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel has also continued.  
  • On 14 December, for the third consecutive day, Israeli troops, accompanied by tanks, raided Kamal Adwan Hospital, in Beit Lahiya, north of Gaza city, with reports of Palestinians being subjected to mass arrests and ill-treatment. The MoH in Gaza claimed that Israeli troops forced all the 2,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) taking refuge inside the hospitals to leave, and evacuated the remaining wounded people and medical staff to the hospital grounds. The MoH also claims that the Israeli military prevented medical staff from providing support to 12 babies in intensive care and to ten injured people in the emergency department, leading to the death of two patients.
  • On 13 December, following the release of some of the detainees, Israeli forces allegedly shot and injured five people while they were on their way back to the hospital. Over 70 medical staff, including the director of the hospital, remain detained at an unknown location. According to the Israeli military, tens of Hamas operatives have been detained in this operation. That day, the World Health Organization (WHO) expressed its concern about the raid on Kamal Adwan Hospital. According to the MoH in Gaza, there are 65 patients including several needing intensive care, and 45 medical staff in the hospital. The hospital was already only minimally functional due to acute shortages of fuel, water, food and medical supplies even before the hospital was sieged. WHO called for the protection of all people inside the hospital.  
  • On 14 December, as of 22:00, there are initial reports that at least 100 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies and four tankers of fuel have entered the Gaza Strip. This is well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October. At a press conference on 14 December, UNRWA Commissioner-General, Philippe Lazzarini, declared: “What we need today is not just 100 trucks, or 200 trucks. We need meaningful, at scale, uninterrupted and unconditional flow of basic commodities into the Gaza Strip.” The Humanitarian Coordinator Lynn Hasting has said that the Israeli authorities “need to ensure that the conditions inside of Gaza are also such that we will be able to provide assistance to everybody who is in need.” 
  • On 14 December, there were no reports of injured or dual nationals evacuating Gaza to Egypt. The total number of wounded Palestinians and other medical cases evacuated since October 7 represents one per cent of the reported injury toll. This corresponds to slightly over 400 people, while an additional 8,000 of the estimated 40,000 injured are said to require immediate medical intervention.
  • On 14 December at about 17:45, the main Palestinian telecommunication group in Gaza announced that all services had been cut; the shutdown of communications is having severe impact on the ability of emergency services and humanitarian partners to reach the vulnerable.
  • On 14 December 2023, in the West Bank, Israeli forces withdrew from Jenin City and Jenin refugee camp, after a large-scale operation, during which they had imposed a curfew for about 60 hours. Over this period, eleven Palestinians, including three children, were killed and dozens injured by Israeli force. An additional fatality was a boy who died while being impeded from accessing a hospital in an unrelated medical emergency. Of the eleven fatalities, one was a boy who, according to eyewitness accounts by  Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and the MoH in the West Bank, was shot by Israeli forces within the Khalil Suliman hospital compound. Two of the overall fatalities in Jenin, including the aforementioned boy who was impeded from reaching a hospital, died while Israeli forces surrounded the Jenin Governmental Hospital and impeded their access.
  • The military operation in Jenin involved air and ground strikes, and exchange of fire with Palestinians. The operation also resulted in the displacement of people and severe infrastructure damage, including to roads, especially in the refugee camp. Hundreds of Palestinians were arrested, including some who were released outside of the city after having been interrogated; they were not allowed to return to Jenin and were forced to take shelter in nearby communities.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported between 14:00 on 13 and 14 December: 
    • On 13 December, at about 18:20, at least 27 Palestinians were reportedly killed and at least ten others were injured when two residential buildings were hit in Ash Shabora area of Rafah, southern Gaza.
    • On 13 December, at about 22:00, at least 26 Palestinians were reportedly killed when a house was struck in Ad Daraj neighbourhood of Gaza city. The bodies were reportedly extracted from the rubble.
  • On 13 December, at about 21:00, a school that was being used as a shelter by IDPs, was struck in Ash Sheikh Radwan in Gaza city. Six Palestinians were reportedly killed, and tens were injured. UNRWA reports that, since 7 October, 222 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA premises have been killed and 911 injured. A total of 342 school buildings have sustained damage (over 69% of all school buildings in Gaza). Of the 70 UNRWA-damaged schools, at least 56 serve as shelters for IDPs. Several schools, including UNRWA schools, have been directly hit by Israeli strikes or tank shells.  
  • On 13 December, at about 12:30, an Israeli military drone reportedly killed a Palestinian girl in an UNRWA school sheltering IDPs in Ad Dahra area, western Khan Yunis. According to Ministry of Education (MoE), as of 5 December, more than 3,477 students and 203 educational staff have been killed. MoE further notes that more than 5,429 students and 507 teachers have been injured in the Gaza Strip since 7 October. 

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • Areas encompassing nearly 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map that was launched on 1 December. Access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Obtaining an accurate total of the displaced remains challenging, but as of 12 December, according to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, including people who have been displaced multiple times. As of 13 December, nearly 1.3 million of these IDPs were registered in 155 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, including more than 1.2 million in 98 UNRWA shelters in the Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah. governorates. Tens of thousands of IDPs, who have arrived in Rafah since 3 December, continue to face extremely overcrowded conditions both inside and outside shelters. Without enough latrines, open-air defecation is prevalent, increasing concerns of further spread of disease, particularly during winter weather.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • On 14 December, WHO announced that it had delivered 4,200 body bags with support from the Contingency Fund for Emergencies (CFE), underscoring the critical need to safeguard civilians from the risk of infection.
  • For the ninth consecutive day, Al Awda Hospital, Jabaliya (northern Gaza), remains surrounded by Israeli troops and tanks, and fighting with armed Palestinian groups is reported in its vicinity. Reportedly, 250 doctors, patients, and their family members are trapped inside the hospital. On 9 December, two medical staff were reportedly killed while on duty inside the hospital, during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups.
  • Currently, only 11 out of 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are functional and able to admit new patients, although services are limited. Only one of these hospitals is in the north, according to WHO. The two major hospitals in southern Gaza are operating at three times their bed capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. Additionally, these hospitals are providing shelter to thousands of IDPs.   
  • On 14 December, Jabalya Health Centre was reportedly hit, with severe damage caused to the centre and the vicinity. No casualties have been reported.
  • There have been significant increases or increased risk of outbreak in some communicable diseases and conditions such as diarrhea, influenza, chicken pox, meningitis, jaundice, impetigo acute respiratory infections, skin infections and hygiene-related conditions like lice and scabies. The heavy rains and flooding which affected large parts of Gaza on 13 December compounded human misery and added to the risk of waterborne diseases.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

 

  • On 13 December, WASH partners reported an urgent need for pipes and construction material. Stockpiles of material for the repairing of pipe systems are running low, and many of the pipe systems have been damaged and need of repair. Inability to provide repairs could result in water being cut off from certain areas.
  • On 13 December, heavy rains fell on Gaza, flooding multiple areas, worsening the living conditions of IDPs amid lack, or limited capacity, to manage sewage, particularly in IDP shelters, and the accumulation of solid waste in various locations. 
  • Due to the lack or limited capacity of latrines especially in IDP shelters, people are adopting unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as open defecation. In shelters, people wait for hours to access toilets, and in some other locations where IDPs are located, no toilets are available at all. Children reportedly defecate in the open, while adults resort to buckets and dispose of the waste in improvised areas or solid water dumps.
  • In many locations, solid waste is piling up with no effective waste management mechanism for collection or disposal. Reportedly, rats and insects, including mosquitos, congregate in these areas, contributing to the risk of spreading disease.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October. The indiscriminate rocket fire by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza towards Israel continued on 14 December.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. The Israeli authorities estimate that about 133 people remain captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals. 

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, 276 Palestinians, including 70 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 266 have been killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. With a total of 475 Palestinian fatalities, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. An additional four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him). 
  • Two-thirds of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. More than half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes. 
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,502 Palestinians, including at least 549 children; 45 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations and 46 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations. Another 85 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 others either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023. 

Settler Violence

 

  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 343 settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (263 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (45 incidents). 
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 35, compared with 21 incidents per week between 1 January and 6 October 2023. The number of incidents since 7 October has declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 189 Palestinian households comprising 1,257 people, including 582 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • Also, since 7 October, 338 Palestinians, including 182 children, have been displaced following the demolition of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year. 
  • Another 68 Palestinians, including 34 children, have been displaced following the demolition of 16 homes on punitive grounds since 7 October. The same number of homes were punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law. 
  • Another 269 Palestinians, including 121 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 42 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 61 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 29 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 14 December, Member States have disbursed US$479.2 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 39 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 4 December – 10 December

Health

 

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Some 97 medical teams attended about 30,000 IDPs in UNRWA shelters.
  • Some 10,700 medical consultations were provided at health centres daily.
  • Some 18,208 patients received health care in eight UNRWA health centres in the middle and south areas of Gaza.
  • Mental health and psycho-social support services (MHPSS) were delivered to about 2,000 people.

Protection

 

  • Explosive Ordnance Risk Education and Conflict Preparedness and Protection messages continue to be disseminated via available channels.
  • UNMAS, Mines Advisory Group and NPA continue with social media campaigns and HI and UNMAS are planning SMS campaigns to educate the public and to mitigate Explosive Remnants of War risks.
  • A total of 35 Child Protection Case Management actors attended remote training on Identification, Documentation, Tracing and Reunification of unaccompanied and separated children.
  • Child protection partners reached 35,290 boys and girls and 13,780 women and men in the past 15 days with awareness raising messages regarding protection issues, MHPSS support, case management and winter clothing kits.
  • Temporary alternative care shelter in Rafah has been arranged for unaccompanied children who are identified and registered. Hosting capacity for children will be arranged in phases, with 15 children accommodated in the first phase.
  • Partners specializing in addressing gender-based violence continue to provide support to women and girls in the south. During the reporting period, partners distributed 17,000 menstrual health management (MHM) kits and 9,500 dignity kits to 26,500 women and girls of reproductive age in the south.

Food security

 

Most food distribution focused on IDPs in UNRWA shelters, public shelters, and host families. Food security partners have provided the following responses during the reporting period:

  • UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people in the north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people.
  • About 100,000 people received food parcels and about 130,000 people received hot meals in southern Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for over 4,850 high-risk children with severe and moderate acute malnutrition.
  • UNICEF delivered additional quantities of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) to 11,760 children under the age of five. To date, 24,000 children have received HEB since the start of the response on 9 November.
  • WFP delivered medium-quantity lipid-based supplements to cover the needs of 57,500 pregnant-breastfeeding women and children under two years of age.
  • Some 500 pregnant and breastfeeding women received iron-folate supplementation to prevent malnutrition.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

No updates were provided for the reporting period. Below are the updates for the period, 27 November to 4 December:

  • Some 3,896 cubic metres of water, and 690 cubic metres of bottled water were distributed to displaced people.
  • Two desalination plants were installed in two IDP centres in Khan Younis. During the ceasefire period, WASH actors increased their activities in IDP locations. However, fewer WASH supplies entered Gaza, and there were no new deliveries of storage tanks, jerry cans, or cleaning kits to Rafah. No latrines were built. A consignment of pipes and generators was refused entry over the ceasefire period. Fuel supply to WASH facilities, currently at 19,520 litres per day is at 35 per cent of the amount needed to operate water production, treatment and distribution, sewage treatment and storm water management.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

During the reporting period, a significant shortage of basic shelter materials was reported, which includes tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting for protection during rainy days, particularly for people living outside shelters. Shelter partners distributed the following items to IDPs:

  • 470 mattresses.
  • 420 water jerrycans.
  • 250 sleeping mats.
  • 150 kitchen sets.

There is still a major gap in shelter winterization materials and essential NFIs, including sealing off kits for damaged houses; a high shortage in bedding sets, including mattresses and blankets to cover the needs of the IDPs in various settings, including UNRWA shelters, as well as winterized tents to protect IDPs in the open air.

Education

 

Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in the Gaza strip have reached 84,262 individual students and teachers since 7 October with provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), in Khan Younis, Rafah and Middle governorates.

The Gaza Education Cluster conducted an Observation Assessment between 25 to 27 November in the three Southern governorates to assess the level of damage of 41 schools and conduct a preliminary mapping of available space for setting up temporary learning spaces as well as the presence of teachers and personnel trained to carry out recreational activities at shelters. All assessed schools sustained some level of damage. The assessment report includes recommendations to the Ministry of Education and UNRWA, Education cluster partners, and for the education cluster coordination team itself. Two task forces for the Gaza response were activated following this exercise, one on MHPSS and recreational activities and one on Continuity of Education. The assessment of school damage will continue if/when security allows.

Multi-Purpose Cash assistance (MPCA)

 

Needs:

  • Post-distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance indicate that food, water, medicines, hygiene products, and clothing are the top expenditures reported.
  • About 81 per cent of respondents reported that unrestricted cash helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially.
  • Over 95 per cent reported unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

Response:

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, 66,870 households (including roughly 449,000 people) received Emergency MPCA.
  • Cash out rates across the response stand at 70-75 per cent but have been declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been provided across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the south.
  • Formal market actors, such as supermarkets and retailers are largely depleted and face major challenges in re-stocking and operating. Therefore, informal markets, such as vendors, minimarts, carts, and stalls are reportedly the main source for goods.

Logistics

  • The Logistics Cluster launched common storage services in Gaza and Egypt.
  • In Gaza, three warehouses, managed by a Logistics Cluster partner, are available for storage in Deir al Balah (495 square metres), Khan Yunis (170 square metres), and Rafah (70 square metres).
  • The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport from Rafah to the three warehouse locations in the Gaza Strip.
  • In Port Said, Egypt, 800 pallet positions are available for common storage for the humanitarian community.
  • Additionally, a cargo notification service in Rafah will support the access of partners’ cargo into Gaza: details of the process in Standard Operating Procedures.
  • The Logistics Cluster installed three Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) at the Rafah transshipment base to increase partners’ offloading capacity in Rafah with an additional 960 square metres. Three more MSUs have been installed at the UNRWA base in Rafah to increase warehousing capacity.
  • An additional eight MSUs will be installed in Gaza by the Logistics Cluster, pending assessment with partners regarding key locations. The IMPACCT Working Group (hosted at the Global Logistics Cluster) held a national workshop on the importation of humanitarian aid with relevant ministries, authorities, the Egyptian Red Crescent, UN and INGOs.

Emergency Telecommunications

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) continues to coordinate a collective approach among partners for the importation of telecommunications equipment into Gaza.
  • On 3 December, the ETC team, UNDSS, the NGO Help, and OCHA met with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to discuss the list of technical equipment submitted for importation into Gaza and install an independent connectivity and security communications services for humanitarian responders.
  • On 3 December, COGAT authorized the team to import 20 satellite phones into Gaza for humanitarian responders.

15 DECEMBER 2023

 

Samen met Oxfam Novib en PAX eiste The Rights Forum in kort geding dat Nederland de levering van onderdelen voor F-35-gevechtsvliegtuigen aan Israël zou staken. De rechter oordeelde vandaag dat de staat de levering kan voortzetten.

Schending internationaal recht
Wij betoogden op 4 december bij monde van advocaat Liesbeth Zegveld dat Israël het vanuit Nederland geleverde materieel voor de F-35’s gebruikt om Gaza te bombarderen. Het staat volgens ons buiten kijf dat daarbij grote aantallen burgerslachtoffers vallen en Israël het internationaal humanitair recht schendt. Door de onderdelen niettemin aan Israël te leveren schendt ook de Nederlandse staat het recht.

Beeld uit de rechtszaal tijdens het kort geding van 4 december. © ANP / Alamy Stock Photo

Oordeel rechter
De rechter stelt zich in zijn uitspraak op het standpunt dat de staat in 2016 een algemene vergunning heeft verleend voor het vervoer van F-35-onderdelen naar Israël en andere landen. Naar zijn oordeel heeft minister van Buitenlandse Zaken Hanke Bruins Slot na het begin van het Israëlische offensief in Gaza ‘in redelijkheid’ besloten ‘de vergunning in stand te laten’: 'De afwegingen die de minister maakt zijn in sterke mate van politieke en (andere) beleidsmatige aard en de rechter moet de minister daarin een ruime mate van vrijheid laten.'

De uitspraak van de rechter is bijzonder teleurstellend. We weten dat alle strijdende partijen het humanitair oorlogsrecht schenden in Gaza. Het is bekend dat de F35 wordt ingezet boven Gaza en dat deze een belangrijke rol speelt in de bombardementen. De rechter stelt ook vast dat er evident sprake lijkt te zijn van schendingen van het internationaal recht in Gaza. Op de belangrijkste inhoudelijke punten die we in de rechtszaal hebben ingebracht zien we dus bevestiging en voelen we ons gesterkt.

Advocaat Liesbeth Zegveld tijdens de zitting op 4 december. 

Juridisch 'luikje'
Helaas gebruikt de Staat een juridisch ‘luikje’ om zich achter te verschuilen en ontwijkt het een nieuwe toetsing op mensenrechten en internationaal recht. Het geeft daarmee impliciet toe dat deze wapenexport een dergelijke toets op risico’s van schendingen nooit had doorstaan, en dat het voorrang geeft aan politieke en economische belangen. Dat is een pijnlijke constatering. De rechter constateert dat hij niet de ruimte heeft om de staat te dwingen om de vergunning te opnieuw te toetsen.

Hoger beroep
De uitspraak is een teleurstelling voor de mensen in Gaza, voor wie er maar geen einde komt aan deze ellende, maar er is ook een principiëler punt. Met het omzeilen van internationale verdragen wordt de kern van het wapenexportbeleid en verdragen uitgehold. Dat kunnen we niet accepteren. We gaan door met onze strijd voor een staakt-het-vuren en zullen het principiële punt in hoger beroep aan de orde stellen.

Nederland moet juist pal staan voor het internationaal recht, overal in de wereld en dus ook in Gaza, en zich niet verstoppen achter juridische uitvluchten.

Wij strijden tegen oorlogsmisdaden, annexatie, bezetting en onderdrukking. Helpt u mee?

Onderzoek Het Nederlandse ontmoedigingsbeleid: keizer zonder kleren

Het regeringsbeleid dat handel met Israëls illegale nederzet­tingen ‘ontmoedigt’ is een façade waarachter die handel juist gedoogd en zelfs gepromoot wordt. Dat blijkt uit documenten die door The Rights Forum en SOMO zijn verkregen middels een Woo-verzoek. Komende dagen publiceren wij onze bevindingen in een reeks artikelen die dagelijks op onze website zullen verschijnen.
 
Achtergrond
Nederland kent al sinds 2006 een zogenoemd ‘ontmoedigingsbeleid’. Dat heeft tot doel om Neder­landse handel met de illegale Israëlische nederzettingen in bezet Palestina te ‘ontmoedigen’. Het werd ingevoerd om een algeheel verbod op die handel te voorkomen en moest de indruk wekken dat de Nederlandse overheid er desondanks alles aan doet om het recht na te leven.
 
In de jaren die daarop volgden bleek keer op keer dat het beleid schromelijk faalde. Intussen groeien de Israëlische nederzettingen als kool en worden de Palestijnen in hoog tempo van hun land gedreven.

Een Israëlische kolonie in aanbouw. 

Woo-verzoek
Om deze redenen besloten The Rights Forum en de Stichting Onderzoek Multinationale Ondernemingen (SOMO) in januari van dit jaar een verzoek onder de Wet Open Overheid (Woo) in te dienen bij het verantwoordelijke ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. Daarin vroegen wij ambtelijke communicatie, memo’s, factsheets en andere documenten op die inzicht bieden in de uitvoering van het falende beleid.
 
Geen ontmoediging maar aanmoediging
De vrijgegeven documenten geven een schokkend beeld. De centrale, onvermijdelijke conclusie van ons onderzoek is dat het ontmoedigingsbeleid feitelijk neerkomt op een gedoogbeleid of zelfs een aanmoedigingsbeleid. Het maximaliseren van de handel en relatie met Israël staan in het Nederlandse beleid voorop. De prijs die ons land daarvoor betaalt – in termen van betrokkenheid bij schendingen van het internationaal recht, imagoschade en belastinggeld – is enorm.

Het eerste artikel in de serie over het Nederlandse ontmoedigingsbeleid staat nu online. Daarin geven wij een korte introductie en beschrijven wij onze eerste bevindingen. Zo blijkt onder meer dat de regering juridische adviezen blijkt te hebben genegeerd, en dat de overheid het beleid de laatste jaren stapsgewijs heeft uitgekleed. 

Rechter: universiteiten moeten voldoen aan Woo-verzoek The Rights Forum

The Rights Forum heeft een rechtszaak tegen negen universiteiten naar aanleiding van een in 2022 door ons ingediend Woo-verzoek gewonnen. De universiteiten wilden aan een deel van het verzoek geen gehoord geven. De Rechtbank Arnhem oordeelde op 14 december dat het standpunt van de universiteiten niet zorgvuldig was voorbereid en niet deugdelijk is gemotiveerd. Zodoende is er op basis van de Wet Open Overheid geen wettelijke grondslag om delen van het verzoek niet in behandeling te nemen.

De universiteiten dienen nu binnen twaalf weken alsnog een besluit te nemen. Transparantie en aandacht voor mensenrechten zijn juist in tijden als deze cruciaal. De Wet Open Overheid is daar voor bedoeld. Wij gaan er vanuit dat de universiteiten ons Woo-verzoek in goed overleg in behandeling gaan nemen. The Rights Forum dankt ELSC en Woo-expert Tim Staal.

Komende week zullen wij in een artikel op onze website dieper ingaan op de stand van zaken rondom ons Woo-verzoek over banden tussen Nederlandse universiteiten en Israël. 

Onderzoek ING, ABP en PFZW investeren samen 10 miljard euro in illegale Israëlische kolonisering

Veertien Nederlandse financiële instellingen dragen door middel van investeringen bij aan de bouw en uitbreiding van Israëls illegale nederzettingen in bezet Palestijns gebied. Daardoor lopen zij een groot risico op betrokkenheid bij oorlogsmisdrijven en grootschalige mensenrechtenschendingen.
 
Dit blijkt uit het op 12 december verschenen onderzoeksrapport Don’t Buy Into Occupation van een coalitie van 25 Europese en Palestijnse ngo’s, waaronder de Nederlandse organisaties BankTrack, PAX en The Rights Forum. De coalitie onderzocht de investeringen van Europese financiële instellingen in de periode van januari 2020 tot augustus 2023. In die periode investeerden 778 Europese banken, pensioenfondsen, verzekeraars en vermogensbeheerders gezamenlijk 280 miljard euro in 51 bedrijven die actief zijn in de illegale Israëlische kolonies.

Nederlandse betrokkenheid
ING is met een bedrag van 6,6 miljard euro de grootste van de 14 Nederlandse investeerders, gevolgd door de pensioenfondsen ABP en PFZW. Onder de overige Nederlandse investeerders zijn ABN Amro, Rabobank en de verzekeraars Aegon en ASR Nederland.
 
ABP, het pensioenfonds van de overheid, is wellicht de opvallendste naam. Immers, de Nederlandse overheid voert officieel een ‘ontmoedigingsbeleid’ waar het gaat om zaken doen met en in de Israëlische nederzettingen. Maar terwijl het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken al jaren zegt dat het bedrijven ontmoedigt, investeert het pensioenfonds van de overheid er vrolijk op los.

Nederland weigert in VN vóór een bestand in Gaza te stemmen

Een VN-resolutie voor een onmiddellijk staakt-het-vuren in Gaza is met een overweldigende meerderheid aangenomen. In de resolutie wordt ook benadrukt dat alle bij de gevechten betrokken partijen het internationaal recht dienen te respecteren en dat alle gijzelaars direct en onvoorwaardelijk moeten worden vrijgelaten. Nederland onthield zich van stemming.
 
Beschamende opstelling Nederland
In een toelichting op de Nederlandse onthouding stelde minister Hanke Bruins Slot van Buitenlandse Zaken dat de resolutie ‘duidelijkheid had moeten geven over de tijdelijke aard van het staakt-het-vuren’. Nederland is namelijk nog altijd geen voorstander van een definitief bestand, maar alleen van ‘humanitaire gevechtspauzes’. Onze regering vindt dat Israël de strijd na zo’n pauze moet kunnen hervatten: het moet zich ‘kunnen blijven verdedigen’ tegen de aanhoudende ‘dreiging vanuit Hamas’.
 
De Nederlandse opstelling verdient scherpe afkeuring. Israël heeft het recht de eigen burgers te beschermen tegen aanvallen als die van Hamas op 7 oktober, maar het Israëlische offensief in Gaza heeft niets met zulke bescherming te maken en is vanuit dat oogpunt zelfs contraproductief. Onze regering geeft Israël in feite een vrijbrief voor voortzetting van disproportioneel geweld tegen de bevolking van Gaza en doorlopende schending van het internationaal recht.

Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel
Flash Update #68

A 6-year-old displaced boy in southern Gaza, where heavy rains have worsened the already dreadful living conditions of people staying outdoors, adding to the risk of waterborne diseases. Photo by UNICEF/El-Baba, 6 December 2023

14 december 2023

Key points

 

  • Heavy Israeli bombardments from air, land, and sea across Gaza continued on 13 December, especially in Jabalya, in the northern Gaza Strip. According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza, between the afternoons of 12 and 13 December, at least 196 Palestinians were killed and another 499 were injured in Gaza. Since 7 October, MoH has reported on at least 18,608 fatalities and about 50,594 injuries. About 70 per cent of the total fatalities are said to be women and children. Many more people are missing, presumably buried under the rubble, waiting for rescue or recovery.
  • Additionally, intense ground operations and fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups continued, especially in An Nuseirat Refugee Camp in the Middle Area. According to the Israeli military, ten Israeli soldiers, including several senior officers were killed overnight, bringing the total number of Israeli soldiers who have been killed in Gaza since the start of the ground operations to 115, with 619 injured. The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups into Israel has also continued.
  • On 13 December, for the second consecutive day, Israeli troops, accompanied by tanks, raided Kamal Adwan Hospital, in Beit Lahiya, north of Gaza city, with reports of mass arrests and ill-treatment of people who they have detained. On 13 December, Israeli forces released five doctors and all the female staff from custody detained the previous day. The director of the hospital and about 70 other medical staff remain detained in an unknown location outside of the hospital. Reports from those released indicate that they were interrogated, beaten and exposed to the harsh weather, before they eventually returned to the hospital.
  • WHO expressed its concern about the raid on Kamal Adwan Hospital. According to the MoH in Gaza, there are 65 patients including several needing intensive care, and 45 medical staff in the hospital. The hospital was operating at a minimal level due to acute shortages of fuel, water, food and medical supplies even before the raid. WHO called “for the protection of all people inside the hospital”.
  • On 13 December, an UNRWA school which was sheltering internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Jabalya Refugee Camp was hit, with casualties reported. The same school had been hit several times previously. On the same day, another school in Jabalya, which was also sheltering IDPs, was raided by Israeli forces with initial media reports and footage indicating IDP casualties.
  • UNRWA is verifying recent reports of incidents at UNRWA facilities. Since 7 October, 156 incidents affecting UNRWA premises have been reported, including at least 12 cases of military use and/or interference at UNRWA premises.
  • On 13 December, the Israeli military designated an additional area southwest of Khan Younis city, encompassing about 1.4 square kilometres, for immediate evacuation. This area was home to about 37,000 residents and an estimated 5,000 IDPs who took shelter in three designated emergency shelters in October 2023. Similar evacuations orders were issued in previous days for a large area east of Khan Younis. Collectively, these areas in the Khan Younis governorate encompass about 22 per cent of the Gaza Strip.
  • Limited aid distributions continue to take place in Rafah governorate, where almost half of Gaza’s population is now estimated to be residing. In the rest of the Gaza Strip, aid distribution has largely stopped, due to the intensity of hostilities and restrictions on movement along the main roads, except for limited fuel deliveries to key service providers and a high-risk mission on 9 December to Al Ahli hospital in Gaza city.
  • On 13 December, for the second consecutive day, aid trucks were screened at the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing, before being allowed to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. While this measure should help alleviate the delays in aid trucks entering Gaza, as screening is now conducted in two locations, humanitarian agencies report this is insufficient; they have been advocating for the complete re-opening of the Kerem Shalom crossing, which prior to 7 October was the main access point for goods entering and exiting the Gaza Strip. In a press briefing in Geneva on 13 December, the Humanitarian Coordinator reiterated that “without Kerem Shalom, we will never be able to properly deliver humanitarian assistance in Gaza.” She further noted: “Israel, as the occupying power, is responsible to protect the Palestinian civilian population. This means they have to provide for basic needs. Allowing trucks to get to the border between Egypt and Gaza is insufficient. They need to ensure that the conditions inside of Gaza are also such that we will be able to provide assistance to everybody who is in need.”
  • On 13 December, as of 22:00, 152 trucks carrying humanitarian supplies, and four tankers of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt. This is above the daily volume recorded since the resumption of hostilities on 1 December but remains well below the daily average of 500 truckloads (including fuel and private sector goods) that entered every working day prior to 7 October.
  • The ability of the UN to receive incoming aid is being significantly undermined by a shortage of trucks within Gaza; the continuing lack of fuel; telecommunications blackouts; and the increasing number of staff unable to reach the Rafah crossing safely, due to the intensity of hostilities. More aid and fuel are needed to enter Gaza, but equally, more capacity is needed in Gaza to handle incoming aid.
  • On 13 December, 268 dual nationals were evacuated from Gaza to Egypt; no injured people evacuated. The total number of wounded Palestinians and other medical cases evacuated since October 7 represents only one per cent of the total Palestinians injured in hostilities. Over 400 evacuated, while more than 20 times more injured – some 8,000 of the estimated 50,000 - urgently need medical intervention.
  • A new World Bank report warned of the severe impact that the current crisis is having on the Palestinian economy, stating that” the loss of life, speed and extent of damages to fixed assets and reduction in income flows across the Palestinian territories are unparalleled.” The Gaza Strip operated at only 16 per cent of its productive capacity in October, while prices have increased on average by 12 per cent, due to demand for products that are increasingly difficult to find on the local market. Approximately 85 per cent of workers in Gaza have been unemployed since the hostilities started, with most of Gaza’s 56,000 formal business establishments suspending operations, according to the World Bank. The West Bank economy has also been significantly affected, following Israel’s decision to prohibit access to 200,000 workers who previously worked in Israel and the settlements. Prior to the conflict, the World Bank forecast 3.2 per cent real GDP growth for the Palestinian economy in 2023, which has now been revised to 3.7 per cent.

Hostilities and casualties (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The following are among the deadliest incidents reported between 14:00 on 12 December and 14:00 on 13 December:
    • At least eight Palestinians were reportedly killed, and several others were injured in a residential building that was hit in Ash Shabora area in Rafah.
    • At least nine Palestinians were reportedly killed in a residential building that was hit in Al Amal project, western Khan Younis.
  • Additionally, on 11 December, an IDP sheltering in an UNRWA installation in Khan Younis was reportedly shot and killed. Since 7 October, 43 UNRWA installations have been directly hit and 60 installations have sustained collateral damage, according to UNRWA. Some 284 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA facilities have been killed and another 976 injured.
  • According to Ministry of Education, as of 5 December, more than 3,477 students and 203 educational staff have been killed, more than 5,429 students and 507 teachers have been injured in the Gaza Strip. Some 342 school buildings sustained damage (over 69 per cent of all school buildings in Gaza). Of the 70 UNRWA-damaged schools, including at least 56 currently serving as shelters for IDPs during these hostilities. Several schools, including UNRWA schools, in the Gaza Strip were directly hit by Israeli strikes or tank shell.

Displacement (Gaza Strip)

 

  • To date, nearly 30 per cent of the Gaza Strip (excluding the orders to evacuate the areas north of Wadi Gaza) have been marked for evacuation on the Israeli military’s online map that was launched on 1 December. Residents’ access to this information is impaired by recurrent interruptions in telecommunications and the lack of electricity.
  • Following multiple orders by Israeli forces for Palestinians to evacuate, many IDPs are presently sheltering in southern Gaza. The two largest sites in the Rafah governorate, where thousands have relocated and erected makeshift structures and tents, are located in an under-construction hospital (‘the Qatari field hospital’) and the campus of the Al Quds Open University.
  • Tens of thousands of IDPs, who have arrived in Rafah since 3 December, continue to face extremely overcrowded conditions both inside and outside shelters. Large crowds wait for hours around aid distribution centres, in desperate need of food, water, shelter, health, and protection. Without enough latrines, open-air defecation is prevalent, increasing concerns of further spread of disease, particularly during rains and related flooding. The heavy rains and flooding which affected large parts of Gaza on 13 December are compounding human misery and adding to the risk of waterborne diseases.
  • As of 12 December, according to UNRWA, almost 1.9 million people in Gaza, or nearly 85 per cent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced, many of them have been displaced multiple times.
  • As of 11 December, nearly 1.3 million of these IDPs were registered in 155 UNRWA facilities across Gaza, including more than 1.1 million in 98 UNRWA shelters in the Middle Area, Khan Younis and Rafah governorates. Obtaining an accurate total is challenging, given the difficulties involved in tracking IDPs staying with host families, the renewed movement of IDPs following evacuation orders since 1 December, and the evacuation of five UNRWA shelters on the orders of the Israeli military in eastern Khan Younis on 6 December.
  • Due to the overcrowding and poor sanitary conditions at UNRWA shelters in the south, there have been significant increases in some communicable diseases and conditions such as diarrhea, influenza, chicken pox, meningitis, jaundice, impetigo acute respiratory infections, skin infections and hygiene-related conditions like lice.
  • On average, UNRWA shelters south of Wadi Gaza are sheltering nine times their intended IDP capacity.

Electricity

 

  • Since 11 October, the Gaza Strip has been under an electricity blackout, after the Israeli authorities cut off the electricity supply, and fuel reserves for Gaza’s sole power plant were depleted. For more information on electricity supply to the Gaza strip, please see this dashboard.

Health care, including attacks (Gaza Strip)

 

  • The Ministry of Health (MoH) in Gaza has announced that it has run out of vaccinations, leading to catastrophic health repercussions for children and the spread of diseases, especially among displaced people in overcrowded shelters. On 12 December, the MoH’s spokesperson in Gaza said that the ministry had documented 360,000 cases of infectious diseases in shelters, noting that the actual number is believed to be higher.
  • For the eighth consecutive day, Al Awda Hospital in Jabalya, northern Gaza, remains surrounded by Israeli troops and tanks, and fighting with armed Palestinian groups is reported in its vicinity. Reportedly, 250 doctors, patients, and their family members are trapped inside the hospital. On 9 December, two medical staff were reportedly killed while on duty inside the hospital, during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups.
  • Currently, only 11 out of 36 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are partially functional and able to admit new patients, although services are limited. Only one of these hospitals is in the north, according to WHO. The two major hospitals in southern Gaza are operating at three times their bed capacity, while facing critical shortages of basic supplies and fuel. According to the MoH in Gaza, occupancy rates are now reaching 206 per cent in inpatient departments and 250 per cent in intensive care units. Additionally, these hospitals are providing shelter to thousands of IDPs.
  • On 13 December, the vicinity of Nasser hospital in Khan Younis was repeatedly bombarded, impeding the access of dozens of casualties. This hospital is among the ten hospitals in the south which are still partially operational and are sheltering thousands of IDPs.

Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH)

 

  • On 13 December, water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) partners reported an urgent need for pipelines and construction material. Stockpiles of material for the repairing of water pipelines systems are running low, and many of the pipelines have been damaged and are in need of repair. Inability to provide repairs could result in water being cut off from certain areas in the south of Gaza.
  • On 13 December, heavy rains fell on Gaza, flooding many of the areas, worsening the struggle of displaced Palestinians amid the lack or limited capacity to manage sewage, particularly in IDP shelters, and the accumulation of solid waste in various locations. These factors, coupled with the absence of effective waste management, which have been attracting insects, mosquitoes, and rats, are significantly elevating the risk of spreading of disease, threatening both physical and mental wellbeing.
  • On 13 December, WASH partners have also highlighted that due to overcrowded conditions, lack of toilets and sanitation services in shelters, people are forced to wait in line for hours to access toilets, and in other locations where IDPs are located and where no toilets are available at all have forced people to implement open air defecation, increasing concerns of disease spreading.

Hostilities and casualties (Israel)

 

  • The indiscriminate rocket fire by Palestinian armed groups from Gaza towards Israel continued on 12 December. Over 1,200 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed in Israel, including 36 children, according to the Israeli authorities, the vast majority on 7 October.
  • During the humanitarian pause (24-30 November), 86 Israeli and 24 foreign national hostages were released. On 13 December, reportedly, two additional hostages were declared as dead. It is estimated that about 133 people remain captive in Gaza, including Israelis and foreign nationals, according to Israeli sources. Before the pause, four civilian hostages had been released by Hamas, one Israeli soldier had been rescued by Israeli forces, and bodies of three hostages had reportedly been retrieved by Israeli forces.

Violence and casualties (West Bank)

 

  • On 13 December, no Palestinian fatalities were reported in the West Bank.
  • Since 7 October, 271 Palestinians, including 69 children, have been killed in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Additionally, two Palestinians from the West Bank were killed while carrying out an attack in Israel on 30 November. Of those killed in the West Bank, 261 have been killed by Israeli forces, eight by Israeli settlers and another two either by forces or settlers. This toll represents more than half of all Palestinians killed in the West Bank this year. Already, 2023 is the deadliest year for Palestinians in the West Bank since OCHA began recording casualties in 2005.
  • Since 7 October, four Israelis, including three members of the Israeli forces, have been killed in attacks by Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. An additional four Israelis were killed in an attack by Palestinians from the West Bank in West Jerusalem (one of the four was killed by Israeli forces who misidentified him).
  • Two-thirds of the Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since 7 October have occurred during search-and-arrest and other operations carried out by Israeli forces, including some – mainly in Jenin and Tulkarm governorates – involving exchanges of fire with Palestinians. More than half of the fatalities were reported in operations that did not involve armed clashes.
  • Since 7 October, Israeli forces have injured 3,488 Palestinians, including at least 541 children; 45 per cent of them in the context of demonstrations and 46 per cent in the context of search-and-arrest and other operations. An additional 85 Palestinians have been injured by settlers and 18 others either by Israeli forces or settlers. Some 33 per cent of those injuries have been caused by live ammunition, compared with 9 per cent in the first nine months of 2023.

Settler Violence

 

  • Between 12 and 13 December, three settler attacks resulting in damage to Palestinian-owned property were reported. In two of the incidents, armed assailants who are known by Palestinians to be settlers but were wearing Israeli military uniforms, broke into the Palestinian community of Susiya in Hebron, where they reportedly stole agricultural equipment and water tanks. In another incident, Israeli settlers, reportedly from the newly established Israeli settlement outpost near Havat Ma'on, broke into Mantiqat Shi'b al Butum community in Masafer Yatta in southern Hebron Hills and stole water tanks and broke the windows of a Palestinian-owned vehicle.
  • Since 7 October, OCHA has recorded 343 settler attacks against Palestinians, resulting in Palestinian casualties (35 incidents), damage to Palestinian-owned property (263 incidents), or both casualties and damage to property (45 incidents).
  • The weekly average of incidents since 7 October stands at 38, compared with 21 incidents per week prior to 7 October (between 1 January and 6 October 2023). The number of incidents since 7 October has gradually declined from 80 incidents in the first week (7-14 October) to 21 incidents between 9 and 14 December. One-third of these incidents included firearms, including shootings and threats of shootings. In nearly half of all recorded incidents, Israeli forces were either accompanying or reportedly seen as supporting the attackers.

Displacement (West Bank)

 

  • Since 7 October, at least 143 Palestinian households comprising 1,026 people, including 396 children, have been displaced amid settler violence and access restrictions. The displaced households are from 15 herding/Bedouin communities. More than half of the displacements occurred on 12, 15, and 28 October, affecting seven communities.
  • On 13 December, Israeli forces demolished a residential building comprising four apartments, for lacking an Israeli-issued building permit, in Ras Al A’mud, East Jerusalem. As a result, five Palestinian households, including two refugee families, comprising 29 people, including 14 children, were displaced.
  • Also, since 7 October, 367 Palestinians, including 196 children, have been displaced following the demolition of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem, due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which are almost impossible to obtain. The monthly average of displacement between 7 October and 7 December represents 27 per cent increase compared with the monthly average of displacement in the first nine months of the year.
  • Another 68 Palestinians, including 34 children, have been displaced following the demolition of 16 homes on punitive grounds since 7 October. The same number of homes were punitively demolished in the first nine months of the year. The Human Rights Committee, in its review of the fourth periodic report of Israel, in 2014, concluded that punitive demolitions are a form of collective punishment and as such are illegal under international law.
  • Another 269 Palestinians, including 121 children, have been displaced since 7 October following the destruction of 42 residential structures during other operations carried out by Israeli forces across the West Bank; 61 per cent of the displacement was reported in Jenin Refugee Camp, and 29 per cent in Nur Shams and Tulkarm Refugee Camps (both in Tulkarm).

Funding

 

  • As of 13 December, Member States have disbursed US$479 million against the updated Flash Appeal launched by the UN and its partners to implement its response plan in support of 2.2 million people in the Gaza Strip and 500,000 in the West Bank. This constitutes nearly 39 per cent of the $1.2 billion requested. Private donations are collected through the Humanitarian Fund.

HUMANITARIAN NEEDS AND RESPONSES: 4 December – 10 December

Health

 

UNRWA carried out the following health activities across Gaza between 7 and 9 December:

  • Some 97 medical teams attended about 30,000 IDPs in UNRWA shelters.
  • Some 10,700 medical consultations were provided at health centres daily.
  • Some 18,208 patients received health care in eight UNRWA health centres in the middle and south areas of Gaza.
  • Mental health and psycho-social support services (MHPSS) were delivered to about 2,000 people.

Protection

 

  • Explosive Ordnance Risk Education and Conflict Preparedness and Protection messages continue to be disseminated via available channels.
  • UNMAS, Mines Advisory Group and NPA continue with social media campaigns and HI and UNMAS are planning SMS campaigns to educate the public and to mitigate Explosive Remnants of War risks.
  • A total of 35 Child Protection Case Management actors attended remote training on Identification, Documentation, Tracing and Reunification of unaccompanied and separated children.
  • Child protection partners reached 35,290 boys and girls and 13,780 women and men in the past 15 days with awareness raising messages regarding protection issues, MHPSS support, case management and winter clothing kits.
  • Temporary alternative care shelter in Rafah has been arranged for unaccompanied children who are identified and registered. Hosting capacity for children will be arranged in phases, with 15 children accommodated in the first phase.
  • Partners specializing in addressing gender-based violence continue to provide support to women and girls in the south. During the reporting period, partners distributed 17,000 menstrual health management (MHM) kits and 9,500 dignity kits to 26,500 women and girls of reproductive age in the south.

Food security

 

Most food distribution focused on IDPs in UNRWA shelters, public shelters, and host families. Food security partners have provided the following responses during the reporting period:

  • UNRWA distributed flour to about 160,000 people in the north of Gaza. In the south, flour distribution reached about 1,153,020 people.
  • About 100,000 people received food parcels and about 130,000 people received hot meals in southern Gaza.

Nutrition

 

Nutrition partners provided the following essential nutrition preventive and curative supplies during the reporting period to prevent malnutrition among children and mothers:

  • UNICEF delivered Ready to Use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) for over 4,850 high-risk children with severe and moderate acute malnutrition.
  • UNICEF delivered additional quantities of High Energy Biscuits (HEB) to 11,760 children under the age of five. To date, 24,000 children have received HEB since the start of the response on 9 November.
  • WFP delivered medium-quantity lipid-based supplements to cover the needs of 57,500 pregnant-breastfeeding women and children under two years of age.
  • Some 500 pregnant and breastfeeding women received iron-folate supplementation to prevent malnutrition.

Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)

 

No updates were provided for the reporting period. Below are the updates for the period, 27 November to 4 December:

  • Some 3,896 cubic metres of water, and 690 cubic metres of bottled water were distributed to displaced people.
  • Two desalination plants were installed in two IDP centres in Khan Younis. During the ceasefire period, WASH actors increased their activities in IDP locations. However, fewer WASH supplies entered Gaza, and there were no new deliveries of storage tanks, jerry cans, or cleaning kits to Rafah. No latrines were built. A consignment of pipes and generators was refused entry over the ceasefire period. Fuel supply to WASH facilities, currently at 19,520 litres per day is at 35 per cent of the amount needed to operate water production, treatment and distribution, sewage treatment and storm water management.

Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI)

 

During the reporting period, a significant shortage of basic shelter materials was reported, which includes tents, tarpaulins, and plastic sheeting for protection during rainy days, particularly for people living outside shelters. Shelter partners distributed the following items to IDPs:

  • 470 mattresses.
  • 420 water jerrycans.
  • 250 sleeping mats.
  • 150 kitchen sets.

There is still a major gap in shelter winterization materials and essential NFIs, including sealing off kits for damaged houses; a high shortage in bedding sets, including mattresses and blankets to cover the needs of the IDPs in various settings, including UNRWA shelters, as well as winterized tents to protect IDPs in the open air.

Education

 

Education Cluster’s 10 partners currently active in the Gaza strip have reached 84,262 individual students and teachers since 7 October with provision of emergency learning and recreational supplies (52,653 reached), psychosocial support (64,854 reached), and recreational activities (83,262 reached), in Khan Younis, Rafah and Middle governorates.

The Gaza Education Cluster conducted an Observation Assessment between 25 to 27 November in the three Southern governorates to assess the level of damage of 41 schools and conduct a preliminary mapping of available space for setting up temporary learning spaces as well as the presence of teachers and personnel trained to carry out recreational activities at shelters. All assessed schools sustained some level of damage. The assessment report includes recommendations to the Ministry of Education and UNRWA, Education cluster partners, and for the education cluster coordination team itself. Two task forces for the Gaza response were activated following this exercise, one on MHPSS and recreational activities and one on Continuity of Education. The assessment of school damage will continue if/when security allows.

Multi-Purpose Cash assistance (MPCA)

Needs:

  • Post-distribution monitoring data from recipients of cash assistance indicate that food, water, medicines, hygiene products, and clothing are the top expenditures reported.
  • About 81 per cent of respondents reported that unrestricted cash helped them access needed goods and services, either fully or partially.
  • Over 95 per cent reported unrestricted cash as their preference for future assistance.

Response:

  • Since the beginning of hostilities, 66,870 households (including roughly 449,000 people) received Emergency MPCA.
  • Cash out rates across the response stand at 70-75 per cent but have been declining slightly.
  • While distribution has been provided across the Gaza Strip, the vast majority is now concentrated in the south.
  • Formal market actors, such as supermarkets and retailers are largely depleted and face major challenges in re-stocking and operating. Therefore, informal markets, such as vendors, minimarts, carts, and stalls are reportedly the main source for goods.

Logistics

  • The Logistics Cluster launched common storage services in Gaza and Egypt.
  • In Gaza, three warehouses, managed by a Logistics Cluster partner, are available for storage in Deir al Balah (495 square metres), Khan Yunis (170 square metres), and Rafah (70 square metres).
  • The Logistics Cluster also facilitates transport from Rafah to the three warehouse locations in the Gaza Strip.
  • In Port Said, Egypt, 800 pallet positions are available for common storage for the humanitarian community.
  • Additionally, a cargo notification service in Rafah will support the access of partners’ cargo into Gaza: details of the process in Standard Operating Procedures.
  • The Logistics Cluster installed three Mobile Storage Units (MSUs) at the Rafah transshipment base to increase partners’ offloading capacity in Rafah with an additional 960 square metres. Three more MSUs have been installed at the UNRWA base in Rafah to increase warehousing capacity.
  • An additional eight MSUs will be installed in Gaza by the Logistics Cluster, pending assessment with partners regarding key locations. The IMPACCT Working Group (hosted at the Global Logistics Cluster) held a national workshop on the importation of humanitarian aid with relevant ministries, authorities, the Egyptian Red Crescent, UN and INGOs.

Emergency Telecommunications

  • The Emergency Telecommunications Cluster (ETC) continues to coordinate a collective approach among partners for the importation of telecommunications equipment into Gaza.
  • On 3 December, the ETC team, UNDSS, the NGO Help, and OCHA met with the Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) to discuss the list of technical equipment submitted for importation into Gaza and install an independent connectivity and security communications services for humanitarian responders.
  • On 3 December, COGAT authorized the team to import 20 satellite phones into Gaza for humanitarian responders.

14 december 2023

 

It's not easy to see a hopeful future as we witness an active genocide in Palestine. But yesterday's action at Citibank HQ in NYC inspired many of us and gave a glimmer of hope as we persist in our work for a permanent ceasefire and an end to siege in Gaza.

Led by Palestinian women up front, including our Executive Director, Linda Sarsour, and flanked by new allies in the climate justice movement, as well as long-time friends in the Palestine solidarity movement, we made it clear to Citibank that we will not stay quiet while the “largest financial presence in Israel”¹ guilty of funding arms for Israel, is a silent partner to genocide.

 Many thanks to everyone who came out, and to those who were with us in spirit.

 

Millions of people across the country are demanding a ceasefire in Gaza and calling for freedom in Palestine. Let’s keep the pressure on the financial institutions that are silent partners in Israel’s horrific violence against Palestinians.

 

Thank you for all you do.

 

In solidarity,
Granate, Linda, Ishraq, and the team at MPower Change

Interview Francesca Albanese VN-rapporteur – NRC 13-12-23

13 december 2023

 

 

‘Etnische schoonmaak is al realiteit voor Palestijnen sinds 1948’

 “ISRAËL IS IN GAZA BEZIG MET EEN ETHNISCHE SCHOONMAAK, ZEGT VN-RAPPORTEUR

 

Francesca Albanese,  de speciale rapporteur van de Verenigde Naties voor de bezette Palestijnse gebieden, oogt vermoeid. (...) Vorige week was ze in Nederland. In een hotel in Den Haag noemt de internationaal jurist Albanese (46) de toestand van de Gazanen ‘meer dan rampzalig’. Ze somt op: ‘Er zijn al ruim zeventienduizend doden, meer dan veertigduizend gewonden, ze hebben geen huis waar ze naar terug kunnen. Er is geen eten of drinkwater, de infrastructuur is grotendeels verwoest. De gezondheidszorg in elkaar gestort. Ziektes verspreiden zich snel.’

 

Is Israël volgens u bezig met een etnische zuivering, waarbij het Palestijnen uit de Gazastrook drijft?

 

‘Ik denk van wel. Het is een feit dat 1,1 miljoen mensen gedwongen zijn geëvacueerd uit het noorden. Degenen die bleven zijn omsingeld, tot op hun ondergoed uitgekleed en weggevoerd in vrachtwagens. In Israël zijn er ook suggesties de Palestijnen naar Egypte uit te zetten. Er zijn opnames van Israëlische militairen die zeggen dat ze zijn gekomen om de Gazastrook te vernietigen. Kijk ook naar wat er nu gebeurt: Israël duwt de hele bevolking steeds verder naar het zuiden. Er zijn bovendien precedenten: in 1948 en in 1967. Etnische zuivering is al een realiteit voor de Palestijnen sinds 1948.’

 

Israël beroept zich op het recht van zelfverdediging voor wat het de Palestijnen aandoet. Terecht?


‘Nee, volgens het internationaal recht kan Israël zich daarop niet beroepen tegenover een bevolking van een gebied dat het bezet. Israël moet die mensen juist beschermen. Er bestaat in Gaza ook geen Palestijnse staat met een eigen leger. Nederlandse internationale juristen denken er ook zo over.’


Hoe beoordeelt u het bloedbad dat Hamas op 7 oktober aanrichtte?


‘ (..)  we moeten niet vergeten dat die aanvallen niet in een vacuüm plaatsvonden. Je zou kunnen betogen dat wat Hamas deed een reactie was op wat Israël in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2018 en 2021 de Palestijnen aandeed. Israël had al met al duizenden Palestijnen in de Gazastrook gedood. Er was bovendien een illegale blokkade, een oorlogsmisdaad.’
(....)


Hamas gebruikt de eigen burgers volgens Israël nu als menselijk schild.


‘Israël heeft dat vaker betoogt. In 2009 heeft een VN-commissie soortgelijke beschuldigingen onderzocht en geconcludeerd dat daar geen bewijzen voor waren. Er waren verhalen dat de Palestijnen hun kinderen als menselijk schild gebruikten. Dat ontmenselijkt de Palestijnen weer, maar het is absurd. Vergeet niet dat Gaza bijzonder dicht bevolkt is. Als Hamas een raket uit een straat afvuurt betekent dat nog niet ze burgers als schild gebruiken. Israël zelf doodt trouwens opzettelijk burgers met zijn bombardementen op doelen zoals het vluchtelingenkamp Jabalia. Misschien kwalificeert Israël dat als nevenschade, maar het is illegaal.’


Een van de ergste beschuldigingen tegen Israël is dat het genocide bedrijft in de Gazastrook. Maar pleegde Hamas dat ook niet op 7 oktober?

 
(Nota bene: door deze vraag – de zoveelste in dit NRC-interview waarin uitgeprobeerd wordt om steeds van alles de schuld bij Hamas te leggen, de bekende tactiek van de kapitalistische mainstream-media in de de Westerse wereld – laat de VN-rapporteur zich niet van de wijs brengen en gebruikt hier haar positie vooral om de impliciete beschuldiging van Genocide over te hevelen van de Palestijnen, naar waar deze thuis hoort, namelijk bij Israël.)
 
‘(..) Ik ben natuurlijk geen tribunaal en bij genocide moet opzet worden vastgesteld. In Israël zijn er wel genocidale verklaringen afgelegd over Palestijnen, die werden beschreven als ‘menselijke beesten’, ‘zelfs geen dieren’ (..) . De focus van Israël ligt ook steeds op verwoesting. Het wordt ook overal in de Israëlische samenleving herhaald. De stemming in Israël is genocidaal. Veel Israëliërs zijn zelf ook geschokte over het instorten van hun morele normen, (..)’
 
Wat vindt u van de opstelling van westerse landen?
 
Albanese glimlacht meewarig. ‘Er zit iets tragisch in de manier waarop ze mensenrechten hanteren als privilege voor sommigen. Ze hebben de VN, vooral de Veiligheidsraad omgevormd tot een club die de die de belangen verdedigt van landen waar kolonisten domineren zoals de VS, Canada en Australië en van Europa, bakermat van het kolonialisme. Ik ben het eens met wat de Palestijnse  onderzoeker Omar Barghouti onlangs in Amsterdam zei: vijfhonderd jaar kolonialisme heeft zijn sporen in het dna van de Westerse landen nagelaten. Wij zijn niet in staat om een echt democratische wereldorde te accepteren.’

En verder in de NRC  van 13-12-23, onder de koppen:

 

HUMANITAIRE MISÈRE

 

Rafah raakt overvol; Gaza is (..) ‘hel op aarde’

 

HONDERDDUIZENDEN  GAZANEN PROBEREN TE OVERLEVEN OP EEN STEEDS KLEINER  OPPERVLAKTE

 

en tenslotte:

 

BEELDEN TOT ONDERBROEK ONTKLEDE PALESTIJNEN ZIJN ZEER VERONTRUSTEND,

 

het volgende NRC-bericht, waaruit ontleend:

 

“Honderdduizenden burgers proberen intussen op een steeds kleinere oppervlakte (..) te overleven. Volgens Philippe Lazzarini, directeur van de VN-hulporganisatie voor Palestijnse vluchtelingen, is (..) een ‘hel op aarde’ ontstaan. ‘De mensen zitten overal, wonen op straat, met gebrek aan alles’, zei hij tegenover het persbureau AFP. Honderdduizenden zijn neergestreken in de toch al overvolle grensplaats Rafah, waar her en der uitgestrekte, geïmproviseerde tentenkampen zijn verrezen. Maar ook in Rafah is er lang niet voldoende voedsel en drinkwater voor iedereen. Het Wereldvoedselprogramma waarschuwde eerder al voor de hongersnood die steeds erger wordt. Negen op de tien Gazanen heeft niet elke dag meer dan tenminste één maaltijd, aldus een woordvoerder. De humanitaire misère is te wijten aan de Israëlische weigering de grens met Egypte meer dan volslagen mondjesmaat open te stellen. Slechts een fractie van de benodigde hulp voor de voedselvoorziening komt de grens over. De controles door Israëlische militairen worden daarbij ook nog eens zodanig getraineerd dat een patiënt op transport naar Egypte stierf, tot verontwaardiging van de VN-gezonheidsorganisatie WHO. Het konvooi met de betrokken patiënt werd zo lang opgehouden om zogenaamd een medewerker van de Rode Halve Maan, de zusterorganisatie van het Rode Kruis, te ondervragen. De rest van het konvooi vertrok uiteindelijk zonder deze medewerker. Pas uren later werd hij vrijgelaten, in een uitgeklede staat. Hij zei door Israëliërs te zijn geslagen, geblinddoekt en geboeid. ‘Zijn verhaal is huiveringwekkend en de vernederende en onmenselijke behandeling die hij kreeg te verduren is schokkend’, stelde Richard Peeperkorn, de WHO-vertegenwoordiger voor Gaza, naderhand. Vorige week voerden de Israëliërs ook al honderden gevangenen weg in ontklede staat, bleek uit foto´s en video´s op sociale media. Alleen hun ondergoed mochten ze aanhouden.”