November 16: Today’s news on Palestine & Israel – Day 41
Palestinians walk through the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza City (photo)
Humanitarian & fuel updates, hospital crises, evacuation update, West Bank & Israel news, international community actions, and more
Some people are led to be skeptical of the Al Jazeera news network. However, the network has won several Emmys, a Peabody and the Overseas Press Association’s Edward R. Murrow award, among many other honors. The New York Times reports that “its reporting hews to international journalistic standards and provides a unique view on events in the Middle East.” it’s important to remember that all news sources may potentially have bias. For example, CNN uses anchors who used to work for the Israel Lobby, who have lifelong attachment to Israel, and who often exhibit pro-Israel spin and omission in their broadcasts. Similarly, Fox News is strongly influenced by Rupert Murdoch, who has a similarly strong attachment to Israel, and who may have fired Tucker Carlson, the network’s most popular host, in part due to the host’s opposition to war and his pattern of failing to exhibit sufficient devotion to Israel).
Palestinian death toll: 11,196* (10,999 in Gaza** (including at least 4,707 children and 3,155 women), and at least 197 in the West Bank). *IAK does not yet include 471 Gazans killed in the Al Ahli hospital blast since the source of the projectile is being disputed; although much evidence points to Israel as the culprit, experts are still looking into the incident. Israel is blocking an international investigation.
Palestinian injuries: 30,076** (including at least 29,000 in Gaza** and 2,750 in the West Bank). **NOTE: it is impossible to offer an accurate number of injuries in Gaza due to the ongoing bombardment and communication disruption. The Associated Press has reported ~32,000 in Gaza, while the UN number is somewhat lower. Our total for Gaza and the West Bank is based on the conservative figure.
Israel has now killed more Palestinians in a little over a month than in all the previous 22 years combined.
Reported Israeli death toll has been reduced to ~1,200*** (The Israeli spokesman said the original figure of deaths on March 7 was an “initial estimate” – killed in West Bank, 53 in Gaza), including 32 Americans, and ~5,400 injured). The names of the 1,175 identified (about 33 of them children) are here.
***NOTE: It is unknown at this time how many of the deaths and injuries in Israel may have been caused by Israeli soldiers; additionally, since Israel has a policy of universal conscription, it is unknown how many of those attending the outdoor rave a few miles from Gaza on stolen Palestinian land were Israeli soldiers.data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw==Hover over each bar for exact numbers.
Humanitarian aid: Since 21 October, 1,139 trucks carrying mainly medicines, food and water have entered Gaza via the Rafah crossing with Egypt, representing a fraction of the needs. Due to the absence of fuel, on 14 November, UNRWA’s solid waste removal services began shutting down, posing an environmental hazard, with about 400 tons of rubbish per day accumulating in overcrowded camps and IDP shelters.
Fuel to Gaza: On 15 November, some 23,000 litres of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt, the first such delivery since 7 October. The Israeli authorities have restricted the use of this fuel only to use for UNRWA trucks distributing aid. The entry of fuel for all other purposes remains banned including for hospital generators and water and sanitation facilities. Given UNRWA requires about 160,000 litres of fuel per day to run basic humanitarian operations, it has had to halt key services. The small amount that entered Gaza was too late in the day to refuel the trucks for aid delivery.
Deadly attacks over the past 24 hours included: on 14 November, in the afternoon, airstrikes reportedly hit Al Mohophin School, in Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood, Gaza city, killing 17 people; the same day, at about 20:30, airstrikes reportedly hit a residential building in As Saftawi area, north of Gaza city, killing 13 people, including six women; on midday 14 November, airstrikes reportedly hit a building in Al Qarara, east of Khan Yunis, killing nine people; on 15 November, at around midday, airstrikes reportedly hit As Salhi Towers area, in Nuseirat, killing 14 people.
Propaganda photo, then a bullet to the head: The Israeli army released a propaganda photo of one of its soldiers helping an elderly Palestinian man with a walking stick in an attempt to showcase its “safe corridor” for civilians fleeing northern Gaza. Shortly afterwards, 79-year-old Bashir Hajji was executed in cold blood by Israeli soldiers, according to Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor.
Hajji’s granddaughter, Hala Hajji, told the Euro-Med Monitor team that he was executed after the photo was taken with one bullet to the head and back. “He died tired, cold, thirsty & hungry,” she wrote in a post on Instagram, confirming her grandfather’s death.
OCHA reports arrests, beatings on evacuation route: Those fleeing to southern Gaza along the so-called safe “corridors” established by Israeli forces face arrest and the UN has received reports of beatings and people being stripped of their clothes by Israeli soldiers. (02:57 GMT) Palestinians fleeing south are “reporting the presence of dead bodies in the streets”.
New evacuation orders in southern Gaza: The Israeli army dropped leaflets last night and in the early hours of this morning ordering residents on the eastern side of Khan Younis, close to the Israel border, to move to the western side because it is “safe.”
Khan Younis is located in the southern half of the Gaza Strip. Tens of thousands of people displaced from the north have already sought refuge there in schools and tents, causing severe overcrowding amid shortages of food and water.
RECOMMENDED READING: South Africa: World must urge Israel to stop ‘crime against humanity’ in Gaza
Israeli troops brought boxes with them into Al Shifa Hospital, produced a weapons cache: When Israeli troops entered the hospital, they brought in boxes marked “baby food” and “medical supplies,” then later released a video it said showed some of the materials it allegedly recovered inside the hospital, including automatic weapons, grenades, ammunition and flak jackets.
In one hospital department, “the soldiers [allegedly] located an operational command centre and technological assets belonging to Hamas, indicating that the terrorist organization uses the hospital for terrorist purposes,” an Israeli military statement said. According to a video released on X (see below), they found a laptop.
There is no indication that Israeli troops’ boxes were inspected before they entered the hospital, or that any third party accompanied them on their inspection.
Israeli army deletes, reposts video allegedly inside al-Shifa Hospital: According to the Israeli publication Haaretz, the Israeli military had taken down a social media post uploaded on X on Thursday, which showed what Israel claimed was proof of weapons being kept inside Gaza’s al-Shifa Hospital. The Israeli military did not publish any explanation for the deletion of the post.
The video, showing Israeli military spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Conricus, was later reposted by the Israeli army with some parts being blurred out, raising questions about the authenticity of the evidence being presented in the clip.
RECOMMENDED READING: Israel fails to show evidence of Hamas command center at al-Shifa hospital
Another raid at Al Shifa, including ‘strip searches’ of Palestinians: Israeli forces launched another raid at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City in the early hours of Thursday. The Israeli army has confirmed that it is conducting a military operation in the hospital.
There are reports of some 200 people being blindfolded and interrogated and taken to unknown areas; their fate is unknown.
An entire building at al-Shifa Hospital – the specialized surgeries building – has been completely damaged from the inside, in addition to Israeli forces blowing up a warehouse for medicine and medical equipment inside the hospital. Israeli bulldozers and vehicles also reportedly completely destroyed the southern entrance to al-Shifa Hospital and all vehicles in its courtyard.
Medical sources told Wafa that the Israeli army installed facial recognition cameras and electronic gates in the hospital courtyard while strip-searching Palestinians in the medical complex. Israeli forces also reportedly arrested a number of displaced people and the families of those who were killed and wounded, who were seeking shelter there.
The Red Cross and UNRWA are calling for the evacuation of the 650 patients at al-Shifa Hospital to other facilities. The patients would be put in tents or in a school near the European [Gaza] Hospital. The director-general of Gaza hospitals is demanding that patients be transferred to Egypt.
Al Ahli Hospital targeted: Journalist Ismael al-Ghoul reported from near the Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza City that Israeli air strikes have targeted the perimeter of the hospital. The attacks could be seen as an indicator of preparations for raiding the medical facility. Ahli Arab Hospital is only providing basic medical services, as it was targeted earlier in the war. This video shows the intensity of the bombing.
Out of 24 hospitals with in-patient capacity in the north, only one, Al Ahli in Gaza city, is presently operational and admitting patients. Eighteen hospitals have shut down and evacuated since the start of hostilities, including three – An Nasr, Ar Rantisi and Al Quds – over the past three days.
RECOMMENDED READING: What we know about the Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital blast
Gaza City will soon be “uninhabitable”: Ha’aretz reports on what Israeli troops are doing besides ransacking Al Shifa hospitals:
[D]ozens of battalion combat teams…are going from house to house [in Gaza City]…They’re taking no risks, and as nearly all of the million-plus population who lived in the area just six weeks ago have now fled south [NOTE: sources like Al Jazeera report that “hundreds of thousands” still remain in Gaza City]…this means that any building that is any way suspected of harboring weapons or tunnel entrances is bombed or bulldozed, or both.
We may be very near the point where there are more Israeli soldiers in Gaza City than Gazans, and the issue of trying to avoid more civilian casualties will no longer exist because all those who can will have left.
Wide swaths of the city and its surroundings have already been destroyed, and it’s only a matter of weeks before the largest Palestinian city is rendered totally uninhabitable.
The article does not say what will happen to those Gazans who have been unable or unwilling to leave their homes.
3 Palestinians killed in West Bank in alleged shooting attack: Three suspected Palestinian assailants allegedly opened fire at a checkpoint on a road between Jerusalem and the West Bank city of Bethlehem on Wednesday, wounding six security force members before the assailants were shot dead. The suspects arrived in a vehicle from the direction of Bethlehem, Shabtai told reporters at the scene, and opened fire when the Israeli forces there began questioning them. They were killed when the Israeli forces shot back, he said. One of the soldiers has died of his wounds.
RECOMMENDED READING: Reports of harsh conditions and abuse in Israeli security prisons where Palestinians are being held for social media posts
Palestinian lawmaker in Israel sanctioned: The Israeli Knesset’s Ethics Committee has temporarily sanctioned two Palestinian lawmakers, citing “inflammatory remarks” made after the 7 October Hamas-led incursion into southern Israel. MK Aida Touma-Suleiman of the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality and MK Iman Khatib Yassin of the United Arab List were banned from taking part in Knesset hearings and votes for two months. They also face salary deductions.
“Knesset Ethics Committee suspended me for 2 months for criticising the Israeli army’s action in Gaza,” Touma-Suleiman wrote on X. “Silencing of critical voices of Palestinian citizens and anti-war activists is rampant these days. The war must cease, persecution must end.”
“Wake up. This is genocide”: Countries must “wake up” to the massive violations that Israel is committing in Gaza, a Palestinian ambassador told UN member states Thursday, insisting it was a “genocide.” “You should wake up in this room. This is a massacre, this is genocide, and we’re seeing it on TV. It cannot continue,” Palestinian ambassador Ibrahim Khraishi told a gathering of UN member states in Geneva.
US doesn’t use its veto: The UN Security Council has passed a resolution calling for “urgent and extended humanitarian pauses and corridors throughout the Gaza Strip” to allow for aid delivery and medical evacuations, after four failed attempts to respond to the Israel-Hamas war. It was adopted by 12 votes in favor, zero against and three abstentions – Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom. It additionally asked for the unconditional release of captives held in Gaza.
“It is binding international law, but we know that there are many Security Council resolutions that are binding international law that Israel does not comply with. But I think it will add added pressure on Israel, particularly as the US allowed this resolution to go through – it could’ve used its veto,” said Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor James Bays.
Int’l civil society answers call to challenge Israel: An international delegation of writers, lawyers, journalists, and activists arrived in Cairo, Egypt this week to exert pressure to secure the safe passage of food, water, fuel, & medical aid to 2.3 million Palestinians facing starvation and death as genocidal Israeli airstrikes continuously pound defenseless civilians. They have submitted a request to Egypt for permission to travel to Rafah. Their effort is in response to the Palestinian and Arab calls for civil society to challenge Israel’s “deadly occupation.” They add,
We urge all peoples and governments to act urgently to end this horror. There are hundreds of aid trucks currently parked in the desert waiting to enter the Rafah Crossing. We demand they be allowed to reach Palestinians whose needs are dire and desperate.
The Washington Post reports: Israel has killed more than 11,100 Gazans. That’s one out of every 200 people, 0.5% of the population.
US distances itself from Al Shifa raid: The United States has denied giving Israel a green light for a raid on al-Shifa Hospital in the Gaza Strip after backing Israeli claims that the medical facility was being used for military purposes. Speaking on Wednesday, US National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby countered accusations from Hamas that President Joe Biden’s administration was complicit in the raid.
The US had previously stated that an intelligence assessment backed up Israel’s claims that al-Shifa Hospital, the largest in Gaza, sat atop a large Hamas command center.
Americans’ support for Israel, war reaches a new low: A Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday shows that 32 percent of respondents said “the US should support Israel” when asked what role Washington should take in the war. This is down from the 41 percent who shared this opinion in a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in October. Meanwhile, 68 percent of respondents in the poll said they agreed with a statement that “Israel should call a ceasefire and try to negotiate.”
RECOMMENDED READING: How Israel and the West smear the Palestinians as antisemitic
Many groups urge Biden administration to change Israel policy: More than 500 political appointees and staff members representing some 40 government agencies sent a letter to President Biden on Tuesday protesting his support of Israel in its war in Gaza. A group of more than two dozen Democratic members of US Congress has signed a letter urging the Biden administration to agree to a ceasefire and an end to Israel’s assault on Gaza.
In the past 24 hours, two Israeli soldiers were reportedly killed in Gaza, bringing the total number of soldiers killed since the start of ground operations to 53, according to official Israeli sources.
The firing of rockets by Palestinian armed groups towards Israeli population centres has continued over the past 24 hours, with no reported fatalities. (Information on rocket attacks is here.) It appears that the last time a rocket killed an Israeli was October 7, as reported by Ha’aretz. Ten Israelis were killed – 4 of them Palestinian Israelis.