Palestinian children die of malnutrition as Israel blocks aid into Gaza – Mondoweiss

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Casualties

  • 20,410+ killed* and at least 71,700 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 380+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
  • 585 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.**

*Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 35,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

Key Developments

  • At least 15 Palestinian children died on Sunday morning of malnutrition and dehydration as Israel blocks aid into Gaza.
  • CNN reports Israeli forces set up “arbitrary and contradictory criteria” regarding items allowed to enter Gaza, blocking delivery of anesthesia machines, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and water filtration systems.
  • In February, Israel allowed half the number of aid trucks to enter Gaza compared to January.
  • UN official says, “the only way to end/prevent this famine is an immediate ceasefire. And the only way to get a ceasefire is to sanction Israel.”
  • Critics say U.S. should force Israel to allow entry of enough aid trucks into Gaza instead of “theatrical” airdrop operation.
  • Israeli forces attack Hamad City, northwest of Khan Younis, issuing threats to 5,000 residents to evacuate.
  • Amihai Eliyahu, far-right Heritage Minister who called for “nuking Gaza,” says, “The so-called month of Ramadan must be wiped out, and our fear of this month must also be wiped out.”
  • Al-Quds Brigades spokesperson, Abu Hamza, calls upon Arab and Muslim countries with armies, planes, and artillery “to mobilize your weapons, following in the footsteps of the free people of Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq.”
  • Israeli forces fatally shoot and kill Muhammad Khaled Zaid, 13, in Al-Jalazoun refugee camp north of Ramallah.

Kamal Adwan Hospital says 15 children died of malnutrition

At least 15 Palestinian children died on Sunday morning of malnutrition and dehydration as Israeli forces blocked sufficient humanitarian aid from accessing the enclave.

Gaza’s Ministry of Health said the children died in Kamal Adwan Hospital in north Gaza, while six others, suffering from malnutrition and diarrhea, are still in the intensive care unit with their lives are at risk.

The hospital’s ability to run electric generators and oxygen cylinders has been depleted in the past five months of Israeli bombardment, which damaged medical equipment and ambulances while putting dozens of hospitals and healthcare centers in Gaza out of service.

Israeli forces have consistently denied the entry of medical devices into Gaza vital for running hospital wards and saving patients’ lives.

Overnight, paramedics brought the bodies of 20 Palestinian martyrs to Kamal Adwan Hospital following an Israeli bombing of two homes in Jabalia refugee camp and the Saftawi area, north of Gaza City.

Israel blocks entry of vital medical machines and ventilators

CNN has reported that Israeli forces have set up “arbitrary and contradictory criteria” regarding what items are allowed to enter Gaza, blocking the delivery of anesthetics and anesthesia machines, oxygen cylinders, ventilators, and water filtration systems.

“Other items that have ended up in bureaucratic limbo include dates, sleeping bags, medicines to treat cancer, water purification tablets and maternity kits,” the report added.

Since 2007, Israel’s blockade over the Gaza Strip barred Palestinians, at varying periods, from importing products such as cumin, soft drinks, shaving cream, instant coffee, and cookies. Other items include wheelchairs, footballs, lentils, and tomato paste. At the time, Palestinians circumvented these draconian bans through the use of underground tunnels, which were mainly used for commercial purposes.

UN officials and humanitarian organizations have been warning of a famine in the Gaza Strip, enabled by Israeli forces’ siege and shooting at Palestinians gathering near aid trucks, seeking to get a share of the food.

Wafa news agency reported that since Thursday, Israeli forces shot and killed Palestinians waiting for aid to arrive at the Nabulsi roundabout, dong so twice in less than 48 hours, west of Gaza City. At least 117 people were killed and hundreds were injured.

Only way to get a ceasefire is to sanction Israel

UN officials see that Israel is deliberately carrying out a policy of starvation against the 2.5 million Palestinians living in the Gaza Strip, where one in six children under the age of two suffers from acute malnutrition.

David Cameron, the U.K. Foreign Secretary, said that “Israel has an obligation to ensure that significantly more humanitarian aid reaches the people of Gaza.”

“We have identified a series of bottlenecks that need addressing: Israel must urgently open more crossings into Gaza; eliminate bureaucratic obstacles; enable aid operations in Gaza,” he added.

In February, Israel allowed half the number of aid trucks to enter Gaza compared to January. Michael Fakhri, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, called for sanctioning Israel over its starvation policy in the Gaza Strip. 

“Israel has been intentionally starving the Palestinian people in Gaza since October 8,” Fakhri wrote on X.

“Now famine may very well be already occurring. The only way to end/prevent this famine is an immediate ceasefire. And the only way to get a ceasefire is to sanction Israel,” he said.

U.S. aid airdrop is ‘Performative BS. It fools no one.’

The U.S. was the latest country to carry out an airdrop of humanitarian aid along the Gaza coastline on Saturday, dropping 38,000 meals in a joint mission with its junior ally, the Jordanian Air Force.

Critics decried the move as an illustration of U.S. hypocrisy in handing Israel some of the most advanced bombs in the world while dropping aid from the sky at a trickle to the same people who are on the receiving end of those weapons.

Charlie Herbert, a major-general in the British Army, described the airdrop on X as “total performative BS.”

“With one hand US airdrops 38,000 meal packs…while the other hand continues to provide Israel with the arms, munitions and funds required to sustain this conflict. Performative BS. It fools no one,” he added.

Critics of the U.S. also pointed out that delivering aid by air is cumbersome and inefficient and that the Biden administration must force Israel to allow aid trucks to enter Gaza through its land crossings. 

Last week, Jordan airdropped seven tons of food to people in Gaza, but a single truck can transport 20-25 tons of food and essential aid.

“Airdrops are the worst or close to the worst possible way to deliver aid,” Jeremy Konyndyk, president of Refugees International, told Al-Jazeera.

“They are very expensive, they are dangerous because there is a lot that can go wrong when those things drop and they deliver very small volumes of aid,” he added.

Some of the aid dropped by Jordan last week ended up in the sea, pushing Palestinians to enter the cold water to fish it out. 

Tamara Nassar and Ali Abunimah described these airdrops in the Electronic Intifada as “humanitarian aid theatre” that does nothing to end Israeli bombardment and starvation of people in the Gaza Strip.

They added that countries taking part in these operations, such as Egypt and the UAE, “but especially Jordan whose air force is carrying them out, are providing public relations cover for countries directly involved in Israel’s genocide of Palestinians in Gaza,” namely the U.S.

Israeli forces attack Hamad City to evacuate 5,000 residents

In the past 24 hours, Israeli forces committed nine “massacres” in various areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health on Telegram, killing at least 90 people and injuring 177.

Wafa reported that Israeli forces launched a military attack on Hamad City, northwest of Khan Younis, issuing threats to residents through loudspeakers to evacuate the area to te towns of Al-Mawasi and Deir al-Balah.

Israeli forces declared Hamad City as a military and combat zone. In December, Israel launched airstrikes on residential buildings in the city, knocking them down one after the other.

Palestinians are now preparing themselves to be displaced yet again from Hamad City, home to 5,000 people who are fleeing on foot or crammed into cars.

Israeli forces launched 50 airstrikes on the Khan Younis town of al-Qarara. The bombing of three houses in the town killed 6 Palestinians, Wafa reported.

In Deir al-Balah, an Israeli airstrike killed eight Palestinians escaping to Rafah, Gaza’s southernmost district, near the “Force 17” office. In Rafah, the Israeli bombardment of the Abu Anza family home in the al-Salam neighborhood killed 14 people, six of whom were children and infants.

Israeli forces also bombed al-Bureij and al-Nuseirat refugee camps, and the towns of al-Mughraqa and al-Zahra. In Gaza City, Israel bombed the neighborhoods of al-Zaytoun, Tal al-Hawa, and Sheikh Ejleen. Palestinian paramedics recovered the bodies of 29 martyrs in the streets of al-Zaytoun during the past 48 hours.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that 14 members of its staff have remained in Israeli detention for the past 23 days following a raid of the al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis. 

“PRCS expresses deep concern for the safety of its detained teams, whose fate remains unknown,” it wrote on X.

So-called month of Ramadan must be wiped out

The fate of a ceasefire deal between Israel and Hamas appears at stake as Ramadan is due to start next Sunday. Settler violence and the likelihood of storming the al-Aqsa compound are expected to cause an escalation in tensions in the occupied West Bank.

Amihai Eliyahu, the far-right Heritage Minister, who called for “nuking Gaza” early in November, said that “the so-called month of Ramadan must be wiped out, and our fear of this month must also be wiped out.”

Eliyahu’s remark is echoed in the corridors of Benjamin Netanyahu’s ultra-nationalist government, who seems intent on pouring gasoline over the fire.

Itamar Ben-Gvir, the National Security Minister, went a step further, insulting the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal intelligence service, for freeing a few Palestinians from administrative detainees ahead of Ramadan in a bid to calm the West Bank.

For Avigdor Liberman, the leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu opposition faction, Netanyahu’s “government has run its course, it’s no longer able to lead nor unite us…it has no right to exist.”

“I gave the government credit for five months, but after the last ten days, the government has no right to exist and we must have elections,” he added.

Netanyahu is dealing with mounting pressure from Israelis who protested and marched on Jerusalem to call for the release of hostages held by Hamas and an election.

A significant crack between Netanyahu and his war cabinet minister, Benny Gantz, has begun to appear. Gantz plans to visit Washington to meet U.S. officials. Kan news reported that the government told the Israeli embassy in Washington “not to take part in [Gantz’s] planned visit.”

Hamas delegation arrives in Cairo for new round of talks

On Sunday, Osama Hamdan, the spokesperson of Hamas, said a delegation arrived in Egypt for “a new round of negotiations [that] will begin in Cairo, and we are eager to achieve a result that will satisfy our people.”

A senior Hamas official told AFP that if “Israel agrees to Hamas demands, which include the return of displaced Palestinians to northern Gaza and increasing humanitarian aid, that would pave the way for a [truce] agreement within the next 24 to 48 hours.”

It is unclear what the latest terms of the proposed deal between Hamas and Israel are, but a ceasefire, the entry of humanitarian aid, allowing displaced Palestinians to return to northern Gaza, the withdrawal of Israeli forces, and the freeing of hostages and prisoners, remain core components of the talks. 

Abu Hamza, the spokesperson of Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades, addressed Arabs, Muslims, and Palestinians in a recorded statement on Saturday, saying: “Let Ramadan be a month of terror and panic for the Israeli entity.”

“We say to the Arabs and Muslims, just as you turn to Allah with the obligatory prayers and fasting [in the holy month Ramadan], mobilize and turn to Palestine with weapons and the duty of Jihad,” Abu Hamza added.

He also called upon Arab and Muslim countries who possess armies, planes, and artillery “to mobilize your weapons, following in the footsteps of the free people of Yemen, Lebanon, and Iraq.”

Israeli forces kill Palestinian child in Al-Jalazoun refugee camp

Israeli forces fatally shot Muhammad Khaled Zaid, 13, in the Al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah. Zaid later succumbed to his wounds on Saturday evening in Ramallah Hospital. Israeli forces also arrested 12 Palestinians from the towns of Nablus, Bethlehem, and Ramallah.

In Qasra, south of Nablus, Palestinians had to suffer another attack by Israeli settlers, who demolished an agricultural greenhouse belonging to Thaer Adel Hassan, 150 meters away from the village center, according to Wafa

In a new report, the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee documented 1,195 attacks by Israeli forces and settlers in February.

Israeli forces carried out 1,066 attacks in the form of storming towns and neighborhoods and vandalizing Palestinian properties. Jenin was attacked 212 times by Israeli forces, while Hebron was attacked 174 times and Jerusalem 16 times.

Israeli settlers carried out 129 attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank, the Resistance Committee added.



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