Palestinians in Gaza brace for resumption of Israeli attacks as truce reaches final day – Mondoweiss

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Casualties

  • 15,000+ killed*, including 6,150 children, and 33,000 wounded in Gaza Strip.
  • 235 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,200

*This figure is based on an estimate as reported by the official Palestinian news agency Wafa on October 27. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip (particularly in northern Gaza), the Gaza Ministry of Health has not been able to regularly update its tolls.

Key Developments

  • Between Friday and Sunday evening, 117 Palestinians were released from Israeli jails, all of them women and children. Hamas released 58 captives, 39 Israelis, 17 Thai citizens, an Israeli-Russian, and a Filipino national.
  • Netanyahu said that the truce would be extended a day for every ten additional captives released by Hamas.
  • Qatari Prime Minister said that an extension of the truce would allow Hamas fighters to locate more Israeli captives to be released.
  • Hamas said in a statement that it released Roni Krivo, a Russian-Israeli citizen, in appreciation of Moscow’s support for the Palestinian cause.
  • On Sunday evening, 39 Palestinians were released from Israeli jails, all of them under the age of 18 years old.
  • Mohammed Zaqout, the general manager of hospitals in Gaza, told Al-Jazeera that hospitals in northern Gaza are short of fuel and have not received any during the truce.
  • The Israeli army spokesperson said that 80 out of the 184 remaining captives being held by Hamas have dual citizenship.
Palestinians, holding jerry cans, wait in front of a gas station to get gasoline and diesel on the third day of the Gaza truce in Rafah. (Photo: © Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa via ZUMA Press APAimages)
Palestinians, holding jerry cans, wait in front of a gas station to get gasoline and diesel on the third day of the Gaza truce in Rafah. (Photo: © Abed Rahim Khatib/dpa via ZUMA Press APAimages)

Israeli Prime Minister vows to continue the war on Gaza 

The temporary truce in the Gaza Strip between Israeli forces and Palestinian resistance fighters is approaching its end on Monday night.

Israel is expected to carry on its airstrikes and ground incursion once the truce ends. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed on Sunday evening to continue the war until achieving the three goals of releasing all captives, destroying Hamas, and ensuring Gaza does not impose a “threat” to Israel.

Netanyahu said that the truce would be extended a day for every ten additional captives released by Hamas.

Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, whose country hosts a Hamas office, told the Financial Times that an extension of the truce would allow Hamas to locate more captives to release.

“We don’t yet have any clear information how many they can find because… one of the purposes [of the pause] is they [Hamas] will have time to search for the rest of the missing people,” al-Thani said.

Between Friday and Sunday evening, 117 Palestinians were released from Israeli jails, all of them women and children. Hamas released 58 captives, 39 Israelis, 17 Thai citizens, an Israeli-Russian, and a Filipino national.

U.S. President Joe Biden said early on that he was “hopeful” the truce would continue.

“My expectation and hope is that as we move forward, the rest of the Arab world and the region is also putting pressure on all sides to slow this down, to bring this to an end as quickly as we can,” Biden said on Friday.

A four-year-old dual Israeli-American citizen whose father was killed in the October 7 attack is expected to be released in the fourth patch of captives held by Hamas on Monday.

39 Palestinians and 13 Israeli nationals released

On Sunday evening, Hamas released the third round of captives, which included 13 Israeli nationals, two Thais, and one Russian-Israeli citizen. 

The handing over of the captives to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) took place in the center of Gaza City, which saw immense fighting between Israeli forces and resistance fighters.

Al-Jazeera reported that Hamas aimed to show its force in front of cameras during the captives’ release in the northern Gaza Strip, an area the Israeli army believed to be controlling vast parts of it.

Some of the fighters were mounting the infamous white pickup trucks used during the October 7 surprise attack on settlements and army bases.

Hamas said in a statement that it released Roni Krivo, a Russian-Israeli citizen, in appreciation of Moscow’s support for the Palestinian cause.

“In response to the efforts of Russian President Vladimir Putin and in appreciation of the Russian position in support of the Palestinian cause, the Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, released one of the detainees of the Russian citizenship,” it said in a statement on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, 39 Palestinians were released from Israeli jails, all of them under the age of 18 years old. Twenty-one were from occupied Jerusalem, and the rest from Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarm, Qalqilya, and one from Rahah town south of Gaza Strip.

Wafa news agency reported that the underage prisoners were transported from Ofer military prisons to the towns of Ramallah and Beitunia, where they were welcomed by thousands of Palestinians.

However, prisoners from Jerusalem were handed to one member of their families at Al-Moskobiya detention and interrogation center. Any scenes of celebration were banned and subject to fine and potential arrest.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center, which documents Israeli violations in Jerusalem, posted footage of the release of a Palestinian child prisoner transported by an Israeli security team in a civilian vehicle and handed to his father in the middle of the night, ensuring no celebration or gathering took place.

Wafa reported that Israeli forces fired tear gas, live and rubber-coated metal bullets at journalists and families who gathered near Ofer to accompany the prisoners’ bus. Several people, including a journalist, were wounded. A full list of the names of prisoners released on Sunday were published by Wafa.

According to the temporary truce terms, 33 Palestinian prisoners and 11 Israelis are expected to be released on Monday, bringing the total to 50 Israelis and 150 Palestinians, one captive for every three prisoners.

Majority of hospitals in Gaza are out of service as Palestinians struggle to count their dead

Health officials in the Gaza Strip warned that hospitals are struggling to cope as Israeli bombardment inflicted severe damages to Al-Shifa’ and the Indonesian hospitals in the northern Gaza Strip.

Four days of relative calm were not enough to recover nor to count the killed and injured in the Gaza genocide during which Israel has dropped the equivalent of two nuclear bombs since October 7.

On Monday, the death toll in the Gaza Strip was not updated by the Ministry of Health. An estimate published by Wafa said at least 15,000 people were killed and 32,000 wounded.

Al-Jazeera reported on Monday morning that piles of bodies have accumulated in Al-Quds and Al-Rantisi hospitals.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, of whom 1.7 million were internally displaced, are still grasping the sheer destruction caused by the Israeli bombardment of their properties. 

On Sunday, Israel announced that it has “seized” a total sum of $1.3 million from “Hamas homes” in Gaza and deposited it in the state coffers. Palestinians described the action as theft and shared stories of Israeli soldiers seizing musical instruments and jewelry and showing them off on social media.

On Monday, Israeli forces shot at people near Al-Maghazi refugee camp, who went back to inspect their houses. Mohammed Zaqout, the general manager of hospitals in Gaza, told Al-Jazeera that hospitals in northern Gaza are short of fuel and have not received any during the truce.

Zaqout said that three hospitals remain working in northern and central Gaza – Ahli Arab Hospital, Kamal Adwan Hospital, and al-Awdah Hospital. He added that “Israel destroyed 21 private and 13 governmental hospitals.”

The Israeli army spokesperson said on Monday that 1,200 Israelis have been killed, including 392 soldiers, since October 7, and 9,000 have been injured. He added that 80 out of the 184 remaining captives being held by Hamas have dual citizenship.

On Sunday, Hamas announced the names of some of its senior leaders who were killed fighting the Israeli occupation forces in Gaza, including Ahmed al-Ghandour, a member of the Military Council and commander of the Northern Gaza Strip Brigade .

Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, called for an extension to the truce which “would allow for much-needed relief to the people of Gaza and the release of more hostages.”

Dozens of Palestinians arrested in the West Bank

While Israeli jailers were finishing the papers to release 39 Palestinian children on Sunday evening, Israeli forces were at work arresting 60 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank.

Twenty-nine people were arrested in Hebron, and the others were detained from Ramallah, Jenin, Nablus, Bethlehem, and the village of Jaba. 

The Commission for Ex-Prisoners’ Affairs said that since October 7, Israel has arrested 3,260 Palestinians, most of them sentenced to various lengths of administrative detention, a policy used to indefinitely detain Palestinians without charge or trial.

Currently, there are 7,000 Palestinian prisoners, 200 of whom are children. Since October 7, six prisoners have died inside Israeli jails, and 41 journalists remain in detention. Israeli forces and settlers have killed 235 Palestinians during assaults or night raids of towns and villages in the occupied West Bank.

In a new report, Human Rights Watch (HRW) says more Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces in the last six weeks, since October 7, than in any entire year since 2005. 

Israeli far-right Finance Minister dedicates millions of dollars to expanding settlements and arming settlers

Josep Borrell, the EU’s High Representative for foreign affairs and security policy, lambasted the Israeli far-right Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich following his announcement of plans of settlement expansion and arming settlers.

“I’m appalled to learn that in the middle of a war, the Israeli [government] is poised to commit new funds to build more illegal settlements. This is not self-defence and will not make Israel safer. The settlements are grave [International Human Law] breach, and they are Israel’s greatest security liability,” Borrell wrote on the X platform.

Smotrich presented the 2023 budget this week, in which he dedicated a big chunk of it to the war on Gaza Strip, including $4.5 billion to defense and $3.6 billion to civilian war needs.

He also dedicated over $190 million to further the West Bank settlement project, and $530 million to the National Security Ministry, headed by Itamar Ben-Gvir, to arm settlers in the occupied West Bank and set up teams of armed militias and police.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s supplementary budget request to be spent in the final month of 2023.

Palestinian Authority’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that Smotrich’s budget was “a disregard for international and American positions in support of the two-state solution.”

“Approving this proposal indicates Israeli persistence in accelerating the pace of the annexation of the occupied West Bank… exploiting the genocidal war against the Gaza Strip to create new facts on the ground in the occupied West Bank,” the ministry said.

Borrel wrote in a column in the Financial Times that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict should end.

“Our political myopia, to think this conflict was manageable by paying lip service to the two-state solution and then leaving it to fester, must end, he wrote.

He added that leaving the conflict to simmer without fixing it “may trigger displacement of people, including towards Europe, and exacerbate the risk of terrorism and intercommunity tensions.”

He concluded that “Israel’s own security requires the creation of a Palestinian state in Gaza and the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem.”

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