Hunger, thirst may kill Gazans spared by Israeli bombs

Four young children peer out of a window piled high with rubble in front of it

Palestinian children at the site of an Israeli strike in Rafah refugee camp, southernmost Gaza, 15 October.

Ahmed Tawfeq APA images

Israel’s campaign of extermination by air, land and sea in Gaza continued for a ninth day on Sunday, killing Palestinians at a rate of one fatality every five minutes.

A threatened ground invasion had not yet begun as daybreak approached on Monday, but Israel was intensively bombing neighborhoods across Gaza:

While Israel bombed Gaza from north to south, there was no safe area on Sunday.

The UN said that as of late Sunday, there had been 455 Palestinian fatalities in Gaza over the past 24 hours, and 856 injuries.

At least 2,670 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed since 7 October, following an attack that left 1,300 dead in Israel, according to media reports in that country.

However, evidence is emerging that a significant number of those killed on 7 October died not at the hands of Palestinians, but from Israeli police and military fire.

Israel says that 155 people were captured during the 7 October attack and taken into Gaza. Palestinian guerrillas in Gaza have reported over the past week that several of those held captive were killed in Israeli airstrikes.

Israel says that it is holding the bodies of 1,500 Palestinian fighters killed in the aftermath of the 7 October attack. However, an unknown number of those who Israel claims were militants may have been unarmed civilians.

An investigation by Al Jazeera found that four people presented as executed fighters in an Israeli army propaganda video were in fact unarmed and were attempting to surrender when they were killed:

Palestinian armed groups in Gaza continued to fire rockets towards Israel on Sunday, causing dozens of injuries.

In the West Bank, Israeli occupation forces and settlers have killed 56 Palestinians, including 15 children, since 7 October.

And in a suburb of the US city of Chicago, a 6-year-old Palestinian-American boy was killed in his home and his mother seriously injured in a suspected hate crime connected to Israel and Gaza. The family’s 71-year-old landlord has been charged with stabbing the boy more than two dozen times while reportedly yelling “Muslims must die!” at the outset of his attack.

Genocide in Gaza

A growing chorus around the world warned that what is happening in Gaza is genocide, an atrocity crime that must be prevented.

“The only possible meaning of ‘never again’ is simply this: never again, for any human being,” said Francesca Albanese, the UN special reporter on the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, on Sunday.

She and others urged an immediate ceasefire in Gaza as the death toll climbs ever higher and a humanitarian catastrophe unfolds, threatening to claim the lives of Palestinians not yet killed by Israeli bombs.

But that chorus did not include the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, who has failed to call “on Israel to cease taking revenge on millions of Palestinian civilians,” as called out by Albanese.

Instead, Guterres called on Hamas to immediately release captives held in Gaza since 7 October “without conditions.” To Israel, he called for “rapid and unimpeded access for humanitarian aid.”

In the absence of a ceasefire, Palestinians in Gaza began burying victims of Israeli bombing in mass graves, some before they were able to be identified.

Meanwhile, US President Joe Biden, a full partner to Israel’s slaughter in Gaza, spewed Israeli government talking points in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday night.

Biden claimed that the attack in Israel on 7 October was “as consequential as the Holocaust” and that Hamas is “hiding behind the civilians” in Gaza.

Incredibly, while Israel was killing Palestinian children in Gaza at a rate of at least 100 per day, Biden said that “the Israelis are gonna do everything in their power to avoid the killing of innocent civilians.”

He also said that he supported Israel’s stated goal of eliminating Hamas entirely. But he cut off any Israeli goal of using the current crisis to get the US to begin a war on Iran by saying there was no evidence that Iran was behind the 7 October attack in Israel.

Iran’s foreign minister meanwhile warned that “Tehran will not remain an observer in the war, warning Israel and the United States of heavy losses if the conflict escalates,” Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, said on Sunday that “Gaza is now even running out of body bags” and that at least one million people in the territory were displaced.

“A river of people continues to flow south,” but “no place is safe in Gaza,” Lazzarini said.

Under total blockade for eight days, Gaza was running out of water and soon “there will be no food or medicine either.”

Meanwhile, hospitals are about to run out of fuel to run generators, placing “the lives of thousands of patients at risk,” the UN said.

Israeli officials reportedly claimed to have turned on the water supply to southern Gaza after US pressure. But that was dismissed as a public relations ploy since Israel had destroyed much of Gaza’s water infrastructure and there is currently no electricity to power the water pumps.

UNRWA meanwhile pleaded for Israel to protect civilians taking shelter in the agency’s facilities, including those that Israel ordered evacuated in northern Gaza and Gaza City.

UNRWA said that “many, particularly pregnant women, children, the elderly and persons with disabilities, will not be able to flee the area.”

In Khan Younis, southern Gaza, Rawya Halas, the director of an UNRWA training college, described not having food, water, electricity and life-saving medicine such as insulin for the 15,000 Palestinians at the shelter she is now responsible for:

“Please save Gaza,” she pleaded. “I beg you, save Gaza. It’s dying, it’s dying, it’s dying.”

“I am UNRWA, I’m the head of the shelter, and I can’t offer them anything,” she said with distress.

New massacres in Gaza

Israel eliminated entire families for yet another day on Sunday. Gaza’s health ministry says that 47 entire families have been killed – amounting to around 500 Palestinians.

The UN reported two airstrikes targeting residential buildings in Jabaliya refugee camp and Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, on Saturday afternoon, killing 47 people.

Two airstrikes on Sunday west of Rafah and in the Tel al-Hawa area of Gaza City killed 28 Palestinians, including several children.

The Palestinian civil defense estimates that an excess of 1,000 people may be trapped under the rubble.

Dozens of healthcare workers have been killed in Israeli attacks since last Saturday, suggesting that they may be deliberately targeted.

The World Health Organization has recorded 48 health attacks in Gaza since 7 October, including the “killings of 12 health workers and the injury of 20 others while on duty. At least 12 UNRWA staff were also killed,” the UN said.

Other health workers were killed in their homes with their families.

Hospitals, health workers attacked

Israel attacked civil defense workers in Gaza while they were attempting to rescue people from bombed buildings early Monday, killing several:

The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported intense bombing around al-Quds hospital in Gaza City in the early hours of Monday. Israel has repeatedly ordered the hospital to evacuate to the south, but the Red Crescent said that there was no way to do so, and that it would remain with its patients.
The World Health Organization said that four hospitals in northern Gaza “are no longer functioning as a result of damage and targeting.”

The UN public health body added that 21 hospitals in Gaza have been ordered by Israel to evacuate, “amounting to a death sentence for those needing intensive care and lifesaving surgeries.”

Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby said that the Anglican-run Ahli Hospital in Gaza was hit in an Israeli strike on Saturday night, injuring four of its staff. He appealed “for the evacuation order on hospitals in northern Gaza to be reversed.”

Ghassan Abu Sitta, a British-Palestinian surgeon in Gaza, said that doctors would not abandon their patients even in the event of an Israeli ground invasion:

“We will defend our patients’ right to life to the very end,” Abu Sitta told the BBC. He said that if Israel commits a genocide and war crimes, the responsibility is on the “international community who saw this coming and let it happen.”

Deal reached to open Rafah crossing

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Rafah crossing on the Gaza-Egypt boundary would be opened on Monday morning to let foreign passport-holders out of Gaza and let desperately needed humanitarian aid into the territory.

Egypt had reportedly maintained that it would only open Rafah crossing if humanitarian aid would be brought in.

Blinken said that “the United Nations, with Egypt, with Israel,” were putting in place a “mechanism by which to get the assistance in and to get it to the people who need it” – an indication that humanitarian aid would be tightly controlled by the same Israeli government that has vowed to destroy Gaza.

Israel bombed the Palestinian side of the crossing last week and Egypt put up barricades to prevent a mass exodus from Gaza into the Sinai, as reportedly sought by the US and Israel, though Blinken denied those reports on Sunday.

Jake Sullivan, the White House national security advisor, said in an interview with Face the Nation on Sunday that the US position is that “when people leave their homes in conflict, leave their houses in conflict, they deserve the right to return to those homes – to those houses. And this situation is no different.”

His response is bitterly ironic, given that most Palestinians in Gaza are refugees from villages and towns now considered Israeli territory. The US has never supported the right of Palestinians to return to those areas, despite their right under international law to do so.

Two men carrie shrouded bodies while walking on sandy road with more people carrying bodies further behind them

Palestinians carry the bodies of the al-Ajrami family, killed in Israeli airstrikes, in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, 15 October.

Naaman Omar APA images

Meanwhile, Israel was still bombing areas in southern Gaza, where many people had fled after Israel ordered the evacuation of 1.1 million people in the north of the territory on Friday.

Amnesty International said that it verified six videos of an attack on a convoy of Palestinians traveling on Salah al-Din Street, following Israel’s evacuation orders, on Friday.

Amnesty said a truck carrying 30 people and other vehicles and people nearby were hit. Ambulances that arrived at the scene were hit in a second attack, injuring rescuers. At least 70 people died in the attacks, according to Amnesty.

Without presenting any evidence, Israel said that the convoy was sabotaged by Hamas, a claim repeated by international media despite Israel’s long track record of lying.

The Financial Times said that “analysis of the video footage rules out most explanations aside from an Israeli strike” and not a car bomb as claimed by Israel.

With water and food scarce or unavailable, Palestinians in Gaza described rationing and prioritizing the children:

Meanwhile, people in Gaza described feeling powerless as the bombing in Gaza never stops:
Journalist Maram Humaid said that she and others in Gaza were “grappling with a profound sense of isolation, abandonment and being submerged in our own distress.”
Some Palestinians in Gaza used car batteries to charge their phones to stay in touch with family members:
Palestinians have been displaced multiple times over the past several days but there is no place in Gaza that is safe from Israel’s deadly weapons supplied by the United States.
Mahmoud Shalabi, an aid worker in Gaza with the UK charity Medical Aid for Palestinians, asked “what is the number of dead bodies that would actually make you put pressure on Israel to stop its aggression on Gaza?”

He said that children were writing their names on their palms so that “when they die, they want people to know who they are” and thus bury them with their loved ones.

Shukri al-Ahwa, a resident of the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, considered the safest area in Gaza but bombed to ruins by Israel last week, asked “where can we go?”

“They tell us to evacuate. Where are we going to go?

Meanwhile, bread was increasingly difficult to find and bakeries are running out of fuel and flour. Al Jazeera interviewed people queuing for bread outside a bakery in Khan Younis, southern Gaza:
Other people were trying to determine the status of their family members through photos documenting the latest Israeli massacres in Gaza:

Israel moves to crack down on dissent, media

Wartime Israel was moving to silence dissent in the country.

Draft emergency regulations formulated by Israeli communications minister Shlomo Karhi would allow police to “arrest civilians, remove them from their homes, or seize their property if he believes they have spread information that could harm national morale or served as the basis for enemy propaganda,” Haaretz reported.

“The jurisdiction to impose limitations on publications will be sweeping,” Haaretz added, noting that the draft regulations would “apply to both the general public and the media, as well as both local and foreign media.” Haaretz said that the regulations “are unlikely to be approved by the government’s legal counsel.”

Karhi is seeking the closure of Al Jazeera’s local bureau, calling it “a propaganda mouthpiece” that “incites against the citizens of Israel.”

Al Jazeera is one of the few international outlets with any presence in the Gaza Strip and has been reporting from Gaza and Israel around the clock since 7 October.

An armed Israeli security guard threatened Alaraby TV reporter Ahmad Darawsha while he was live on air reporting from Ashdod, a coastal city in southern Israel (Isdud in the original Arabic).

The guard then got in front of the camera and said “we’ll turn Gaza to dust! Dust!”

Meanwhile, a mob attacked dissident Israeli journalist Israel Frey in Bnei Brak, an ultra-Orthodox suburb of Tel Aviv on Sunday after he recited a prayer of mourning for all victims, including “slaughtered” women and children in Gaza.
Frey said that some in the mob tried to break into his apartment and that one of the police officers who escorted him out of his building spat in his face and another elbowed him several times and accused him of “reciting Kaddish for Hamas.”

Frey sought refuge at a Tel Aviv hospital but was followed by what he said were ultra-Orthodox followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane.

The US State Department removed Kahane Chai, the political party founded by the genocidal rabbi, from its list of designated foreign terrorist organizations last year.

Kahane Chai, also known as Kach, engaged in violence to realize its goal of the expulsion of all Palestinians from their homeland.

The State Department claimed that Kahane Chai was no longer active, though Kahane’s followers are now senior ministers in the Israeli government waging genocide in Gaza with Washington’s full support.

EU backs Israel’s genocide, Colombia protests

While Palestinians were being massacred in Gaza on Friday, Ursula von der Leyen, the unelected head of the European Commission, and Roberta Metsola, the president of European Parliament, went on a military tour in Kfar Aza, one of the Gaza-area settlements attacked on 7 October.

On Friday, European dignitaries met with Ghassan Alian, the head of COGAT, an Israeli military unit that has played a central role in the comprehensive siege imposed on Gaza since 2007.

Earlier in the week, COGAT posted a video on social media in which Alian described the population of Gaza as “human beasts” – echoing similar rhetoric used by Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

“Israel has imposed a total blockade on Gaza, no electricity, no water, just damage,” Alian said. “You wanted hell – you will get hell.”

Von der Leyen and Metsola’s photo op with Alian will be understood by Israel as a full endorsement of its genocidal campaign of extermination in Gaza.

But the government of Colombia – once the closest ally of the US in Latin America – indicated that it would suspend relations with Israel in protest of the genocide in Gaza.

Israel had halted security exports to Bogota and dressed down Colombia’s ambassador to the country after President Gustavo Petro compared Israel’s crimes in Gaza to that of the Nazis in Europe.

Petro blamed Israeli agents for unleashing genocide in Colombia, specifically naming Yair Klein, a former Israeli army lieutenant convicted in Colombia for training death squads in the country in the 1980s, and Rafi Eitan, an Israeli spy who devised a plan that led to the extermination and disappearance of thousands of Patriotic Union party members between 1984 and 2002.

Meanwhile, the Washington-based human rights group DAWN on Sunday warned Blinken and Lloyd Austin, the secretary of defense, that the failure to ensure that weapons provided by the government to Israel are not used to perpetrate war crimes in Gaza could “expose US officials to prosecution by the International Criminal Court.”

“If US officials don’t care about Palestinian civilians facing atrocities using US weapons, perhaps they will care a bit more about their own individual criminal liability for aiding Israel in carrying out these atrocities,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of DAWN.

The human rights group noted that Karim Khan, the ICC chief prosecutor, has failed to respond to the war in Gaza with the same urgency that he did with the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The ICC prosecutor sent a team of investigators to Ukraine to document and investigate war crimes there as soon as the war started,” said DAWN program director Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man.

“But over a week into this war the prosecutor has yet to utter even a word regarding the ICC’s active investigation in Palestine,” Schaeffer Omer-Man added.

He noted that if the double standard continued, Khan “will destroy whatever credibility the court has left as an independent body committed to equal protection for all victims of international war crimes.”

In the meantime, the online memorializations of Palestinians killed in Israel’s genocidal war campaign in Gaza, backed by the US and EU, proliferated on Sunday:

An Israeli strike killed 12 members of the Halasa family. They had relocated from the Shujaiyeh neighborhood of Gaza City but were massacred despite following Israel’s evacuation order:


Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is senior editor of The Electronic Intifada.