Several hundred Palestinians have been killed in Gaza since the International Court of Justice issued provisional measures ordering Israel to stop violations of the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Such genocidal acts include killing and causing serious bodily or mental harm to Palestinians in the territory, according to the court order, which Israel has rejected.
The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said that the Israeli army killed 373 Palestinians, 345 of them civilians, in the 48 hours following the World Court’s much-anticipated interim ruling on Friday.
The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza reported that 114 Palestinians were killed between the afternoons of 29 and 30 January, bringing the number of known fatalities in the territory since 7 October to more than 26,750.
Forty-five Palestinians were reported killed in two separate strikes on residential buildings in Gaza City on Monday, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Also on Monday, Israel ordered the evacuation of several neighborhoods in western Gaza City, where tens of thousands of people remain.
In its interim ruling last week, the International Court of Justice demanded that Israel “take immediate and effective measures to enable the provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance.”Such measures have not been implemented in Gaza. Instead, Israel’s allies announced they were freezing their financial support of UNRWA, the main provider of humanitarian assistance in the territory.
A UN spokesperson said that the effects of those cuts will be felt within weeks, adding that the world body had not received any written reports directly from Israel concerning the allegations that 12 UNRWA employees participated in the 7 October attacks led by Hamas.
The heads of several UN agencies and international humanitarian organizations appealed for the restoration of funding to UNRWA on Tuesday.
“Withdrawing funds from UNRWA is perilous and would result in the collapse of the humanitarian system in Gaza,” they warned, “with far-reaching humanitarian and human rights consequences in the occupied Palestinian territory and across the region.”
Nasser Medical Complex in peril
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said on Tuesday that the agency had delivered essential medical supplies to Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis after being cut off amid heavy fighting.
“A food shipment intended for the hospital was mobbed on Tuesday by hungry crowds due to delays near an Israeli checkpoint and never reached the facility,” Reuters reported.
“The hospital is sheltering thousands of displaced people as well as medics and patients,” according to Reuters.
Four hundred patients are currently being treated at the facility.
“Once the most important referral hospital in southern Gaza,” Ghebreyesus said, “within a week Nasser has gone from partially to minimally functional.”
The UN health chief added that this reflected “the unwarranted and ongoing dismantling of the health system” in Gaza.
Ghassan Abu Sitta, a British Palestinian surgeon who was working in Gaza during the first weeks of the genocide, has said that Israel’s systematic attacks on hospitals is aimed at making Gaza unlivable to coerce its population into leaving.
The purpose of killing medical professionals in Gaza is to eliminate “an entire generation of doctors,” according to Abu Sitta.
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said on Tuesday that it hasn’t received any response from Israeli officials after organizations asked them to locate nearly two dozen physicians and medical workers arrested in Gaza.
More than 1,000 people in Gaza have been arrested during Israel’s ground operations, the organization said, “including dozens of healthcare workers.”
The group added that the “military’s seizure of individuals without informing their families or representatives of their circumstances, location, or grounds for arrest amounts to forced disappearance.”
“Arresting and forcibly disappearing medical personnel not only severely violates international law but also harms Gaza’s healthcare system, which is on the brink of complete collapse,” Physicians for Human Rights-Israel said.
The group noted that around 340 medical workers have been killed in Gaza since 7 October. With more than 63,300 people injured in Gaza, “there is a desperate need for medical personnel.”
Fate of girl and ambulance crew unknown
The Palestine Red Crescent Society said on Tuesday that it had lost contact with an ambulance team that attempted to rescue a 6-year-old girl named Hind Hamadeh after six members of her family were shot and killed by Israeli troops in Khan Younis.
The girl’s older sister Layan called the Red Crescent to say that their car was surrounded and being fired on by tanks. In a recording of her call, Layan tells the Red Crescent that “they are shooting us” before a burst of gunfire and screams are heard.
Hind remained on the phone with the Red Crescent for more than three hours after everyone else in the car had been shot. Her fate is currently unknown.Ceasefire talks were underway in Paris on Tuesday with the participation of CIA director William Burns, the prime minister of Qatar, and the head of Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency and the head of Egyptian intelligence.
The Biden administration in Washington said that it did not want a wider regional escalation or war with Iran after three US service members were killed and 34 injured in a drone strike at a military base in Jordan near the border with Syria on Sunday.
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that he had decided on how to retaliate but did not elaborate on what that would entail.
Washington blamed Kataib Hizballah, a militia based in Iraq, for the deadly strike.
The prime minister of Qatar said one day earlier that he hoped that any US response wouldn’t derail negotiations to secure a second prisoner exchange between Hamas and Israel after a seven-day truce collapsed in late November.
Hamas “rebuilding” in northern Gaza
The Israeli military said on Monday that it would continue to focus its operations in Khan Younis, southern Gaza.
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said on Tuesday that “large numbers of Palestinian men have been observed being detained by the Israeli military at a checkpoint” in Khan Younis during the past week. Many of them were “stripped to their underwear, blindfolded and taken away.”
The Palestine Red Crescent Society reported that one person was killed and nine others were injured when shrapnel fell on Al-Amal hospital and the humanitarian group’s adjacent headquarters in Khan Younis on Tuesday.
The surgical ward of the hospital ceased operations on Monday after running out of oxygen supplies.
Intense fighting nearby and the siege on its facilities were impeding the movement of Red Crescent ambulances and emergency medical teams in Khan Younis and preventing them “from reaching the injured and transporting them to the hospital for necessary medical care,” UN OCHA said.
Hostilities increased in the north, forcing more Palestinians to flee to the south, which was also hit in Israeli air strikes in recent days.
The Guardian reported on Tuesday that Hamas forces are mobilizing once again in northern Gaza “and rebuilding a system of governance.”
A senior UN official told the paper that Rafah, near Gaza’s border with Egypt, is “the last remaining place with any real civil order” due to the maintained control of Hamas police.
Elsewhere in Gaza, aid convoys have been attacked, particularly in the middle area, “which is controlled neither by Hamas nor Israeli forces,” according to The Guardian.
The paper added that “several attacks on convoys have been blamed on powerful and well-armed families in central Gaza.”
Sigrid Kaag, the UN senior humanitarian and reconstruction coordinator for Gaza, told diplomats that humanitarian access remains severely restricted during her first briefing to the Security Council in a closed session on Tuesday.
The former Dutch foreign minister was appointed by the UN secretary-general after the position was created following a Security Council resolution calling for increased aid to the territory that was passed in December.
Diplomats told reporters that Kaag called for the opening of more crossings and the resumption of commercial activities in Gaza, where some 300,000 civilians remain in the north in increasingly dire conditions.
She also said that UN personnel in Gaza need protection equipment and armored vehicles.
Kaag emphasized the importance of UNRWA during a briefing to reporters.
Israel returns bodies to Gaza
Palestinians buried around 100 bodies in Rafah, southernmost Gaza, in a mass grave on Tuesday after Israel transferred their remains via Kerem Shalom (Karem Abu Salem) crossing.
Palestinian officials told media that the bodies included people killed during Israel’s military offensive “and corpses that had been dug up as Israeli forces pushed through Gaza,” Reuters reported.
Meanwhile, Palestinians reported the discovery of dozens of executed persons in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza, “found beneath debris and waste,” according to Ramy Abdu, director of Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.Many of the bodies were wrapped in shrouds bound by Hebrew-language ID tags.