News highlights on week 32 of Israel’s genocide in Gaza

The following is from the news roundup during the 15 May livestream. Watch the entire episode here.

Israeli occupation forces pounded areas across the Gaza Strip this past week, from Jabaliya refugee camp and Gaza City in the north, where Israeli ground troops have re-entered, to Deir al-Balah in the central area, to Rafah in the south.

As of Wednesday, upwards of 600,000 people have been displaced again from Rafah, and another 100,000 people in northern Gaza alone have been displaced as Israel issues new evacuation orders, according to the United Nations.

Mahmoud Shalabi of the British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians stated on Monday that “We’ve been displaced again in the north of Gaza, from Beit Lahia to Gaza City this time.”

“I’ve left my house several times now, along with my parents, both over 70, my three children and my wife. The journey of terror and displacement is beyond words,” Shalabi stated.

The Rafah crossing at the Egyptian border remains closed, as Israel is preventing anyone from exiting or entering Gaza.

In the north, Israel has subjected every area of Jabaliya to artillery bombardments and fire belts, “in an attempt to force out the local population,” according to the Geneva-based Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

The group stated on Tuesday that the Israeli military is systematically “creating a coercive environment and repeatedly, violently, and directly bombing homes, residential neighborhoods, and shelter centers.”

The Israeli army has stormed United Nations-run schools sheltering hundreds of displaced families in Jabalia, killing and arresting dozens of them, the rights group added.

The assault started on Saturday evening, 11 May, “just a few hours after the Israeli army issued new evacuation orders against tens of thousands of people, amid heavy air and artillery strikes,” Euro-Med reports.

The group’s field team reported that a residential square in the Jabalia camp was bombed by Israeli aircraft, while six UN schools inside Jabaliya camp, which housed thousands of displaced families, were besieged by Israeli forces.

“The schools and their surroundings were targeted by artillery shelling and gunfire, including from quadcopter aircraft. Thousands had to escape under artillery fire and shelling before Israeli forces reached the schools, taking nothing with them but the clothes on their back,” Euro-Med added.

The group stated that at least 32 Palestinians inside Jabaliya were confirmed killed, along with additional victims who were sheltering inside the schools that Israeli forces stormed.

“Dozens more were arrested, forced to remove their clothes, and tortured. Preliminary evidence suggests that at least one civilian, identified as Issa Hamouda from Jabalia al-Balad, was tortured to death after his arrest.”

This is a video of the bombing of Jabaliya, taken by local reporters:

“Yet another attack targets our vicinity, as medical personnel try to evacuate both the wounded and the dead from the area,” the journalist says in the video.

On Monday, Middle East Eye released this video of Palestinians fleeing intense Israeli bombing in Jabaliya:

On Wednesday, journalists filmed themselves being hunted by Israeli quadcopters in Jabaliya:
Our contributor Aseel Mousa, writing for Middle East Eye with reporter Huthifa Fayyad, reported that most people who fled Jabaliya and Zeitoun “made it to western Gaza City, an area lacking basic infrastructure after months of Israeli attacks.”

The reporters add that “ambulance workers said they were fired at by Israeli drones in Rafah and northern Gaza in recent days, preventing them from carrying out their work.”

Journalist Hossam Shabat tweeted on Sunday that “We thought the first days were the worst, then we thought the starvation was the worst, but this bombing is like nothing we’ve seen. Today alone, Jabalia refugee camp was bombed at least 100 times.”

Al Jazeera’s reporter Moath Kahlout filed this report from northern Gaza for the news agency on Sunday.

The Palestinian rights group Al-Haq reported that Israeli forces “launched a ground invasion in the Zeitoun neighborhood, south of Gaza City, on Thursday, following intense bombardment that targeted residential homes, streets, and agricultural lands.”

“This marked the third incursion by Israeli forces into Zeitoun since last November, each time committing further atrocities of widespread destruction, killings, and displacement of residents,” Al-Haq stated.

On Saturday night, Israeli forces destroyed a municipal water tank in the Tel al-Hawa area in Gaza City.

The Gaza municipality stated on Sunday morning that “The ongoing bombing has inflicted extensive and far-reaching destruction on water infrastructure since the beginning of the aggression and genocide.

Approximately 40 wells have been damaged to varying extents, alongside 42,000 linear meters of water pipelines, the municipality reported.

Gaza City “is grappling with a critical water shortage due to limited fuel supplies and power outages, essential for operating the water wells,” it added.

Israel attacks central, southern Gaza

In central Gaza, more than 30 Palestinians, most of them children, were killed when Israeli forces bombed a three-story home in Nuseirat refugee camp that was sheltering ten families on Monday, according to Gaza’s civil defense.

Israeli forces continued to bomb areas in Rafah, in the south, where Israeli tanks have pushed deeper into the eastern parts of the city and bombed residential blocks.

In Khan Younis on Tuesday, activist Ahmed Mahdoun inspected US President Biden’s gifts to Israel, left behind by Israeli soldiers.

People who have fled over and over again to and from different areas of the Gaza Strip have been returning to United Nations schools in Khan Younis, in southeastern Gaza, to try and seek shelter.

The United Nations agency for Palestine refugees, UNRWA, released photos on Saturday, saying: “The classrooms are torched. Walls are blown out. There is rubble everywhere. This situation is unfolding under the world’s watch. Enough is enough.”

The agency also released this video on Tuesday documenting how Palestinians are trying to seek basic necessities amidst Israel’s destruction in Khan Younis:
In Rafah, Louise Wateridge, a communications officer with UNRWA, tweeted that families in Rafah “have moved as far West as possible now, reaching the shore and along the beach.”
She added that people were awoken on Tuesday morning by Israeli navy shelling, and that “Inland in Rafah is now a ghost town. It’s hard to believe there were over 1 million people sheltering here just a week ago.”

Medical system in ruins

Gaza’s healthcare system is in shambles, as ongoing closures at Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings prevent medications, supplies, and fuel, and as Israel orders doctors and staff to leave their hospitals.

Medical staff at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah received an Israeli evacuation order on Monday.

The British charity Medical Aid for Palestinians said that the Kuwaiti Hospital “was one of the last remaining hospitals in Rafah and only had around 16 beds available for the more than one million people sheltering” in the area.

“If the hospital is forced out of action, this could mean the complete collapse of the limited healthcare system in Rafah,” the charity added, noting that the European Gaza Hospital had run out of fuel as a result of Israel closing the crossings in southern Gaza, and after Israel cut off the supply of electricity to the territory in early October.

As Israeli forces intensify their onslaught in Rafah, Gaza, Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders stated that it has been forced to stop providing healthcare at Rafah Indonesian Field Hospital.

“Since Israeli forces have expanded their offensive in Rafah, it has become impossible to provide lifesaving medical assistance amid a campaign of death and destruction,” the medical organization said.

MSF added that since 7 October, “we have had to leave 12 different health structures and have endured 26 violent incidents, which include airstrikes damaging hospitals, tanks being fired at agreed deconflicted shelters, ground offensives into medical centers and convoys fired upon.”

The Gaza Civil Defense reported on Sunday that while responding to a call in the Barazil refugee camp in Rafah, ambulance crews came under fire by Israeli quadcopter drones.

The spokesman for the civil defense, Mahmoud Basal, stated Sunday that “There are no medical services or humanitarian aid provided to the displaced in the northern Gaza Strip.”

Basal added that the amount of Israeli bombing and destruction is as incessant as the first days of the genocide, and that the Israeli occupation “uses all possible means to kill Palestinian citizens.”

On Tuesday, the Palestine Red Crescent Society warned “of the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip due to the continued closure of border crossings, following the Israeli occupation forces’ control and complete closure of the Rafah crossing.”

However, the medical association announced that they had reopened and restored operations in the ophthalmology, surgery, and orthopedics departments at Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, where the Palestine Red Crescent Society is headquartered in the south of Gaza.
They said that these departments will supplement those previously reopened earlier this month after it had been completely closed due to the 40-day siege and occupation by the Israeli army in late March.

Hind Khoudary and Ryan Grim of The Intercept reported on Tuesday that American doctors and nurses working inside Gaza, shoulder to shoulder with Palestinian physicians, have been told by the US State Department and elected lawmakers that efforts are underway to permit them to leave even though the crossing remains sealed shut by Israel.

Monica Johnston, one of the nurses at the European Hospital in Khan Younis, told The Intercept that medical staff are concerned that if they leave, the Israelis won’t allow replacements from other medical aid agencies to go in, leaving the hospital campus “more likely to get overrun by the Israeli military.”

The nurse told The Intercept that the plan is for the United Nations to do a test run from the European Hospital to the Rafah border crossing, in a vehicle carrying only UN staff.

“If those staff are not killed by the Israelis – as one international employee was on Monday – then two medical staff will be taken to the border, and two new volunteers will be allowed in to replace them, and so on in coming days.”

Many of the medical staff, she said, “despite themselves suffering from dehydration, vomiting, and diarrhea, are reluctant to leave without a guarantee they can be replaced by new humanitarian aid workers.”

Israel targets cultural leaders, doctors and aid workers

Meanwhile, Israel is continuing to target doctors, humanitarian aid workers and cultural leaders.

A 53-year-old employee of UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees, was killed in an Israeli airstrike in Deir al-Balah, central Gaza, on Monday, after having fled Rafah.

Maureen Clare Murphy reports that his death brings to 189 the number of UNRWA staff killed in Gaza since 7 October.

She adds that a United Nations Safety and Security staff member was killed and another severely injured when their UN vehicle came under fire while traveling to the European Gaza Hospital near Khan Younis, north of Rafah, on Monday morning.

Israeli forces killed Dr. Mohammed Nemer Qaz’at, one of the founders of pediatric surgery in the Gaza Strip, and his son Yusuf, a dentist, in an airstrike on their home on Saturday.

And Hashem Ghazal, a leading member of Gaza’s Deaf community, was killed alongside his wife in an Israeli airstrike on Monday.
A disability rights advocate, Ghazal worked closely with the Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children, a decades-old nonprofit that has been considered the main resource center for the Deaf community in Gaza.

Ghazal, a skilled carpenter, organized craft workshops for Deaf kids, and was known as Gaza’s “godfather of the Deaf.”

Seven of Ghazal’s children were severely wounded in the airstrike.

Israeli settlers destroy aid to Gaza

This week, Israeli settlers laughed and cheered while destroying food and supplies on trucks at a checkpoint near Hebron in the occupied West Bank that were heading for Gaza. According to eyewitness accounts, settlers climbed onto the trucks and started dumping the parcels of food on the ground, while Israeli police stood by and watched.

Then, about an hour later, according to reports, approximately 150 settlers, including children, arrived and destroyed what was left of the aid on the trucks. They were armed with knives and pieces of wood, and threatened the Palestinian truck drivers. Some of the settlers reportedly set fire to one of the trucks.
On Tuesday, in the town of Sderot, just north of Gaza, which built on the ruins of the Palestinian village Najd, ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias on 13 May, 1948, Jewish Zionist extremists on Tuesday held a festival calling for the resettlement of Gaza, while Israel carried out attacks just kilometers away inside Gaza, in a particularly disturbing scene.
The event was attended by Israel’s national security minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, who called for the forced expulsion of Palestinians in Gaza as part of the 76-year Israeli practice of violence, colonization and displacement.

Photojournalist Oren Ziv captured this video of the event:

And finally, we wanted to bring you some images and videos from journalists in Gaza and the West Bank who are not just relentlessly documenting the unspeakable atrocities but also making sure to highlight the resilience, joy and determination of the Palestinian people.

This is a video of the Free Gaza Circus, entertaining kids in Rafah this past week.

Journalist Mohamed (Hamooda) Shaheen in northern Gaza spoke to a woman older than the state of Israel itself. She explained why she won’t leave Jabaliya.

And in the southern occupied West Bank village of Beit Awwa, a Palestinian decommissioned an Israeli spy drone with a well-thrown rock.
Photo by Khaled Daoud / APA images


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Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).