Israel’s Gaza invasion - Day 228

  • Israel’s deadly siege of Gaza Strip enters seventh month after Hamas’ Oct 7 attack

  • UN says half of Gaza population experiencing “catastrophic” hunger as threat of famine looms

  • 72pc of enclave’s residential buildings destroyed, reconstruction to cost up to $40bn

  • Israel seizes Rafah crossing amid global outcry

  • Alarm in Israel at possible ICC legal action over Gaza atrocities

Updated 21 May, 2024 08:50pm

Associated Press says Israel shut down its Gaza live video feed

US news agency Associated Press has said Israel has shut down its live video feed of conflict-ridden Gaza after authorities accused it of violating a new ban on Al Jazeera, AFP reports.

“The Associated Press decries in the strongest terms the actions of the Israeli government to shut down our longstanding live feed,” the AP said in a statement, blaming “an abusive use” of Israel’s new foreign broadcaster law.

AP said authorities had also seized its camera and broadcasting equipment.

“We urge the Israeli authorities to return our equipment and enable us to reinstate our live feed immediately so we can continue to provide this important visual journalism to thousands of media outlets around the world,” the agency said.

Read more here.

Published 21 May, 2024 10:07pm

Confiscation of AP equipment aims ‘to stifle the media’

The Foreign Press Association (FPA), which represents the international media working in Israel and Palestine, says it is alarmed by Israeli authorities confiscating equipment from The Associated Press as it aired live footage of northern Gaza, Al Jazeera reports.

“This is the latest in a series of chilling steps by the Israeli government to stifle the media,” the FPA said in a statement.

“Israel’s move today is a slippery slope. Israel could block other international news agencies from providing live footage of Gaza. It also could allow Israel to block media coverage of virtually any news event on vague security grounds,” it added.

“Israel’s record on press freedom already has been dismal throughout the war. For the entire conflict, it has prevented independent access to Gaza for foreign journalists. Now it has taken another step backward away from the Democratic ideals it claims to uphold.”

Published 21 May, 2024 09:47pm

WHO chief asks Israel to ease curbs on Gaza medical aid

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has called on Israel to lift restrictions on aid into Gaza, saying that the primary pipeline for emergency medical aid into the enclave from Egypt had been cut off, Reuters reports.

“At a time when the people of Gaza are facing starvation, we urge Israel to lift the blockade and let aid through,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Geneva, describing the situation in the Palestinian enclave as “beyond catastrophic”.

“Without more aid flowing into Gaza we cannot sustain our lifesaving support of hospitals and populations,” he said.

Read more here.

Published 21 May, 2024 08:31pm

White House says Israel shutting AP’s Gaza video is ‘concerning’

The White House has expressed concern after US news agency The Associated Press said that Israel shut down its live video feed of conflict-ridden Gaza, AFP reports.

“Obviously this is concerning and we want to look into it,” Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on President Joe Biden’s plane as he travelled to New Hampshire.

Published 21 May, 2024 06:50pm

Gaza health ministry says bombardment death toll at 35,647

The health ministry in Gaza has said that at least 35,647 people have been killed in the territory during more than seven months of Israeli bombardment, AFP reports.

The toll includes 85 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 79,852 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since October 7.

Published 21 May, 2024 06:41pm

Cyprus says maritime aid shipments to Gaza ‘on track’

Four ships from the United States and France are transporting aid from Larnaca port to the Gaza Strip amid the spiralling humanitarian crisis there, the Cyprus presidency said on Tuesday.

Victor Papadopoulos from the presidential press office told state radio that 1,000 tonnes of aid were shipped from Cyprus to the besieged Palestinian territory between Friday and Sunday.

He said the vessels were shuttling between Gaza and the east Mediterranean island, a distance of about 360 kilometres.

Large quantities of aid from Britain, Romania, the United Arab Emirates, the United States and other countries have accumulated at Larnaca port.

Cyprus President Nikos Christodoulides told reporters the maritime aid effort was “on track”.

“We have substantial assistance from third countries that want to contribute to this effort,” he said.

The aid shipped from Cyprus is entering Gaza via a temporary US-built floating pier, where the shipments are offloaded for distribution.

Published 21 May, 2024 06:00pm

Five killed in Israeli attack on Rafah’s Yabna camp: report

An Israeli strike has hit a group of people in the Yabna refugee camp in central Rafah, killing at least five civilians and wounding others, Al Jazeera reports citing a report by the Wafa news agency.

There are also reports that at least three of the people killed were children, according to the report.

Published 21 May, 2024 05:40pm

Jenin raid will not discourage Hamas resistance, group says

Hamas says the Israeli army’s operation in the city of Jenin in the occupied West Bank will not discourage the determination of the group and called the move “desperate”, Al Jazeera reports.

The operation is “a continuation of a series of the occupation’s crimes of murder, siege and starvation in Rafah, Jabalia and other areas of the Gaza Strip”, a statement by the group said.

The movement added: “As we mourn the martyrs and extend our condolences to their families, we affirm that the occupation’s continuing crimes against our people in Gaza and the West Bank will not weaken the support of our people, nor will they stop the resistance of our people.”

The group stressed it “continues to confront the occupation and its aggression by all means, despite international complicity and silence”.

Published 21 May, 2024 05:10pm

Palestinian health ministry condemns killing of doctor in Jenin raid

The Palestinian health ministry condemned General Surgeon Usaid Jabarin’s “deliberate murder” by the Israeli forces during their raid in Jenin.

Furthermore, the health ministry in a statement appealed to the international community for the protection of medical staff and hospitals.

Jabarin was shot dead on his way to Jenin Government Hospital, where he worked as a specialist, according to Al Jazeera.

Published 21 May, 2024 04:40pm

Israel should consider normalisation with Saudi Arabia: Israeli president

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog says it should seriously consider normalising relations with Saudi Arabia, calling such a move a “game-changer”, Al Jazeera reports citing Israeli media.

According to media reports, he said at a conference that US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan spoke about a proposal for Israeli normalisation of ties with Saudi Arabia in their meeting two days ago.

“This is a move that could bring about tremendous change, a historic game-changer that constitutes a victory over the empire of evil. I very much hope that this possibility is being seriously considered,” he was quoted as saying by Israeli media.

“Our struggle is not only against Hamas, it is a great strategic and historical, inter-power and global struggle, and we must do everything to fit into the grand vision of normalisation.”

Published 21 May, 2024 04:10pm

Israeli forces detain 15 Palestinians in occupied West Bank raids

The Israeli raids today took place in Ramallah, Nablus and Tubas in the occupied West Bank, as well as in occupied East Jerusalem, according to the Commission of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs and the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Al Jazeera reports.

The 15 arrests bring the number of Palestinians arrested by Israeli forces since October 7 to 8,815, according to the organisations’ statement.

Published 21 May, 2024 03:40pm

Gazans, Hamas see false equivalence in ICC charges

Gaza Strip residents criticised the International Criminal Court prosecutor’s decision to seek the arrest of Hamas leaders, saying it falsely equated them with the Israeli leaders “waging war” in the Palestinian enclave since October, Reuters reports.

“The world is unjust, they see with one eye. How come they equate between us and the occupation?” said Um Samed, a mother of six displaced by the war between different neighbourhoods of Gaza City.

“Did Hamas use planes to bomb Tel Aviv? Did they kill 35,000 people and still thousands more are missing? This is insane,” she told Reuters on a messaging app.

Another resident of Gaza City, 25-year-old Mohammad Farouq, said it was “a joke” that the ICC had requested a warrant against Deif alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant.

Published 21 May, 2024 03:10pm

Gaza aid piles up in Egypt, US pier delivery falters

Food and medicine for Palestinians in Gaza are piling up in Egypt because the Rafah crossing remains closed and there has been no aid delivered to a UN warehouse from a US-built pier for two days, UN officials warned, Reuters reports.

Senior UN aid official Edem Wosornu said there were insufficient supplies and fuel to provide any meaningful level of support to the people of Gaza as they endure Israel’s military onslaught against Hamas.

“We are running out of words to describe what is happening in Gaza. We have described it as a catastrophe, a nightmare, as hell on earth. It is all of these, and worse,” she said.

She told the UN Security Council that the closure of Rafah crossing from Egypt had stopped the delivery of at least 82,000 metric tonnes of supplies, while access at Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing was limited due to “hostilities, challenging logistical conditions, and complex coordination procedures.”

Published 21 May, 2024 02:40pm

Israel vows to broaden Rafah sweep amid heavy fighting in parts of Gaza

Israel made a new push in central Gaza bombarded towns in the north of the Strip and said it intended to broaden its military operation in Rafah despite US warnings of the risk of mass casualties in the southern city, Reuters reports.

Gaza medics said at least 23 people had been killed in the latest fighting, and residents said battles were intense in Jabalia in the north of the Palestinian enclave.

Published 21 May, 2024 02:10pm

Israel’s Gallant: ICC prosecutor trying to deny Israeli right to self-defence

Israeli Defence Minister Yoav Gallant has described a request by the International Criminal Court prosecutor for arrest warrants against him and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a “disgraceful” bid to interfere in the Gaza conflict.

“The attempt by Prosecutor Karim Khan to deny the Stat of Israel the right to self-defence and to free its hostages must be rejected out of hand,” Gallant said in a post on X.

Published 21 May, 2024 01:50pm

China says hopes ICC will be ‘objective’ after warrants sought for Israel, Hamas leaders

China said it hoped the International Criminal Court would uphold an “objective” position after a prosecutor requested arrest warrants for leaders from Israel, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Hamas, AFP reports.

Asked on Tuesday about the decision, Beijing said there was “an overwhelming consensus in the international community to immediately stop the onslaught in Gaza and put an end to the humanitarian crisis of the Palestinian people”.

“It is hoped that the ICC will uphold its objective and impartial position and exercise its powers in accordance with the law,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

“The collective punishment of the Palestinian people should not be continued,” he added.

“China has always stood on the side of justice and international law on the Palestinian issue,” Wang said, adding Beijing supported “endeavours to promote a comprehensive, just and lasting solution to the Palestinian issue”.

Published 21 May, 2024 12:30pm

Palestinian ministry says Israeli troops kill 7 in West Bank raid

Palestinian health officials said Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians during a raid in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin, where the military said it had launched a counterterrorism operation, AFP reports.

The Palestinian health ministry in Ramallah said nine more people had been wounded, including two who were in critical condition.

The Israeli military said in a statement that troops had launched a “counterterrorism operation in Jenin and they were fighting with armed men”, without providing further details.

Palestinian official news agency Wafa reported that among those killed was a surgeon, Usaeed Jabareen, from the Jenin government hospital.

A school teacher and a student were also killed, Wafa reported, quoting hospital director Wissam Bakr.

Following the raid, all schools in Jenin and in the adjacent refugee camp had been evacuated, Wafa said.

Published 21 May, 2024 12:00pm

WATCH: Intensified Israeli strikes continue across Gaza

There is no end to the bloodshed in Gaza as dozens of people have been killed by Israeli air attacks in Jabalia in the north, as well as in Rafah in the south.

In one incident, an Israeli attack on the Jabalia refugee camp ripped victims to pieces, leaving “dismembered heads on the streets”, witnesses and emergency crews have recounted.

Watch the report by Al Jazeera here:

Published 21 May, 2024 11:26am

Palestinian rights groups welcome ‘landmark’ ICC decision, call for additional genocide charge

The rights organisations Al-Haq, Al Mezan, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights said that ICC prosecutor Karim Khan’s decision to file an application for arrest warrants against Israeli leaders is “a crucial step” towards ending impunity in Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, Al Jazeera reports.

In a statement, the three organisations said the ICC announcement follows after “tireless efforts by Palestinian and international civil society organisations demanding the issuance of arrest warrants” for members of Israel’s war cabinet.

“While we welcome the issuing of charges for crimes against humanity, there is also a public catalogue of genocidal statements of intent to destroy Palestinians in Gaza, including through the intentional denial of aid,” the organisations said.

“For these reasons, genocide as an additional crime should be included in an amendment to the charges,” they added.

Published 21 May, 2024 10:40am

Israel says two more soldiers seriously injured in Gaza fighting

The two reservists — one serving with the Givati Brigade and another with a logistics group — suffered serious injuries in fighting on Monday in the south of the Gaza Strip, the military said, Al Jazeera reports.

Both were evacuated for treatment in Israel.

As of Monday, based on official Israeli figures, 282 soldiers have been killed and 1,745 injured in fighting in Gaza — or along the territory’s border with Israel —since the start of the most recent onslaught on the Palestinian territory.

Updated 21 May, 2024 01:02pm

Israel, Hamas reject bid before ICC to arrest leaders for war crimes

Israel and Hamas, engaged in heavy fighting in the Gaza Strip, both angrily rejected on Monday moves to arrest their leaders for war crimes made before an international court, AFP reports.

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Karim Khan said he had applied for arrest warrants for top Israeli and Hamas leaders over the conflict.

Israel slammed as a “historical disgrace” the demand targeting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, while Hamas said it “strongly condemns” the move.

Israel’s top ally the United States joined the condemnation, while France said it supported the court’s independence and its “fight against impunity”.

Netanyahu said he rejected “with disgust The Hague prosecutor’s comparison between democratic Israel and the mass murderers of Hamas”.

Khan said in a statement that he was seeking warrants against the Israeli leaders for crimes including “wilful killing”, “extermination and/or murder”, and “starvation”.

He said Israel had committed “crimes against humanity” during the onslaught, started by Hamas’s unprecedented October 7 attack, as part “of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population”.

Updated 21 May, 2024 12:24pm

More than 569 tons of aid delivered across floating pier into Gaza, says US Centcom

The US Central Command (Centcom) has said more than 569 metric tons of humanitarian assistance has been delivered so far across a temporary floating pier to Gaza, but not all the aid has reached warehouses, Reuters reports.

Aid deliveries began arriving at a US-built pier on Friday as Israel comes under growing global pressure to allow more supplies into the besieged coastal enclave.

The UN said that 10 truckloads of food aid — transported from the pier site by UN contractors — were received on Friday at a World Food Programme warehouse in Deir El Balah in Gaza.

But on Saturday, only five truckloads made it to the warehouse after 11 others were cleaned out by Palestinians during the journey through an area that a UN official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said has been hard to access with humanitarian aid.

The UN did not receive any aid from the pier on Sunday or Monday.

Updated 21 May, 2024 11:31am

Yale graduates stage pro-Palestinian walkout fro commencement

Scores of graduating students staged a walkout from Yale University’s commencement exercises on Monday, protesting the Israeli offensive in Gaza, Yale’s financial ties to weapons makers and its response to pro-Palestinian demonstrations on the Ivy League campus, Reuters reports.

The walkout began as Yale President Peter Salovey started to announce the traditional college-by-college presentation of candidates for degrees on the grounds of Yale’s Old Campus, filled with thousands of graduates in their caps and gowns.

At least 150 students seated near the front of the audience stood up together, turned their backs to the stage and paraded out of the ceremony through Phelps Gate, retracing their steps during the processional into the yard.

Many of the protesters carried small banners with such slogans as “Books not bombs” and “Divest from war.” Some wore red-colored latex gloves symbolizing bloodied hands.

Other signs read: “Drop the charges” and “Protect free speech” in reference to 45 people arrested in a police crackdown last month on demonstrations in and around the New Haven, Connecticut, campus.

The walkout drew a chorus of cheers from fellow students in the crowd, but the protest was otherwise peaceful, without disruption. No mention of it was made from the stage.

Published 21 May, 2024 08:12am

France says it ‘supports ICC’, where warrants sought for Israel, Hamas leaders

France said it supported the independence of the International Criminal Court, whose prosecutor has requested arrest warrants for leaders from Israel, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Hamas, AFP reports.

“France supports the International Criminal Court, its independence, and the fight against impunity in all situations,” its foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry “condemned the anti-Semitic massacres perpetrated by Hamas” during the group’s attack on Israel on October 7, which was “accompanied by acts of torture and sexual violence”.

It also said it had warned Israel “of the need for strict compliance with international humanitarian law, and in particular of the unacceptable level of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip and inadequate humanitarian access”.

The International Criminal Court’s prosecutor Karim Khan said on Monday he had applied for arrest warrants for Netanyahu and Defence Minister Yoav Gallant for crimes including “willful killing”, “extermination and/or murder”, and “starvation” during the offensive in Gaza.

He said Israel had committed “crimes against humanity”, and accused it “of a widespread and systematic attack against the Palestinian civilian population”. Khan also said the leaders of Palestinian group Hamas, including Qatar-based Ismail Haniyeh and Gaza chief Yahya Sinwar, “bear criminal responsibility” for actions committed during the October 7 attack.

These included “taking hostages”, “rape and other acts of sexual violence”, and “torture”, he said.

“International law and the laws of armed conflict apply to all,” Khan said. “No foot soldier, no commander, no civilian leader — no one — can act with impunity.”

Published 20 May, 2024 11:33pm

Biden says ICC move on arrest warrants for Israeli leaders ‘outrageous’

US President Joe Biden slammed the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor’s application for arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, calling the move “outrageous”, Reuters reports.

“And let me be clear: whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.” Biden said in a statement.