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Israel’s Gaza invasion - Day 150

  • Israel lays siege to Gaza Strip after Hamas Oct 7 attack in which 242 hostages were taken
  • Western allies back Israel’s bombardment of Gaza; UN, groups decry onslaught against Palestinians; global protests break out
  • Almost 90pc of Gaza population displaced while 1pc killed; 80pc of housing units damaged
  • Seven-day truce in Nov sees release of 105 hostages and 240 Palestinian prisoners
Published 04 Mar, 2024 09:34pm

WHO chief calls for ceasefire after ‘grim findings’

World Health Organisation (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has called for a ceasefire, citing grim findings during visits to Al-Awda and Kamal Adwan hospitals in northern Gaza.

“The situation at Al-Awda Hospital is particularly appalling, as one of the buildings is destroyed,” Ghebreyesus said in a post on X.

“We appeal to Israel to ensure humanitarian aid can be delivered safely, and regularly,” he said.

“Civilians, especially children, and health staff need scaled-up help immediately. But the key medicine all these patients need is peace. Ceasefire,” he added.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 09:01pm

EU foreign policy joins US VP call for ‘immediate ceasefire’

European Union’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has said he supported US Vice President Kamala Harris’ call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

“There should then be no obstacle for a UNSC resolution to that effect,” Borrell said in a post on X.

Borrel said that Harris was right when she said that too many people had been killed and urged Israel to allow unimpeded humanitarian access.

“Time for the UNSC to act,” he said.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 08:30pm

Palestinian Foreign Ministry says Israel wreaking havoc in occupied West Bank

Israeli raids, detentions and restrictions on movement are making the lives of Palestinians “an unbearable hell”, the ministry says, warning of “serious risks” of plunging the occupied West Bank into “violence and anarchy”.

“Our people need international protection now more than ever as a prerequisite to ending the occupation and apartheid,” it said in a statement according to Al Jazeera.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 06:30pm

Israeli tanks deliberately ran over dozens of Palestinian civilians alive: rights monitor

Graphic warning: Images may be distressing

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor has “vehemently denounced” the Israeli army’s repeated killings of Palestinian civilians by deliberately running them over alive with military vehicles, as was the widespread destruction of civilian property.

In a statement, the Euro-Med Monitor said it “documented the Israeli army’s killing of a Palestinian man who was deliberately run over in Gaza City’s Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood on 29 February after he was arrested”.

“The man was subjected to harsh interrogation by members of the Israeli army, who bound his hands with plastic zip-tie handcuffs before running him over with a military vehicle from the bottom to the top of his body,” it added.

The incident occurred on the main Salah al-Din Street in the Zaytoun neighbourhood, according to eyewitnesses who spoke to the Euro-Med Monitor team.

“Israeli soldiers restrained the victim’s hands before they crushed him, and tramped on his body from the legs up, confirming that he was alive during the incident. To guarantee thorough and complete crushing, the victim was placed on asphalt rather than in an adjacent sandy area,” the Euro-Med Monitor added.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 06:00pm

Erdogan and Abbas to discuss delivering aid to Gaza: Turkish source

President Tayyip Erdogan is set to discuss Turkiye’s efforts to deliver humanitarian aid to Gaza with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas during talks this week in Ankara, Reuters quotes a Turkish diplomatic source as saying.

Speaking at a diplomatic forum in Turkiye at the weekend, the Palestinian Authority’s Foreign Minister Riyad-al Maliki said Abbas would pay a visit to Ankara on Tuesday and meet Erdogan.

Turkiye, which has harshly criticised Israel for its attacks on Gaza and backed measures to have it tried for genocide at the World Court, has repeatedly called for a ceasefire. But Ankara has no direct involvement in truce talks.

Unlike its Western allies and some Gulf nations, Nato member Turkiye does not view Hamas as a terrorist organisation. Erdogan and Abbas will discuss recent developments in Gaza as well as the situation in the West Bank, the diplomatic source said.

“Turkiye has been delivering extensive humanitarian aid to Gaza in coordination with Egypt since the beginning of Israel’s attacks… Within this scope, humanitarian aid operations will also be discussed during the meetings with President Abbas,” the source said.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 05:15pm

Around 80pc of Gazan mothers skipping meals to feed children: UN agency

UN Women has said that around 80 per cent of Gazan mothers are “skipping meals to feed their children” as famine looms over the Palestinian enclave.

In a post on X, the UN’s agency for women said, “We reiterate the call for an immediate ceasefire and safe provision of humanitarian aid across Gaza.”

Published 04 Mar, 2024 04:53pm

PTI’s Senator Faisal Javed calls for united front on Palestinian cause

PTI Senator Faisal Javed has urged for all of Pakistan to unite for Palestine, adding that the government should promote peaceful protest for the cause.

Addressing the Senate session today, Khan said: “I will give a speech, and then you will give a speech but the need of the hour is that we get out of these speeches and adopt a practical approach. There should be a clear strategy.”

While quoting American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind”, he asked how many deaths would it take for the people to know that too many have died.

“How many ears must one man have before he can hear people cry,” Khan quoted from the song.

Updated 04 Mar, 2024 04:58pm

Omanis boycott Western brands and fast-food chains

Since Israel’s offensive in Gaza began in October, Mohammed Hamed has not touched a drop of his favourite soft drink, Mountain Dew, Middle East Eye reports.

“I used to drink Mountain Dew almost every day, a day would not go without it, but now I have stopped,” he told Middle East Eye.

As an Omani who is committed to boycotting Western goods over the support of the US and its allies for Israel in its operation in Gaza, he now buys Thai drinks and Kinsa, a Saudi drink brand.

He has also changed his shopping habits, and now boycotts Western supermarkets in Oman in solidarity with the Palestinians.

“I have never stepped inside a Carrefour since the war started,” he said, referring to the French hypermarket chain that has three stories in Muscat.

Read more here.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 03:50pm

About 1m cases of infectious diseases detected: Gaza health ministry

The Gaza health ministry has said it has detected about one million cases of infectious diseases, without having the necessary medical capabilities to treat them, as it described the medical situation in the Gaza Strip as “extremely catastrophic”, Al Jazeera reports.

In a statement, the ministry stressed that the Israeli occupation deliberately caused an unspeakable humanitarian and health catastrophe, which contributed to the spread of epidemics and infectious diseases.

The ministry also confirmed that the residents of the northern Gaza Strip are struggling with death as a result of famine that has exceeded global levels due to the scarcity of water and food.

The ministry said that Israel has killed 364 health personnel and arrested 269, including hospital directors, during the 150 days of the aggression on the Gaza Strip.

It added that Israel has destroyed 155 health institutions, put 32 hospitals and 53 health centres out of service, and targeted 126 ambulances.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 03:00pm

Israel carries out biggest Ramallah raid in years, witnesses say

Israeli forces swept into the Palestinians’ administrative capital of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank overnight, killing a 16-year-old in a refugee camp during their biggest raid into the city in years, Palestinian sources have said, Reuters reports.

Witnesses in Ramallah said Israeli forces had driven dozens of military vehicles into the city, which is the headquarters of the Palestinian Authority led by President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Palestinian health ministry said Israeli forces shot and killed 16-year-old Mustafa Abu Shalbak while raiding Am’ari refugee camp.

Palestinian news agency Wafa has said confrontations broke out as Israeli forces stormed the camp, “during which live bullets were fired at Palestinian youths”, wounding Abu Shalbak in the neck and chest.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 02:33pm

Gaza ‘powder keg’ could spark wider conflict: UN rights chief

The conflict between Israel and Hamas is a “powder keg” with the potential to spark broader conflict in the Middle East, UN human rights chief Volker Turk has said, AFP reports.

“The war in Gaza has already generated dangerous spillover in neighbouring countries, and I am deeply concerned that in this powder keg, any spark could lead to a much broader conflagration. This would have implications for every country in the Middle East and many beyond it,” Turk said in his global update to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 02:09pm

Israel demolishes West Bank home of Palestinian accused of attack

Israeli troops blew up the home of a Palestinian accused of killing a British-Israeli woman and her two daughters in the occupied West Bank last year, AFP reports.

The apartment of Moaz al-Masry, who was killed by Israeli forces following the April 7 attack, was demolished in the early hours, Palestinian witnesses told AFP.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said their medics treated about 15 people after Israeli forces fired tear gas during the raid on the West Bank city of Nablus.

Masry, along with two other attackers, was accused of shooting dead Israeli settler Leah Dee and her daughters Maia and Rina as they were driving near Hamra in the Jordan Valley.

Following a manhunt, the assailants were killed in a military raid on Nablus in May.

Troops overnight into Monday stormed the Al-Makhfiya neighbourhood in Nablus and surrounded Masry’s house, a witness told AFP. The Red Crescent told AFP they had evacuated multiple residents, including children, from the building housing Masry’s apartment.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 01:01pm

‘Significant progress’ in Cairo talks for Gaza truce: report

Mediators and Hamas envoys have made “significant progress” towards a Gaza truce, Egyptian state-linked TV reported as the talks in Cairo entered a second day, AFP reports.

Al-Qahera News, linked to Egypt’s intelligence services, quoted an unnamed senior official as saying: “Egypt continues its intense efforts to reach a truce before Ramadan”, the Muslim fasting month which begins on March 10 or 11.

“There has been significant progress in the negotiations,” the report said after the latest talks began Sunday in Cairo, without Israeli representation.

According to a senior US official, Israel has broadly accepted terms of the proposed six-week truce, which would also see stepped-up aid deliveries into Gaza.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 11:36am

Famine in Gaza deepening, aid airdrop ‘ineffective’, says media office

The famine in Gaza is deepening and airdrops of humanitarian aid are “ineffective,” the Palestinian enclave’s media office has said, TRT World reports.

The office said on Sunday in a statement on Telegram that “2.4 million people suffer from severe food shortages and famine is deepening further in Gaza and the north.”

It said the famine “is worsening in the northern and Gaza governorates, where so far 15 children have succumbed to hunger, malnutrition and dehydration” and this “threatens the lives of more than 700,000 Palestinian citizens suffering from extreme hunger.”

The media office pointed out that “dropping aid by air and turning a blind eye to bringing it in through the crossings is an attempt to circumvent the radical solutions to the problem.”

Read the full story here

Published 04 Mar, 2024 10:47am

Israeli military arrests at least 10 people in West Bank town of Dura

The Israeli military has stormed the town of Dura, south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank and arrested at least 10 people, Al Jazeera reports, citing Wafa news agency reports.

All of the men were former Palestinian detainees, according to Wafa.

Al Jazeera Arabic is also reporting that Israeli forces have carried out an arrest campaign in the Al-Amari camp, south of Ramallah. It is not known how many people have been arrested.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 10:00am

Blinken reiterates call for more aid into Gaza

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken says Washington is trying to get more humanitarian assistance into Gaza through “every available channel”.

“It is imperative that we expand the flow of aid into Gaza to alleviate the dire humanitarian situation,” the US’s top diplomat said in a post on X.

“People urgently need more food, water, and other assistance. That’s why the US is working to get more aid in through every available channel, including air drops.”

Published 04 Mar, 2024 08:45am

Top members of Israeli military’s Spokesperson’s Unit resign: report

Senior members of the Israeli military’s Spokesperson’s Unit have resigned, including high-ranking spokesperson Daniel Hagari, Al Jazeera reports, citing Israel’s Channel 14.

Also among the resignations are Richard Hecht, the international spokesperson for the Israeli military.

It has not been announced how many officials have left the unit, formerly led by Hagari, but Channel 14 described the large number of resignations at once during wartime as “unusual”.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 08:13am

Netanyahu had ‘tough talk’ with Gantz over US trip: report

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rebuked Benny Gantz over the rival politician’s trip to Washington, DC, according to The Associated Press news agency.

The visit by Gantz, who joined Netanyahu’s wartime Cabinet following Hamas’s October 7 attack, comes as frictions between the US and Netanyahu rise over Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.

An official from Netanyahu’s far-right Likud party told the AP that Gantz’s trip was planned without authorisation from the Israeli leader.

The official, who spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity, said Netanyahu had a “tough talk” with Gantz and told him the country has “just one prime minister”.

Published 04 Mar, 2024 07:44am

US vice president calls for ‘immediate ceasefire’ in Gaza

US Vice President Kamala Harris called for a proposed six-week ceasefire deal in the Israel-Hamas conflict to be accepted, while criticizing Israel over insufficient aid deliveries into Gaza, AFP reports.

“Given the immense scale of suffering in Gaza, there must be an immediate ceasefire for at least the next six weeks, which is what is currently on the table,” Harris said during a speech in Selma, Alabama.

Her comments were the strongest to date by a US administration official on Israel, as President Joe Biden comes under acute pressure over his support for Israel and the civilian death toll in Gaza soars.

A senior US official said Saturday that Israel had broadly accepted the deal, which would see a six-week cessation of hostilities if Hamas agrees to release the most vulnerable hostages it holds.

The deal “will get the hostages out and get a significant amount of aid in,” Harris said, calling on Hamas to accept the deal.

“Hamas claims it wants a ceasefire. Well, there is a deal on the table. And as we have said, Hamas needs to agree to that deal.”

In unusually strong language, Harris called on the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to take steps to increase aid into Gaza. “The Israeli government must do more to significantly increase the flow of aid. No excuses,” Harris said.

She added that Israel “must open new border crossings” and “must not impose any unnecessary restrictions on the delivery of aid.”

Published 03 Mar, 2024 09:18pm

Iran’s president discusses Gaza with Algerian counterpart: Algeria’s presidency

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raisi has discussed bilateral relations, energy cooperation, trade and Gaza with Algeria’s leader Abdelmadjid Tebboune in a one-day state visit, Algeria’s presidency says according to Reuters.

Algeria, a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, backs the Palestinian cause and has called several times for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

Published 03 Mar, 2024 08:30pm

Israel to revise Eurovision entries said to allude to Hamas attack

Israel has said that it asked lyricists to revise its proposed Eurovision Song Contest entries, potentially heading off a dispute with organisers over political content, AFP reports.

Authorities last week said Israel would not be able to participate in this year’s edition of the popular competition if organisers rejected the song choice, which reportedly referenced victims of Hamas’s October 7 attack on southern Israel.

Eurovision rules ban political content. This year’s competition is set to be held in Sweden in May.

In a statement on Sunday, Israeli public broadcaster Kan said President Isaac Herzog had called for “necessary adjustments” that would ensure Israel’s inclusion in the event, which it has won four times.

The Israeli broadcaster “contacted the lyricists of the two selected songs, ‘October Rain’ which was chosen in first place, and ‘Dance Forever’ which came in second place, and asked them to readapt the texts, while preserving their artistic freedom”, the statement said.

“Among the new texts that will be proposed, Kan will choose the song that will be sent to the Eurovision supervisory committee, so that it approves Israel’s participation in the competition.”

The selected song, to be performed by 20-year-old Russian-Israeli singer Eden Golan, will be revealed on March 10, the statement said.

One line from the original lyrics of “October Rain” read: “They were all good children, every one of them.” “There is no air left to breathe, There is no place for me,” the song ends, according to Kan, which has published the lyrics in full on its website.

Published 03 Mar, 2024 07:57pm

Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas to visit Turkey next week

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas will visit Turkey next week for talks about the Gaza conflict and reconciliation efforts between Palestinian factions, the Turkish foreign minister has said, AFP reports.

Egypt, Qatar, and the United States have mediated in weeks of talks to secure a truce by the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramazan in a week.

Turkey’s Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said: “There is a serious desire and effort to reach a ceasefire before Ramadan,” in closing remarks to an annual diplomacy forum in the Mediterranean holiday resort of Antalya.

Fidan confirmed that Abbas would visit the Turkish capital Ankara on Tuesday at the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a vocal advocate of the Palestinian cause.

Both leaders would discuss “the developments in Palestine, the current course of the war as well as the intra-Palestinian” dialogue, Fidan said.

Published 03 Mar, 2024 07:00pm

Number of Palestinians arrested in occupied West Bank rises to 7,340

The Palestinian Prisoners’ Club announced that the total number of Palestinians arrested by Israel since October 7 in the occupied West Bank has reached 7,340, Al Jazeera reports.

Palestinian cities, towns and villages have been subjected to nightly raids that are oftentimes accompanied by widespread abuse, severe beatings, and threats against detainees and their families, in addition to widespread sabotage and the destruction of their homes.

Published 03 Mar, 2024 06:30pm

Italian warship downs drone in Red Sea

An Italian navy destroyer shotdown a drone that was approaching it in the Red Sea, where Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels are attacking shipping, the defence ministry has said, AFP reports.

“In accordance with the principle of legitimate defence, the ship Duilio shot down a drone in the Red Sea” on Saturday, the ministry said in a statement.

“The drone, bearing similar features to those already used in previous attacks, was located six kilometres from the Italian ship and was flying towards it,” it added.

Italy has pledged to take command of a separate EU naval force in the Red Sea, but parliament must first approve the move and the formal procedures have advanced slowly.