Friday, January 26, 2024

In the West Bank, Israeli forces assault 4 Palestinians, including a medic, during a raid in Fahma. Israeli forces deliver demolition notices for 11 residential and agricultural structures in the Abu Nawar Bedouin community near ‘Anata. In East Jerusalem, Israeli forces prevent Palestinians from reaching the Haram al-Sharif compound. In Gaza, Israeli forces bomb Rafah, Khan Yunis, Jabalia refugee camp, Beit Lahiya, and Nuseirat refugee camp, killing at least 183 people. Israeli forces also open fire at Palestinians fleeing from Khan Yunis to Rafah and fire tank shells at al-Amal Hospital. The Nasser Hospital in Khan Yunis suffers a complete electricity blackout as it is besieged by Israeli forces for the fifth day in a row. In Lebanon, Israeli forces strike Bayt Lif and Deir Aames, killing 2 people and injuring 4 in Bayt Lif. Hezbollah says it attacked 2 Israeli bases near the Blue Line. In the Red Sea, the Houthi movement says its forces attacked a UK-owned oil tanker.  (AJ, AP, AP, HA, UNOCHA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/26)

More than 26,083 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 10,600 children and 7,200 women, and around 64,110 have been injured since 10/7. At least 7,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 365 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 92 children. More than 4,354 people have been injured. Israel reports that 1,139 Israelis and foreign nationals have been killed and 5,400 have been injured in Israel since 10/7, including Israeli soldiers. In addition, 219 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,269 injured in Gaza since the ground invasion began on 10/27. Over 1.93 million Palestinians, nearly 85% of the population of Gaza, have been displaced since 10/7. There has been a complete electricity blackout in Gaza since 10/12 due to the Israeli blockade. At least 70,000 housing units have been destroyed and 290,000 have been damaged in Israeli airstrikes since 10/7, constituting over 60% of all housing units. 68 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza via the Rafah crossing. Israelis block the Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossing for the third day in a row, forcing aid trucks to reroute to Egypt. The UN says the assessment mission to northern Gaza, announced by U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken on 1/9, has not been carried out. (AJ, UNOCHA, UNOCHA 1/26; AJ 1/27)

Israel orders Palestinians in several neighborhoods of Khan Yunis to flee to al-Mawasi. (AJ 1/26)

The ICJ rules that there is a basis to further investigate the South African genocide case against Israel and that the ICJ has jurisdiction to hear the case. The court issues 6 provisional measures: 1) Israel must take all possible measures to prevent acts as outlined in Article 2 of the Genocide Convention, including not killing members of a particular group [Palestinians], not causing physical or psychological harm to members of that group, not inflicting living conditions which are calculated to bring about the end of the existence of a people, and not carrying out acts to precent the births within the group. 2) Israel must ensure its military does not carry out any of the actions outlined in measure 1. 3) Israel must prevent and punish incitement to commit genocide. 4) Israel must ensure the delivery of basic services and essential humanitarian aid. 5) Israel must prevent the destruction of evidence of war crimes and allow fact-finding missions access. 6) Israel must submit a report on all steps taken to abide by the measures within 1 month. 4 of the orders are approved by 15 of the 17 judges, while 2 of the measures are approved by 16 of the 17 judges. The only judge to vote against all measures is Judge Julia Sebutinde of Uganda. Aharon Barak, the judge representing Israel, votes for measures 3 and 4. The measures issued by the court fall short of South Africa’s demand for a ceasefire. Hamas welcomes the ICJ orders and calls on the international community to force Israel to implement the decisions. PA ambassador to the UN Riyad Mansour calls the measures against Israel “historic.” South Africa calls the ruling a “decisive victory.” Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu instructs his ministers not to comment on the ICJ decision and calls the ruling “outrageous.” The U.S. State Department says the ICJ did not “make a finding about genocide” despite the court specifically saying that it is continuing its trial of Israel on charges of genocide. Saudi Arabia, Iran, Malaysia, Qatar, Spain, Ireland, Scotland, Belgium, and the AU welcome the ICJ ruling. Turkey and Egypt express disappointment that the court did not call for a ceasefire. (AP, NYT 1/25; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, AP, AP, AX, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, REU, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/26; AJ, AJ, AJ, AJ, HA, HA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/27; AJ, AP, HA, HA, HA, HA 1/28; HA 1/29)

PLO secretary-general Hussein al-Sheikh calls on the international community and the UN Security Council to stop Israeli efforts to create a new buffer zone in Israel, saying Israel is razing homes and agricultural lands in 20% of Gaza. (AJ, WAFA 1/26)

Israel alleges that 12 UNRWA employees took part in or aided the attack on 10/7/2023 based on Shin Bet interrogations of Palestinian detainees and phone tracking. UNRWA announces an investigation and says it has terminated the contracts of the 9 of the staffers, with further investigations into 2 other staffers. 1 staff has been killed. The U.S., Germany, the Netherlands, Canada, Finland, Australia, Italy, and the UK say they have paused additional funding to UNRWA while they are reviewing the allegations and UN’s steps to address them. The PA calls on the countries that suspended funding to reverse their decisions. Scottish first minister Humza Yousaf calls the suspension of funding for UNRWA collective punishment. UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini calls the aid suspensions “shocking,” saying they are based on the “alleged behavior of a few individuals.” Ireland and Norway express support for UNRWA. (AJ, AJ, AP, AX, HA, HA, NYT, NYT 1/26; AJ, AJ, HA, HA, NYT, NYT, REU, REU, REU, REU, WAFA 1/27; HA, HA, NYT, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 1/28; AP, REU, REU, REU 1/29)

Hamas releases a video of 3 captives who call on the Israeli government to stop the war on Gaza and secure their release, saying other captives held with them have been killed in Israeli airstrikes. (AJ, HA, HA 1/26)

U.S. president Joe Biden speaks with Egyptian president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi and Qatari emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani about another temporary ceasefire in Gaza. National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby says the White House is doing “everything we can to facilitate another hostage deal,” and that National Security Council Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk returns to the U.S. after discussions with Qatar and Egypt. Axios reports that on 1/19 Biden said in a call with Prime Minister Netanyahu that he wants Israel to end its war on Gaza soon. A Biden advisor tells Axios that the White House is concerned about losing young voters who are opposed to Biden’s policy on the war. (AJ, AX, HA 1/26)