Sunday, February 4, 2024

In the West Bank, Israeli settlers block a road between Ramallah and Nablus with burning tires. Israeli forces dressed as Palestinians raid Balata refugee camp, injuring 3 Palestinians, including a 4-year-old who is bitten by a dog and the 2 others with live ammunition. Israeli forces also shoot and injure a Palestinian man during a raid in Sarra. Elsewhere, Israeli forces raid Shu’fat refugee camp, injuring a Palestinian with a baton round. Israeli forces also raid Ramin, demolishing a monument erected to commemorate Palestinians killed by Israeli forces. Meanwhile, Israeli forces arrest 14 Palestinians during late-night raids in and around Qalqilya, Nablus, Tulkarm, Ramallah, and Jenin. In Gaza, Israeli forces bomb Khan Yunis, Rafah, Gaza City, Dayr al-Balah, and Nuseirat refugee camp, killing at least 127 people, including at least 30 in strikes on homes in Dayr al-Balah. In Lebanon, Hezbollah says it has attacked 6 sites in Israel, including 2 buildings in Manara. In Yemen, U.S. and UK forces bomb Hodeidah and Saada. (AJ, HA, NYT, NYT, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA, WAFA 2/4; UNOCHA, WAFA 2/5)

More than 27,365 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including at least 11,500 children and 7,200 women, and around 66,630 have been injured since 10/7. At least 8,000 people are missing in rubble, including 1,700 children. 374 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 10/7, including 94 children. More than 4,408 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, 223 Israeli soldiers have been killed and 1,296 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. 207 trucks carrying aid enter Gaza via the Rafah and Karem Abu Salem (Kerem Shalom) crossings. The Jordanian and Dutch air forces drop aid near the Jordanian Field Hospital. (AJ, UNOCHA, WAFA 2/4; UNOCHA 2/5)

PA president Mahmoud Abbas meets with UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Tor Wennesland in Ramallah. (WAFA 2/4)

The Israeli military’s psychological warfare unit acknowledges that it runs the Telegram channel 72 Virgins – Uncensored, on which graphic and incendiary content is posted about killings of Palestinians and the destruction of homes in Gaza. (HA 2/4)

The Israeli housing ministry publishes a tender for the construction of 62 housing units in the Efrat settlement south of Bethlehem. The Israeli government also approves the continued funding of settlement farming outposts. (AJ, PCN, PCN 2/5)

The Israeli government extends the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law for a year, barring Palestinians married to Israelis from obtaining Israeli citizenship. The government also says it plans to hire 65,000 construction workers from India, Sri Lanka, and Uzbekistan to replace the 72,000 Palestinians employed at construction sites before 10/7/2023. Foreign Minister Israel Katz says UNRWA “perpetuates the false narrative of Palestinian ‘refugees’ needing to return to Israel. We are actively working to disengage UNRWA from Gaza.” National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir tells the Wall Street Journal that the Biden administration “is busy giving humanitarian aid and fuel” to Gaza instead “of giving us his full backing.” Ben-Gvir also says he encourages Palestinians in Gaza to “emigrate to places around the world.” The High Court of Justice rejects a petition to recuse Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from office. (AJ, AP, HA, HA, HA, HA, HA, REU, WSJ 2/4; HA 2/5)

U.S. national security advisor Jake Sullivan says “[a]t this point, it is up to Hamas to come forward and respond to a serious [ceasefire] proposal, and we will continue to press Qatar and Egypt to try and generate a positive response.” (HA, HA 2/4; HA 2/5)

The U.S. Senate publishes a new proposal for a bill to provide aid to Ukraine, Taiwan, and Israel, earmarking $14.1 billion to Israel and $10 billion in humanitarian aid for civilians in Gaza and the West Bank, stipulating that no funds can go to UNRWA. The House has proposed a standalone bill for Israel to avoid funding Ukraine and Taiwan. State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel says bill would prevent the U.S. from funding UNRWA and the U.S. would instead divert funds to “other partners.” (AJ, HA, HA, NYT, NYT 2/5)

UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini tells the Financial Times that Israel has not provided evidence to back its claim that 12 UNRWA staffers were involved in Operation Al-Aqsa Flood. EU high commissioner of foreign affairs Josep Borell calls the suspension of funding for UNRWA “disproportionate and dangerous.” Haaretz reports that Israel’s Bank Luemi has notified UNRWA that it will block the agency’s bank account due to “tangible suspicions it is transferring funds to terror groups in Gaza.” The bank also suspends the account of 1 of the settlers sanctioned by the U.S. on 2/1. (AJ, HA, HA, HA, REU, WAFA 2/4; REU 2/5)

Canadian foreign minister Melanie Joly says Canada will sanction some Israeli settlers and place new sanctions on Hamas leaders. (AJ, REU, WAFA 2/4)