Palestinians Stand Firm Against Israeli Plans

The steadfast resistance of the sons and daughters of the Palestinian people, both within their homeland and scattered across the diaspora, stands as a resolute rejection of any nefarious Israeli plans to displace Palestinians. The proposed schemes include relocating them from Gaza to Egypt or from the West Bank to Jordan, actions that are feared to fragment the Palestinian cause—a cause that Israel actively seeks to obliterate, disregarding any rights of Palestinians to establish their independent state.

Israel’s longstanding strategy to rid itself of Palestinian residents in Gaza and the West Bank involves coercive displacement beyond Palestinian territories. This aligns with malicious Israeli plans to annex the remaining Palestinian lands, facilitated by the continuous expansion of settlements orchestrated by the Israeli occupation war government.

The Zionist entity’s objective of expelling Palestinians approaches what can be described as a form of ethnic cleansing, a practice condemned by international law and norms. The occupation army presents the Palestinian people with a harrowing choice: either endure a committed Holocaust or leave their ancestral land. This choice reflects the occupation’s intent to purge Gaza of its inhabitants, making way for more settlers and reinforcing the area with additional fortifications and security measures.

In a resolute stand against Israel’s occupation strategies, Palestinian officials have unequivocally rejected plans to uproot the people of Gaza from their homes and expel them from the region. This counters Israel’s objective of depopulating Gaza, a scheme actively pursued by ministers in the right-wing government governing the occupied territories. Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas’s political bureau, made it clear that there would be no migration of Palestinians from Gaza to Egypt. He commended Egypt’s firm rejection of migration, resettlement, and displacement, underscoring Egypt’s role as a hospitable refuge for Palestinians.

Highlighting the recent Al-Aqsa Flood operation, Haniyeh emphasized that the Israeli occupation faced a strategic setback. Accusing Israel of perpetrating massacres and genocide, he pointed out the regime’s attempts to displace Gaza’s residents after its military forces failed to confront Palestinian factions. Haniyeh highlighted the international support these Israeli actions receive, singling out backing from the United States and certain European countries. This, he argued, exposes the glaring double standards and hypocrisy in play. The Palestinian street’s discourse rejecting the displacement of citizens from Gaza to Egypt aligns with the will of the Palestinian people and other Arab nations. Palestinians choose not to leave their land, homes, and livelihoods, affirming their commitment to live or sacrifice on their soil, avoiding a repetition of the Nakba scenario that occurred in 1948.

Leaving Gaza would mean ending the Palestinian cause, disregarding the substantial sacrifices of th thousands of martyrs who died for Palestinian freedom. In the tapestry of the Palestinian narrative, a new slogan emerges: “One Nakba is enough.” These words, articulated by writer Abdulnaser Salama, encapsulate the resilience and determination echoing through the decades of political and armed struggles in the region.

The Nakba of 1948, a pivotal moment marked by displacement and migration, unfolded either within the confines of Palestinian territories or towards neighbouring countries. Now, after 75 years, this historic catastrophe has left an indelible mark on the Palestinian experience, resulting in dispersal and diaspora, all against the backdrop of a world seemingly devoid of a global conscience.

As events continue to unfold, particularly in the tumultuous landscape of Gaza, it becomes apparent that the collective understanding of the Palestinian psyche remains elusive to the West and Israelis alike. Salama contends that the intricacies of Palestinian psychology and religiosity are yet to be comprehended fully, a void that persists despite ongoing political developments.

One poignant aspect Salama highlights is Israel’s failure to recognize the historical mistake embedded in accepting the land of Palestine for the establishment of a Jewish state. This oversight, he suggests, forms a crucial element in the protracted Palestinian struggle, emphasizing the significance of acknowledging past missteps for a more informed future. Salama adds depth to the narrative by framing the Palestinian cause not merely as a political or military endeavour but as the longest liberation war in history. Driven by psychological, religious, and historical imperatives, this protracted conflict surpasses conventional political theories and military calculations.

The recent Al-Aqsa Flood operation stands as a testament to the resilience of Palestinian youth, inscribing a powerful chapter in the 75-year saga of struggle. Salama argues that these ground-level expressions of resilience should prompt a reconsideration not only within the West but also within the United States. The challenge, he suggests, lies in approaching the Palestinian issue and its multifaceted personality with a holistic perspective that transcends geopolitical divides.

“One Nakba is enough” echoes not just as a slogan but as a poignant call for reflection, challenging the global community to engage with the Palestinian narrative in its entirety, with due consideration for the complexities that define this enduring struggle.

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Gaza’s Desperate Plight: Humanitarian Crisis Deepens Amid Israeli Occupation Aggression

Salamah Marouf, Head of the Government Information Office in Gaza, stated that Israel’s occupation is waging a war of starvation on the besieged population of the Gaza Strip, indiscriminately affecting residents in the north and south alike. Marouf warned that signs of malnutrition and dehydration are emerging among children in Gaza. He noted that the aid entering the Gaza Strip so far is equivalent to what used to enter in a single day before the Israeli occupation aggression, emphasizing that these aid shipments do not meet the real and urgent needs of the people.

Water and Electricity

In Beirut, Hamas leader Basem Naeem stated that potable water in Gaza is now over 90% scarce. Naeem, in a joint press conference with the movement’s representative in Lebanon, Osama Hamdan, added that Gaza residents often resort to seawater, leading to health issues. He accused the Israeli occupation of intentionally cutting off water to the Gaza Strip, a crime against humanity. He expressed shame on the international community for allowing the occupation to use water as leverage against Gaza’s residents. Naeem also mentioned that Gazans are facing a crisis in securing bread due to the occupation’s bombardment of bakeries.

He accused the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) of collusion with Israel by neglecting its established role in international law, calling on the global community and the United Nations not to succumb to the occupier’s will. Naeem highlighted that 2% of Gaza’s population has become either martyrs, wounded, or missing.

Jalal Ismail, the head of the Palestinian Energy Authority in Gaza, stated that 70% of the electricity distribution networks in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed due to the ongoing Israeli occupation aggression. Ismail added that the losses in the electricity sector in Gaza are estimated at over $80 million.

Hospital Shutdowns

The hospitals in the Gaza Strip continue to suffer from a complete absence of fuel, further exacerbating the humanitarian crisis. The Director-General of Hospitals in the Gaza Strip, Dr. Mohammed Zakout, has issued a stark warning, emphasizing the dire situation in the region. Specifically, he highlighted the imminent risk to children’s lives due to the forced evacuation of hospitals, notably the Rantisi and Al-Awda Hospitals. Moreover, he underscored the alarming lack of a safe space at the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, making it impossible to access the bodies of the martyrs.

He also mentioned that critical issues, including the hazardous accumulation of garbage and medical waste, a shortage of water, and persistent power outages, pose a severe threat to everyone’s well-being. He mentioned that approximately 1,500 displaced individuals in the Al-Shifa Medical Complex are in immediate danger. Urgently, a plea is made to the Egyptian authorities to organize an ambulance convoy for the transportation of 650 patients without adhering to the current bureaucratic mechanisms. Meanwhile,

Destruction of Housing Units

In another development, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of expression, Irene Khan, revealed that Israeli occupation attacks on Gaza have resulted in the destruction or damage of 45% of all housing units in the Gaza Strip. Khan added that this has led to the internal displacement of 1.5 million people and the death of over 10,000.

The UN official described the destruction of civilian homes and infrastructure in Gaza as an international war crime. Irene Khan called on the world to act immediately to end the widespread attacks on civilian homes and infrastructure in Gaza, which have incurred a high cost in lives.

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Gaza’s Humanitarian Crisis Deepens as Casualties Mount and Healthcare System Struggles

The Ministry of Health in Gaza stated that the toll of the Israeli occupation aggression on the Gaza Strip reached 11,451 martyrs, with 80% of them being women, children, and the elderly. The Ministry affirmed that the occupation forces deliberately terrorized the healthcare system in Gaza and its workers, warning of a major health catastrophe shortly.

The government media office in Gaza reported on Tuesday, November 14, 2023, that 25 hospitals and 52 health centres were out of service as a result of the Israeli occupation aggression. Moreover, the Israeli occupation killed 202 health personnel and 36 civil defence personnel, in addition to wounding more than 200 health personnel. More than 60 ambulances were attacked, 55 of which were damaged and put out of service.

The Director of Al-Shifa Medical Complex, Mihammad Abu Salmiya, has asserted that dozens of martyrs have been buried in a mass grave on the hospital grounds due to the continued Israeli occupation siege and aggression on the Strip for the 39th day. Abu Salmia said that at least 179 bodies were buried in a mass grave at the hospital yesterday, explaining that among them were 7 children who died due to power outages.

Thousands of patients require life-saving medical care, including those in need of dialysis, advanced cancer treatment, insulin for diabetic patients, and over 50,000 pregnant women facing challenges in accessing healthcare.

With the ongoing power outage and fuel shortages, all sectors, especially the healthcare sector, are on the verge of collapse, tantamount to a death sentence for the wounded and sick. The scarcity of drinking water, unavailability of personal care supplies, and the deterioration of parts of the sewage system led to the spread of infectious diseases, signaling an impending health catastrophe, especially with the continuous blockade of water and medicine.

The Ministry of Health in Gaza has declared the collapse of the healthcare system due to the acute shortage of medical supplies, their prevention from reaching Gaza, and the depletion of healthcare supplies and medications. Hospitals cannot admit any more patients or wounded due to the lack of resources and beds, reaching a point where surgeries are performed by the light of mobile phones and without anesthesia, creating a tragic situation beyond human imagination.

Despite the psychological and physical pressures and the lack of resources, medical and healthcare professionals continue to provide their services, resorting to prioritization in treatment due to the catastrophic conditions. Hence, the Ministry of Health in Gaza has called upon the retired medical staff to join the workforce due to the shortage of personnel immediately, the increasing numbers of wounded and sick, and the difficulties in accessing treatment areas due to roads destroyed by bombings.

Thousands of Palestinian displaced families who had been sheltering at Al-Shifa, along with patients and wounded who were not able to move or escape, had been trapped inside the hospital under heavy bombing and shootings by the Israeli occupation troops surrounding the hospital.

The Israeli occupation forces last night raided Al-Shifa Hospitals, firing smoke bombs into the emergency department before carrying out armed military intrusion. Doctors said not a single shot was fired from within the medical complex, but they heard Israeli forces shooting into it everywhere. So far, it’s unclear if or how many people were killed or injured in the raid, as communications channels were blocked as it was taking place.

These heinous crimes of the Israeli occupation’s ongoing aggression, including the deliberate targeting of medical facilities, are blatant violations of international humanitarian law, ethical values, and principles that cannot be ignored or tolerated.

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Before al-Aqsa Flood “Taufan” : A Year of Israeli Occupation Crimes Against Palestinians

Western leaders who visited “Tel Aviv” after the Al-Aqsa Flood operation on October 7th expressed complete support for the Israeli occupation, aligning with its narrative. Their positions were solely based on the immediate outcomes of the military and political attack, disregarding the deeper conflict history and the nature of the Israeli occupation. This operation, part of a longstanding pattern of brutal aggressions predominantly initiated by the Israeli occupation, embarrassed the Israeli occupation government and army led by Benjamin Netanyahu. The leaders’ limited perspective resulted in unconditional support for the Israel occupation, even amidst its massacres and mass killings in the besieged Gaza Strip, with only occasional remarks urging more caution in targeting operations.

The responses of Western leaders visiting “Tel Aviv” after the Al-Aqsa Flood operation suggest a reduction of Israeli occupation’s actions to mere reactions, isolating the event from its historical context in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and framing it as an “unjustified and unethical” assault. This viewpoint deliberately separates the West Bank and Gaza, reinforcing the notion that Gaza is detached from the broader conflict, aligning with the Israeli occupation narrative. The Al-Aqsa Flood operation, sparked by the occupation’s continuous violations of international decisions and provocative policies, unfolded in 2023 under Benjamin Netanyahu’s government, resulting in over 180 Palestinian casualties in the West Bank.

The Israeli Extreme and Provocative Government

The current Israeli occupation government, led by Netanyahu since December 2022, is comprised of six right-wing parties, including Likud, Shas, Jewish Home, Yamina, Religious Zionism, and Jewish Power. Described by Western, Arab, and Israeli occupation media as the “most extreme in Israel’s history,” this coalition marked the return of religious parties to the political scene. Even before becoming the Minister of National Security in Netanyahu’s government, right-wing extremist Itamar Ben Gvir brandished a gun in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, amid clashes between Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces, accompanied by his supporters. Escalations in the West Bank, al-Quds, and Gaza have surged since the formation of Netanyahu’s government, resulting in record numbers of Palestinian casualties, desecration of their sanctities, assaults on women, and the destruction of towns and wells.

In the first half of 2023 alone, Israeli occupation forces killed over 220 Palestinians, including around 40 children and 11 women. Human Rights Watch highlighted routine unlawful killings of Palestinian children by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF), demanding an end to the routine and illegal use of lethal force. Regarding Palestinian prisoners, Israeli occupation authorities issued over 2600 administrative detention orders since early 2023, with around 5200 Palestinian prisoners, including 36 women and about 170 children. In September 2023, Ben Gvir reduced family visits for some Palestinian prisoners from once a month to every two months, part of a series of punitive measures against prisoners. Additionally, in August 2023, the Israeli Minister of National Security called for arming more Israelis in response to Palestinian gunfire in the West Bank.

As for the Finance Minister, Bezalel Smotrich, who had his visits to Washington and Paris boycotted by American and French officials due to his racist and anti-Palestinian statements, he has actively supported settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, residing in the settlement of Kedumim in the northern West Bank. In a 2016 interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, he stated, “If we show an iron fist, there won’t be children throwing stones. Those who throw stones won’t be here… Either shoot them, imprison them, or expel them.” In March 2023, Smotrich called for the “eradication” of the Palestinian town of Hawara following attacks by hundreds of settlers on the town on February 26, 2023, resulting in the killing of a Palestinian and the burning and destruction of dozens of Palestinian homes and cars. These attacks were followed by the killing of Israelis in a shooting on a car near the town, just days after the Israeli army killed 11 Palestinians during its raid on the city of Nablus in the northern West Bank. Smotrich also declared in Paris on February 19 that “there is no such thing as the Palestinian people,” a statement from a government official with an annulment character, unleashing a wave of hatred and deadly attacks.

The Israeli occupation incursions into the Al-Aqsa Mosque increased under the Netanyahu government, fueled by right-wing ministers and protected by the occupation forces. A Palestinian official report stated that around 41,000 Israeli settlers invaded Al-Aqsa Mosque from the beginning of the year until the end of September 2023, resulting in the arrest of 464 residents of al-Quds in the past three months, including 62 children and 32 women, along with 54 house arrest orders.

In the context of the Flag March, also known as the “Flag Dance,” a celebration marking the occupation of East Jerusalem, the Israeli occupation sought to claim ownership of the land, turning the march into a focal point of confrontation with Palestinians. Despite warnings from the resistance factions against “escalating tensions,” Netanyahu and his ministers insisted on holding the march in May last year. Netanyahu stated, “Despite the threats, I ordered the march to take place,” where participants often chant the slogan “Death to Arabs.” To secure the march, the Israeli occupation police deployed 3,200 officers and assaulted Palestinians in the Bab al-Amud area and the Old City. Ben Gvir, participating in the dance, shouted, “al-Quds is ours.”

Settlements Expansion

Israel pledged at least twice to freeze settlements in Palestinian territories this year, but this period witnessed a record rise in illegal settlement activities. The current Israeli occupation government initiated the largest settlement operation since 2012. In the West Bank, Israeli occupation bulldozers work day and night, leading to a surge in illegal settlements. The government approved plans for 12,885 settlement units and published tenders for an additional 1,289 units, bringing the total to over 14,000, according to Israeli Peace Now movement data.

The largest plans include 1,475 units in Ma’ale Adumim near Jerusalem, 1,081 units in Eili north of Ramallah, and 350 units in Alkana near Nablus. Reports indicate that 506,000 settlers are in the West Bank, and 230,000 in East Jerusalem. The displacement of these settlers is considered ethno-religious cleansing and is deemed impossible from a Jewish perspective. In international reactions, a statement by the “Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory” issued at the end of September stated that Israel has violated and continues to violate the Palestinians’ right to self-determination through long-term occupation, settlement, and annexation since 1967. The committee emphasized that Israel’s 56-year-long occupation is illegal under international law, and the consequences of these illegal actions warrant legal repercussions for Israel to end “unlawful international conduct.”

Another UN report stated that many Palestinians left their communities due to settler violence, calling on Israel to stop settlement activities and dismantle settlement outposts. In 2022, over 1,100 Palestinians were displaced from 28 communities due to escalating settler violence. Israeli authorities also issued demolition orders affecting 200 homes and structures near Jericho and others near Nablus. The settlement project east of Jerusalem, based on the green light given by the Israeli occupation Supreme Court years ago, includes the demolition and evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar. Minister Ben Gvir has repeatedly called for the demolition of the Bedouin community, claiming it was built without a permit.

The name of Khan al-Ahmar returned to the forefront recently with the arrest by Israeli occupation police of two girls defending their younger brother (8 years old) from an attack by a settler. This incident shed light once again on the suffering of Bedouin communities east of Jerusalem, living in an area of extreme sensitivity completely controlled by Israeli occupation authorities. The settlers continuously harass them in an attempt to evict them. Inside the 1948 occupied territories, Israeli occupation authorities demolished the village of Al-Araqeeb in the Negev (south) 222 times in 13 years. Each time, the residents rebuild the village after its demolition. Israel has also demolished homes and structures in the West Bank, issuing demolition orders affecting 200 homes and structures near Jericho and others near Nablus.

Without going back to past years and the factors of frustration, despair, and anger they left in the hearts of Palestinians, the toll of just one year of Israeli occupation violations alone was enough to serve as the catalyst that triggered reactions. It was one of the waves that turned the “Al-Aqsa Flood” into an anticipated battle, where the only change was the element of surprise, and the Israeli occupation suffered losses that were not taken into account.

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Israel’s Use of White Phosphorus: Internationally Banned Weapons and Civilian Risks

Human Rights Watch stated, in conjunction with the release of a document on white phosphorus, that Israel’s use of white phosphorus in military operations in Gaza and Lebanon poses a serious and long-term risk to civilians. Human Rights Watch examined videos taken in Lebanon and Gaza on October 10 and 11, 2023, respectively, showing multiple airbursts of white phosphorus artillery over the port of Gaza City and two locations along the Palestinian-Lebanese border. They conducted interviews with individuals who described the attack on Gaza.

White phosphorus, which can be used for marking, signalling, obscuring vision, or as a weapon to ignite fires that burn people and objects, has a wide-reaching impact, causing severe burns and long-lasting suffering. Its illegal and indiscriminate use in urban areas with high population density, as seen in Gaza, exacerbates the risks faced by civilians and violates the prohibition imposed by international humanitarian law on unnecessary civilian harm.

According to Lama Fakih, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, “Each time it is used in densely populated areas, white phosphorus poses a significant risk of causing painful burns and lifelong suffering. When white phosphorus is illegally airburst in populated urban areas, it can burn homes and cause serious harm to civilians.”

On October 11, Human Rights Watch conducted a phone interview with two individuals from the port area in Gaza City who described witnessing strikes consistent with the use of white phosphorus. One of them was in the street at the time, while the other was in a nearby administrative building. Both described continuous air raids before seeing explosions in the sky, followed by what they described as white lines descending to the ground. They estimated that the attack occurred between 11:30 AM and 1 PM. They both described a choking smell. The person in his office said the smell was so strong that he went to the window to see what was happening and filmed the strike.

Human Rights Watch reviewed the videos and confirmed that they were filmed in the port of Gaza City and identified the munitions used in the airstrike as 155mm artillery white phosphorus shells that airburst. Other videos posted on social media and verified by Human Rights Watch show the same location. Dense white smoke and a strong garlic-like odour are characteristics of white phosphorus.

Human Rights Watch also reviewed two video clips dated October 10 from two locations near the Palestinian-Lebanese border. Both show airburst 155mm artillery white phosphorus shells used apparently as smoke screens, signals, or markers.

White phosphorus ignites upon contact with atmospheric oxygen and continues to burn until deprived of oxygen or consumed. Its chemical reaction can generate intense heat (about 815 degrees Celsius), light, and smoke.

Upon contact, white phosphorus can burn people thermally and chemically, even reaching the bone because it is highly soluble in fat and, therefore, in human flesh. White phosphorus fragments can worsen wounds even after treatment and can enter the bloodstream, causing multiple organ failure. Burns previously dressed can reignite when dressings are removed, and wounds are re-exposed to oxygen. Even relatively minor burns can be deadly. For survivors, extensive scarring can tighten muscular tissue and cause physical disabilities. The shock of the attack, the painful treatment that follows, and the changing appearance of scars can lead to psychological trauma and social exclusion.

Human Rights Watch stated that Israel’s use of white phosphorus in densely populated areas in Gaza violates the duty to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian harm, as stipulated by international humanitarian law. This concern is exacerbated by the technology shown in videos of airburst white phosphorus shells. The explosion of airburst white phosphorus shells scatters 116 burning fragments soaked in the substance across an area with a diameter ranging from 125 to 250 meters, depending on the height of the explosion, thereby exposing more civilians and civilian structures to potential damage compared to ground-based localized explosions.

Israel’s use of white phosphorus comes amid a brutal aggression on the Gaza Strip since October 7, killing more than 8,000 martyrs, including 3,324 children, 2,062 women, and 460 elderly, in Israeli barbaric airstrikes. Additionally, 20,242 civilians were injured to varying degrees. Israeli occupation forces cut off electricity, water, fuel, food, and internet access to Gaza, in violation of the prohibition imposed by international humanitarian law on collective punishment, worsening the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza under more than 16 years of Israel’s suffocating siege.

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