The humanitarian crisis in Gaza deepens as we enter the 35th day of the war between Israel and Hamas, while Israeli airstrikes continue as the IDF encircles Gaza City, as do the rocket attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah to Israel.
The shelling of the Palestinian enclave is overwhelming and Israeli forces are moving ever closer to the Gaza Al Shifa and Al Quds Central Hospitals, where thousands of wounded and civilians have taken refuge.
The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry says more than 10,812 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the war.
An executive of the UN World Food Program (WFP) announced today that the 2.3 million residents of Gaza they don’t have enough food and they are facing hunger, a month after Israel’s siege of the enclave began.
Humanitarian aid is trickling into Gaza after the shelling of the densely populated Palestinian enclave began, while United Nations officials have already warned that supplies entering Gaza are not enough to meet the needs of the population.
Gaza sends SOS for humanitarian aid
“Before October 7, 33% of the population was food insecure. Today we can say that this figure has reached 100%,” said Kyung-nan Park, WFP’s director of emergencies. The Program needs $112 million to meet the needs of 1.1 million people in Gaza over the next 90 days. “They face the risk of malnutrition”he said.
In addition to funding, WFP also needs safe and regular access to Gaza for its services to reach people in need.
Since the Rafah border crossing on Gaza’s border with Egypt reopened, the number of trucks passing through is down from 19% of what it was before the war. “Right now 40-50 trucks are coming in every day”Kyung-nan said. “WFP food aid alone would require 100 trucks a day,” explained.
Even WFP staff in Gaza do not have enough food. This UN agency used to work with at least 23 bakeries but only one is still operating as there is no fuel and raw materials. “Stories are told of people who went there, stood in line for ten days and left empty-handed. It is very serious”Kyung-nan said.
Israel to begin four-hour ceasefire, US says
“A step in the right direction” the White House said Israel would begin four-hour ceasefires in northern Gaza starting today, while Joe Biden earlier noted that there is “no chance” of a truce in Gaza, as Netanyahu appears adamant about a more general ceasefire.
THE American president told reporters today that has requested a three-day break in Gaza and a pause longer than that in order to free the hostages held by Hamas.
Asked if he believed there was any chance of a ceasefire, the Democratic president, who has so far opposed that version, said: “No, no chance.”
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the pauses came after discussions between US and Israeli officials in recent days, including of discussions that US President Joe Biden had with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Kirby said that the pauses would allow the world to stay out of the path of evil and to humanitarian aid is distributed and may be used as a way to free hostages.
“The Israelis told us today that there will be no military operations in those areas during the hiatus, and that process begins today,” Kirby said.
“We understand that Israel will begin implementing a four-hour ceasefire in northern Gaza with the announcement being made three hours in advance”, he said. He called the news a step in the right direction.
“We believe that these are important first steps and obviously we want to see them continue for as long as you needi”, he added.
Kirby also said a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas fighters is off the table because it would help Hamas and “legitimize what they did on October 7th, and we’re just not going to support that at this time.”
Protesters outside the billionaire house where Netanyahu lives
Dozens of people, including family members of the hostages, are protesting in front of billionaire Simon Falic’s Jerusalem home, where Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been staying for the past few weeks.
According to a statement from his office, Netanyahu also met on Thursday with families of hostages at the Kirya military base in Tel Aviv and told the families that he has not forgotten the people kidnapped in Gaza.
At the same time, he emphasized that he is doing everything to achieve their release and promised that this project is at the forefront of his mind, according to his office.
Deadliest attack in West Bank since 2005 – At least 18 dead
At least 18 Palestinians were killed today in clashes with the Israeli army in various areas of the occupied West Bank, 14 of them in Jenin, a stronghold of armed groups, according to the Palestinian Authority’s health ministry.
The raid on Jenin is the deadliest operation by Israeli forces in the West Bank since 2005, according to a United Nations count.
According to the ministry, four Palestinians were killed in other areas: one in Balata refugee camp near Nablus, one in Al Amari near Ramallah, one in Dura and one in Beit Fajjar near Hebron. Among the victims was a 15-year-old boy.
In Jenin, the Palestinian Red Crescent reported that one her rescuer was injured “from bullets in the back”.
late tonight the Israeli army announced that it carried out “anti-terrorist operation in Jenin (refugee) camp”in which “more than 10 terrorists were killed” and “more than 20 wanted suspects were arrested.” Among them were two members of Islamic Jihad who were “shooting” or “endangering” the soldiers.
The army also reported that some weapons (rifle, carbines, pistol) were seized and clarified that it destroyed “an underground tunnel that contained ready-to-use explosive devices.”
The city of Jenin and the neighboring camp, home to about 23,000 people, according to the UN, have seen regular clashes in recent months. Jenin, like all major cities in the West Bank, is under the control of the Palestinian Authority and its security forces. But the Israeli military says its operations are being carried out “due to a significant increase in terrorist attacks” in the West Bank since the war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip began. It even claims that there have been more than 550 attempted attacks since October 7.
Videos of Israeli hostages released
The armed wing of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad organization in Gaza is preparing to release two Israeli hostagesa seventy-year-old woman and a teenage boy, for humanitarian and medical reasons, a spokesman for the Al-Quds Brigades said today in a recorded message.
Islamic Jihad today released a video of the two Israeli hostages it is holding in Gaza – who are among the nearly 240 hostages held by Hamas after her fatal attack on October 7 – saying he was ready to free them “if the safety conditions are met”.
In the video, the two hostages express their desire to be released quickly to reunite with their relatives and criticize Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the crisis.
The spokesman announced that Islamic Jihad was ready to release her 70 years old “for humanitarian and health reasons”. “We can no longer give her the care she needs because of the lack of fuel, electricity and basic means of survival.”
Concerning the teenagerthe organization declares its willingness to release him “for humanitarian reasons and because of his age, even though the conqueror’s prisons are full of children” Palestinians.
“Our initiative will take place if the security conditions on the ground are met to ensure the protection of our Palestinian people”he said, adding that the lives of the hostages could be in danger from Israeli shelling.
The Israeli army called today “psychological terrorism of the manipulative kind” the release earlier today by Palestinian Islamic Jihad of a video showing two Israeli hostages, a 70-year-old woman and a teenager, it says it is holding in Gaza.
It’s about “psychological terrorism of the manipulative kind”, declared an army spokesman, Richard Hecht, during a press briefing.
Israeli media reported on this video, showing a screenshot of it.
The war will not stop until the hostages are released, the defense minister reiterates
Israel’s defense minister said today that the military is taking “local precision measures” in the Gaza Strip to allow Palestinian refugees to flee and escape clashes with Hamas, referring to the four-hour “pauses” announced by Washington earlier.
“These things will not distract us from the war”Yoav Gallad said when asked by a reporter about the announcement made by the US, which he did not directly comment on.
Gallant said he considers the children held hostage by Hamas “his own”, stressing that the war in Gaza will not stop until they are freed. Israel will reach every Palestinian involved in the October 7 attack, “even if it takes years”he added.
According to the Israeli minister, the army is using “new methods” in its operations to locate and destroy Hamas’ underground tunnels.