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‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 106: Israel Bombs Gaza, Lebanon And Syria

Above photo: An injured Palestinian woman looks over a child being treated on the floor of a hospital after they were injured in Israeli air strikes on December 30, 2023 in Dair El-Balah, Gaza. APA Images.

U.S. Bombs Yemen.

Biden insists Netanyahu is open to a two-state solution, despite Netanyahu stating the opposite. Meanwhile, a Palestinian-American teenager was killed by Israelis in the West Bank, and the UN estimates two mothers are killed in Gaza every hour.


  • 24,927 killed* and at least 62,388 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 369 Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
  • 550 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, including 194 since the beginning of the ground invasion, and at least 3,221 injured.**

*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on January 20. Some rights groups put the death toll at more than 32,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

**This figure is released by the Israeli military. 

Key Developments

  • Israel continues to relentlessly kill Palestinians in Gaza, as more reports emerge of torture and executions of Palestinians by Israeli forces.
  • The United Nations says that two mothers are killed every hour on average in Gaza, as it denounces the disproportionate impact of the violence on women.
  • An Israeli airstrike in the Syrian capital kills at least four Iranian military advisers.
  • U.S. forces meanwhile launch the sixth wave of airstrikes on Yemen in a self-avowedly unsuccessful bid to deter Houthi rebels from disrupting commercial shipping in the Red Sea in support of Palestine.
  • Israelis shoot and kill a Palestinian-American teenager in the head in the occupied West Bank.
  • An Israeli airstrike kills two people in southern Lebanon.
  • U.S. President Joe Biden has his first call with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in nearly a month, and tells journalists that Netanyahu is in favor of a two-state solution, despite all evidence to the contrary.
  • Israel’s emergency government meanwhile teeters on the brink of collapse amid internal discord and unilateral moves by Netanyahu threatening a hostage deal.
  • The European Union’s chief diplomat says Israel bears responsibility for the existence of Hamas, and argues that a diplomatic solution may need to be imposed on Israel “from the outside.”
  • The Guardian: Legal advisers for U.K.’s Foreign Office cannot conclude that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza is compliant with international law.

Women And Children Face ‘Hell’ In Gaza, As Survivors Recount Torture, Humiliation, And Executions At Hands Of Israeli Soldiers

Israeli forces killed at least 165 Palestinians and wounded 280 more in the past 24 hours in Gaza, the Ministry of Health in the small bombarded enclave reported on Saturday, bringing the official death toll since October 7 in Gaza to 24,927, with at least 62,388 more wounded.

This number does not include people who are missing and believed to be trapped under rubble, unidentified bodies, people who were buried by their families without going to a hospital, nor people who have died due to illness, cold, or hunger as a result of Israel’s merciless blockade of Gaza. The real death toll is believed by some groups to surpass 32,000.

Deadly Israeli strikes have pummelled the areas of Khan Younis, al-Qarara, Bani Suheila, al-Zana, Abasan, Batn Al-Sameen, Nuseirat refugee camp, al-Shati refugee camp, and Jabalia since Friday, WAFA news agency reported. After eight days of complete blackout, Paltel meanwhile reported a partial return of telecom services in Gaza.

Palestinian armed factions meanwhile said they were confronting ground Israeli forces in various neighborhoods of Gaza City, as well as in al-Bureij, al-Maghazi, Jabalia, and Khan Younis.

Israel’s relentless war on Gaza is killing two mothers every hour, U.N. Women estimated in a new report looking into the gendered impact of the catastrophic situation in the Palestinian enclave since October 7.

“We have seen evidence once more that women and children are the first victims of conflict and that our duty to seek peace is a duty to them. Without change, these last 100 days will be mere prelude to the next 100,” UN Women executive director Sima Bahous said on Friday. “These are people, not numbers, and we are failing them. That failure, and the generational trauma inflicted on the Palestinian people over these 100 days and counting, will haunt us all for generations to come.”

UNICEF, which has estimated that some 20,000 babies have been born in Gaza since October 7, said these Palestinian children were being “born into hell.”

“Becoming a mother should be a time for celebration. In Gaza, it’s another child delivered into hell,” UNICEF communication specialist Tess Ingram said on Friday. “Humanity cannot allow this warped version of normal to persist any longer. Mothers and newborns need a humanitarian ceasefire.”

Meanwhile, more accounts have emerged of Israeli soldiers torturing and executing Palestinians in Gaza, with eyewitnesses telling Al Jazeera that Israeli forces publicly hanged some Palestinians in Beit Lahia’s Indonesian Hospital, and forced survivors to sleep in the same room as dead bodies.

Palestinian men who were detained incommunicado by Israel for up to 55 days meanwhile spoke of being beaten, having dogs urinate on them, and being subjected to psychological terror.

“They threatened to shoot us. After two hours of being half-naked in such conditions, they moved us a few meters and told us to get ready for our execution,” Muhammad Abu Samra, one former prisoner, told Al Jazeera.

The U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) meanwhile denounced in its latest update the “dramatic increase” in Israel’s denials of access to humanitarian aid deliveries. The organization said that 69 percent of aid deliveries to northern Gaza were rejected by the Israeli military in the first two weeks of January, compared to a 14 percent  denial rate between October and December. The rejection rate rose 95 percent for the distribution of fuel and medicine to water reservoirs, water wells, and health facilities, leading to “increased health and environmental hazards while debilitating the functionality of the six partially functioning hospitals” in northern Gaza.

Palestinian-American Teenager Shot In The Head And Killed In The West Bank

A Palestinian-American teenager was shot in the head and killed by Israelis on Friday near the central occupied West Bank village of Mazraa al-Sharqiya. WAFA news agency identified him as 17-year-old Palestinian-American Tawfiq Hafiz Ajjaq, who had recently moved back to Palestine. Israeli newspaper Haaretz said Ajjaq was killed by an Israeli settler and an off-duty police officer, who claimed the boy had been throwing stones.

The U.S. State Department told journalists it was in contact with Israeli authorities over the case and “working to understand the circumstances of the incident.” Washington has historically done little to ensure justice when Israelis kill Palestinians with U.S. citizenship, such as Al Jazeera journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and 80-year-old Omar Assad.

Israeli forces detained at least 22 Palestinians across the West Bank overnight, Al Jazeera reported, including a former prisoner in the Jenin area.

WAFA news agency reported a number of raids across the occupied West Bank, including in Nablus, Kafr Nim’a, Tuqu’, and Hebron. Confrontations between Israeli forces and Palestinian residents were meanwhile reported in Nablus, Tubas, Balata refugee camp, and Jenin.

Elsewhere, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians in the flashpoint area of Masafer Yatta and near Rammon.

In occupied East Jerusalem Israeli police once again restricted worshippers’ access to the Al-Aqsa Mosque for Friday prayers, and Israeli authorities forced a Palestinian resident of Silwan to demolish his own home for not having a near-impossible to obtain a construction permit.

The Israeli Political Circus Continues

Barely a day after Benjamin Netanyahu publicly reiterated that there would be no Palestinian state under his watch, the Israeli premier had a phone call with U.S. President Joe Biden for the first time in nearly a month.

Biden later told journalists that Netanyahu had told him he was open to a two-state solution, sparking bafflement from reporters.

“There are a number of types of two-state solutions,” Biden told the journalists. “There’s a number of countries that are members of the UN that don’t have their own militaries…. And so I think there’s ways in which this could work.”

“Bibi just said he’s opposed to any two-state solution,” CBS journalist Weijia Jiang told Biden, using Netanyahu’s nickname.

“No, he didn’t say that,” Biden responded.

While the Israeli prime minister appears to be telling his staunch American ally one thing and his Israeli audience another, Israeli president Isaac Herzog told the audience at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Thursday that no Israeli “in his right mind is willing now to think about what will be the solution of the peace agreement.”

Tensions meanwhile are continuing to rise within Netanyahu’s wartime coalition government, with some observers saying it is “close to collapse.”

Among the latest indications of a fracture between Netanyahu and his fellow war cabinet members, former army chiefs of staff Benny Gantz and Gadi Eisenkot, the Israeli prime minister unilaterally changed Israel’s conditions for a hostage release deal to a tougher series of demands, Israeli media reported. While Gantz and Eisenkot have publicly stated that a deal is the only way to obtain the safe return of some 132 Israelis still held in Gaza, Netanyahu and his far-right allies are obstinately arguing that the use of force is the only way forward, despite its failure so far to lead to the release of hostages alive.

The families of Israeli hostages camped outside of Netanyahu’s home in Cesarea on Friday to call for him to agree to a deal that could bring their loved ones home.

Tensions Ratchet Up Across The Middle East

Tensions in the region are at a tipping point, as several strikes by Israel and its allies threaten to escalate violence irrevocably.

Israeli forces launched an airstrike in the Syrian capital Damascus on Friday, killing five people, including at least four military advisers from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the Iranian military organization confirmed, calling it a “terrorist attack.”

Meanwhile, an Israeli airstrike on a car killed two people in southern Lebanon. Lebanese media could not immediately confirm whether the two were, as Israel claims, members of Hamas.

On the Yemeni front, U.S. forces struck Ansar Allah targets for the sixth time this month, in a bid to halt the Yemeni rebel group, also known as the Houthis, from thwarting the passage of commercial ships in the Red Sea in support of Palestine. Biden has himself acknowledged that American and British airstrikes were unlikely to deter Ansar Allah, but has nonetheless vowed to continue on.

In Europe, the E.U.’s chief diplomat Josep Borrell accused Israel on Friday of bearing responsibility for the creation and funding of the Hamas movement – claims that have been extensively acknowledged by Israeli officials themselves.

“Hamas was financed by the Israeli government in an attempt to weaken the Palestinian Authority,” Borrell told an audience at the University of Valladolid in Spain, before adding that “The only solution is to create two states that share the land for which they have been dying for 100 years,” even if this two-state solution needs to be “imposed from the outside.”

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