‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 65: U.S. Rushes Arms to Israel as Palestinians Announce Over 250,000 Homes Destroyed in Gaza

PALESTINE - ISRAEL, 11 Dec 2023

Mustafa Abu Sneineh | Mondoweiss – TRANSCEND Media Service

People mourn over the bodies of Palestinians killed in airstrikes on 10 Dec 2023 in Deir El-Balah, Gaza. (Photo: Omar Ashtawy/APA Images)

10 Dec 2023 The Biden administration bypasses congressional approval to rush an emergency arms sale to Israel as the WHO warns Gaza’s health system is collapsing and the PA announces 25 percent of Gaza’s urban space has been destroyed.

Casualties

  • 17,400+ killed* and 46,000 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 274 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.
  • 425 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7. Israeli media reports over 5,000 injured, citing military sources.**

*This figure was confirmed by the PA’s Ministry of Health on December 9. Due to breakdowns in communication networks within the Gaza Strip, the Ministry of Health in Gaza has not been able to regularly and accurately update its tolls since mid-November. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 20,000.

** On December 9, Yedioth Ahronoth reported over 5,000 Israeli soldiers have been injured in the fighting thus far, with 2,000 categorized as disabled, citing official figures by Israel’s Ministry of Defense. Israeli reports about combat casualties are strictly subject to gag orders, and Yedioth Ahronoth later removed the 5,000 figure from its original report

Key Developments

  • The PA’s Ministry of Public Works and Housing said that “more than a quarter of a million housing units were destroyed to varying degrees, either completely or partially, while more than 30 percent of the infrastructure was destroyed”.
  • A recent BBC report based on satellite imagery estimated that 100,000 buildings had been destroyed by the end of November in the Gaza Strip, with the north of Gaza being the most heavily damaged.
  • Israeli forces launched air raids overnight on Al-Nuseirat, Al-Maghazi, and Al-Zawaida refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip, and east of Gaza City’s Al-Tuffah and Al-Shujaiya neighborhoods, killing tens of Palestinians.
  • WHO said that “as more and more people move to a smaller and smaller area, overcrowding, combined with the lack of adequate food, water, shelter and sanitation, are creating the ideal conditions for disease to spread.”
  • WHO said that “Gaza’s health system is on its knees and collapsing,” as 14 out of the 36 hospitals are partially working, with only two of them located in north Gaza.
  • Yedioth Ahronoth revealed on Saturday that over 5,000 Israeli soldiers have been injured in the Gaza fighting, 2,000 were categorized as disabled, citing official figures by Israel’s Ministry of Defence.
  • An average of 60 soldiers are wounded daily in battles in Gaza and transferred to the Israeli military’s Rehabilitation Department, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.
  • Israeli forces released a doctored video of what it said was Palestinian militants, stripped of their clothes, handing over their rifles in Gaza.
  • Yemen’s Houthis rebels announced that they will target and ban any ship sailing to Israel from entering the strait of Bab Al-Mandab.
  • Israeli forces arrested dozens of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, constructed a road to a settlement, and stole six heads of sheep from a Palestinian village.

PA: A quarter of urban space in Gaza has been destroyed

Israel bombardment of the Gaza Strip had erased almost 25 percent of the urban space, according to an estimate by the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) Minister of Public Works and Housing, Mohammed Ziara.

Ziara said that a quarter of the Gaza Strip has been wiped off the map as Israel dropped more than 90,000 shells and the equivalent of two atomic bombs since October 7, carpet bombing and flattening entire neighborhoods.

“More than a quarter of a million housing units were destroyed to varying degrees, either completely or partially, while more than 30 percent of the infrastructure was destroyed, including roads, water and sewage networks, and electricity and communications lines,” Ziara said in a media conference on Saturday.

Israeli forces also pummelled hundreds of educational and healthcare facilities and places of worship for Muslims and Christians. It is still not feasible to estimate the total extent of destruction as Israeli aggression is ongoing.

Ziara said that due to a lack of fuel in the past weeks to operate machinery, Palestinians in Gaza are resorting to manual methods to rescue people from under the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli bombardment.

Various satellite imagery of Gaza shows hundreds of crates caused by Israeli heavy air strikes amidst Palestinian neighborhoods and crowded refugee camps. Israeli forces also used bulldozers and explosives to knock down houses and open roads in the middle of urban areas.

A recent BBC report based on satellite imagery estimated that 100,000 buildings had been destroyed by the end of November in the Gaza Strip, with the north of Gaza being the most heavily damaged.

Civil defense teams and residents continue search and rescue operations following an Israeli attack in the Al-Zawayda neighborhood of Gaza City on December 10, 2023.  (Photo: Majdi Fathi/APA Images)
Civil defense teams and residents continue search and rescue operations following an Israeli attack in the Al-Zawayda neighborhood of Gaza City on December 10, 2023. (Photo: Majdi Fathi/APA Images)

WHO: “Gaza’s health system is on its knees and collapsing”

On Sunday morning, 45 Palestinians killed in Israeli air strikes on central Gaza were brought to Al-Aqsa Hospital.

Israeli forces launched air raids overnight on Al-Nuseirat, Al-Maghazi, and Al-Zawaida refugee camps in the central Gaza Strip and east of Gaza City’s Al-Tuffah and Al-Shujaiya neighborhoods, killing dozens of Palestinians.

In the southern Gaza Strip, Israeli warplanes and artillery continued to attack the eastern parts of Khan Younis, the second-largest city in the coastal enclave, which Israeli forces had been attempting to invade.

Ten people were killed in an air strike on the Abdul Wahab family home in the west of Khan Younis. Wafa news agency reported an air strike on houses in the vicinity of the European Hospital and artillery shells targeting Jordan’s military field hospital in Khan Younis. The field hospital was damaged, but no causalities were reported.

In Deir Al-Balah, at least four people were killed in an air strike on a house on Saturday evening. Three people were killed in Al-Maghazi refugee camp, and seven in Al-Bureij, three in Al-Nuseirat in various air strikes on Saturday evening, Wafa reported.

Abasan, Ma’an, and Bani Suhaila, and Rafah, towns in southern Gaza Strip, were also bombed in the past 24 hours.

The PA’s Ministry of Health announced at least 17,400 martyrs have been killed in the Gaza Strip, and more than 46,000 people have been wounded. The ministry added that in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, 274 have been killed and 3,300 wounded since October 7.

The number of people missing under the rubble in Gaza is believed to be in the thousands, the ministry said, without giving an exact figure. More than 1.9 million people are now internally displaced, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“As more and more people move to a smaller and smaller area, overcrowding, combined with the lack of adequate food, water, shelter and sanitation, are creating the ideal conditions for disease to spread. On average, there is one shower unit for every 700 people, and one toilet for every 150 people,” the WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Sunday.

Ghebreyesus added, “Gaza’s health system is on its knees and collapsing,” as 14 out of the 36 hospitals are partially working, with only two of them located in northern Gaza.

He said, “the two major hospitals in southern Gaza are operating at three times their bed capacity, running out of supplies and sheltering thousands of displaced people.”

On Sunday, Al-Jazeera reported that Ashraf Abu Mahdi, the director of Gaza’s Ministry of Health pharmaceutical department, was shot and wounded by Israeli fire when he tried to deliver medicine to Al-Shifa and Al-Mamadani hospitals in Gaza City.

Ghebreyesus added that since October 7, “WHO has verified more than 449 attacks on health care in Gaza and the West Bank, and 60 attacks on health care in Israel.”

“Health care should never be a target,” he said.

Palestinians gather to collect food cooked by volunteers for people who evacuated from Khan Younis to Rafah as a result of Israeli bombardment. (Photo: © Mohammed Talatene/dpa via ZUMA Press APAimages)
Palestinians gather to collect food cooked by volunteers for people who evacuated from Khan Younis to Rafah as a result of Israeli bombardment. (Photo: © Mohammed Talatene/dpa via ZUMA Press APAimages)

Report: More than 5,000 Israeli soldiers wounded in Gaza

Israeli officials are expecting the war in the Gaza Strip to extend for another two months, Kan news reported.

In a rare report since October 7, Yedioth Ahronoth revealed on Saturday that over 5,000 Israeli soldiers have been injured in the fighting thus far, with 2,000 categorized as disabled, citing official figures by Israel’s Ministry of Defence.

Israeli reports about combat casualties are strictly subject to gag orders, with only the military spokesperson authorized to brief media about the matter.

Yedioth Ahronoth later removed the 5,000 figure from its original report on Saturday evening after it got widely covered in the media.

The newspaper said that an average of 60 soldiers are wounded daily in battles in Gaza and transferred to the Israeli military’s Rehabilitation Department.

The deputy director general and head of Israel’s Ministry of Defence’s Rehabilitation Department, Limor Luria, told Yedioth Ahronoth that “we have never experienced anything similar to this. More than 58 percent of the wounded we receive have serious injuries to their hands and feet, including amputations.”

Luria added that 12 percent of injuries damaged the soldiers’ internal organs, while seven percent of the injured soldiers suffered psychological distress.

The official Israeli government figure of soldiers killed in the Gaza fighting up to Saturday evening was 102, with over 200 injured. Since October 7, a total of 425 soldiers have been killed.

Four soldiers were announced dead on Saturday. One of them was Maor Cohen Eisenkot, the nephew of Gadi Eisenkot, a war minister and former army chief of staff. Eisenkot’s son was also killed last week in battles in Gaza.

On Saturday, Israeli forces released a doctored video of what it said was Palestinian militants, stripped of their clothes, handing over their rifles in Gaza. However, Palestinians said the people in the video were civilians and debunked the video as staging of surrender.

In the past 24 hours, Israeli forces said that it targeted 250 Hamas-related targets in the Gaza Strip, including tunnel shafts in Khan Younis, with “precision weapons.”

Hamas’ Izz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades announced on Sunday that it “eliminated” 10 Israeli soldiers from close-range in the Al-Faluga area in north Gaza, and targeted a unit barricaded in a house and two military vehicles in the north of Jabalia with anti-infantry and the 105mm Al-Yaseen anti-tank shells.

Islamic Jihad’s Al-Quds Brigades also announced on Sunday morning that it launched a barrage of mortar shells on Israeli forces stationed east of Khan Younis.

In past 48 hours, Al-Quds and Al-Qassam Brigades published two separate videos of them targeting Israeli forces and tanks in the Gaza Strip.

U.S. approves tank ammunition sale to Israel, bypassing Congress

The United States is increasingly being viewed as a partner in crime with Israel, following its veto in the UN Security Council, blocking a resolution that called for a ceasefire in Gaza, and for approving the sale of 14,000 rounds of tank ammunition to Israel worth $106 million.

By law, U.S. arms deals are meant to be approved by Congress, however, for this deal, the State Department approved the sale as an emergency exception without a vote.

The possibility is rising that the Biden administration’s unconditional backing of Israel is pushing the region to a full-blown war. In Iraq, militias supported by Iran have attacked the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, and on Saturday, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, said that it carried out 11 attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria.

On Saturday, Yemen’s Houthis rebels announced that they will target and prevent any ship sailing to Israel from entering the strait of Bab Al-Mandab.

“The Yemeni Armed Forces announce that they will prevent the passage of ships of any nationality heading to the Zionist entity, if food and medicine do not enter the Gaza Strip,” the Houthis spokesperson said.

“We warn all ships and companies against dealing with Israeli ports,” he added. The Houthis have targeted three ships so far heading to Israel. The Galaxy Leader, a cargo ship was captured in November, has been turned into a tourist attraction, where locals are ferried to tour its board.

On Sunday, two drones were shot down in the Red Sea near Yemen by a French warship.

Dozens of Palestinians arrested in the occupied West Bank

At least 27 Palestinians were arrested in the West Bank, according to Wafa, from Hebron, Ramallah, Jerusalem, Tubas, Bethlehem, and Nablus.

In total, 3,730 Palestinians have been arrested since October 7, according to Wafa.

In Tubas, 50 Israeli military vehicles raided the town on Saturday evening and arrested 13 Palestinians. It also bombed two houses with two incendiary missiles, setting them on fire.

Israeli forces raided the town of Al-Dhaheriya, near Hebron, firing live bullets and tear gas at locals and arresting a number of Palestinians. On Sunday, Israeli authorities started the construction of a 300-meter-long road on the lands of Khirbet Qalqas, south of Hebron, which belong to the family of Falah Badawi Abu Sneineh.

Abu Sneineh told Wafa that the road would benefit settlers in the illegal settlement of Beit Hajai.

In Nablus, Wafa reported that Israeli settlers from Yesh Kodesh outpost stole six heads of sheep from Qusra village in south of Nablus. The sheep belong to Shinawi Tayseer Hassan from Qusra, southeast of Nablus.

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