‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 142: UN Experts Call for Arms Embargo


Mustafa Abu Sneineh | Mondoweiss - TRANSCEND Media Service

Relatives of the Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks mourn as they receive the bodies of their loved ones at the morgue of Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, Central Gaza, on 24 Feb 2024. Bashar Taleb/APA Images.

25 Feb 2024Israel bombs near Egypt’s fortified wall with Rafah as talks resume to reach a captive exchange with Hamas. UN experts call for arms embargo against Israel and say states supplying weapons, ammunition or intelligence risk violating international law.


  • 29,606+ killed* and at least 69,737 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 380+ 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.
  • 579 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.**

*This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Telegram channel on February 24. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 38,000 when accounting for those presumed dead under the rubble.

** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

Key Developments

  • CNN satellite imagery shows Egypt built more than two-mile-wide buffer zone along wall with Rafah, in southern Gaza, to keep displaced Palestinians at bay.
  • Egyptian buffer zone is planned to stretch east-to-west from Kerem Abu Salem Crossing to the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Several Palestinians in Gaza sound call of prayer through loudspeakers from windows in city where mosques have not held a Friday prior since October.
  • UN experts call states to immediately cease transferring arms, and ammunition to Israel or share it with intelligence that could be used in Gaza Strip and violate international law.
  • UN experts says that “military intelligence must also not be shared [with Israel] where there is a clear risk that it would be used to violate international humanitarian law.”
  • So far, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Netherlands halted arms transfers to Israel, while Japan trade giant, Itochu Corporation, suspended agreement to supply Israel with military technology.
  • Senior Hamas figure tells Al-Jazeera Arabic that “atmosphere of optimism” regarding prisoners’ exchange deal with Israel and ceasefire “does not reflect the truth.”
  • EU chief of foreign policy Josep Borrell says Israel’s government plan to expand settlements in occupied West Bank is “inflammatory and dangerous”.
  • In 2023, Israeli forces and settlers seized 43 agricultural tractors, 293 vehicles, and 296 sheep from Palestinian Bedouin communities in Jordan valley, inflicting heavy losses and disturbing their lives.

Israeli Forces Bomb Areas Near Egypt’s Border With Rafah

In the past 24 hours, Israeli forces bombed several Palestinian neighborhoods in Deir Al-Balah, Rafah and north Gaza, killing and injuring tens of people.

Israel’s warplanes launched bombs on a vast open area near the Egyptian border with Rafah, in southern Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians are sheltering.

A video shows Palestinians fleeing from the bombs close to Egypt’s fortified wall to keep displaced people at bay from entering the Sinai Peninsula.

All of the 1.4 million Palestinians who sought refuge in Rafah cannot enter Sinai except those who obtained a travel permit. Recent satellite imagery obtained by CNN reveals that Egypt had built more than a two-mile-wide buffer zone along the wall with Rafah.

In early February, Egyptian bulldozers and cranes started working on the buffer zone as Israeli politicians threatened to invade Rafah. The Egyptian buffer zone is planned to stretch east-to-west from Kerem Abu Salem Crossing to the Mediterranean Sea.

Overnight, Wafa news agency reported that Israeli forces bombed Al-Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City, and launched an air raid on Al-Shaaf area in Gaza. Armed clashes between Palestinian resistance fighters and Israeli forces were reported in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood.

Several Palestinians in Gaza sounded the call of prayer through loudspeakers from windows in a city where mosques have not held a Friday prior since October as most of it has been either damaged or destroyed by Israel, including the ancient Al-Omari Mosque.

In the Al-Shati refugee camp, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians and injured four in an airstrike overnight. It also bombed Beit Lahia, Rafah, and Deir Al-Balah.

On Sunday, Gaza’s Ministry of Health did not update the casualty’s number for the past 24 hours. Yesterday, it said that Israeli forces committed eight “massacres” in various areas of the Gaza Strip, killing at least 92 Palestinian martyrs and injuring 123 people.

UN Experts Call For Immediate Arms Embargo On Israel

Supplying arms to Israel to bomb, destroy, kill, and maim Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and also in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem has taken center stage in the past weeks.

A UN report concluded that states should cease immediately from transferring arms and ammunition to Israel or supplying it with intelligence that could be used in the Gaza Strip, risking the violation of international law.

So far, the U.S., Germany, the U.K., France, Canada and Australia have been at the helm of supplying weapons to Israel since October, with Washington and Berlin as the largest exporters of munitions.

“States must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition – or parts for them – if it is expected, given the facts or past patterns of behavior, that they would be used to violate international law,” the UN experts said.

They added that “as long there is a clear risk” of violating the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty and that arms will be used to commit crimes, exports of weapons and munitions to Israel should not go ahead.

This also extends to sharing military intelligence. The U.S. and the U.K. have reportedly fed Israel with intelligence, dispatching military personnel to advise Israel early in October and operated reconnaissance flights over the Gaza Strip, eavesdropping on Palestinians in a bid to locate Israeli captives and help Tel Aviv destroy Hamas movement.

“Military intelligence must also not be shared where there is a clear risk that it would be used to violate international humanitarian law,” the UN experts wrote.

They added that there is a need for an arms embargo on Israel following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on January 26 ordering Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza. However, Israel has killed nearly four thousand Palestinians since then.

“This necessitates halting arms exports in the present circumstances,” the experts said.

Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands are the only EU countries to halt arms transfers to Israel, while Japan trade giant, Itochu Corporation, has suspended an agreement to supply Israel with military technology.

Early in February, the Netherlands halted a deal to export F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel following a court decision that found that Israeli forces would use these parts “to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

“There are many indications that Israel has violated the humanitarian law of war in a not insignificant number of cases,” the UN report added.

Deal Between Hamas And Israel Swings Between Optimism And Despair

On Sunday morning, hopes were dashed again of reaching a deal between Israel and Hamas, despite high expectations over the weekend as Qatari and Egyptian mediators traveled back to Paris to hold talks with CIA and Israeli officials.

A senior Hamas figure told Al-Jazeera Arabic that “the atmosphere of optimism”, regarding a possible prisoners exchange deal with Israel and ceasefire, “does not reflect the truth.”

He accused Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “evading” to engage with Hamas counter-proposal for four and half months of ceasefire, the exchange of hostages and prisoners, and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

He added that Israel’s starvation policy in the Gaza Strip, blocking aid trucks from reaching north Gaza, could hinder any efforts to reach a deal.

Israel’s Kan news reported on Sunday that they were “optimistic” about reaching a deal before the month of Ramadan, on March 10, but that would not discourage Israel from invading Rafah. An Israeli delegation is expected to fly to Qatar, Al-Jazeera reported.

Scores Of Arrests In Tel Aviv As Netanyahu’s Options Narrow Down

On Saturday, the police arrested 18 Israelis as thousands protested in Tel Aviv, calling Netanyahu’s resignation and for a deal to be made on the release of Israeli captives in Gaza.

The Israeli analyst at Haaretz, Amos Harel, wrote that Netanyahu’s government is facing three options at the current stage, either to strike a deal with Hamas, invade Rafah or “more empty promises” for Israelis and the US administration.

A deal with Hamas, would mean a political headache for Netanyahu from his coalition government and threats of resignation from Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. Invading Rafah would be a gamble as it risks deteriorating ties with Egypt, igniting the region, and massacring tens of thousands of Palestinians.

“According to the third scenario,” Harel wrote, “things will continue as they have until now: Netanyahu will continue to provoke the Biden administration, will continue to promise ‘total victory,’ will evade promoting a hostage release deal, and will possibly antagonize Benny Gantz,” to push him to resign from war cabinet.

Settlement Expansion In West Banks Is ‘Dangerous’, Officials Warn

Josep Borrell, the EU chief of foreign policy, said on Saturday that Israel’s government plan to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank is “inflammatory and dangerous”.

“Settlements make Israelis and Palestinians less safe, fuel tensions, obstruct peace efforts, and constitute a grave breach of international law,” he added.

Israel’s Finance Minister Smotrich announced on Thursday a plan of constructing 3,300 housing units as a “response” to a shooting attack carried out by three Palestinians near Ma’ale Adumim settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, killing at least one Israeli and wounding five others.

“The serious attack on Ma’ale Adumim must have a decisive security response but also an answer from the settlements… Our enemies know that any harm to us will lead to more construction and more development and more of our control across the entire country,” Smotrich said.

Following the attack, Israeli military prevented Palestinian vehicles from travelling on a main road leading to the Al-Eizariya neighborhood, close to Ma’ale Adumim’s main entrance, between 9pm and 6am the next morning.

Over the past 24 hours, Israeli forces arrested 15 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank towns of Hebron, Nablus, Jericho, Jenin, and Ramallah. Sami Al-Shami, a journalist and former political prisoner, was arrested from his home in Asira Al-Qibliya, south of Nablus.

North of the West Bank, Israeli forces stormed the towns of Qalqilya and Nabi Saleh, raiding several Palestinian houses.

The Prisoners’ Club said around 7,225 Palestinians were arrested by Israel in the West Bank since October. Some of them were released.

On Sunday morning, Israeli settlers stole sheep from the Palestinian community of Arab Malihat, northwest of the city of Jericho, Wafa reported.

Hassan Malihat, an activist in the community, said 30 sheep belonged to Suleiman Atallah Malihat were stolen by settlers. Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley rely on raising livestock and agricultural farm to make a living.

Wafa reported that Israeli forces and settlers seized 43 agricultural tractors, 293 vehicles, and 296 sheep in 2023, inflicting heavy losses on these communities and disturbing their lives.

As Ramadan is approaching in a couple of weeks, Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday and performed silent Jewish prayers. These storming have become an almost daily act for over two decades and threaten to escalate tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank.


Mustafa Abu Sneineh is a journalist, poet and writer from the city of Al-Quds in Occupied Palestine. His first poetry book, A Black Cloud at the End of the Line, was published in Arabic in 2016. He writes for both English and Arabic publications.

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