‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 156: Israel Deploys 15,000 Troops in West Bank as Ramadan Starts


Mustafa Abu Sneineh | Mondoweiss - TRANSCEND Media Service

Palestinians attempt to collect some personal belongings after returning briefly to check on what remains of their homes in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 9 Mar 2024.
Saeed Jaras/APA Images.

10 Mar 2024 – Ceasefire talks falter as Izz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson says Israel is using “deception and evasion.” Israel deploys thousands of troops in the West Bank and Jerusalem ahead of plans to restrict access to Al-Aqsa Mosque during Ramadan.


  • 31,045+ killed* and at least 72,645 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • According to the Gaza Ministry of Health, 25 children in Gaza have died of malnutrition and dehydration since the beginning of March.
  • 423+ 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.
  • 588 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***

*Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 40,000 when accounting for those presumed dead under the extensive rubble.

** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. This is the latest figure according to PA’s Ministry of Health as of March 6.

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

Key Developments

  • Israel deploys 15,000 soldiers and military police in West Bank and Jerusalem ahead of Ramadan, including 5,000 reservists, 24 battalions, 20 Border Police companies, and two special forces units.
  • Hamas’s Izz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades spokesperson rules out any breakthrough in ceasefire talks, and describes Israel’s position as “deceptive.”
  • Abu Obaida warns that Israel’s campaign of starvation against Palestinians in Gaza is affecting Israeli captives, some of whom “suffer from hunger, malnutrition and dehydration.”
  • Izz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades announces names of four out of seven Israeli captives who died “due to the aggressive Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip.”
  • 25 Palestinian children have died of malnutrition and dehydration since March. The total death toll in Gaza surpasses 31,000 people, 72 percent of whom are women and children.
  • Gaza City municipality says Israel destroyed a one-million-meter square of roads in the Gaza Strip.
  • Gaza City municipality needs heavy vehicles and fuel supplies to clean rubble and nearly 70,000 tons of rubbish.
  • Rescue teams transfer 37 bodies of Palestinian martyrs and 118 injured people to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah overnight.
  • U.S. to send army vessel to Eastern Mediterranean to deliver aid and supplies to Gaza.
  • Wafa reports that Israeli bombing of tents of displaced Palestinians killed 15 people in Al-Mawasi area, west of Khan Younis.
  • Spain is considering recognizing a Palestinian state by 2027, according to Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

Ceasefire talks falter as Israel braces for Ramadan 

The meditated talks between Israel and Hamas have faltered after weeks of expectations and efforts to agree on a permanent ceasefire and the release of hostages and prisoners.

The month of Ramadan is due to start tomorrow, March 11, and Israel is set to restrict access of Palestinians in occupied Jerusalem and the West Bank to the Al-Aqsa Mosque while it is bombing the Gaza Strip, starving Palestinians, and shunning calls to allow humanitarian supplies into Gaza.

Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer, and contemplation for millions of Muslims. But it has an extra layer of holiness for Palestinians in the West Bank, who are barred from entering Jerusalem all year round without an Israeli permit. Ramadan, hence, is an opportunity to reconnect with their capital city and pray in the Al-Aqsa.

Israel’s plan to restrict access to Jerusalem marks an escalation and will likely lead to violence. Knowing this, the Israeli government has already deployed 15,000 soldiers and military police in the West Bank and Jerusalem since Friday. Those include 5,000 reservists, 24 battalions, 20 Border Police companies, and two special forces units.

Hamas describes Israel’s position in ceasefire talks as “deceptive” 

It remains unclear if a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip can be reached on Sunday at the eleventh hour. Some Israeli officials appear to be optimistic that this could be done.

According to Ynet, Israel’s external intelligence, the Mossad, involved alongside the CIA with the mediated talks with Hamas, said on Saturday evening that “contacts and cooperation with the mediators [of Qatar and Egypt] continue all the time in an effort to narrow the gaps and reach agreements.”

For thousands of families in the Gaza Strip, they will spend Ramadan in tents, shelters, or amid the shattered walls and rubble of what is left of their bombed houses and neighborhoods.

The 2.5 million Palestinians in Gaza are also barred entry by Israel to visit Jerusalem without a permit. Some of them, who were displaced from north Gaza since October, are now blocked from going back to their houses by Israeli forces stationed on Salah El-Din Street, which splits Gaza into north and south.

The U.S. has exerted pressure on meditators to convince Hamas to agree to a six-week truce, including the month of Ramadan, in which hostages and prisoners would be released, and sufficient aid would be supplied.

The U.S. Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, said on Saturday that “the ball is in their court,” referring to Hamas. “We’re working intensely on it and we’ll see what they do.”

Hamas has been adamant that it will only agree to a permanent truce, which would end Israel’s bombing of Gaza and permit the return of thousands of families to north Gaza.

During a speech on Friday evening, Abu Obaida, the spokesperson of Hamas’s Izz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, ruled out any breakthrough in the talks of a ceasefire.

Abu Obaida said Israel was using “deception and evasion” during the talks, and its position was cloaked with “confusion and inconsistency”. He said that Hamas’s ultimate goal from any truce is “stopping [Israeli] aggression, Gaza’s reconstruction, and the withdrawal of [Israeli] forces” from the Gaza Strip.

He warned that the campaign of starvation Israel is launching against the people of Gaza is affecting Israeli captives, some of whom “suffer from hunger and deprivation, lack of food and medicine, and suffer malnutrition, dehydration, and emaciation.”

“The ball is in their court to save whoever of them can be saved,” Abu Obaida said, addressing Israelis and adding that the Israeli government “insists on receiving [the captives] in coffins.”

Later, Izz El-Din Al-Qassam Brigades announced the names of four out of seven captives who died “due to the aggressive Israeli raids on the Gaza Strip, and we have [previously] disclosed the identities of three of them.”

Rescue teams transfer 37 bodies to Al-Aqsa Hospital

In the past 24 hours, Israeli forces committed eight “massacres” in various areas of the Gaza Strip, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health on Telegram, killing at least 85 people and injuring 130.

The total death toll in Gaza has now surpassed 31,000 people, 72 percent of whom are women and children. The ministry added that 25 children have died of malnutrition and dehydration since March.

Assem Nabih, a member of Gaza City’s emergency department, told Al-Jazeera Arabic that since October, Israel has destroyed one-million-meter square of roads in the Gaza Strip.

The Gaza City municipality needs heavy vehicles and fuel supplies to clean rubble and nearly 70,000 tons of rubbish. Nabih said that insufficient aid is trickling into Gaza, while water in Gaza’s wells is drying out as summer approaches.

On Sunday morning, Dr. Khalil Al-Daqran, the spokesperson of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah told Al-Jazeera Arabic that rescue teams transferred 37 bodies of Palestinian martyrs and 118 injured people to the hospital overnight.

“However, we can’t treat all the injured due to the lack of capabilities and medical supplies,” he said, adding that all hospitals close to the Al-Aqsa Hospital are out of service.

“What we are offering is modest medical care to the injured as there is not enough operation rooms,” Al-Daqran said, calling international organizations to send medical and fuel supplies urgently.

U.S. sending army vessel to deliver aid to Gaza

On Saturday evening, the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) said it is sending an army vessel to the Eastern Mediterranean, following President Biden’s State of the Union address on Friday, in which he pledged to build a floating pier near Gaza’s shore to facilitate the delivery of aid and food.

“Besson, a logistics support vessel, is carrying the first equipment to establish a temporary pier to deliver vital humanitarian supplies,” CENTCOM wrote on the X platform.

The floating pier would take up to 60 days to be built and was proposed by Biden after the U.S. airdropped aid on north Gaza in the past weeks, an expensive and cumbersome method to deliver aid, which killed five Palestinians as the parachutes malfunctioned last week.

“There are more efficient and faster ways to get assistance to Gazans: Biden can pressure Israel to allow the entry of hundreds of aid trucks that are needed in the territory each day,” Mohamad Bazzi, the director of the Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies, wrote in The Guardian.

“Instead, Biden and his administration are complicit in prolonging a war in which a U.S. ally has killed more than 30,000 Palestinians and is intentionally starving the population into submission,” he added.

Israeli soldiers cheer killing of Palestinian during home raid 

The Israeli aggression on Gaza has entered six months. There is plenty of footage documenting Israeli brutality and acts of genocide. Lately, head-cam footage was released of Israeli soldiers cheering the killing of a 72-year-old Palestinian civilian with four bullets when they stormed a home in Gaza.

Al-Jazeera Arabic also released Israeli drone footage showing a Palestinian child lying dead on the ground after being shot by Israeli forces near Al-Fakhura School in Jabalia, in north Gaza, in December.

On Saturday, an Israeli bombing on a house of the Al-Nuwairi family west of Nuseirat camp in central Gaza killed ten people, Wafa news agency reported.

Wafa reported that the Israeli bombing killed 15 displaced Palestinians in the Al-Mawasi area, west of Khan Younis. One Palestinian was killed and three injured when Israel bombed a vehicle driving on Salah El-Din Street near the city of Rafah, south of Gaza.

In Gaza City’s Al-Zaytoun neighborhood, Israeli forces killed five Palestinians who were among people waiting for aid trucks to arrive near the Kuwait roundabout on Saturday. In Beit Lahia, an Israeli air raid on the house of the Abu Nasser family killed and injured several people, Wafa reported.

Thousands of Palestinian students had attended a makeshift school in Rafah. Since October, students in the Gaza Strip have not attended lessons as their schools have either been bombed by Israel or turned into shelters. Palestinian kids were sitting on the ground in a “classroom” made of groundsheets and without a roof, Wafa reported.

On Saturday, millions of people protested worldwide in cities of Hannover, Berlin, Paris, Tunis, Copenhagen, Milan, London, Manchester, Sarajevo, Seoul, and Auckland, among others, in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, calling for an immediate ceasefire.

Spain to recognize Palestinian state by 2027 

Spain is mulling the recognition of a Palestinian state, however, by the year 2027, according to Pedro Sanchez, the Spanish Prime Minister.

Sanchez’s mandate ends by 2027. He said on Saturday that he will put the recognition of a Palestinian state to vote by the Spanish parliament’s lower half.

“We will do it because of moral conviction, because it’s a just cause, but also because it is the only way that two states – Israel and Palestine – can live together and co-exist in peace and security,” Sanchez wrote on X platform.

Spain has been supportive of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip since October, and unlike other European countries who suspended funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA), Madrid pledged to pay $22m extra to help UNRWA’s aid operations in Gaza.

In the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces have arrested 7,505 Palestinians since October. Overnight, 15 Palestinians were detained from Nablus, Tubas, Ramallah, and Hebron, Wafa reported.

A recent Israeli soldier’s arrest of a 7-year-old girl in Jenin was described as “kidnapping.” In released video footage, Israeli soldiers appear to drag the girl from her home into a military jeep as she resisted and pushed her into the vehicle.

“Israeli army stormed Jenin city, in the West Bank, yesterday and kidnapped a 7 years old girl from her family’s house!” the Palestinian embassy in Romania wrote on X platform on Sunday.

“This is not a first, they have long history of kidnapping and arresting Palestinian kids,” it added.

Overnight, Israeli forces stormed Silat Al-Dhahr and Al-Fandqumiya villages, south of Jenin, and confiscated surveillance cameras.

Wafa reported that Israeli forces raided several houses in the two villages following a shooting and booby trap attack on Israeli soldiers near the illegal settlement of Homesh last week, which injured seven Israeli soldiers.


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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