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Palestine Report

Sameera Casmod | sameerac@radioislam.co.za
26 February 2024 | 13:21 SAST
3 minute read

At al-Shifa hospital in Gaza, a two-month-old boy, Mahmoud Fattouh passed away from starvation on Friday.

This is just one report of starvation from Gaza as the shortage of food and necessities reaches tipping point in the enclave. The situation in Northern Gaza is particularly dire, with several confirmed reports of death due to acute malnutrition.

“Somebody writes from Northern Gaza that life for over half a million people there now revolves around one single task every day, and that is finding something to eat,” Moulana Ebrahim Moosa reports.

Warnings of a hunger crisis emerged at the beginning of Israel’s war on Gaza, and the problem has now spiralled out of control, exacerbated by Israel’s strict control over the entry of food and aid supplies into the strip. The World Food Programme confirms that supplies awaiting entry into the enclave is sufficient to support 2,2 million people. Satellite images depicting a long train of supply trucks in the Sinai region confirm these reports, but Israel continues to prevent their entry into Gaza.

Moulana Moosa reports that the Biden administration has requested that Israel stop targeting police officers in the Gaza Strip who are escorting the aid trucks. Israeli air strikes killed at least 11 police officers in recent weeks, officials say.

The United States issued this warning, indicating that a “total breakdown of law and order” is exacerbating the humanitarian crisis caused by Israel’s devastating onslaught.

“Officials are describing this as Gaza turning slowly into Mogadishu, as there’s a security vacuum. And because of desperation, there’s armed gangs that are now arising, people are looting the trucks [out of] desperation… The Israelis are actively encouraging this because one of their aims is to ensure that Hamas no longer runs Gaza, and by extension the police officers who are aligned with Hamas, they want to eliminate them as well, and therefore it just serves their purposes for this chaos to spread,” Moulana Moosa says.

Meanwhile, truce negotiations in Paris over the weekend were attended by intelligence officials from the United States, Israel, Egypt, and Qatar and concluded with the parties reaching an understanding of “the basic contours of a temporary ceasefire”, Moulana Moosa says.

The outline of the potential agreement includes a six-week pause in the latest iteration and a release of 300 Palestinian detainees from Israeli prisons in exchange for 35–40 Israeli’s held in Gaza.

There is scepticism that this holds true meaning, based on the lack of representation of Hamas and the Palestinian people at the meeting. This is seen as pressure from Israel and Washington on Qatar to relay their demands to Hamas so that the resistance group can “be more flexible in what their considerations in this deal will be”. Additionally, Hamas indicates that this peace talk progress report constitutes a joint Israeli and US ploy to increase pressure on Hamas to force them to accept unfavourable terms.

Reasons for Israel’s participation in these discussions include the failure of the Israeli war effort in the Gaza Strip and rising anti-Netanyahu sentiment in Israel. In Tel-Aviv, Israel dispersed anti-government protesters using water cannons on Saturday. Twenty-one Israeli arrests and numerous injuries were reported.

In what is seen as a political manoeuvre, Netanyahu has said that Israel’s attack on Rafah will continue even if Israel signs the peace agreement.

“This has led to even Israeli officials saying that Netanyahu is trying to torpedo even this current hostage deal to appease far-right elements in his government, and he does this by trying to change the rules of the game, insert new conditions and demands at the last minute,” Moulana Moosa says.

A United Nations panel has called for an immediate halt to arms sales to Israel. The panel argues that such transfers violate international law, especially considering the potential for war crimes based on Israel’s history.

Included in the arms embargo is the call to refrain from sharing military intelligence with Israel.

The move is seen as a significant development towards increased calls for Israel to be held accountable for its heinous persecution of Gaza, despite worries that Israel might not heed the calls.

“And they also sound a warning then to officials within states that do send arms to Israel. They say that state officials involved in arms exports may be individually criminally liable if they facilitate these arms transfers. So I think this, again, very significant. We may argue again whether this will actually be executed. But this is taking the discussion on accountability for Israel very much further than it was ever exerted before,” Moulana Moosa says.

Listen to the Palestine Report on Sabaahul Muslim with Moulana Sulaimaan Ravat.

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