MadisonRafah.org

The Madison-Rafah Sister City Project

MadisonRafah.org

‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 101: The collapse of Gaza’s health sector

“Worst man-made medical disaster in modern history”

As the confirmed death toll from Israel’s assault on Gaza reaches 24,000, the U.S. is reportedly “frustrated” Israel continues to ignore calls to limit its attacks. Hamas releases video of three Israeli captives, saying fate will be revealed today.

 

Casualties

  • 23,968+ killed* and at least 60,582 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 387+ 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.
  • 522 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 2,193 injured.**

* This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on January 14. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 31,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

** This figure is released by the Israeli military.

Key Developments 

  • Hamas releases video of three Israeli captives telling their government to stop the offensive, followed by a message saying their “fates” will be determined on Monday.
  • Occupied West Bank: Five Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in three separate incidents on Sunday.
  • Top House Republicans threaten U.S. government workers who participate in walkout to protest Washington’s continued support for Israel.
  • U.S. fighter jet shot down Ansar Allah anti-ship cruise missile fired towards a U.S. destroyer in the Red Sea.
  • Palestinian journalist Yazan Zweidi killed by Israeli shelling while working in northern Gaza Strip.
  • Israeli forces arrest 25 students from Nablus’ An-Najah University, occupied West Bank.
  • Three legal and human rights groups urge International Court of Justice to issue provisional measures requested by South Africa.
  • Hezbollah anti-tank missile kills 70-year-old Israeli woman and her son, says the Times of Israel.
  • Ansar Allah promises retaliation against U.S. and UK airstrikes on Yemen.
  • NetBlocks observatory: More than 48-hour outage has left “most residents cut off” as the war in the enclave passes the 100-day mark.
  • NetBlocks observatory: Two Patel repair crew killed trying to restore communication service in Gaza.
  • PRCS: Emergency medical services to Gaza City and northern region of Gaza have resumed following Israeli attacks on medical centers and ambulances.
More

Injuries in Gaza mount amid healthcare collapse 

Israel’s war on Gaza has officially surpassed 100 days, leaving the besieged enclave a shadow of its former self, filled with death, displacement, starvation, and despair.

At least 44 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli bombardment so far on Monday, including 33 people in southern Khan Younis and 12 people in a residential building in northern Gaza City, Al Jazeera reported.

Dozens of others have been injured and are left with extremely limited treatment options in Gaza as a result of Israel’s attacks on healthcare.

The World Health Organization (WHO) visited Al-Aqsa Hospital in central Gaza and the Nasser Hospital in southern Khan Younis to call for the protection of health centers. Following the visit, WHO learned patients are fleeing out of fear, and the number of medical staff is low at Al-Aqsa Hospital.

At Nasser Hospital, the group documented a shortage of beds, with 700 patients on the premises along with about 7,000 internally displaced Palestinians.

“These facilities require sustained support and protection to remain operational. The increased hostilities in the south of the Strip are making it difficult for aid to reach them,” WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

“In Gaza, the health care system is on the brink of collapse. In any conflict or crisis, access to health care is a question of life or death,” International Federation of the Red Cross Secretary-General Jagan Chapagain said on X.

“Civilian population in Gaza have suffered enough, and healthcare is one of the last remaining beacons of hope. It’s a humanitarian and moral imperative to ensure the people of Gaza can access health care,” Chapagain continued.

Similarly, Dr. Mads Gilbert, a physician who worked in Gaza for more than 20 years, told Al Jazeera, “It is a horrible situation. The healthcare capacity is not sufficient at all to handle this massive number of 61,000 injured. They are lacking everything; they don’t have antibiotics, anesthetics, IV fluids.”

In the north, the mayor of Gaza City has reported it hasn’t received “one drop of fuel” in months, and in the south, hospitals are overwhelmed with the wounded.

“This is a systematic man-made disaster. This is planned and executed by the Israeli government with the full support from the U.S. It’s the worst man-made medical disaster in modern history,” Gilbert said.

UNOCHA has said Israeli denials of access for humanitarian missions have increased since the beginning of 2024, with only about 24 percent of planned humanitarian deliveries to northern Gaza reaching their destinations in the first weeks of the year.

Similarly, Diaa Rashwan, the chairman of Egypt’s State Information Service (SIS) says Israel is the sole cause of the lack of aid entering Gaza through Rafah and other border crossings.

Rashwan added that the Rafah crossing hasn’t been closed “for a single moment” on the Egyptian side. At the same time, Israeli authorities deliberately disrupted or delayed the entry of aid “under the pretext of inspecting it.”

“Throughout these 100 days, has been the stubbornness and intentionality of the occupying Israeli authorities, at other Gaza Strip crossings, delaying the inspection of aid before allowing its passage to the Palestinian side, by virtue of its military control over the territory of the Gaza Strip,” he was quoted as saying in an SIS post on Facebook, as cited by Al Jazeera.

The UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) has said that “the massive destruction, displacement, hunger and loss of last 100 days are staining our shared humanity”.

“The humanitarian operation has become one of the most complex and challenging in the world, the continued, “due to the tight siege on the Gaza Strip, the aid delivered is not nearly enough to meet people’s needs, it said.

New normal: daily attacks on the occupied West Bank

Meanwhile, in the occupied West Bank, Israeli forces conducted yet another night of heavy violence on Palestinian neighborhoods and cities.

As a precursor to the overnight Israeli military raids, the army killed five Palestinians in three separate incidents on Sunday, including three children.

Those killed include sixteen-year-old Khaled Hmeidat and 17-year-old Suleiman Kanaan in el-Bireh, sixteen-year-old Louay Al-Sufi during a raid on the Ain Sultan refugee camp north of the city of Jericho, and two Palestinians in Sair, north of Hebron, while in a car the military said broke through a checkpoint.

Israeli forces also arrested 25 students overnight on Sunday as they staged a sit-in on campus protesting high tuition fees in Nablus’ An-Najah University, occupied West Bank.

Wasel Abu Yousef, a member of the executive committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization, told Al Jazeera that both the occupied West Bank and Gaza are part of the “Israeli genocide against Palestinians, aimed at breaking them and their collective will.”

“As Israel committed massacres in the Gaza Strip throughout 100 days of war, it continues its attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem,” Abu Yousef said.

“The occupation seeks to impose new facts on the ground and is trying to implement its plans to displace Palestinians, by dismembering the West Bank and killing and destroying,” he said.

“Through repeated raids and attacks, Israel is hoping people will leave voluntarily,” he added.

Video of Israeli captives

On Sunday evening, Hamas released an undated 37-second video of three Israelis taken captive on October 7, Noa Argamani, 26, Yossi Sharabi, 53, and Itai Svirsky, 38, appealing to their government to stop the offensive.

“Tomorrow, we will inform you of their fate,” the video said without giving further details.

Hours before, on the same day, Hamas’s Qassam Brigades spokesperson, Abu Obaida, said that the fate of many of the Israeli captives has become “unknown in recent weeks.”

“A lot of them have most likely been killed because of the Israeli bombardment,” Abu Obeida said.

“The rest are in danger, and the enemy bears responsibility for their fate,” he added.

Israel says 132 remain in Gaza, and 25 died in captivity. Of about 240 people seized by Hamas on October 7, nearly half were released in a November truce.

Abu Obaida also announced that in 100 days, “we carried out hundreds of operations” in a pre-recorded video message.

Since October 7, “we destroyed or disabled 1,000 Israeli military vehicles, and we carried out hundreds of operations against the occupation,” using Qassam-made weapons, he continued.

Biden said in a statement marking 100 days of war in Gaza that he is still working to negotiate a captive release.

“I will never forget the grief and the suffering I have heard in my meetings with the families of the American hostages. No one should have to endure even one day of what they have gone through, much less 100,” Biden continued, failing to mention the nearly 24,000 Palestinians killed in Gaza.

Palestine’s UN mission criticized the U.S. secretary of state on X for making no mention of the 24,000 Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip, about half of whom are children, in his post to mark 100 days of war.

“Shame on those who remain complicit and do not call for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. Shame on them,” it said.

Israel considers cutting education budget to fund war

 As Israel’s war on Gaza enters its fourth month, its economy is suffering as it spends billions to sustain the military’s ongoing operations in the besieged enclave.

Israel has already spent 24.7 billion Israeli shekels ($6.6bn) on the war, including reinforcing Israel’s borders and funding for the more than 100,000 people displaced from the north and south of the country, since October 7.

“There are fireworks” over how to fund the Israeli government’s war budget in 2024, which costs Israel about $269m each day, Al Jazeera reported.

Some of Israel’s funding proposals include a $239m cut in the education ministry’s budget and more than $100m in cuts to the Health Ministry’s budget. A lot of things are being affected, Al Jazeera continued.

Despite American pressure to reduce deadly strikes on civilians in Gaza, the Washington Post has reported  Israeli leadership deciding to “continue its high-intensity campaign throughout January.”

According to Israeli media, the Foreign Ministry estimates that about 210 billion Israeli shekels ($54bn) will be spent on the war in Gaza between 2023 and 2025.

Tensions with the Biden administration

As Israel plans out their military budget, White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the U.S. has been speaking “intensely” with Israel about a transition to “lower intensity” operations in Gaza.

The United States has urged Israel to make this shift for weeks but has rejected imposing any timeframes or red lines on the government, saying those decisions were up to Israel’s leaders.

“We believe it’s the right time for that transition. And we’re talking about doing that now,” Kirby said, according to Al Jazeera, adding that Israel has already taken some “some precursory steps” towards reducing air strikes and operating in a more limited capacity.

However, with Israeli attacks killing hundreds of Palestinians in recent days, these precursory steps are challenging to identify.

Meanwhile, Axios news agency claims that the U.S. administration is frustrated with Israel’s rejection of most of their recent requests related to the war on Gaza.

“The situation sucks and we are stuck. The president’s patience is running out,” a U.S. official reportedly told the news outlet.

“At every juncture, Netanyahu has given Biden the finger,” U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen told Axios. “They are pleading with the Netanyahu coalition, but getting slapped in the face over and over again.”

Despite reports of escalating tension between Israel’s government and the U.S., the Biden administration has continued to provide complete support for Israel in the face of International outrage in the form of munition supply and at the United Nations.

Punitive measures for U.S. government staff that call for a ceasefire 

Despite rising concerns among members of the American government, the U.S. is working hard to stifle their protests against Israel’s ruthless operations on Gaza’s population.

Top House Republicans have announced they will press federal agencies to punish workers who participate in a planned walkout on Tuesday in protest of Washington’s continued support for Israel’s aggression.

“Any government worker who walks off the job to protest U.S. support for our ally Israel is ignoring their responsibility and abusing the trust of taxpayers. They deserve to be fired,” Republican speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Mike Johnson wrote.

Johnson added he was working with the chairman of the House Oversight Committee to “ensure that each federal agency initiates appropriate disciplinary proceedings against any person who walks out on their job,”

“They deserve to be fired,” he concluded.

Leave a Reply