625,000 Palestinian children missed school since October as Israel forges ahead with maniacal campaign against Gaza - as it happened

Ahram Online , Wednesday 14 Feb 2024

On the 131st day of Israel's aggression on the Gaza Strip, Israeli madness against the civilian population in Gaza continued to petrify millions around the world - with attacks on wounded patients and medical staff in under-bombardment hospitals and wild arrests of young people in the West Bank; Sisi and Erdogan jointly called for an immediate ceasefire as the Arab Group in the UN plans to force the issue at the Security Council.

Golden Gate
Pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down traffic in both directions on the Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024, in San Francisco. AP


22:45 According to a report by the United Nations, the destruction of education in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war in October 2023 has deprived more than 625,000 students and 22,564 teachers of education and a safe place.

On Monday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said more than 12,300 Palestinian children and 8,400 women have been killed so far in Israel’s war on Gaza.

Children, who make up more than 50 percent of the 2.4 million population of Gaza, made up about 43 percent of the total number of 28,340 Palestinians killed so far.

Women and children together make up 73 percent of those killed in the war, according to the ministry’s figures.

The ministry provided the breakdown of children and women on Monday at the request of The Associated Press.

In its report, the health ministry said more than 7,000 people are missing and presumed dead.

It said 67,984 people had been wounded in the war. 

22:15 Two dozen protesters, holding signs against Israel's military offensive in Rafah and demanding an end to the US arming Israel, blocked traffic on the Golden Gate Bridge in both directions for about 15 minutes on Wednesday.



22:00 Israeli media report that Palestinian national figure, Marwan Al-Barghouthi, has been sent to solitary confinement under the pretext of establishing contact to plan for an Intifada in the West Bank. 

Bargouthi, 65, is a Palestinian political figure convicted and imprisoned for murder by an Israeli court since 2002. 

He is regarded as a leader of the First and Second Palestinian Intifadas. 

Barghouti supported the Oslo Accords but later became disillusioned with the Israeli refusal to allow the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.
After 2000, Barghouthi went on to become a leader of the Second Intifada from the West Bank.

He was a leader of Tanzim, a paramilitary offshoot of Fatah.

Since the start of its aggression on Gaza on 7 October, Israel has carried out deadly raids in various towns and villages in the occupied West Bank, killing nearly 400 and arresting nearly 7,000 Palestinians.

21:45 French President Emmanuel Macron told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Wednesday that the Gaza death toll was "intolerable" and Israel's operations there "must cease", the president's office said.

In a telephone call that saw Macron toughen his tone, the French leader expressed France's "firm opposition" to an Israeli offensive in the southern Gaza city of Rafah, saying it "could only lead to a humanitarian disaster of a new magnitude" and create a new risk of regional escalation, according to a statement from the presidential Elysee palace.

The French leader stressed that a ceasefire agreement should be reached "without further delay", adding such a deal should "guarantee the protection of all civilians and the massive inflow of emergency aid".

Macron said that the lack of sufficient access to "a population in an absolute humanitarian emergency was unjustifiable," his office said.

He said it was "imperative to open the port of Ashdod" in Israel north of the Gaza Strip, "a direct land route from Jordan and all the crossing points."

The French president also urged "the prime minister and all Israeli leaders to have the courage to offer their fellow citizens a future of peace", which he believes only the "creation of a Palestinian state" can achieve, the statement said.

On Tuesday, France said it was imposing sanctions against 28 "extremist Israeli settlers" whom it accuses of committing human rights abuses against Palestinian civilians in the occupied West Bank.

France would also be seeking sanctions at the European level, the foreign ministry said.

21:30 The Israeli military said Wednesday a soldier was killed in rocket fire from Lebanon, while Lebanese official media said three civilians and a Hezbollah fighter were killed in a series of Israeli strikes.

The Israeli army said in a statement Sergeant Omer Sarah Benjo, 20, was killed "as a result of a (rocket) launch carried out from Lebanese territory on a base in northern Israel."

Fighter jets struck a series of "Hezbollah terror targets" in several areas of south Lebanon including Adshit and Sawwaneh, the military said.

Lebanon's state-run National News Agency (NNA) said Israeli warplanes targeted a house in Sawwaneh with two strikes, "leading to its destruction" and the death of three members of the same family, identifying them as a Syrian woman and her child, aged two, and stepchild, 13.

The NNA said another Israeli attack targeting Adshit killed one person, who Hezbollah announced was one of its fighters, and wounded 10 others, destroying a building and causing significant damage nearby.

Meanwhile, Haaretz reported on Wednesday citing the Israeli government that it expects 20,000 soldiers to be disabled by the end of 2024.

21:00  According to a report by the United Nations, the destruction of education in the Gaza Strip since the start of the war in October 2023 has deprived more than 625,000 students and 22,564 teachers of education and a safe place.

On Monday, the Palestinian Health Ministry said more than 12,300 Palestinian children and 8,400 women have been killed so far in Israel’s war on Gaza.

Children made up about 43 percent of the total number of 28,340 Palestinians killed so far. Women and children together make up 73 percent of those killed in the war, according to the ministry’s figures.

The ministry provided the breakdown of children and women on Monday at the request of The Associated Press.

In its report, the health ministry said more than 7,000 people are missing and presumed dead.

It said 67,984 people had been wounded in the war. 

20:00  The Palestinian health ministry in Gaza reported that many staff, wounded patients, and displaced people in Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis have been forced to evacuate the premises but some are still inside sending pleas for help to the world amid a mad Israeli siege and bombardment campaign.

For weeks, Nurses and doctors have been sending urgent pleas for help from within the under-bombardment medical facility.

A nurse told AFP that Israeli snipers were killing people, sewage had flooded the emergency room, and drinking water had run out.

"It was a black night, with strikes and explosions all night," Mohamed Al-Astal, a nurse in the emergency department, told AFP.


The Israeli army has besieged and bombarded the grounds of Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, where thousands of wounded and displaced Palestinians seek shelter, for nearly a month.

For weeks, Israeli snipers picked up one Palestinian after another, including women and children, in the vicinity of Nasser.

On Tuesday, a gruesome video depicted the body of a Palestinian child lying dead in front of the Nasser Medical Complex after snipers executed him.



The army has been sending threatening messages for days to people inside the hospital to leave or else.

In the last 48 hours, videos circulating on social media depict Israeli soldiers lobbing dehumanizing slurs via loudspeakers. at Palestinians who were trapped inside the largest hospital in southern Gaza 

(Get Out You Bunch of Animals, Get Out Dogs!) as snipers pick off anyone who dares to leave or enter the medical facility that has been under siege and bombardment since mid-January.



Another video circulated on social media depicted one of the many sinister acts of impunity and vengeance committed by the Israeli soldiers against an unarmed civilian population.

The soldiers sent a Palestinian man they had detained to deliver an order of evacuation to the people inside the hospital.

After the man with a NO answer from staff and civilians, the Israeli soldiers execute him at point blank with three bullets.



Read the full report here

19:30 In a press conference, surrounded by various Arab ambassadors to the UN, Permanent Observer of Palestine at the UN Riyad Mansour said that Algeria, the non-permanent member representing Arab countries on the UNSC, would decide on the appropriate time to submit a blue text to the Security Council for a vote.

Mansour added that the Arab Group is engaged in discussions with the US representative at the UNSC given that Washington has opposed or vetoed all previous efforts to push a resolution in the Security Council to impose an immediate ceasefire on Israel.

18:30 President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for an immediate ceasefire in the Israeli war on Gaza and rejected all Israeli attempts to displace the residents of the strip.

This came during El-Sisi a joint press conference after the two leaders held a summit in Cairo on Wednesday.

"President Erdogan and I agreed on the necessity of an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and achieving calm in the West Bank so that the peace process can be resumed as soon as possible leading to the declaration of a sovereign Palestinian state on the borders of 4 June 1967  with East Jerusalem as its capital per the relevant international legitimacy resolutions, " said President El-Sisi.

President Erdogan slammed Israel's announced plans of launching a ground invasion into Rafah, where 1.4 million Palestinians seek shelter from Israeli bombardment elsewhere in the Gaza Strip.

"Netanyahu wants to commit massacres in Rafah," said Erdogan.

“We do not accept the displacement of Palestinians from Gaza - All initiatives that aim to displace the residents of Gaza are dead on arrival,” added the Turkish leader.

17:00 Palestine has requested that an extraordinary session of the Arab League on Thursday at the level of permanent delegates, "in light of the continuation of the crime of genocide committed by Israel against the Palestinian people," announced Ambassador Muhannad Al-Aklouk, the Representative of the State of Palestine to the Arab League.

16:30 Palestinian news agency WAFA reported on Wednesday that six Palestinian civilians were killed in Israeli bombardment that targeted two homes west of the Nuseirat camp in the central Gaza Strip.

According to WAFA’s correspondent, Israeli aircraft bombed the house of a Palestinian family, leading to the death of four of them. They were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in nearby Deir al-Balah.

Separately, two Palestinians were killed and five others injured in Israeli strikes targeting another home belonging to another Palestinian family west of the Nuseirat camp, WAFA reported.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported relentless Israeli bombing near the Crescent’s Al-Amal Hospital in the city of Khan Younis, with the strikes leading to major damage to the hospital’s building, while the Israeli army blew up a residential square not far from the hospital.

In southern Gaza, a house east of Rafah, the last bastion for Palestinians escaping Israel’s ground invasion, was also destroyed by the Israeli army, WAFA reported.

Elsewhere, Israeli warplanes launched three air strikes on the northwestern area of Gaza City and two others near Al-Tawam, in the northwest of the strip, it added.

15:50 The Lebanese News Agency reported that "the Israeli enemy launched an airstrike with two rockets targeting a building on the outskirts of the town of Jbaa."

According to preliminary reports from Lebanese media outlets, four civilians, including a woman and her two children, were killed, and nine others were wounded in the airstrikes on the towns of Al-Sawwanah and Adshit in the southern region.



15:12 The World Health Organization lamented that fewer than half of its requested aid-delivery missions in Gaza have been approved by Israel, stressing the need to reach and resupply devastated hospitals across the territory.

"Hospitals are completely overwhelmed and overflowing and undersupplied," said Rik Peeperkorn, the WHO representative for the occupied Palestinian territories.

Speaking to reporters in Geneva via video link from Rafah in southern Gaza, he described how patients were frequently undergoing unnecessary amputations of limbs that could have been saved under ordinary circumstances.

Decrying the "shrinking humanitarian space" in the Gaza Strip, he accused Israel of obstructing aid deliveries across the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

Since November, only 40 percent of the missions WHO had requested to deliver aid to northern Gaza had been facilitated, he said.

"Since January, that figure is much lower."

Only 45 percent of the requested missions in southern Gaza had meanwhile been made possible, he added.

"These missions have been denied, impeded, or postponed," he said, describing the situation as "absurd."

"Even when there is no ceasefire, humanitarian corridors should exist so WHO, UN, and their partners can do their job."

15:01 A top UN official has cautioned that an Israeli assault on Rafah, Gaza's southernmost city, could result in a "slaughter."

Humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths stated that Palestinians in Gaza were already enduring an "assault that is unparalleled in its intensity, brutality, and scope."

The potential consequences of an invasion of Rafah, Griffiths warned, would be "catastrophic."

In a notably forceful statement, Griffiths emphasized that over a million people were "crammed in Rafah, staring death in the face." He highlighted the dire conditions faced by civilians in the city, with limited access to food and medicine, and nowhere safe to seek refuge.

Griffiths asserted that an Israeli invasion of Rafah would "further jeopardize an already precarious humanitarian operation."



14:30 A demonstration erupted at the American University in Cairo, denouncing the Israeli war on Gaza and the invasion of Rafah. Students waved Palestinian flags as they chanted: "We die and Palestine lives."



14:12 The Israeli army said its fighter jets "began a series of strikes in Lebanon," raising fears of a war between the two countries.

The army gave no further details, while Lebanese media reported three villages were hit.

The strikes came hours after fire from Lebanon wounded multiple people in northern Israel, according to medics.

There was no immediate claim for the rocket launches from Lebanese resistance group Hezbollah, which has traded near-daily fire with Israeli troops since the outbreak of the war in Gaza, more than four months ago.

Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah said Tuesday that fire from southern Lebanon will end "when the attack on Gaza stops and there is a ceasefire" in the Israeli war.

"If they (Israel) broaden the confrontation, we will do the same," Nasrallah warned in a televised address.



14:08 The Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus expressed alarm over the Israeli attacks on Nasser Hospital in Gaza, which has been under siege for around a week.

"Civilians have been killed, orders to evacuate people seeking shelter, and the northern wall demolished: I am deeply concerned. Hostilities have reportedly destroyed storage facilities for medical equipment and supplies," he said.

"Access to the hospital remains obstructed — there is no safe corridor for those in need. Two WHO missions have been denied in the last four days, and we have lost touch with the hospital’s personnel," he added.

Ghebreyesus insisted that "Nasser is the backbone of the health system in southern Gaza. It must be protected. Humanitarian access must be allowed."



13:40 Protesters denouncing Israel's war on Gaza disrupted a foreign policy debate in Sweden's parliament, as the country's foreign minister reiterated support for Israel.

Security guards escorted a woman out of the public gallery after she shouted that Israel "was committing genocide," as Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom presented the government's foreign policy declaration to parliament.

"Sweden supports Israel's legitimate right to defend itself against Hamas following international law," Billstrom said before being interrupted.

Under pressure, Billstorm added: "In light of the catastrophic situation in Gaza, the government believes that a ceasefire is necessary for humanitarian reasons."

Protesters started to chant as members of parliament began debating the country's support for the UN agency for Palestinian refugees ( UNRWA). Police told AFP that six people were detained by security guards, and one of those had then been arrested suspected of "violent resistance." A small group of protesters also gathered outside the parliament.

In late January, Sweden put payments to UNRWA on hold following allegations that staff members at the agency had a role in the 7 October operation.

The United Nations has announced the creation of an independent panel to assess UNRWA following the claims, but Israel refused to cooperate with it.

13:40 Here are some of the most recent photos from the wires today.


People ride in a cart pulled by a tractor past the rubble of a destroyed building and a mosque minaret in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip. AFP

A man walks through the rubble of a building that was destroyed during the Israeli bombardment in Rafah. AFP


13:34 Spain and Ireland have asked Brussels to "urgently" investigate Israel's "respect" for human rights in Gaza, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced on X.

"Faced with the critical situation in Rafah," in the southern Gaza Strip, the Spanish and Irish governments have sent a letter to the European Commission asking it to "urgently examine whether Israel is fulfilling its commitments to respect human rights in Gaza," the socialist prime minister said.

The letter to the commission, published on the La Moncloa website (the Spanish government's presidency), specifies that "faced with the unsustainable situation in Gaza and the risk of an even greater humanitarian catastrophe due to the intensification of the Israeli military operation against Rafah," Dublin and Madrid ask the commission for "an urgent assessment of the EU/Israel Association Agreement."

The purpose of this "assessment" by the commission, the letter continues, is to verify "whether the essential points of the relationship regarding human rights and democratic principles are being respected."

The two countries also demand "that the EU Council take appropriate measures in case it is concluded that Israel is not respecting the commitments it has undertaken."

In Brussels, a spokeswoman for the commission, Arianna Podesta, confirmed that the EU executive had indeed received the letter.

"We received it this morning, a few minutes ago," she said at a press briefing, adding that the commission would "study it."

"We have nothing to add at the moment," she concluded.



13:07 At least nine Palestinians were killed and others wounded in Israeli airstrikes that targeted different parts of Gaza City, according to local and medical sources, as reported by WAFA news agency.

Medical sources said that at least nine civilians, mostly children and women, were killed in Israeli airstrikes that targeted homes in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, southeast of Gaza City, and Tal Al-Hawa in the southwest of the city.

The wounded individuals were rushed to the Baptist Hospital.

12:50 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas demanded Hamas swiftly conclude a captive exchange deal to spare the Palestinians from further catastrophic consequences and avoid an attack on Rafah city that could be as devastating as the 1948 Nakba, WAFA news agency reported.

He also called upon the US administration and the Arab mediators to diligently work towards expediting the completion of the deal to shield the Palestinian people from the perils of this destructive war.

"The Israeli occupation is waging an open war on Gaza, resulting in the daily killing of hundreds of Palestinians, along with the Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Jerusalem, and other dangerous escalations," Abbas said.

"Therefore, we must bear our responsibilities in stopping this comprehensive war on Palestinian people," he said.

Abbas added that "we hold everyone responsible for placing any obstacles from any party to disrupt the deal, because things are no longer tolerable, and it is time for everyone to bear responsibility."

12:47  "In only 4 months, 5% of the Gaza population has been killed, injured or is missing," Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general of the UNRWA said.

"17,000 children separated from their parents. The price the civilian population has paid is unspeakable," he added as he warned of possible starvation and famine in the strip.



11:32 One Israeli was killed and eight others were wounded in a rocket attack from Lebanon at the Northern Israeli Command headquarters base in Safed, which is about 13 kilometres (8 miles) from the Lebanese border, Times of Israel reported.

“Numerous launches were identified crossing from Lebanon into the areas of Netua, Manara, and into an army base in northern Israel,” the Israeli army said, adding that it was striking the launch sites.

Safed’s municipality also said rockets hit the base, as well as the city’s industrial zone and an area near Ziv Hospital.

There has been no immediate claim for the attack but the Times of Israel says “it was believed to have been carried out by the Hezbollah group."

11:29 The most recent data from the Palestinian health ministry indicates that 103 Palestinians were killed and 145 injured in Israeli airstrikes over the past 24 hours.

It added that at least 28,576 Palestinians have been killed and 68,291 injured in Israeli strikes on Gaza, since 7 October.

10:55 "People in Gaza pushed further into the abyss. Forced to move again," the UNRWA said.

"The exodus continues as people move from #Rafah to middle parts of the Gaza Strip, in search of safety where there is none."



10:30 Negotiations for a truce in Gaza and a detainee swap deal headed into a second day in Cairo on Wednesday, as displaced Gazans braced for an expected Israeli assault on their last refuge of Rafah.

As we reported earlier, a Hamas source told AFP that a delegation headed to Cairo to meet Egyptian and Qatari mediators after Israeli negotiators held talks with the mediators on Tuesday.

Sky News Arabia reported that a Palestinian official source said that Hamas has tentatively accepted joining the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) on the condition that it is linked to a clear political horizon leading to a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders.

10:05 As people amassed in Rafah desperately call for protection, the picture of what remains of 12-year-old Sidra, hanging on the wall of a destroyed building, is haunting, said Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur for the occupied Palestinian territories, on X.



09:27 The number of Palestinian prisoners Hamas aims to release in exchange for detainees it holds in Gaza is the "main gap" in current negotiations, the Israeli media outlet Walla reported, citing unnamed US and Israeli officials.

Walla further stated that "progress was made in understanding the gaps" and mentioned that Egypt and Qatar, mediators of the talks, will inquire whether Hamas is willing to reconsider its position.

During a temporary truce on November 2023, three Palestinian detainees were released for every Israeli held by Hamas in Gaza.

An Israeli delegation left Cairo on Tuesday night after talks on a truce deal in Gaza, Israeli and US media reported.

An Israeli official told Israel's media that the Israeli delegation was "there to listen" and that they did not put a new offer on the table.

The Wall Street Journal, citing Egyptian officials, said Mossad Director Barnea's delegation departed the Egyptian capital "without closing any of the major gaps in the negotiations."

The talks will continue for another three days, according to Egyptian state-owned television channel Al-Qahera, citing a senior Egyptian official.

The same official said the talks had been mostly "positive," the television channel reported.

A Hamas source told AFP that a member of the group's political bureau would head a delegation to Cairo to meet the Egyptian and Qatari intelligence chiefs.

US National Security Council spokesman John Kirby called the negotiations "constructive and moving in the right direction."

"Nothing is done until it is all done," he told reporters at the White House.

09:14 The US media outlet Politico reported that the Biden administration will not impose consequences on Israel if the country proceeds with an anticipated assault on Rafah, despite Washington’s demands that Israel develop a plan to avoid civilian casualties before launching the operation.

The report, which cites three anonymous officials in the Biden administration, states that “no reprimand plans are in the works, meaning Israeli forces could enter the city and harm civilians without facing American consequences.”

While the US said that an Israeli assault on the city, whose population has increased five times as Israel instructed displaced Palestinians to seek refuge there, would be a “disaster,” the Biden administration pushed back against suggestions that an Israeli incursion there could jeopardize continued US arms transfers.

09:10 South Africa has made an urgent request to the UN’s international court to consider using its power to intervene in Rafah. 

The country’s presidency asked the court to consider whether Israel’s decision to extend its military operations in Rafah requires it to use its power to prevent further breach of the rights of Palestinians in Gaza.

On Tuesday, the UN said it would not participate in any forced evacuation of Rafah. Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said it had not received any Rafah evacuation plans from Israel.

“Regardless, the UN does not participate in forced, non-voluntary evacuations. There is no plan at this time to facilitate the evacuation of civilians,” he said.

09:04 The US Senate has passed a bill containing $95 billion in funding for Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan, and other countries.

The White House-backed bill will now go to a vote in the Republican-controlled Congress, where it faces opposition from some Republican representatives.

As well as $14.1 billion in additional funding for Israel, the legislation includes a provision prohibiting Washington from allocating any funds to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA).

09:01 At least 18 Palestinians were arrested overnight in the occupied West Bank, including two women from Jericho.

It cites the Palestinian Prisoners Society and the Palestinian Commission of Detainees and ex-detainees affairs which said detentions also took place in Hebron, Qalqilya, Nablus, East Jerusalem, and Ramallah. It put the total number of arrests after 7 October at 7,020.

Arrests are “one of the most prominent tools of collective punishment,” the groups said in a statement on Telegram.

09:00 Israel's occupation forces ordered medical workers, patients, and displaced civilians to evacuate Nasser Hospital even while its quadcopters and snipers were targeting them.

A Palestinian doctor in the hospital said the walls are being bombed, and Israeli snipers are shooting to kill starving people.



Intense fighting near Khan Younis hospitals has led to dire conditions, with the UN Humanitarian Agency (OCHA) reporting that both the Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals are at risk.

Medical staff, along with wounded, sick patients, and internally displaced individuals, are in jeopardy due to the ongoing conflict.

According to OCHA, Al-Amal Hospital is facing critical shortages of fuel and medical supplies, with only one functional operating room available.

Additionally, it said Nasser Hospital has suffered damage to its ceilings from nearby explosions, with sewage leaking into the emergency department, as per a report from the Ministry of Health in Gaza.

In Rafah, neighbouring hospitals are struggling to cope with the influx of Palestinians seeking refuge, leading to overwhelming conditions, as reported by OCHA.

"We are very worried about the situation unfolding at Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, Gaza," Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, or MSF) said.

“People are afraid to leave the hospital because they hear reports of people being shot at,” it said. MSF calls on Israeli forces to ensure that all medical staff, patients, and displaced people are unharmed.


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