Israeli war in Gaza continues unabated, defying UN Security Council ceasefire - as it happened

Ahram Online , Tuesday 26 Mar 2024

As the Israeli war on Gaza enters its 192nd day with no sign of Israel's intention to comply with the UN Security Council for a ceasefire, the Israeli army continued to strike northwest Gaza City and Beit Lahia with artillery shells, while airstrikes and artillery hit Rafah and Khan Younis, killing dozens, including children and women.

An injured man stands with others at al-Najar Hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 26, 2024. AFP


23:00 One of the Israeli captives being held in Gaza has been confirmed killed, an advocacy group representing the captives' families said Tuesday.

It was not clear how Israeli authorities determined Uriel Baruch, 35, had been killed. Baruch was kidnapped from the Nova music festival on 7 Oct. 

Baruch is the latest captive to be declared dead by Israeli authorities. Israel says 35 of the captives remaining in the Gaza Strip are dead, either killed during Hamas’ initial attack or while in captivity.

Baruch, a techno music fan, leaves behind a wife and two children ages 8 and 5, according to the captives Families Forum.

As negotiations remain stalled on a deal to release the captives and halt the war in Gaza, furious and desperate family members of captives protested alongside supporters Tuesday evening, blocking the road outside of the military’s Tel Aviv headquarters by climbing inside large cages.

About 120 captives were released during a temporary cease-fire in late November. Hamas took roughly 250 people into Gaza.

About 100 people are believed to still be alive.

21:45 At least 12 Palestinians including children were killed Tuesday in an air strike that hit a tent full of displaced people in southern Gaza, the health ministry said.

The ministry in a statement reported "12 martyrs" who were killed in the strike on the coastal Al-Mawasi area, west of Khan Yunis city.

21:00 The United Nations food agency said on Tuesday that shipments of animal feed to sustain milk-producing cows were blocked at the border into Gaza for months as Israel pressed its offensive against Hamas militants in the besieged Palestinian enclave.

The barley intended for farmers and herders mostly in northern Gaza would have been "enough to produce milk for all the children in Gaza for over a month," said AbdulHakim Elwaer, Assistant Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization.

20:15 Israeli tanks and armoured vehicles surrounded a hospital in Gaza's Khan Younis Tuesday, witnesses said, as the Palestinian Red Crescent reported another facility was "out of service" due to military operations.

Witnesses at Nasser Hospital, where thousands of displaced Palestinians have sought refuge from the fighting, told AFP that shots were fired at the sprawling complex in the southern city of Khan Younis, but no raid was as yet taking place.

The Palestinian health ministry said Israeli troops were shooting and firing "shells and (conducting) violent raids in its surroundings in preparation for its storming."

"Thousands of displaced people are still inside the hospital," the ministry said. "They do not have sufficient quantities of drinking water, food, and infant formula, and their lives are in danger."

19:30 The United States will continue dropping essential aid from the air into the Gaza Strip, the White House said Tuesday after Hamas called for them to end following fatal drownings and stampedes.

"Airdrops are one of the many ways that we are helping to provide desperately needed aid to Palestinians in Gaza, and we will continue to do so," a spokesman for the National Security Council told reporters, after Hamas said that 18 people had died, 12 of them by drowning while trying to recover dropped food supplies.

19:00 Israel has recalled its negotiators from Doha after deeming talks on a Gaza truce "at a dead end" due to Hamas demands, a senior Israeli official said on Tuesday.

18:30 US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin on Tuesday said it was a moral and strategic imperative to protect Palestinian civilians, calling the situation in Gaza a "humanitarian catastrophe," as relations between President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sank to a wartime low.

"In Gaza today, the number of civilian casualties is far too high and the amount of humanitarian aid is far too low," Austin said at the start of the meeting with Israel Defense Minister Yoav Gallant at the Pentagon.

"Gaza is suffering a humanitarian catastrophe," Austin added.

The meeting between the two came after Netanyahu on Monday cancelled a separate visit to Washington by two of his most senior aides who were due to hear US ideas about operational alternatives.

17:00 Hamas on Tuesday urged foreign nations to stop parachuting aid into war-torn Gaza after officials and humanitarians said 18 people died trying to reach food packages in the starving north.

Instead, the Palestinian militant group that rules the Gaza Strip demanded that its enemy Israel allow more aid trucks to enter the besieged territory, which the United Nations has warned is on the brink of a "man-made famine".

Fighting raged on unabated a day after the UN Security Council passed its first resolution calling for an "immediate ceasefire" in the bloody Gaza war. 

15:45 As we previously reported, UN Special Rapporteur on the occupied Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese has issued a report "Anatomy of a Genocide," stating that there are “reasonable grounds” to believe Israel is committing genocide in the Gaza Strip.

She is now presenting the findings in Geneva. She highlighted that Israel used 25,000 tons of explosives, equivalent to two nuclear bombs, have been used to level entire neighborhoods in Gaza. 

This has resulted in "erasing or severely damaging almost all civilian infrastructure and agricultural land, most homes, healthcare facilities, telecommunications infrastructure, every university, most education facilities, and innumerable cultural heritage sites."


14:50 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry met with a delegation from the Palestinian Fatah movement, led by its Deputy Chairman, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, and called for the immediate implementation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2728, which calls for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during Ramadan.

Shoukry also stressed the need to build upon the resolution to reach a permanent ceasefire that extends beyond Ramadan to spare the loss of innocent Palestinian lives.

During the meeting, Shoukry underlined the necessity to put a permanent end to the humanitarian catastrophe faced by the Palestinians in Gaza and halt the Israeli indiscriminate targeting, siege, starvation, and complete destruction of infrastructure.

For the first time since the Israeli war erupted in Gaza on 7 October, the 15-member UNSC adopted a resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire after a majority 14-0 vote in favour of the resolution.

The United States, which vetoed all previous ceasefire resolutions at the council, abstained from voting.

The US ambassador to the UN claimed the resolution is "non-binding."

"It is our interpretation of this resolution that it is non-binding," US State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller also said.

Egypt has welcomed the decision as “the first important and necessary step to stop the bloodshed,” highlighting, however, its “imbalance due to the limited timeframe and the obligations therein.”

During the meeting with the Fatah delegation, Shoukry reiterated Egypt’s categorical rejection of Israeli plans to forcibly displace the Palestinians and liquidate the Palestinian cause.

Additionally, he affirmed the need to resume funding the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

He underlined the agency’s indispensable role in providing vital services across Gaza, including in the north.

Shoukry was also briefed on the deteriorating humanitarian and security situation in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including restrictions and violations against Palestinian worshipers in Al-Aqsa Mosque.

He denounced the continuation of illegal Israeli settlement expansion, including through the confiscation of land in the occupied West Bank.

Shoukry warned that these developments risk the situation getting out of control in the entire occupied Palestinian territory.

13:50 During a visit to Tehran, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said Palestinians have shown “legendary resistance” during the war on Gaza, in which Israel has failed to achieve its military objectives, reported Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

Speaking alongside Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian at a news conference, Haniyeh said political support for Israel is now faltering, evidenced by the UN Security Council’s resolution demanding a ceasefire.

Haniyeh, on his second visit to Iran since the Gaza war broke out, also praised Iran for “standing at the forefront of supporting the cause and nation of Palestine.”

13:00 The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) shared photos from the funeral of one of its team members who was killed by Israeli fire at Al-Amal hospital in Deir Al-Balah.

Ameer Abu Aysha, a twenty-three-year-old volunteer in the hospital’s emergency operations room, is the 15th member of the PRCS to be killed by Israel in Gaza.


12:41 "People are already dying of starvation up in the north and this is essentially a death sentence," Sam Rose UNRWA director of planning, said, as Israel continued to block food deliveries from the UN agency, the largest aid organization in Gaza.

"It is a deliberate obstruction of lifesaving assistance," he warned.


12:29 Israeli forces detained 30 Palestinians, including former prisoners, in an ongoing campaign across the occupied West Bank, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).

PPS said that the detention campaigns were concentrated in Jalazoun camp, north of Ramallah, including a number of Gaza workers, while the rest of the detentions occurred in the governorates of Hebron, Tulkarm, Nablus, Jenin, and Tubas.

Additionally, PPS stated that the detention campaigns were accompanied by widespread abuse, severe beatings, and threats against the detainees and their families.

The total number of Palestinians, including children, women, and elderly men, rounded up since 7 October has surged to about 7,800 people.

Moreover, the Israeli army continues to carry out the crime of enforced disappearance against detainees in the Gaza Strip, as the occupation refuses to provide human rights institutions with any details regarding their fate or their places of detention, it reported.

12:23 BBC correspondents met with settlers from organizations in the occupied West Bank who have their eyes on Gaza and its beachfront.

"For some on Israel's far-right, desirable beachfront now includes the sands of Gaza," reported the BBC.

Daniella Weiss, 78, often referred to as the grandmother of Israel's settler movement, told the BBC she already has a list of 500 families ready to move to Gaza immediately. "I have friends in Tel Aviv," she says, "so they say, 'Don't forget to keep for me a plot near the coast in Gaza,' because it's a beautiful, beautiful coast, beautiful golden sand."

Weiss heads a settler organization called Nachala, or homeland. For decades, she has been spearheading Israeli colonial settlements in the Israeli-occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, on Palestinian land captured by Israel in 1967.

According to international law and the United Nations Security Council, all Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are illegal. The settler vision for the future of Gaza, currently home to 2.3 million Palestinians, many of whom are suffering from deprivation, is that it will become predominantly Jewish.

She had made similar claims to CNN earlier.

"Gaza Arabs will not stay in the Gaza Strip," she says. "Who will stay? Jews."

She suggests that Palestinians want to leave Gaza and that other countries should take them in.

"The world is wide," she says. "Africa is big. Canada is big. The world will absorb the people of Gaza. How we do it? We encourage it. Palestinians in Gaza, the good ones, will be enabled. I'm not saying forced, I say enabled because they want to go."

There is no evidence that Palestinians want to leave their homeland; they even warn of a new Israeli Nakba to push them out of their homes, lands, as occurred in 1948.

The BBC correspondent challenged her assertion, suggesting it sounds like a plan for ethnic cleansing. Weiss does not deny it. "You can call it ethnic cleansing," she responds. "If you want to call it apartheid, you choose your definition."

Another settler, Yehuda Shimon, father of 10 children in a settler outpost in the West Bank Gilad's Farm, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, says Gaza is part of Israel area. "This is the land that God gave us," he says. "I believe in the end we will go back to Gaza."

When asked about the implications for Palestinians, he suggests they have other places to go in the world, citing "52 Muslim countries." He envisions the new Gaza as "another Tel Aviv."

11:50 Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant is set to meet with Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in Washington on Tuesday, despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s abrupt cancellation of a visit by another high-level delegation to the United States, The Washington Post reported.

The move came after the United States abstained from voting on a cease-fire resolution before the UN Security Council, allowing it to pass.

"The second Israeli delegation to Washington, whose visit President Biden requested, had been set to hear US concerns about Israel’s plans for an operation in Rafah, southern Gaza, where over a million displaced Palestinians are sheltering," the American newspaper added.

Gallant met with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and national security adviser Jake Sullivan on Monday. Blinken in his meeting with Gallant "reiterated the United States’ support for ensuring the defeat of Hamas, including in Rafah, while reiterating opposition to a major ground operation in Rafah," according to the State Department.

"Senior Biden administration officials believed they made clear to their Israeli counterparts in nonstop talks over the weekend the possibility that the United States would abstain from — rather than veto — the UNSC resolution." the Post added.

"But the White House was taken aback by what happened after the abstention vote was cast." Netanyahu canceled a high-level delegation’s trip to Washington, specifically requested by President Biden in a phone call last week, to discuss US concerns about Israel’s plans for a major ground attack on Rafah.

11:08 Thirty members of one family were killed in an Israeli strike on a home near Gaza's Al Shifa Hospital, according to WAFA news agency.

The strike destroyed the Abu Hasira family home in the west of Gaza City, the outlet reported, as Israeli forces continued a siege on Al-Shifa.

Elsewhere in Gaza, nine people drowned while trying to retrieve aid that had been dropped into the sea, while five others are missing after trying to collect aid from aid drops over the Strip, WAFA reported.

11:00 The UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, Francesca Albanese, will deliver a report on Tuesday, to the UN Human Rights Council, saying that Israel has carried out acts of genocide in Gaza, also warning of "ethnic cleansing."

The report, entitled "Anatomy of a Genocide," recommends that UN members "immediately implement an arms embargo and sanctions on Israel.

The UN human rights expert said in her report there were “reasonable grounds” to believe that Israel was carrying out three of the five acts defined as genocide: killing Palestinians, causing them serious bodily or mental harm, and “deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction” of the population in whole or in part.

"By analyzing the patterns of violence and Israel’s policies in its onslaught on Gaza, this report concludes that there are reasonable grounds to believe that the threshold indicating Israel’s commission of genocide is met."

"One of the key findings is that Israel's executive and military leadership and soldiers have intentionally distorted jus in bello principles, subverting their protective functions, in an attempt to legitimize genocidal violence against the Palestinian people," says the report, which has been seen by Ahram Online,

“The overwhelming nature and scale of Israel’s assault on Gaza and the destructive conditions of life it has inflicted reveal an intent to physically destroy Palestinians as a group,” Albanese’s report said.

"Vitriolic genocidal rhetoric has painted the whole population as the enemy to be eliminated and forcibly displaced. High-ranking Israeli officials with command authority have issued harrowing public statements evincing genocidal intent", she says in the report enumerating several examples as when Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu referred to Palestinians as “Amalek” and “monsters”.

The Amalek reference is to a biblical passage in which God commands Saul “Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

Minister of Defense Yoav Gallant referred to Palestinians as “human animals,” and IDF Spokesperson Daniel Hagari stated that the focus should be on causing "maximum damage, demonstrating a strategy of disproportionate and indiscriminate violence."

"Such calls for annihilatory violence directed at troops on duty, constitute strong evidence of direct and public incitement to commit genocide," the report said, adding that "decades of discourse dehumanizing Palestinians have prepared the groundwork for such incitements."

"There is cogent evidence that these statements have been internalized and acted upon by troops on the ground. Israeli soldiers have, including on social media channels run by the Israeli military, referred to Palestinians as 'terrorists', 'roaches', 'rats, and have repeated terms articulated by political leaders, chanting that 'there are no ‘uninvolved civilians,' while also calling for the building of settlements in Gaza, 'occupy[ing] Gaza... wip[ing] off the seed of Amalek', boasting about killing families, mothers, and children', humiliating detained Palestinians, detonating dozens of homes, destroying entire residential neighborhoods, and desecrating cemeteries and places of worship," the report explains.

Israel’s Prime Minister and President have stated that Israel was fighting on behalf of “all civilized states and... peoples”, “a barbarism that has no place in the modern world,” that they "will uproot evil and it will be good for the entire region and the world”. 

"This racist rhetoric echoes that of other colonial powers, and tries to construe Israel’s genocidal violence as legitimate in light of Palestinians’ alleged 'barbarian' and 'premodern' character."

A cat approaches a woman mourning the bodies of her relatives who were killed during Israeli bombardment the previous night, at al-Najar Hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 26, 2024. AFP

10:10 Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh was in Tehran on Tuesday for talks with Iranian officials, state media reported, a day after the UN Security Council called for a ceasefire in the Israeli war on Gaza.

"Hamas bureau chief Ismail Haniyeh, during his trip to Tehran on Tuesday, will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian," Iran's official IRNA news agency said, adding that he will also meet with other senior officials.

10:00 Seventy people were killed early Tuesday, including 15 in Israeli air strikes on the Abu Naqira house, located in the southern Gazan city of Rafah.

Martyrs and wounded arrived at the Abu Yousef Al-Najjar Hospital.

The house was serving as a shelter for displaced Palestinians.

Located on the border with Egypt, Rafah has become a refuge for 1.5 million Palestinians fleeing the devastation in other parts of the territory.

Al Jazeera reported that Israeli artillery shelled the vicinity of Hamad City in Khan Younis, also in the southern Strip.

Meanwhile, the Palestinian News Agency, WAFA reported that Israeli occupation forces invaded the areas of Raffidia and Al-Makhfiya in Nablus city, as well as the Askar Al-Jadid refugee camp in the West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent reports that a young Palestinian was wounded by occupation forces' gunfire during the raid on the Balata camp east of Nablus.

A man salvages food packages from a building that was hit overnight during Israeli bombardment in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip on March 26, 2024. AFP

Short link: