On 9 October Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant ordered "a complete siege" of the Gaza Strip,
Water“I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed,” Gallant says following an assessment at the IDF Southern Command in Beersheba.
“We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” he adds.
Israel cut Gaza off from water shortly after the terrorist attacks. It has since restored some supply to the south,
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in their Flash Update 31 (6/11/23) that,An aide to Israeli Energy and Infrastructure Minister Israel Katz said water was being supplied in the community of Bnei Sahila, near southern Khan Younis. The aide declined to elaborate on the amount of water being supplied.
They also reported that,In northern Gaza, the two main sources of drinking water, a desalination plant and a water connection from Israel, have been shut down for several weeks. In the south, one of the two desalination plants is operational, alongside two pipelines supplying water from Israel.
In Flash Update 30 (5/11/23), OCHA reported,- On 6 November, UNRWA and UNICEF distributed limited amounts of fuel to 120 municipal water wells across the entire Gaza Strip, including in the north, enabling the wells to resume operations. The water extracted is brackish and therefore meant only for non-drinking domestic uses. The fuel had been stored in Gaza since before the start of hostilities.
- On 4 and 5 November, sevena water facilities across the Gaza Strip were directly hit and sustained major damage, including three sewage pipelines in Gaza city, two water reservoirs (in Rafah and Jabalia refugee camp) and two water wells in Rafah. The Gaza municipality warned about the imminent risk of sewage flooding.
The BBC reports that WHO estimates "the average water consumption in Gaza is just three litres per person."Hundreds of thousands of residents in Gaza city and the North Gaza governorate are facing a severe water shortage, following the shutdown of all municipal water wells due to the lack of fuel, alongside the halt of water trucking activities. This situation raises concerns of dehydration and waterborne diseases due to water consumption from unsafe sources. However, a precise assessment is uncertain due to hostilities and access restrictions.
In Flash Update 31, OCHA reported that,
In Flash Update 30, they reported,- Gaza remains under a full electricity blackout since 11 October, following Israel’s halt of its power and fuel supply, which triggered the shutdown of Gaza’s sole power plant.
- The entry of fuel, which is desperately needed to operate electricity generators to run life-saving equipment, remains banned by the Israeli authorities.
US officials, current and former Israeli officials and academics believe that Hamas has a stockpile of over 200,000 gallons of diesel in storage though "Experts say the exact amount of fuel the group has is impossible to know."Multiple solar panels on the roofs of standing buildings, particularly in Gaza city, have reportedly been destroyed in the past few days during Israeli bombardments. Affected facilities include Shifa and Nasser hospitals, several water wells, and bakeries. This has eliminated one of the remaining sources of energy, which is not dependent on fuel.
FoodCurrent and former U.S. and Israeli officials agree that, even if Hamas is hoarding fuel, the international community has a responsibility to provide humanitarian aid to Gazan civilians.
OCHA's Flash Update 32 (7/11/23) reported,
Phone and Internet AccessAs of 7 November, no bakeries were active in the north, due to the lack of fuel, water and wheat flour, as well as the damage sustained by many. Food security partners have been unable to deliver assistance in the north for the past seven days...
Food security partners have been unable to deliver assistance in the north during the past seven days. Reports by IDPs indicate that no food is provided in the shelters and people are merely surviving with limited assistance by local NGOs and community-based organizations, alongside reliance on negative coping mechanisms, such as eating food with limited nutritional value or unfit for human consumption.
Access to bread in the south is also challenging. The only operative mill in Gaza remains unable to grind wheat due to a lack of electricity and fuel. Eleven bakeries have been hit and destroyed since 7 October. Only one of the bakeries contracted by the World Food Programme (WFP), along with eight other bakeries in the south, intermittently provides bread to shelters, depending on the availability of flour and fuel. People queue for long hours in bakeries, where they are exposed to airstrikes.
While about 9,000 tons of wheat grain are stored in mills in Gaza, a significant portion of it cannot be used, due to massive destruction, security concerns, and shortages of fuel and electricity.
Internet access was lost in Gaza for 34 hours on 27 October. From Wired,
The AirstrikesOn October 27, Israel reportedly imposed a full internet shutdown in the area, cutting off the last remaining connectivity for about 34 hours as its troops moved into the Gaza Strip. After what’s left of Gaza’s internet access was restored—data shows it stands at around 15 percent or less of usual connectivity—the area has suffered two other, similar connectivity blackouts. The most recent lasted for about 15 hours on Sunday as Israel was carrying out an intense operation to cut off Gaza City in the north from southern Gaza
While researchers and technologists who monitor internet connectivity can’t conclusively say that Israel was behind the blackouts—or that they were imposed using technical controls rather than physical destruction of infrastructure—the fact that some connectivity could be restored so rapidly seems to indicate deliberate shutdowns over incidental destruction.
According to the BBC, Israel has claimed to have used over 10,000 bombs and missiles in its airstrikes on Gaza.
Those airstrikes are supposed to be targetting members of Hamas. But because Gaza is so densely populated, even 'targeted' attacks lead to massive civilian casualties and infrastructure damage.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Israel has repeatedly ordered the evacuation of the 22 hospitals in northern Gaza, a demand the WHO has condemned.
On 5 November, the Israeli army bombed a convoy of ambulances,
WHO also reported that Al-Quds Hospital and the Indonesian Hospital in Gaza City and North Gaza governorates were also attacked on the same day. They say the attack at Al-Quds Hospital resulted in at least 21 casualties.The attack resulted in 15 deaths and at least 60 wounded civilians, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS). In a statement, the PRCS said the convoy of five ambulances tried to transport casualties toward the Rafah border crossing, but was returning to the [Al-Shifa] hospital because the road was blocked with rubble when it was targeted by two missiles.
Israel acknowledged that it attacked an ambulance because it was used by the Hamas militia. The Israeli forces have been insisting on the evacuation of this hospital, claiming it houses the underground command center of the Islamist militants.
Dr Marwan Abusada, head of surgery at Shifa Hospital, has said that the lack of medicine and water is causing infections and said that the situation is "disastrous". A video filmed by Dr Abusada on 3 November showed,
According to The Defense for Children International - Palestine,...that almost every bed is filled with children, their faces covered with bruises and grisly cuts. In one bed, two small children appear unconscious and are lying at opposite ends...
Dr Tayseer Hassan, a surgeon at the nearby Indonesian Hospital in northern Gaza, said that they are seeing the majority of “horrific” injuries amongst children.
She added that they have been forced to prioritise injuries with a higher chance of survival. Due to fuel shortages, they are no longer able to help emergency room patients in need of a ventilator.
Refugee CampsIsraeli forces issued an evacuation order for Al-Rantisi Children’s Hospital in advance of a possible attack, according to the Ministry of Health. Israeli attacks have already hit Al-Rantisi Children’s Hospital twice, according to the Ministry of Health, striking the pediatric cancer ward and the specialized children’s center. At least four people were killed and 70 injured, including children and medical staff.
The BBC reports that according to the UN, around 1.7 million Palestinians were registered as refugees prior to 7 October 2023.
Israeli forces have been attacking refugee camps.More than 500,000 of those refugees were already in eight crowded camps located across the Strip....
As two of those camps, Jabalia and Shati, are in the evacuation zone, this has put the other six under increased pressure.
Following the evacuation order, the number of displaced people has risen rapidly and there are now 1.5 million who have fled their homes since 7 October, according to the United Nations.
On 31 October, at least six airstrikes hit residential areas in the Jabalia refugee camp.
According to CNN,Video footage showed at least 47 bodies pulled out of the rubble and rescue teams searching for survivors amid twisted metal and two huge craters...
The Israeli military said it had targeted the camp to kill Ibrahim Biari – a key Hamas commander linked to the group’s 7 October attack on Israel who, it said, had taken over civilian buildings in Gaza City with his fighters.
Interviewed on CNN and asked if the Israeli military had known there were civilians in Jabalia, a spokesperson, Lt Col Richard Hecht, said Israel had attempted to minimise civilian casualties in a complex operation: “This is the tragedy of war […] We’ve been saying for days: ‘Move south, civilians that are not involved with Hamas, please move south.’”
According to the Guardian,The airstrike killed at least 80 people and injured hundreds more, according to Dr. Atef Al Kahlout, the director of Gaza’s Indonesian hospital. He told CNN more bodies were being dug out of the rubble, and the majority of casualties were women and children.
The Al-Maghazi refugee camp was bombed late on 4 November. the director of Al-Aqsa hospital reported that 52 people had been killed in the attack.Experts on international humanitarian law said asking civilians to leave did not absolve Israel of the responsibility to protect those who chose to stay, when it was launching attacks.
AP reports that on 2 November,
Schools and Universitiestwo Israeli airstrikes flattened an entire block of apartment buildings in the Bureij refugee camp
On 2 November the United Nations refugee agency for Palestinians (UNRWA) put out a statement saying that in the previous 24 hours four schools-turned-shelters had been damaged.
They also reported that 72 members of staff had been killed. As of 6 November, this has increased to 88, with 25 injured.Today, a school-turned shelter was damaged at the Jabalia Refugee Camp, the largest in the Gaza Strip, reportedly killing at least 20 people and injuring five. This comes after two days of heavy bombardments in the area. Earlier today, another school at Beach Refugee Camp was also damaged, with one child reportedly killed. Both locations are in the north of the Gaza Strip.
“Further south, two schools-turned-shelters in the Al Bureij Refugee Camp were hit. Two people were reportedly killed and 31 injured.
According to University World News, the Palestinian Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research (MHESR) has reported that the Islamic University of Gaza, Al-Azhar University, the North Gaza and Tubas branches of Al-Quds Open University, and buildings of An-Najah National University located at Palestine Technical University Kadoorie have been damaged or destroyed by airstrikes...
The MHESR also said that, as of 6 November,The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) confirmed that it had bombed the Islamic University of Gaza and released a video of a building being targetted by an air strike...
The IDF alleged: “The university was being used as a Hamas training camp for military intelligence operatives, as well as for the development and production of weapons. Hamas used university conferences in order to raise funds for terrorism. The university ‘maintained close ties with the senior leadership of Hamas’.
Deaths439 people killed include 427 students and 12 academics or employees, 85% of them in the Gaza Strip. Nine of the 11 higher education buildings damaged are in Gaza and two in the West Bank...
“The entire educational process was disrupted in 19 higher education institutions in the Gaza Strip,” the ministry said, which has led to 88,000 students being deprived of education. Face-to-face education has been disrupted in all 34 higher education institutions in the West Bank, affecting 138,800 students.
Further, 555 students from the Gaza Strip were unable to enrol in scholarships abroad.
I haven't focused on deaths because I am aware that the official figures are not universally considered trustworthy. The US government called into question their veracity and others have followed suite but this Guardian article explains why the figures are likely accurate. Among other reasons,
Even if you dispute the precise figures (figures that are likely to change as bodies are located and people succumb to their injuries, while others are (hopefully) found alive, added to the fact the military attacks continue) simple logic suggests that intensive bombing of a densely populated area for a month is going to result in numerous deaths.Gaza health ministry casualty figures have historically tended to be reliable, in part because the names of the dead are carefully documented and the deaths tend to be well known in the territory’s tightly knit communities.
The Defense for Children International - Palestine report that an average of 180 children a day are being killed in the airstrikes. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that Gaza is becoming a "graveyard for children"
Reporters without Borders report that 36 journalists have been killed in Gaza in airstrikes since 7 October 2023.
They also report that several reporters were killed in airstrikes at their homes,The Israeli authorities have repeatedly said that their armed forces are “not targeting journalists” but they have not hidden their lack of interest in protecting them either. According to the information so far gathered by RSF, ten of the 36 journalists killed in the Gaza Strip were killed while clearly covering the news.
More than 50 media premises have been completely or partially destroyed by Israeli strikes.
The Committee to Protect Journalists reports that 39 have been killed across Gaza and the West Bank, 8 injured, 3 missing and 13 arrested....four other journalists were killed by strikes in their homes, along with members of their families....
On 30 October, three reporters working in Gaza for Palestine TV, the official public TV channel of the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, were killed with family members during strikes on their homes.
Why have bothered collating all of this? Because what is happening in Gaza is a humanitarian crisis. What Hamas did is despicable, but the people who are dying aren't Hamas. They are innocent people and their lives matter. It seems that neither Hamas nor Israel consider their lives to be of importance and are happy for them to be mere collateral damage.
What Hamas did was likely a war crime. But what Israel is doing in response is also likely multiple war crimes. The UN Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem and Israel is collecting and preserving evidence of war crimes committed by all sides according to their press release,
Children are dying in appalling numbers. Children who have done nothing to deserve the horrors they are currently enduring. They want peace.The Commission is gravely concerned with Israel’s latest attack on Gaza and Israel’s announcement of a complete siege on Gaza involving the withholding of water, food, electricity and fuel which will undoubtfully cost civilian lives and constitutes collective punishment.
Destroying Gaza to get Hamas is not the answer. There must be a ceasefire.