Israel-Hamas war live: UN boss bemoans ‘unparalleled’ killing of civilians
20 Nov 2023
- UN chief Antonio Guterres says the number of civilians killed in Israel’s war on Gaza has been “unparalleled and unprecedented” since he took office in 2017.
- Israeli tanks surround Indonesian Hospital in Gaza where at least 12 people were killed following direct Israeli strikes since the morning.
Palestinian detainee was ‘beaten to death’: Prisoner rights groups
On November 18, Israeli forces raided a cell in the Naqab/Negev prison and physically assaulted 10 Palestinian detainees, especially Thaer Abu Asab, a witness has said.
A released prisoner told the Palestinian Prisoners Society and the PA Commission for Detainees that Abu Asab, a 38-year-old from Qalqilia in the occupied West Bank, was brutally beaten.
“When his condition deteriorated, prison authorities initially refused to call for medical assistance. After about 90 minutes, a nurse inspected him and he was then taken away. We did not know what his fate was,” the released prisoner said in a stataement.
The prisoners’ groups said Abu Asab, who was detained since 2005 and sentenced to 25 years in jail, was “assassinated” by Israeli authorities.
“This is part of Israel’s systemic assassinations against our prisoners, and it is premeditated,” the groups said, adding that five other detainees have died in jail since Oct. 7.
Children in Jenin refugee camp facing ‘immense difficulties’ after Oct 7
Reporting from Nablus, occupied West Bank
The difficult conditions have affected the camp’s children on a psychological, social, and educational level, says Farha Abu al-Hija, head of the “Lest We Forget” Association in Jenin camp, which is an association specialised in children and women’s affairs.
“The children of Jenin camp are subject to Israeli raids on their homes and schools. Even children in kindergartens and nurseries are also exposed to Israeli incursions, which creates fear, tension, terror, lack of security, lack of sleep, and violence,” said Abu al-Hija, who is also a member of the Popular Committee for Jenin Camp Services.
Jenin refugee camp has been subject to almost daily Israeli military raids, and the war on Gaza has only exacerbated the heavy toll on children’s well-being.
“They watch other children being bombed and killed in media outlets, and this has created adverse psychological issues: the inability to sleep, constant fear, and the child’s insistence on staying close to the parents,” Abu al-Hija told Al Jazeera.
More than 5,500 children killed in Gaza
On the back of the UN chief’s comments about children casualties, here’s what to know about the impact of the Israeli offensive on Gaza’s children:
- Children make up 47 percent of Gaza’s 2.3 million population
- UNICEF has called the Gaza Strip “a graveyard for thousands of children”
- The UN’s children agency has also described the situation in Gaza as “a growing stain on our collective conscience”, calling the rate of children casualties “simply staggering”
- Save the Children says that more children have been killed in Gaza than in all other conflicts around the world since 2019,
Killing of civilians ‘unparalleled and unprecedented’: UN chief
Responding to a question by Al Jazeera, Antonio Guterres has decried the loss of thousands of civilian lives in Israel’s bombardment of Gaza.
The UN boss said it is “clear” that thousands of children have been killed in just a few weeks.
“This is what matters,” he said at the press briefing held at the UN. “We are witnessing a killing of civilians that is unparalleled and unprecedented in any conflict since I am secretary general.”
Guterres’s first five-year term began in January 2017.
Some 13,000 people, including at least 5,500 children, have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza, according to officials in the besieged territory.
Demise of livestock and crops adds to starvation worries in Gaza: OCHA
The UN’s humanitarian office says that in the northern besieged Gaza Strip, livestock is facing starvation and the risk of death due to the shortage of fodder and water.
Crops are also being increasingly abandoned and damaged because of the lack of fuel, which is required to pump irrigation water.
“Across Gaza, farmers have begun slaughtering their animals due to the immediate need for food and the lack of fodder. This practice poses an additional threat to food security as it leads to the depletion of productive assets,” the agency said.
Palestinian digital rights group slam Israeli ‘terrorist publication law’
On November 8, the Israeli Knesset approved draft legislation banning the consumption of what it called “terrorist publications”.
The law stipulates that the consumption of material published by a “terrorist organisation”, including publications that contain words of praise, sympathy or encouragement for acts of terror, is punishable by up to one year’s imprisonment.
7amleh, the Arab Centre for Social Media Advancement, has now said the new law will “have far-reaching implications for freedoms and rights as well as contribute towards fear and intimidation”.
It added that the new legislation “paves the way for the preemptive criminalisation of people who have neither committed nor planned any crime and increases the Israeli authorities’ surveillance of Arab Palestinian citizens while infringing on their rights to privacy, freedom of expression and the right to access information”.