March 2024: Israel's Aggression Against Occupied Palestine

Media Briefs
April 25, 2024

The beginning of March marked the 147th day of Israel's genocidal aggression against the Gaza Strip. UN Secretary-General António Guterres told journalists at the Rafah border crossing into Gaza that: “It is monstrous that after so much suffering over so many months, Palestinians in Gaza are marking Ramadan with Israeli bombs still falling, bullets still flying artillery still pounding and humanitarian assistance still facing obstacle upon obstacle.” In early March, Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA Commissioner-General stated that: “5% of the population is dead, injured or missing. It is impossible to adequately describe the suffering in Gaza. Doctors are amputating the limbs of injured children without anesthetic. Hunger is everywhere. A manmade famine is looming. More than 100 people were killed few days ago when desperately seeking food. Babies just a few months old are dying of malnutrition and dehydration.”

Paula Gaviria Betancur, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), said that: “Five months into the assault on Gaza, Israel has lost all credibility on its claims to protect civilians in the besieged strip (…) Instead, Israel immediately launched a campaign to discredit and defund UNRWA, the backbone of the humanitarian response in Gaza, based on allegations for which Israel has yet to publicly provide any credible evidence.” Furthermore, UN Experts agreed that: “Israel has been intentionally starving the Palestinian people in Gaza since 8 October. Now it is targeting civilians seeking humanitarian aid and humanitarian convoys.” In this context, UNICEF warned that: “31 per cent - or 1 in 3 children under 2 years of age – in the Northern Gaza Strip suffer from acute malnutrition, a staggering escalation from 15.6 per cent in January.” And as articulated by Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator: “Famine is imminent in Gaza. The international community should hang its head in shame for failing to stop it.”

The most prominent event during March, which left hundreds of martyrs and wounded Palestinians, was besieging the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, burning the hospitals’ departments and buildings, including those inside them, and committing horrific massacres there over the course of two weeks until the end of March. Mahmoud Basal, spokesman for the Civil Defense in Gaza, stated on 9 April that at least 381 bodies had been recovered in the vicinity of the Al-Shifa since the occupation forces withdrew on 1 April. He added that this number does not include those missing from inside the complex. At the end of March, Francesca Albanese, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory said on X  that Israel is “eroding International Law one crime at the time."

Furthermore, and with international participation, several countries, led by Jordan, conducted airdrops of humanitarian aid targeting multiple locations in the northern Gaza Strip. According to media sources, 23 Palestinians were killed during March due to humanitarian airdrops, including 12 drowning cases and six others killed due to stampedes. And in warning about Israel’s imminent invasion of Rafah, Jamie McGoldrick, UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator for the Middle East said that it “would break the back of our response.”

And in the West Bank, including occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) continued to conduct military campaigns across various Palestinian governorates, targeting unarmed Palestinian civilians with live ammunition, rubber-coated metal bullets, stun grenades, and tear gas. The IOF focused its aggression on the Jenin governorate, which recorded the highest number of martyrs (13) due to raids on Jenin city and its camp, in addition to the policy of assassinations through drone strikes on vehicles. Also, extremist Israeli settlers continued to attack Palestinian civilians and their properties, and between 7 October 2023 and the end of March 2024, a total of 21 Palestinians were killed by the IOF in incidents involving settlers.

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