Gaza on brink of famine as Palestinian government resigns

Gaza on brink of famine as Palestinian government resigns
Gaza's looming famine comes as thousands of UN aid trucks are stuck across the Egyptian side of the Rafah border.
10 min read
26 February, 2024

Gaza is on the brink of famine as humanitarian aid to the enclave dwindles, with thousands of aid trucks stuck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing.

According to Philippe Lazzarini, UNRWA chief, the last aid truck that entered into northern Gaza was on the 23 January, with the World Food Programme (WFP) saying it had to halt deliveries to the north because of a break down in civil order.

UNICEF and the WFP have warned that 15.6 percent of children under two are acutely malnourished, with reports arising that children are beginning to die from hunger in the north.

In addition to the famine in Gaza, on Monday the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Mohammad Shtayyeh, handed in his resignation, saying the move would allow for a broad consensus among Palestinians about political arrangements following Israel's war on Gaza.

Israel's war on Gaza has killed 29,782 Palestinians, with a further 70,043 wounded, according to Gaza's health authorities.

6:01 PM

The live blog has now ended and will be back tomorrow at 9am GMT. You can read more of The New Arab's coverage of Israel's war on Gaza here.

Israeli Shin Bet and military chiefs visited Egypt
5:50 PM
The New Arab Staff

Israeli army Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi and Shin Bet Director Ronen Bar, alongside other Israeli defence officials, visited Egypt to conduct meetings on a number of issues including on a possible Israeli operation in Rafah, according to Israeli publication Haaretz.

Jordanian army conducts biggest air drop over Gaza
4:31 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies


The Jordanian army arranged on Monday the biggest air drop operation so far to deliver aid to Gaza where the mostly displaced population of 2.3 million is facing crisis levels of hunger, an army statement said.

The operation deployed four C-130 planes including one belonging to the French air force, army spokesperson Mustafa Hiyari said.

Aid was dropped to 11 sites along the Gaza coast from its northern edge to the south for civilians to collect, Hiyari told Reuters. Previous air drops that parachuted in medicines and humanitarian provisions were sent to hospitals the Jordanian army runs in Gaza.


[Photo by SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images]
Jordan's King Abdullah warns against Israel's Rafah plans
3:30 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Jordan's King Abdullah warned on Monday of the dangers of a military operation planned by Israel in Rafah and reiterated his appeal for an immediate ceasefire to help protect civilians in Gaza and bring in much needed aid, the royal palace said.

The king also said the only way to end the decades-old conflict was to find a "political horizon" for Palestinians that would lead to the creation of a Palestinian state on territory Israel occupied in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, including east Jerusalem. 


PRCS says evacuated 24 from Al-Amal hospital
3:08 PM
The New Arab Staff

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has said that it successfully evacuated 24 people from Al-Amal hospital yesterday, with logistical supplies, food, and water being delivered to the hospital during the evacuation.

During the evacuation however, three medics were detained by Israeli forces, with only one being released according to PRCS.

Hezbollah says fired 60 rockets at Israeli base
2:58 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Hezbollah said it fired a volley of rockets at an Israeli military base on Monday in retaliation for deadly Israeli strikes on Lebanon's east.

"In response to the Zionist aggression near the city of Baalbek," Hezbollah fighters targeted the base in the occupied Golan Heights "with 60 Katyusha rockets", the group said in a statement.

Hezbollah downs Israeli drone revealing anti-air capability
2:52 PM
William Christou

Hezbollah downed an Israeli drone on Monday near the southern Lebanese city of Nabatieh, the second Israeli drone it claims to have shot down since the group opened a second front with Israel in the wake of Hamas's surprise 7 October attack.

In a statement, Hezbollah said it downed the Hermes 450 Israeli drone with a surface-to-air missile.

The extent of Hezbollah's anti-aircraft capabilities is unclear, with the group publishing few details about the types of weaponry it has used to target the two drones.

"Hezbollah has not said much about the capacities of the air defence unit because it wants to use it as a surprise in the event of a greater war between it and the [Israeli] enemy," retired Lebanese Brigadier General Amine Hoteit told The New Arab.

Read more about the revelation of Hezbollah's air defence capabilities from The New Arab's William Christou here.

French President Macron to host Qatar's ruling Emir Al-Thani
2:49 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

French President Emmanuel Macron will host Qatar's ruling Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in Paris later this week where the two will discuss the ongoing crisis in Gaza, said Macron's office on Monday.

Al-Thani will arrive in Paris for the talks on Tuesday, which the French presidency said marked the first full state visit from Qatar in 15 years.

A statement from Macron's office said the two leaders would reaffirm their attempts to free the Israeli hostages being held by Hamas, and to get a sustainable ceasefire deal for the war-torn Gaza strip.


US airman dies after setting himself on fire outside embassy
2:01 PM
The New Arab Staff

A US service member has died after setting himself on fire Sunday outside the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C.

A video posted online showed the man shouting "Free Palestine" as he burned during the incident, which lasted about a minute before law enforcement officers extinguished the flames.

The man, identified as Aaron Bushnell, 25, of San Antonio, Texas, appeared to be in military uniform and identified himself as "an active duty member of the U.S. Air Force".

Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek confirmed via email Sunday evening that "an active duty Airman was involved in today's incident."

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said in a statement Monday that after first responders arrived on the scene the man was "transported by DC Fire and EMS to a local hospital where he later died".

Michigan's Abandon Biden movement becoming more than slogan
12:38 PM
Brooke Anderson
Washington, D.C.

On Tuesday, many Michigan Democrats will go to the polls to vote against the man they worked hard to bring to office.

In 2020, when Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump, the first president to institute a Muslim ban and who defied decades of tradition by relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, many Arabs and Muslims across the US breathed a sigh of relief. 

Nearly four years on, as the next presidential election approaches, that sense of relief has, in many cases, turned into a sense of betrayal. The leader that they helped bring to the highest office in the land has spent the past five months supporting Israel's war on Gaza, causing more than 100,000 Palestinian casualties, including more than 30,000 deaths, with no end in sight. 

"I'm seeing youth who four years ago knocked on doors to support Biden, I'm seeing them feel betrayed, feeling like their votes were thrown away," Sufian Nabhan, executive director of the Islamic Center of Detroit, tells The New Arab.

You can read more about what's happening in Michigan from The New Arab's Brooke Anderson here.

Israeli delegation heads to Qatar for ceasefire deal push
12:27 PM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israeli officials headed on Monday to Qatar, where Hamas has its political office, to work on terms of a Gaza truce and hostage release deal, a source told Reuters, a step towards nailing down a ceasefire which Washington says is now close.

Israel is under pressure from its main ally the United States to agree a truce soon, to head off a threatened Israeli assault on Rafah, the last city at Gaza Strip's southern edge where over half the enclave's 2.3 million people are sheltering.

The source said the Israeli working delegation, made up of staff from the military and the Mossad spy agency, was tasked with creating an operational centre to support negotiations. Its mission would include vetting proposed Palestinians that Hamas wants freed as part of a hostage release deal.

The Israeli mission suggests that peace talks in the Gaza war are further along than at any time since a big push at the start of February, when Israel rejected a Hamas counter-offer for a four-and-a-half month truce.

Last week, Israeli officials discussed terms of a hostage release deal at talks in Paris with delegations from the United States, Egypt and Qatar, though not Hamas.

The White House said they had come to "an understanding" about the contours of a hostage deal though negotiations were still under way. The Israeli delegation briefed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's war cabinet late on Saturday.

Egyptian security sources said proximity talks involving delegations from Israel and Hamas - who would meet through mediators in the same city but not face to face - would be held this week, first in Qatar and later in Cairo.

Israel has not officially commented on such talks and there was no immediate word from the Qatari hosts on Monday.

(Reuters & The New Arab Staff)

League of Arab States calls occupation 'affront to justice'
11:55 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The League of Arab States on Monday called Israel's occupation of Palestinian territories an "affront to international justice", saying failure to end it amounted to "genocide".

"This prolonged occupation is an affront to international justice," the 22 Arab-country bloc's representative told judges in The Hague.

"The failure to bring it to an end has led to the current horrors perpetrated against the Palestinian people, amounting to genocide," Abdel Hakim El-Rifai said.

Israel's military says it struck Hezbollah air defences
11:47 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The Israeli military said its fighter jets struck Hezbollah air defences in Lebanon's Beqaa valley on Monday in response to the downing of one of its it drones.

The military said it would continue operations to defend Israel from Iran-backed Hezbollah, including within Lebanese air space.


UAE floating hospital begins operations in Egypt
11:36 AM
The New Arab Staff

A UAE floating hospital off the coast of Egypt has begun operating on Palestinians injured by Israel's war on Gaza.

The hospital, anchored off the port of Al-Arish, began operations on Sunday. It houses 100 operating rooms, along with an intensive care unit, radiology section, laboratory and pharmacy. 


Turkey tells ICJ that occupation is root cause of conflict
10:09 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Turkey's Deputy Foreign Minister Ahmet Yildiz told judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Monday that Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is the root cause of conflict in the region.

"The unfolding situation after October 7 proves once again that, without addressing the root cause of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there can be no peace in the region," he said on the sixth day of hearings.

"The real obstacle to peace is obvious. The deepening occupation by Israel of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, and failure to implement the two-state vision," he added.


Israel strikes Lebanon's Baalbek for first time since 2006
9:52 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Israel struck Hezbollah targets near the Lebanese city of Baalbek Monday, a security source told AFP - the first strike on Lebanon's east in almost five months of cross-border clashes.

"An Israeli strike hit a building housing a Hezbollah civilian institution," the source said, requesting anonymity because they are not allowed to speak to the press.

The strike is the first time Israel has bombed the area since the 2006 war it waged with Hezbollah.

90 killed by Israel in Gaza in last 24 hours
9:38 AM
The New Arab Staff

90 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in the last 24 hours, with a further 164 wounded, according to Gaza's health authorities. 

The announcement brings the death toll of Israel's war on Gaza to 29,782 killed, with a further 70,043 wounded.

Hezbollah says it downed Israeli drone over Lebanon
9:07 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Lebanon's Hezbollah said on Monday it had downed an Israeli Hermes 450 drone over Lebanese territory with a surface-to-air missile, the second time it has announced bringing down this type of unmanned aerial vehicle.

The Hermes 450 is an Israeli multi-payload drone made by Elbit Systems, an Israel-based weapons manufacturer.

The Israeli military said on Monday that two missile launches had targeted an Israeli Air Force UAV operating over Lebanon. The first, it said, was intercepted by Israel's 'David's Sling' Aerial Defense System but the drone "fell inside Lebanese territory" after a second launch.

Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, has said it has downed or seized control of several Israeli drones in the months since it began exchanging fire with the Israeli military across Lebanon's southern border.


UN rights chief decries disinfo attacks on organisation
9:04 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

The UN rights chief decried on Monday disinformation and other attacks aimed to "undermine the legitimacy" and work of the United Nations and other institutions, describing them as "profoundly destructive".

The attacks include "disinformation that targets UN humanitarian organisations, UN peacekeepers and my office," Volker Turk told the opening of the UN Human Rights Council's main annual session, lamenting that "the UN has become a lightning rod for manipulative propaganda and a scapegoat for policy failures".

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh resigns
9:00 AM
The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh said on Monday he was resigning to allow for the formation of a broad consensus among Palestinians about political arrangements following Israel's war on Gaza.

The move comes amid growing US pressure on President Mahmoud Abbas to shake up the Palestinian Authority as international efforts have intensified to stop the fighting in Gaza and begin work on a political structure to govern the enclave after the war.

(Reuters & The New Arab Staff)