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Israel-Palestine war: Journalist death toll mounts as shops wiped clean of goods

Elsewhere, Israeli forces storm several towns in the occupied West Bank and US President Joe Biden says he opposes a 'reoccupation' of Gaza after the war ends
A boy cries after his father was killed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza's Khan Younis on 8 November 2023 (Reuters)
By Ahmed Alsammak and Nadda Osman in London and Zainab Iqbal in New York

Israeli bombing has caused a "tragedy for journalists," Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a statement on Wednesday, with 36 Palestinian reporters in the Gaza Strip killed since the start of the war on 7 October. 

The organisation said that "nowhere was safe" for journalists in Gaza and that 50 sites used by media outlets had been targeted.

"With their arbitrary air strikes, the Israeli armed forces are eliminating journalists one after the other without restraint, all while their unacceptable comments betray an open contempt for international humanitarian law," said Jonathan Dagher, head of RSF's Middle East desk.

The group's comments come amid unrelenting air strikes and an Israeli ground offensive around Gaza City.

Israeli shelling in Gaza again hit the Jabalia refugee camp, killing four people, with at least 10,569 Palestinians killed in Gaza since 7 October.

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One Israeli soldier was killed in fighting in northern Gaza, according to the Israeli military, and another two soldiers were seriously wounded. 

The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, stated that another of its staff members had been killed in air strikes, bringing the total death toll to 89. The organisation said that this was the highest number of UN workers killed in a conflict in its history.

Struggle for food, water

Aid agencies are struggling to get essential supplies to Palestinians, who now say they fear death from starvation and thirst.

'If we are not bombed to death we are going to die of starvation' 

- Jabalia resident

The United Nations humanitarian affairs office (Ocha) said that all the bakeries in the north of Gaza have closed down after being bombed or due to the lack of fuel, water and flour. 

One resident in Jabalia told Middle East Eye that everyone is constantly worried about when they will next get food, and that many are being forced to drink unclean water. 

"If we are not bombed to death we are going to die of starvation,” he said, adding that supermarkets, mosques, water points and solar panels have all been bombed, as people grow more desperate and start to get ill. 

Maha Hussaini, MEE's correspondent in Gaza, said that many shops were now empty.

"It’s been five days since we last found and ate bread. It’s getting harder to find food in markets. Items which have completely run out include cheese, yoghurt and mortadella,” she posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

“A real starvation catastrophe has already started in Gaza while Israel persists on cutting off food and fuel supplies,” she added.

Occupied West Bank

In the occupied West Bank, the situation continued to deteriorate, with Israeli forces again launched several overnight raids in Qalqilya, Jericho, and a village near Nablus.

According to the Palestinian news outlet Wafa, a Palestinian man was shot by Israeli forces in Hebron.

Israeli forces also stormed the Birzeit University campus, close to Ramallah, with six military vehicles entering the site. 

Ocha said that 218 Israeli settler attacks had taken place against Palestinians since the start of the war, and that 157 incidents caused damage to Palestinian-owned property. 

Tlaib censured by House

In the US, the House of Representatives has voted to censure Rashida Tlaib, the sole Palestinian-American lawmaker in Congress.

The measure, passed in a 234-188 vote, accused Tlaib of "promoting false narratives regarding the October 7 2023 Hamas attack on Israel and for calling for the destruction of the state of Israel".

Tuesday's move was the second attempt to formally punish Tlaib over her comments about the war.

One of the remarks she was condemned for included the phrase "from the river to the sea", which she said was "an aspirational call for freedom, human rights, and peaceful coexistence, not death, destruction, or hate". 

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Four Republicans voted against the censure but 22 of Tlaib's fellow Democrats joined the Republican majority in the move.

Meanwhile US President Joe Biden said that he opposed an Israeli military "reoccupation" of Gaza after the war ends, a White House spokesman said. 

The comments come after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday that Israel will take the "overall security responsibility" in Gaza for an "indefinite period".

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also weighed in, and said that a durable peace in the Middle East would include "no forcible displacement of Palestinians from Gaza".

“No re-occupation of Gaza after the conflict ends. No attempt to blockade or besiege Gaza. No reduction in the territory of Gaza. We must also ensure no terrorist threats can emanate from the West Bank,” Blinken told reporters.

At the G7 summit, top diplomats announced a unified stance calling for humanitarian pauses and corridors to facilitate urgently needed assistance. They did not call for a ceasefire.

Saudi Arabia has also announced that it will host several summits of Arab, Islamic and African nations in the coming days to discuss the war in Gaza, according to Riyadh's investment minister.

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