Violence spikes in West Bank as Blinken aims to limit spread of conflict


The Israel-Hamas war and divisions in the United States have sparked new tensions on college campuses. NBC News’ Shaq Brewster sat down with students from the University of Michigan for an in-depth conversation about race and higher education.

Blinken and Qatar’s prime minister express shared hope for release of hostages

At a joint news conference today, Antony Blinken and Qatar’s prime minister and minister of foreign affairs, Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, expressed their commitment to securing the release of hostages in Gaza and preventing the spread of conflict across the region.

“It is absolutely imperative that more be done — that Israel does more to protect civilians and, with others, enable more humanitarian assistance to get where it’s needed to them and speak with them,” Blinken said.

Both leaders expressed hopes of ending the conflict in Gaza. Thani reiterated his calls for a cease-fire and de-escalation, while Blinken emphasized the need for a “durable lasting peace” for Israeli and Palestinian civilians.

Deputy learned of defense secretary’s hospitalization 2 days after taking over his duties

After being admitted to the hospital last week, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin transferred responsibility to Deputy Secretary Kathleen Hicks on Tuesday. But Hicks, who was on vacation in Puerto Rico at the time, was not informed about his hospitalization until Thursday, a senior defense official told NBC News.

Austin transferred “certain operational responsibilities that require constant secure communications capabilities” to Hicks on Tuesday afternoon, said the Defense Department press secretary, Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder.

“This transfer occurs from time to time and is not tied chiefly to health-related matters,” he said in a statement. “The Deputy Secretary keeps a complete suite of communications and capable staff with her at all times, regardless of geographic location.”

Hicks was informed Thursday of Austin’s hospitalization, which began Monday, a senior defense official said, adding that Hicks immediately engaged staff members on drafting a public statement and congressional outreach.

She had begun making contingency plans to return to Washington from her vacation Friday but was told Austin was preparing to resume full communications capabilities and the associated operational responsibilities, which informed her decision to stay on vacation, the senior defense official said. Hicks remained in place to ensure the best communications posture in the interim, that official said.

Austin remains in the hospital tonight “but is recovering well and in good spirits,” Ryder said, adding that there is no date for his release “at this time.”

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IDF says it killed 7 Hezbollah targets in response to attacks on bases in northern Israel

Seven Hezbollah militants were killed in an IDF strike on a missile unit compound, the IDF spokesperson, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, said at a briefing today. He added that the IDF is also focusing on eliminating the Radwan force, a special unit of Hezbollah, in southern Lebanon.

The strike was partly a response to Hezbollah’s attacks on IDF bases in the north, including on the IDF air control unit on Mount Meron, Hagari said. No casualties were reported at the site, and the IDF said it continues to function using backup systems.

Tensions are also rising in the West Bank, where a female border patrol officer and others were injured by an explosive device in the city of Jenin, Hagari said.

IDF acknowledges airstrike amid reports it killed 2 journalists

The IDF said today it was aware of reports that three people may have been “hit” in an attack that targeted a “terrorist.”

A Palestinian government official said two journalists were killed in an Israeli strike. The Palestinian government media office said Hamza Wael Al-Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuraya, both identified as journalists, were killed in a vehicle.

One of them was targeted as a “terrorist,” according to the IDF’s account.

“An IDF aircraft identified and struck a terrorist who operated an aircraft that posed a threat to IDF troops,” the military organization said. “We are aware of the reports that during the strike, two other suspects who were in the same vehicle as the terrorist were also hit.”

Hamza Wael Al-Dahdouh, 27, was the son of Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief Wael Al-Dahdouh, who also lost daughter Sham, 7, and son Mahmoud, 15, in an Israeli airstrike in October.

In a statement, Al Jazeera called the attack an “assassination” and said legal action should be taken to restrain the IDF. Palestinian authorities say 109 journalists have been killed since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on Oct. 7.

Wael Al-Dahdouh said the loss would not deter his reporting. “We are going to proceed as long as we are alive and breathing,” he said.

Hamas-run government in Gaza adds another name to count of 110 journalists killed during conflict

The Hamas-operated Gaza Government Media Office said the number of journalists killed during the Israel-Gaza conflict has risen to 110 since Oct. 7, the office said in a post on Telegram.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, or CJP, an American nonprofit group keeping its own count, reported 77 journalists and media workers have been killed since the start of the conflict: 70 Palestinian, four Israeli and three Lebanese.

The CJP requires two sources before a death is considered “verified,” and it has not yet updated to include Sunday’s deaths.

The Gaza Government Media Office said Palestinian journalist Ali Salem Abu Ajwa, who was reportedly covering the conflict, was killed today.

The Times of Israel and The Jerusalem Post both reported that Abu Ajwa is the grandson of Hamas founder and imam Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, who was killed in 2004.

NBC News has not independently confirmed those claims.

IDF alleges evidence found in tunnel shows Hamas learned to build weapons under Iranian guidance

In a post on Telegram, the IDF alleged that evidence found at a weapons production site in the Daraj Tuffah area of northern Gaza reveals that Iranian guidance helped Hamas build terrorist infrastructure and precision missile components.

“Hamas terrorists learned — under Iranian guidance — how to operate and build precise components and strategic weapons, and gained technological knowledge in the field,” the IDF said today.

The Nahal Brigade combat team found the site in a 100-meter-long Hamas strategic tunnel shaft, where the IDF claims to have killed several Hamas terrorists in close-quarter combat and airstrikes.

Scenes of destruction and panic as 10 are killed, 50 injured in an overnight strike in Khan Younis

It was an urgent scene recorded by NBC News outside Nasser Hospital, as emergency workers and others rushed casualties from a strike on a house in Khan Younis last night.

An EMT carried a limp, dust-covered toddler and laid the child on the floor for health workers to check for a pulse. A woman, blood running down her face, was led from a car into the emergency room, and an infant, silent and still swaddled, was rushed to a hospital bed but found to be already dead. The health workers shrouded the baby’s face with a pink flowered blanket.

Local authorities said 10 people were killed and 50 were injured in the strike. In the aftermath, men scaled the slabs of twisted metal and rubble that had been the Brais family home.

“They were sleeping safely,” said Abdul Kareem Hussein Al-Breis, who stood next to the rubble. “Without any warning, they bombed the house.”

“Where to evacuate even? Where to go?” Al-Breis said. “One has to stay in his house, as there is no place else to go.”

Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, is the focus of Israel’s military offensive.

Blinken commends U.N. World Food Programme for food distribution

Blinken commended the U.N. World Food Programme’s efforts to distribute food to people in Gaza during a visit to the humanitarian organization’s warehouse in Jordan on Sunday.

During the tour, Blinken heard from staff at the organization, who told him that 6,740 aid trucks have delivered supplies to Gaza.

“The efforts right here to collect and distribute food to people in need are absolutely essential,” Blinken said during the tour. “Under current conditions, it’s very difficult if not impossible for most people to actually be able to prepare and cook food.”

Image: US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, visits a World Food Program
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, left, visits a World Food Programme regional warehouse in Amman on Sunday, during his visit to the Jordanian capital as part of a Middle East tour aiming to ensure the Israel-Hamas war does not spread.Evelyn Hockstein / AFP via Getty Images

But the WFP has said despite all its best efforts, the aid isn’t enough to meet the needs of starving Gazans. The AP reported earlier that the U.S. has been pressing Israel to allow for more supplies to enter Gaza, and the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on Dec. 22 calling for an immediate increase in deliveries. But the rate of trucks entering Gaza has not risen enough to meet demands.

Blinken also commended the Jordanian government and its national charity organization for working with the WFP to establish a direct convoy route from Jordan to Gaza, setting up airdrops, and building field hospitals in Gaza.

VIDEO: Al Jazeera Gaza bureau chief mourns son who died in Rafah airstrike

Tensions rise on the Lebanon-Israel border as Hezbollah claims attacks on Israeli soldiers

Hezbollah began attacking Israel’s northern border in October, targeting Israeli vehicles, command centers and settlements. The militant group alleged in an infographic on Saturday that it caused 2,000 Israeli casualties, a claim that the IDF has denied.

During a press conference yesterday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said tens of thousands of people have been forced out of their homes in northern Israel because of the threat posed by Hezbollah. He added that the U.S. is looking for ways to “diplomatically defuse that.”

Hezbollah has released details about individual attacks via Telegram, claiming in three separate posts on Sunday that it killed Israeli soldiers near the towns Metula, Malkia and Manara in Israel. NBC News has not independently verified these claims.

Israel has been responding to Hezbollah’s attacks by striking military targets in Lebanon, according to IDF spokesperson Daniel Hagari. In a statement on Saturday, he claimed that the IDF struck military targets in Labbouneh, Majdal Zoun and Bint Jbeil in southern Lebanon.

“Israel has been responding and will continue to respond — forcefully — to Hezbollah’s aggression,” Hagari wrote in the statement. “Hezbollah is dragging Lebanon into an unnecessary war — for the sake of Hamas.”

Israel’s Cabinet set to approve new military budget

Israel’s Cabinet is set to approve a 2024 wartime budget on Thursday, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich said on Sunday, after ministers approved 9 billion shekels ($2.5 billion) in financial support for military reservists.

“The state of Israel puts the reservists and their families at the center and this is the anchor of the budget for 2024 that we will deliver this weekend,” Smotrich said in a joint statement with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Yoav Gallant.

Israel last year approved a two-year budget for 2023 and 2024, but the war against Hamas in Gaza has shaken government finances, requiring budget changes and additional spending. In December parliament approved a special war budget for 2023 of nearly 30 billion shekels to help fund the war and compensate those impacted by Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks.

The Finance Ministry has said that the war will likely cost at least another 50 billion shekels in 2024 and result in a near-tripling of its budget deficit to around 6% of GDP, in a projection that fighting will last through February.

Qatari officials meet with hostage families

The families of hostages still held by Hamas in the Gaza Strip visited Qatar on “humanitarian grounds” Saturday to meet with officials and discuss any potential for another release deal.

A diplomatic source with knowledge of the event told NBC News that the meetings were “constructive, with the Qataris reiterating their efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages.”

However unspecified “recent events” had impacted the “atmosphere surrounding the talks,” the source said.

Qatar, which has close security and trade relations with the U.S. and Israel, and hosts Hamas’ political offices in its capital of Doha, has been acting as an intermediary between Israel and Hamas since October.

Doctors Without Borders evacuates staff from Al Aqsa Hospital

Doctors Without Borders said it was evacuating its medical staff and their families from Deir al-Balah’s Al Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in the central Gaza Strip due to growing danger.

“It is with heavy conscience that we have to evacuate while patients, hospital staff and many people seeking safety remain in the hospital premises,” said Carolina Lopez, the group’s emergency coordinator at the hospital, in a statement posted to X.

“The situation became so dangerous that some staff living in the neighboring areas were not able to leave their houses because of the constant threats of drones and snipers,” she added. A bullet had penetrated the wall of the hospital’s intensive care unit on Friday, she said.

The group has 50 Palestinian and international medical staff at the hospital, and has been receiving up to 200 injured people daily in recent weeks.

Al-Arouri assassination jeopardizes hostage release talks with Hamas

DOHA — The assassination of Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in a Beirut suburb on Tuesday has halted talks with Hamas on a hostage release, two senior administration officials told NBC News.

One of the officials, however, pointed out that Hamas does not currently have an incentive to release the remaining hostages because once they do so during a negotiated pause, Israel will resume “bombing the s— out of them.”

A framework for a deal but no agreement was established last month during high-level talks in Warsaw between CIA Director Bill Burns, Qatari representatives for Hamas, and the head of Mossad, a third senior administration official familiar with the discussions said.

Blinken said he will be talking to officials in Qatar and other countries about efforts to bring U.S. and other hostages home.

Separately, senior Qatari officials met with the families of hostages after the latter requested to visit Qatar on humanitarian grounds, a diplomatic source with knowledge of the visit told NBC News. The meetings were constructive, with the Qataris reiterating their efforts to secure the release of all remaining hostages.

Formal hostage negotiations between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Qatar, are ongoing, the source said, though recent events have impacted the atmosphere surrounding the talks.

While Israel has not yet officially claimed responsibility for al-Arouri’s assassination, four sources previously told NBC News it was behind the strike.

Blinken meets King Abdullah II, foreign minister in Jordan

Blinken’s meetings in Amman today included talks with King Abdullah II, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ayman Safadi, and a visit to a World Food Programme warehouse.

Blinken and Safadi discussed the “worsening humanitarian catastrophe” in Gaza, the need for greater humanitarian aid and to protect civilians, as well as the worsening situation in the West Bank, Jordan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on X. Safadi also stressed the need to “immediately stop the aggression,” the ministry added, referring to Israel’s war in Gaza.

According to a statement by State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller, Blinken reiterated the “U.S. opposition to forcible displacement of Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza” and his commitment to an independent Palestinian state.

Al Jazeera journalist loses third child in the war

Hamza Wael Al-Dahdouh and Mustafa Thuraya, both journalists, were killed by a bomb attack on their car, according to the Palestinian government media office, which said the attack was carried out by Israeli forces. NBC News is unable to independently verify this information, and the IDF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Image:
Wael Al-Dahdouh holds the hand of his son, Hamza, who was killed today in Khan Younis.Hatem Ali / AP

Hamza Wael Al-Dahdouh, 27, was the son of Wael Al-Dahdouh, Al Jazeera’s bureau chief in Gaza. Hamza is the third of Wael’s children to have died since the beginning of Israel’s war in Gaza. His daughter Sham, 7, and son Mahmoud, 15, were killed in an Israeli airstrike on Nuseirat refugee camp in October. His wife, a grandchild and 21 others were also killed.

In December, Wael Al-Dahdouh himself was injured and his colleague, Samer Abudaqa, killed during a missile attack on a school in Khan Younis.

The Committee to Protect Journalists has accused the Israeli military of targeting journalists and their families in Gaza, which Israel denies. According to Palestinian authorities, 109 journalists have been killed since the start of the war.

Seven Palestinians and an Israeli soldier are killed in Jenin

An airstrike on Jenin, in the occupied West Bank, killed at least seven people during a dawn incursion by the Israeli military, WAFA, the state-run Palestinian news agency, said.

Four of the dead were brothers, the agency said.

An Israeli border police officer was also killed when a bomb exploded beneath the military vehicle she was riding in. Others were wounded, the IDF said.

The IDF conducted a ground and air incursion into several cities in the West Bank last night and into this morning, including Nablus, Ramallah and Hebron, according to WAFA.

Image: PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT
Mourners carry the flag-draped bodies of Palestinians killed in Jenin today.ZAIN JAAFAR / AFP – Getty Images

113 people were killed in Gaza in the last 24 hours, pushing death toll toward 23,000

The death toll in Gaza climbed to 22,835 today, according to the health ministry, as the war entered its fourth month today.

Another 250 were injured in the last 24 hours, adding to the number of confirmed injuries of over 58,000.

Image:
Palestinians pray over the bodies of those killed in a strike in Khan Younis today.Mohammed Dahman / AP

Israeli military signals it has wrapped up major conflict in northern Gaza

The Israeli military said it had dismantled Hamas’ military infrastructure in northern Gaza as the war entered its fourth month today.

In an update late yesterday, IDF spokesperson Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari said Israeli forces would “continue to deepen the achievement” in the area, strengthen defenses along the Israel-Gaza border fence, and focus on the central and southern parts of the territory, according to quotes posted by the IDF on X.

Referring to coming IDF operations in the south, Hagari said the army “will do this differently, thoroughly, based on the lessons we have learned from the fighting so far.” It was not specified how it would be different.

The statement also did not address whether Israeli ground troops would continue to be deployed in northern Gaza, or whether internally displaced Palestinians from the north and Gaza City would be allowed to return to their homes.

Image: PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA
Buildings destroyed by Israeli bombardment in the northern city of Beit Lahia on Dec. 26, 2023. AFP – Getty Images

Blinken says Middle East meetings focus on ‘stopping this conflict from spreading’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken is on his fourth trip to the Middle East since Oct. 7, in an attempt to try to contain the war in Gaza and manage a growing regional crisis in Lebanon and the Red Sea.

Blinken arrived in Amman for talks with Jordan’s deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs this morning.

“We have an intense focus on preventing this conflict from spreading,” Blinken said, speaking from an airfield in Crete, adding that he would be working to persuade “allies and partners” to use the “influence and ties that they have” to stop the war from spreading.

Blinken also added that he would be working to maximize humanitarian aid and civilian protection in Gaza, saying “far too many Palestinians have been killed.”

After talks in Jordan, Blinken will travel on to Israel, the occupied West Bank, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Austin takes responsibility for not disclosing ICU stay sooner

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin released a statement Saturday taking responsibility for not disclosing his medical condition sooner, including that he was hospitalized in an intensive care unit for four days.

“I am very glad to be on the mend and look forward to returning to the Pentagon soon. I also understand the media concerns about transparency and I recognize I could have done a better job ensuring the public was appropriately informed. I commit to doing better,” Austin said. “But this is important to say: this was my medical procedure, and I take full responsibility for my decisions about disclosure.”

Austin was admitted to the hospital on Monday night for complications following an elective procedure, Pentagon press secretary Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder said. He remained hospitalized Saturday.

A senior defense official said Friday that Austin had not able to perform his duties since New Year’s Day. Ryder told NBC News that Austin “resumed his full duties” on Friday evening.

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69,000 housing units in Gaza destroyed, Hamas-run government media office says

Thousands of residential and civilian buildings have been totally or partially destroyed by Israel’s land, sea and air campaign on the strip, the Hamas-run government media office said in a statement today, as it released statistics showing the scale of destruction in the Gaza Strip.

Sixty-five thousand tons of explosives have been dropped on Gaza, it said in a statement on Telegram, totally destroying 69,000 residential buildings and partially destroying 290,000 more.

Ninety-four schools and universities, 130 mosques and three churches have also been destroyed, the media office said. Hundreds of hospitals have been taken out of service, either due to destruction or lack of equipment and fuel, it added. Mosques, churches and educational facilities, alongside hospitals, are being widely used by internally displaced Gazans as sheltering zones, given their classification as protected civilian objects under international humanitarian law.

More than 22,000 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip so far. In a statement Friday, the U.N.’s undersecretary general for humanitarian affairs, Martin Griffiths, said the enclave had “simply become uninhabitable” due to the scale of destruction and the inability of humanitarian agencies to effectively distribute aid or supplies.

Cumbersome process and ‘arbitrary’ Israeli inspections slow aid delivery into Gaza, U.S. senators say

CAIRO — At Egypt’s Rafah border crossing, lines of hundreds of trucks carrying aid wait for weeks to enter Gaza, and a warehouse is full of goods rejected by Israeli inspectors, everything from water testing equipment to medical kits for delivering babies, two U.S. senators said Saturday after a visit to the border.

Sens. Chris Van Hollen and Jeff Merkley pointed to a cumbersome process that is slowing relief to the Palestinian population in the besieged territory — largely due to Israeli inspections of aid cargos, with seemingly arbitrary rejections of vital humanitarian equipment. The system to ensure that aid deliveries within Gaza don’t get hit by Israeli forces is “totally broken,” they said.

“What struck me yesterday was the miles of backed-up trucks. We couldn’t count, but there were hundreds,” Merkley said in a briefing with Van Hollen to a group of reporters in Cairo.

The U.S. has been pressing Israel for weeks to let greater amounts of food, water, fuel, medicine and other supplies into Gaza, and the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution on Dec. 22 calling for an immediate increase in deliveries. Three weeks ago, Israel opened its Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, adding a second entry point for aid after Rafah.

Still, the rate of trucks entering has not risen significantly. This week, an average of around 120 trucks a day entered through Rafah and Kerem Shalom, according to U.N. figures, far below the 500 trucks of goods going in daily before the war and far below what aid groups say is needed.

Other than the trickle of aid through the crossings, Israel has barred the entry of supplies since its assault on Gaza began three months ago, aiming to destroy Hamas after its Oct. 7 attack on Israel.

The result has been a humanitarian catastrophe for the territory’s 2.3 million Palestinians.

Almost the entire population depends on the trucks coming across the border for their survival. One in four Palestinians in Gaza is starving, and the rest face crisis levels of hunger, according to the U.N. More than 85% of Gaza’s people have been driven from their homes by Israeli bombardment and ground offensives. Most live in U.N. shelters crowded many times beyond their capacity, in tent camps that have sprung up or on the streets. The few functioning hospitals are overwhelmed with wounded and patients amid outbreaks of disease, as sanitation systems have collapsed.

Van Hollen and Merkley said a more simplified process for getting aid into Gaza is necessary. During a three-day visit to Egypt, they met with Egyptian officials, U.N. aid agencies and non-governmental relief groups working in Gaza. At Rafah on Friday, they also spoke to doctors who had come out of Gaza and a truck driver waiting to get in.

Trucks carrying aid cargos can wait for weeks at the border for their turn to be processed, they said they were told by aid officials. They enter the Egyptian side of the border, drive along no-man’s land to the Israeli facility at Nitzana for inspection by the military, then return to Rafah to cross into Gaza — or go to Kerem Shalom for inspection and entry there.

Kerem Shalom operates eight hours a day, and both it and Nitzana close part of Friday and all Saturday. “This, in a 24-hour-a day” humanitarian crisis, Van Hollen said.

Israel says the inspections are necessary to prevent items of military use from reaching Hamas.

During the process, cargos are unloaded and reloaded several times. If inspectors reject a single item in a truck, it must return with its entire cargo to be re-packaged, starting the weeks-long process all over again, said Van Hollen, a Democrat from Maryland.

The reasons for rejection are often “very vague, and they are conveyed informally. Sometimes they were very unreasonable,” said Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon.

The two senators said they saw a warehouse in Rafah filled with material that had been rejected in inspection. It included oxygen cylinders, gas-powered generators, tents and medical kits used in delivering babies.

Aid workers told the senators the tents were refused because they included metal poles, and the medical kits because they included scalpels. Most solar-powered equipment appears to be barred — though it is vital in Gaza, where central electricity has collapsed and fuel for generators is in short supply.

“The warehouse was a testament to the arbitrariness” of the process, Van Hollen said.

There is a process for pre-approving cargos, but it can take weeks, they said, and even items that obtained prior approval are sometimes rejected during inspection. After inspection, trucks are considered “sanitized” and their drivers are not allowed to interact with anyone; the senators said they were told one truck driver was turned back after someone brought him a cup of coffee, violating the rule.

The process is “completely incompatible” with a humanitarian crisis of this extent, Merkley said. “There has to be a simplified process” that honors Israel’s concerns over potential military uses of goods but also addresses the scale of the situation, he said.

The senators, who both sit on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, said they were drawing up recommendations for changes.

Speaking to reporters in Jerusalem this week, Col. Elad Goren, a senior official in the Israeli military body overseeing Palestinian civilian affairs known as COGAT, admitted that Israeli security checks could be hampering rapid aid delivery but largely blamed the bottlenecks on international agencies and the United Nations.

Asked about certain forms of medical equipment not being allowed in, he said, “I want to make it clear we are not refusing anything that is underneath four headlines … Food, water, medical supplies and shelters.”

Goren said the U.N. should increase manpower and workers’ hours and deploy more trucks to deliver aid. He maintained the humanitarian situation in Gaza was under control and there was sufficient food. Officials at COGAT did not respond to Associated Press requests for comment on the senators’ briefing.

Van Hollen and Merkley said U.N. and other aid workers described extensive problems in distributing aid. They must ration the small amount of fuel Israel allows to enter Gaza between hospitals, bakeries and aid trucks. Frequent collapses of the communications system — or simple inability to recharge phone batteries — makes contact and coordination with aid teams impossible.

Arranging safe passage for aid deliveries is an enormous challenge, they said. “Nothing about deconfliction is working,” Merkley said. Aid groups inform the Israeli military of their movements but even once they have assurances an area is safe, it sometimes gets struck.

“No place really becomes deconflicted,” Merkley said. “It is not safe for them to move.”