Thousands of Palestinian worshippers have been denied access to pray at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for Ramadan’s first Friday prayers, while Israeli forces have committed another massacre against Palestinian aid-seekers in Gaza City.



  • 31,490+ killed* and at least 73,439 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
  • 427+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem**
  • Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
  • 590 Israeli soldiers have been killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.***

*Gaza’s Ministry of Health confirmed this figure on its Telegram channel. Some rights groups put the death toll number closer to 35,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

** The death toll in West Bank and Jerusalem is not updated regularly. According to PA’s Ministry of Health on March 6, this is the latest figure.

*** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

Key Developments

  • Israeli warplanes and drones open fire on a group of Palestinians waiting for humanitarian aid in Gaza City
  • Spanish aid vessel “Open Arms” visible off coast of Gaza.
  • Israeli military installs iron barriers at the gates of al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem.
  • Israeli security forces turn away thousands of Palestinians traveling from West Bank to East Jerusalem the first Friday prayers of Ramadan.
  • New ceasefire proposal put forward by Hamas, calls for release of Israeli captive women, children, elderly and the ill in exchange for release of 700 – 1,000 Palestinian prisoners.
  • Israeli Office of the Prime Minister describes Hamas plan as “unrealistic.”
  • Australia becomes latest country to restore funding to UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).
  • Lebanon submits response to French proposal to end border hostilities

Thousands of Palestinian worshippers denied access to al-Aqsa Mosque

Most Palestinians are unable to reach the al- Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem for the first Friday prayers of the Holy Month of Ramadan.

“The portion of the community that is allowed is very small — people who are above the age of 55,” Mustafa Barghouti, secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Al Jazeera from Ramallah, adding that even they had to go through a hard process to enter the holy site. Given that only men ages 55 and older and women aged 50 and older could be given permission to enter East Jerusalem and the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the percentage of Palestinians who have a hope of accessing the holy site is extremely small. 

“First of all, they have to get a special magnetic security card from the Israelis, which takes a lot of time to acquire. Not everybody can get it and many people are deprived from it,” Barghouti added. “They also have to get a special permit from the Israelis directly. These complications prevent many people.”

As a result, Palestinians across the West Bank are being turned away at checkpoints, and even those who are granted permission must prove that they are leaving East Jerusalem by 5 PM, either through supplying paperwork at the checkpoint or a selfie proving that they left. 

Israel’s Genocide War in Gaza Continues

Hamas has presented a ceasefire proposal to mediators and the United States that includes the release of Israeli hostages in exchange for Palestinian prisoners, 100 of whom are serving life sentences, according to a proposal seen by ReutersHamas said the initial release of Israelis would include women, children, elderly, and ill hostages in exchange for the release of 700-1,000 Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, according to the proposal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said yesterday that the new deal was still based on “unrealistic demands,” adding that an update on the matter would be handed to the war cabinet and extended security cabinet today. 

At least 20 people were killed and more than 100 injured while waiting for food aid in Gaza City last night, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. A statement from the ministry blamed Israeli forces for a “targeted” attack against “a gathering of civilians waiting for humanitarian aid.” The Israeli military has denied the accusation but said it would “assess the incident with the thoroughness that it deserves.” The New York Times reports. 

Israel’s military said it plans to move displaced Palestinians in Gaza to what it called “humanitarian islands” in the middle of the strip ahead of any offensive in Rafah, where some 1.4 million people are sheltering. It is unclear what the “islands” will look like or how they will operate, but the military suggested that aid and temporary housing would be provided. No timeframe has yet been given about when the operation could happen. Anna Foster reports for BBC News.

President Mahmoud Abbas has appointed Mohammad Mustafa, his long-time economic adviser, as the prime minister of the Palestinian Authority. The presidential decree issued yesterday appointing Mustafa said his priorities included leading humanitarian relief efforts in Gaza and organizing post-war reconstruction. Other priorities were “continuing the reform process” of Palestinian institutions with the aim of “a robust and transparent governance system,” and developing plans for the “reunification of institutions across the homeland’s governorates as a single geographical, political, national, and institutional unit.” The White House welcomed Mustafa’s appointment and called for “the formation of a reform cabinet as soon as possible.” David Gritten reports for BBC News.

Thousands of people took to the streets of Tel Aviv yesterday to protest the exemption of ultra-Orthodox from mandatory military service. “There is no unity without equality!” protesters were heard chanting while holding Israeli flags. CNN reports. 

A private aid ship that departed from Cyprus on Tuesday arrived off the coast of Gaza today, towing a barge containing flour, rice, and protein. 


Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said yesterday in a speech on the Senate floor that Netanyahu is a major obstacle to peace in the Middle East and called for new leadership in Israel, amounting to the sharpest critique yet from a senior U.S. elected official. Schumer said that while Netanyahu’s “highest priority is the security of Israel,” he “has been too willing to tolerate the civilian toll in Gaza, which is pushing support for Israel worldwide to historic lows,” adding that “Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.” “At this critical juncture,” he said, “I believe a new election is the only way to allow for a healthy and open decision-making process about the future of Israel.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called Schumer’s remarks “earth-shatteringly bad” and accused him of “calling on the people of Israel to overthrow their government.” Annie Karni reports for the New York Times.

The United States circulated the final draft of a U.N. Security Council resolution late yesterday that would support international efforts to establish “an immediate and sustained ceasefire” in the war as part of a deal to release Israeli hostages. No time has been set for a vote, and the draft resolution, obtained by AP News, could still be changed. Whereas the initial draft circulated by the United States on Feb. 19 would have underscored that a temporary cease-fire “as soon as practicable” required the release of all hostages, the final draft “unequivocally supports international diplomatic efforts to establish an immediate and sustained cease-fire as part of a deal that releases the hostages” – eliminating the word “temporary.”

The Biden administration announced sanctions on two West Bank settler outposts yesterday, marking the first time ever that economic restrictions have been placed on entire Israeli outposts in the Palestinian territory. The State Department said in a statement announcing the measures that the sanctions were issued due to acts of violence against civilians. The two sanctioned outposts were listed as Moshes Farm, also known as Tirza Valley Farm Outpost, and Zvis Farm. Both are considered illegal outposts under Israeli law, differing from other West Bank settlements that have government authorization. Three Israeli citizens who have been linked to violence against Palestinians in media reports were also individually placed on the Office of Foreign Assets Control. Adam Taylor and Shira Rubin report for the Washington Post.


Egypt is hoping to reach a deal for a ceasefire that would increase aid deliveries and allow displaced people in southern Gaza to move back north, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said today. Sisi said his ideal agreement would include “curbing the impact of this famine on people, and also allowing for the people in the centre and the south to move towards the north, with a very strong warning against incursion into Rafah.” It follows remarks made by Egypt’s foreign minister yesterday calling on Israel to open land crossings with Gaza to increase aid entering the enclave. Reuters reports.


The Australian government announced today it will resume funding to the U.N. agency for Palestinian refugees following measures to strengthen the integrity of the organization’s operations. “It is expected that more countries that have paused will take a similar approach,” the Australian government said, adding that “Australia is finalizing an updated funding agreement that will include stringent conditions such as guarantees of staff neutrality, and confidence in supply chains.” CNN reports. 


A suspected attack by Yemen’s Houthi rebels struck a ship in the Red Sea early today, causing damage to the vessel, authorities said. The attack took place off the port city of Hodeida. The British military’s United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations center initially reported the ship had been “struck by a missile” but today said that further inspection of the vessel in daylight found no damage. It added the crew was “safe” and that the ship was continuing on its way. Jon Cambrell reports for AP News.

U.S. forces destroyed nine anti-ship missiles and two drones in Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen yesterday, U.S. Central Command said. Earlier in the day, the Houthis fired two anti-ship ballistic missiles from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen toward the Gulf of Aden and two more missiles toward the Red Sea, CENTCOM added. No one was injured and there was no reported damage.

A shadowy wartime economy has emerged in GazaClans, gangs and dodgy businessmen prosper while Israel clobbers GazaThe emerging warlordism in Gaza, with gangs looting homes and powerful clans monopolizing aid flows, is a preview of how the enclave will look after the war. Forget hopeful talk of bringing in the PA: instead of a central government, it will have anarchy.

After the trauma of repeated displacement from her home in Gaza city, Suha Alam felt there was little left to lose. Having fled to Gaza’s southernmost city of Rafah, she messaged a friend still in the north to check on the family home, only to be told that looters had got through a hole in a broken wall and stolen everything.

Numerous displaced Palestinians say their homes in the north have been ransacked while they sought shelter in Gaza’s south. Everything from televisions and kitchen appliances to furniture has been taken by Palestinian gangs, which aid workers say have been increasingly well organised in the north, even as Israel’s army claims to be in full control of the area.

The Zone of Interest is about the danger of ignoring atrocities – including in Gaza.

If Jonathan Glazer’s brave Oscar acceptance speech made you uncomfortable, that was the point.

“More than five months into the daily slaughter in Gaza, and with Israel brazenly ignoring the orders of the international court of justice, and western governments gently scolding Israel while shipping it more arms, genocide is becoming ambient once more”

How many of us have turned into “non-thinking, bourgeois, aspirational-careerist horrors”, “people who manage to turn profound evil into white noise”? Remarkable essay bu @NaomiAK;ein on Glazer’s Zone of Interest and acceptance speech acceptance at the Oscar.

Read the full text here

Irish Eyes Scowl at Sinn Fein’s St Patrick’s Day With BidenThe party leaders’ decision to visit the White House has provoked intense criticism in a country where support for the Palestinian cause remains the strongest in Europe, Mick Hall reports.

Many Irish eyes have been left scowling over a decision by Sinn Fein to visit U.S. President Joe Biden at the White House to celebrate St Patrick’s Day amid genocide in Gaza.

The party’s leader Mary Lou McDonald is meeting Biden and his officials alongside her associate, party Vice President Michelle O’Neill at Friday’s festivities, joining Ireland’s Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Deputy Prime Minister Micheál Martin.

It is a long-held tradition for Irish political, cultural and sporting figures to visit Washington and take part in the diplomatic event, which celebrates the two countries’ historic links. 

Over 30 million U.S. citizens claim Irish ancestry, including Biden himself, who traces his roots to counties Louth and Mayo. The event is also a useful photo opportunity for politicians seeking votes on both sides of the Atlantic.