Yes, AI Is a Component of Israel’s Genocide in Gaza, But It’s Not the Whole Story


Palestinians pass a building destroyed by an Israeli airstrike in Rafah, in the southern Gaza Strip, on March 18, 2024 (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90).

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On Wednesday (April 3) the NGO Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor published its latest infographic showing how many Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip by Israeli since October 7 — 41,496 Palestinians in 180 days. That’s 230 a day, or nearly ten people killed every single hour for the last six months.

This is a devastating indictment of Israel’s actions, and is also damning with regard to all the western nations, led by the US, who have been supporting this unprecedented frenzy of civilian slaughter.

According to Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, who, notably, include the nearly 10,000 people buried under the rubble of countless bombing attacks, the total death toll includes 15,370 children and 9,671 women, with 90% of the dead identified as civilians.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s latest infographic about the death toll in the Gaza Strip since October 7, 2023.

Israel has always tried to debunk claims that the civilian death toll is monstrously high. On February 29, when the Gaza Health Ministry was reporting that at least 30,000 Palestinians had been killed in Gaza (not including those buried under the rubble), the BBC questioned Israel’s claims that it had “killed more than 10,000 [Hamas] fighters in its air strikes and ground operations,” pointing out that, because “more than 70% of those killed had been women and children,” and “with the figures suggesting less than 30% of those killed were men — some of whom are likely to be over fighting age — experts have raised questions about how Israel arrived at its claim of killing 10,000 fighters.”

Not mentioned by the BBC was the hugely important additional fact that it is known that thousands of the men killed were definitively civilians — the journalists, aid workers, doctors and other medical staff, university lecturers, teachers and numerous others whose deaths are well chronicled.

Andreas Krieg, a senior lecturer in security studies at Kings College London, told the BBC that “Israel takes a very broad approach to ‘Hamas membership,’ which includes any affiliation with the organisation, including civil servants or administrators,” and Rachel Taylor, the executive director of Every Casualty Counts, a UK-based organization that aims to record victims of violent conflicts, told the broadcaster that, because “[n]early half of Gaza’s population is under 18 and about 44% of the fatalities of war are also children … the fact that the deaths closely track the demographics of the general population ‘indicates indiscriminate killing.’”

The world’s first AI-driven genocide?

On the same day that Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s update was published, a startling investigation, undertaken by Yuval Abraham for the Israel-based +972 Magazine, explained the appallingly high civilian death count — and, additionally, further discredited Israel’s assessment of the combatant death toll — by exposing the existence of an AI program, code-named “Lavender,” which, after October 7, and particularly in the first few months of bombing (which took place with an intensity unparalleled throughout human history), auto-generated bombing targets — “all suspected operatives in the military wings of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), including low-ranking ones” — with little or no human oversight.

As Abraham explained, based on conversations with “six Israeli intelligence officers, who have all served in the army during the current war on the Gaza Strip and had first-hand involvement with the use of AI to generate targets for assassination”:

During the early stages of the war, the army gave sweeping approval for officers to adopt Lavender’s kill lists, with no requirement to thoroughly check why the machine made those choices or to examine the raw intelligence data on which they were based. One source stated that human personnel often served only as a “rubber stamp” for the machine’s decisions, adding that, normally, they would personally devote only about “20 seconds” to each target before authorizing a bombing — just to make sure the Lavender-marked target is male. This was despite knowing that the system makes what are regarded as “errors” in approximately 10 percent of cases, and is known to occasionally mark individuals who have merely a loose connection to militant groups, or no connection at all.

Moreover, rather than targeting the alleged military targets while they were engaged in military activity, a decision was taken to attack them “while they were in their homes — usually at night while their whole families were present,” with an additional program, operating under the disgusting codename “Where’s Daddy?,” used “specifically to track the targeted individuals and carry out bombings when they had entered their family’s residences.”

Abraham’s investigation also revealed that, for alleged “junior militants,” the army “preferred to only use unguided missiles, commonly known as ‘dumb’ bombs (in contrast to ‘smart’ precision bombs), which can destroy entire buildings on top of their occupants and cause significant casualties.” As one of the sources described it, “You don’t want to waste expensive bombs on unimportant people — it’s very expensive for the country and there’s a shortage [of those bombs].”

In addition, the army also decided, soon after October 7, that, “for every junior Hamas operative that Lavender marked, it was permissible to kill up to 15 or 20 civilians,” superseding previous rules in which its was not regarded as acceptable for there to be any “collateral damage” during the killing of alleged low-ranking militants. The sources also explained that, “in the event that the target was a senior Hamas official with the rank of battalion or brigade commander, the army on several occasions authorized the killing of more than 100 civilians in the assassination of a single commander.”

Not only, as Abraham noted, did this policy shred “the principle of proportionality under international law”; it also led to the shockingly large number of civilian deaths recorded by the Health Ministry in Gaza, and by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor. When 15 to 20 civilians are acceptable “collateral damage” in targeting one low-level militant, and more than a hundred are deemed acceptable for a senior figure, it’s no wonder that 90 percent of those killed have been civilians.

As Abraham also explained, having jettisoned the complex human-based investigation and authorization required to approve the assassination of a single “human target” before October 7, the AI-generated expansion of that list to include tens of thousands of people — as many as 37,000 at one point, which is more than the entirety of Hamas’s military membership, according to official Israeli statements — meant that, practically, human intervention all but disappeared. “Once you go automatic,” a senior officer explained, “target generation goes crazy.”

This is especially the case when the initial AI programming was so sweeping in its generalizations. As Abraham explained:

The Lavender software analyzes information collected on most of the 2.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip through a system of mass surveillance, then assesses and ranks the likelihood that each particular person is active in the military wing of Hamas or PIJ. According to sources, the machine gives almost every single person in Gaza a rating from 1 to 100, expressing how likely it is that they are a militant.

Lavender learns to identify characteristics of known Hamas and PIJ operatives, whose information was fed to the machine as training data, and then to locate these same characteristics — also called “features” — among the general population, the sources explained. An individual found to have several different incriminating features will reach a high rating, and thus automatically becomes a potential target for assassination.

These “features” might include “being in a Whatsapp group with a known militant, changing cell phone every few months, and changing addresses frequently” — even though the former is no guarantee of militancy, and the latter two might well involve no militancy whatsoever. As the sources explained, the AI program “sometimes mistakenly flagged individuals who had communication patterns similar to known Hamas or PIJ operatives — including police and civil defense workers, militants’ relatives, residents who happened to have a name and nickname identical to that of an operative, and Gazans who used a device that once [unknowingly] belonged to a Hamas operative.”

Furthermore, as one source explained, when “Lavender” was set up, the programmers “used the term ‘Hamas operative’ loosely,” so that “employees of the Hamas-run Internal Security Ministry, whom he does not consider to be militants,” were included. The source added that, “even if one believes these people deserve to be killed, training the system based on their communication profiles made Lavender more likely to select civilians by mistake when its algorithms were applied to the general population.”

The result of all of the above, as one of the sources explained, was that, “In practice, the principle of proportionality did not exist.”

While one source claimed that “the massive bombardment of junior militants took place only in the first week or two of the war, and then was stopped mainly so as not to waste bombs,” no one disputed that, as Abraham described it, “airstrikes against senior ranking Hamas commanders are still ongoing,” with the military still “authorizing the killing of ‘hundreds’ of civilians per target — an official policy for which there is no historical precedent in Israel, or even in recent US military operations.”

One operation, to kill Ayman Nofal, the commander of Hamas’ Central Gaza Brigade, involved the army authorizing, in October, “the killing of approximately 300 civilians” in Al-Bureij refugee camp.

A photo of the aftermath of the Israeli attack on Al-Bureij refugee camp in Gaza on October 17, 2023, in which Ayman Nofal, the commander of Hamas’ Central Gaza Brigade, was killed, along with 300 civilians regarded as acceptable “collateral damage.”

As the Guardian noted in a follow-up article, an international law expert at the US State Department said that they had “never remotely heard of a one to 15 ratio being deemed acceptable, especially for lower-level combatants. There’s a lot of leeway, but that strikes me as extreme.”

Many of the sources for the +972 Magazine investigation also pointed out how the decision to avoid any verification measures — either before or after the attacks — meant that inaccurate information often existed regarding the inhabitants of targeted homes, and also that sometimes — on a handful of occasions when post-attack reports emerged — it became clear that the specific target wasn’t present when the bombing took place. As one source said, “It happened to me many times that we attacked a house, but the person wasn’t even home. The result is that you killed a family for no reason.”

Several of the sources described an atmosphere of “revenge” in the military, with one stating, “No one thought about what to do afterward, when the war is over, or how it will be possible to live in Gaza and what they will do with it. We were told: now we have to f*ck up Hamas, no matter what the cost. Whatever you can, you bomb.”

Why the AI program is fundamentally indistinguishable from naked genocidal intent

While the +972 Magazine investigation is to be commended, as was its earlier investigation into another AI program, The Gospel, which more specifically targeted buildings rather than individuals (and which I wrote about here), there are several potential, and hugely significant problems with it.

Firstly, its exposure of an AI program for warfare might suggest to some warmongering enthusiasts that, rather than being revolting and unjustifiable per se — a nightmare dystopian model for future war — it ought to be regarded as acceptable if its parameters were to be more carefully programmed to pay lip service to international law.

The second reason, however, is that the very existence of the program might gloss over the fact that, on the ground in Gaza, any distinction between an over-enthusiastic AI program and genocidal carpet bombing is largely, if not entirely illusory, because Israel’s aim all along has, solely, been genocidal in intent.

In addition, as Human Rights Watch reported on April 4, the existence of AI programs fails to take into account examples of horrendous bombing raids in which no military targets whatsoever were discernible.

The focus of Human Rights Watch’s report was an “airstrike on a six-story apartment building sheltering hundreds of people in central Gaza on October 31, 2023,” which “killed at least 106 civilians, including 54 children,” and which involved the murders of “children playing football, residents charging phones in the ground-floor grocery store, and displaced families seeking safety.” The organization “found no evidence of a military target in the vicinity of the building at the time of the Israeli attack, making the strike unlawfully indiscriminate under the laws of war” — in other words, a war crime — and called for western governments to suspend arms sales to Israel, and to support an investigation by the ICC (International Criminal Court), which, to date, has proved sadly useless in pursuing Israel for its crimes.

Significantly, Human Rights Watch noted that, in February, Haaretz, Israel’s oldest newspaper, reported that the Israeli military “was investigating ‘dozens of cases’ in which its forces may have violated the laws of war,” although it was unclear whether the October 31 attack was one of those cases.

Beyond the suspicion that numerous bombing attacks took place for which no military justification was provided, that earlier +972 Magazine article I mentioned above noted another crucial component of Israel’s assault on Gaza — the identification of “power targets,” including “public buildings, infrastructure, and high-rise blocks,” whose destruction was, apparently, intended to “‘create a shock’ that, among other things, will reverberate powerfully and ‘lead civilians to put pressure on Hamas.’”

This is as blatantly illegal as carpet bombing residential areas, of course, but Israel has never cared about international humanitarian law, having been allowed to flout it so often since its blood-soaked founding in 1948 that its leaders have developed an arrogant and entitled sense of impunity that, after October 7, definitively tipped over into a never-before-seen genocidal frenzy.

Compare Israel’s greatest violence against the Gaza Strip since it was first sealed off as an “open-air prison” in 2007 — the 50 days in July and August 2014, when over 2,000 Palestinians were killed. As well as exposing the pernicious Israeli lie that the attacks by Hamas and other militants on October 7 occurred in a vacuum, as Israel has repeatedly attacked Gaza over the last 17 years, and even referred to its regular and murderous incursions as “mowing the lawn” — this time the intent, from the beginning, has not been to “mow the lawn,” but to entirely destroy it — to entirely destroy the Gaza Strip as habitable, and to kill as many Palestinians as they can get away with.

The genocidal intent has been spelled out so clearly by Israel’s leaders that when South Africa brought a genocide case against Israel to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the Court concluded, at the end of January, that a “plausible genocide” was taking place, in part because of this publicly-declared genocidal intent.

Everything has been destroyed in Gaza — not just “power targets,” and not just residential block after residential block that Israel can, in vain, try to claim were destroyed because of its AI targeting. Those of us paying attention watched, in the early months, as Israel occupied and then blew up universities, not even bothering to pretend that they were “Hamas command centres,” bombed mosques and heritage sites, shops and restaurants, water supplies and factories and agricultural fields — everything that could be used to sustain life.

In particular, the claims that certain targets were “Hamas command centres” was, most cynically, reserved for schools and, in particular, hospitals, which, in perhaps the clearest example of Israel’s genocidal intent, have been systematically destroyed over the last six months, almost always in conjunction with unsubstantiated claims about Hamas involvement, and with, in many cases, the “disappearance” of doctors, surgeons and other senior medical personnel into Israel’s notorious prisons for Palestinians, where thousands of people are held without charge, and where torture and other forms of abuse are rife.

In addition, since the ground invasion began in November, atrocities committed by soldiers — as opposed to the carnage unleashed from a distance by bombs — have been widespread, particularly in the north, as those who have refused to move south as ordered have been subjected to summary executions and enforced disappearances, often after being stripped and humiliated.

There has also been an epidemic of executions by snipers and quadcopters, many of which, as recently reported by returning foreign surgeons, have involved children — very definitively not combatants — being deliberately shot in the head.

In addition, those not bombed, executed, “disappeared,” or shot by snipers or quadcopters are being starved as, despite the ICJ’s provisional measures ordering the unimpeded access of humanitarian aid, Israel has shown no intention of watering down its efforts to kill as many Palestinians as possible by starving them to death.

In response to the ICJ’s provisional measures in January, Israel cynically responded by alleging that a tiny proportion of workers with UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, which is the main provider of humanitarian aid to Palestinians, were involved with Hamas, triggering an immediate ban on funding for the organization from most major western countries, only some of which resumed funding after it became evident that, typically, these were groundless allegations.

Is the tide finally turning?

While few of these countries seemed to notice that their actions were deepening their complicity in Israel’s “plausible genocide” — a situation made worse through their refusal to even contemplate halting the supply of weapons to Israel — the premeditated murder, earlier this week, of seven aid workers with World Central Kitchen — six of whom were foreign nationals, including an Australian, a Pole and a joint US-Canadian national, as well as three British ex-military security personnel — seems finally to have awakened outrage in the west in a way that, sadly and shamefully, the deaths of nearly 40,000 Palestinian civilians was unable to achieve.

The aftermath of Israel’s attack on a World Central Kitchen aid convoy in Gaza (Photo: Ali Jadallah/Anadolu).

Last night, after six months of appalling support for Israel’s every action, and a never-ending supply of weapons, President Biden finally called for an “immediate ceasefire,” and, as the White House said in a statement, “made clear”, in a phone call with Benjamin Netanyahu, “the need for Israel to announce and implement a series of specific, concrete and measurable steps to address civilian harm, humanitarian suffering and the safety of aid workers.”

So is the tide finally turning? We can only hope that the answer is yes, as Israel’s depravity otherwise seems to know no bounds. In the UK, over 600 legal experts, including four former members of the Supreme Court, have just sent a letter to the government demanding an immediate end to all arms sales to Israel, and the government is also struggling to contain fury, within their own ranks, and in the media, over the critically uncomfortable truth that three British ex-military personnel were not only killed by Israel in what the TV presenter Richard Madeley called an “execution,” but were also, it appears, killed by drones containing engines manufactured in the UK.

In addition, in a pushback against the pernicious Israeli influence that permeates western political circles, former Tory minister Alan Duncan called for Tory Lords and MPs who are acting in the interests of another country (Israel), not that of the Parliament in which they sit, to be removed from power — an appeal aimed at members of Conservative Friends of Israel, but equally applicable to the members of Labour Friends of Israel.

Proving his point, Duncan was immediately put under investigation, but in a degraded political environment in which Israel’s lobbyists exercise unprecedented and unjustifiable influence, and systematically insist on patently false witch hunts against supposed anti-semitic critics, who are, in fact, doing nothing more than criticizing the actions of the State of Israel, it is supremely important that genocidal Zionists are no longer allowed to exercise the disproportionate influence on western domestic politics and foreign policy that they have been wielding for decades, particularly in the US, the UK and Germany.

Today, Israel received another blow, when the UN Human Rights Council, following up on a UN Security Council resolution last week, in which, for the first time, the US didn’t apply its veto, “adopted a resolution calling for Israel to be held accountable for possible war crimes and crimes against humanity,” as the Guardian noted, and also called for an arms embargo.

The Guardian added that the resolution “marks another moment in the slow global ostracization of Israel over its war in Gaza,” but failed, of course, to note that part of the slowness of this process of ostracization involves its own failure (and that of almost the entirety of the mainstream western media) to condemn Israel back in October, just a few weeks into its attacks, when the genocidal scale of its response to the events of October 7 was already readily apparent.

Of course, all of this means nothing if Biden doesn’t follow up on his sternly worded message to Netanyahu. The hypocrisy of having issued this warning just days after presiding over the approval of another $18bn worth of arms sales to Israel has not been lost on perceptive commentators, but it’s noticeable too that, within hours of his phone call with Netanyahu, the Beit Hanoun/Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel was opened for the first time since 7 October, to facilitate the passage of humanitarian aid, Ashdod port in southern Israel was also opened, and Israel also “agreed to allow an increase in Jordanian aid through the Kerem Shalom crossing point.” As the Palestinian commentator Mouin Rabbani noted, “Israel is so utterly dependent on the US it literally takes just one phone call to reverse Israeli policy 180 degrees.”

Keep talking about Palestine, and keep pushing on all possible fronts. Biden is perhaps finally coming to understand that his unconditional support for Israel will lose him the forthcoming election to Donald Trump unless he changes his policies, and the change in tone in parts of the western media, while fundamentally racist in so many cases (because it took the murder of white people to awaken their outrage), also probably indicates a dam breaking, as the murder of westerners, and the shock it has generated in the west, has finally allowed some commentators, previously constrained by blanket instructions to fundamentally support Israel at all costs, to finally vent their frustrations with this genocidal status quo.

If a rising tide of “official” opposition to Israel is finally building, it probably makes sense to try and capitalize on it, rather than to dwell too much on the hypocrisy of those involved, based on their previous positions. Politics and the mainstream media are dirty businesses, and while everyone should, above all, pay attention to the Palestinians themselves, and to anyone else who has been calling this a genocide since the middle of October, the fundamental changes we need right now depend on these bigger forces shifting their positions and finally ending Israel’s 76-year impunity, and, by whatever means, ending its current, and unprecedented genocidal slaughter.

* * * * *

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer (of an ongoing photo-journalism project, ‘The State of London’), film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (see the ongoing photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here, or you can watch it online here, via the production company Spectacle, for £2.50).

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of the documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June 2017 that killed over 70 people, and, in 2018, he was part of the occupation of the Old Tidemill Wildlife Garden in Deptford, to try to prevent its destruction — and that of 16 structurally sound council flats next door — by Lewisham Council and Peabody.

Since 2019, Andy has become increasingly involved in environmental activism, recognizing that climate change poses an unprecedented threat to life on earth, and that the window for change — requiring a severe reduction in the emission of all greenhouse gases, and the dismantling of our suicidal global capitalist system — is rapidly shrinking, as tipping points are reached that are occurring much quicker than even pessimistic climate scientists expected. You can read his articles about the climate crisis here.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

43 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    In my latest article about Israel’s still-ongoing genocide in Gaza, I reflect on the latest death toll of 41,496 Palestinians, compiled by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which also indicates that 90% of those killed were civilians, and discuss the latest investigation by +972 Magazine, exposing the existence of an AI program, codenamed “Lavender,” which auto-generated bombing targets with little or no human oversight, contributing immensely to the devastating civilian death toll.

    I note, however, that the existence of the AI program shouldn’t distract us from the reality that Israel’s aim has always been genocide, as evidenced by bombing raids in which no military target is discernible, through the complete destruction of Gaza’s entire infrastructure, its war on hospitals, its summary executions and enforced disappearances, its incessant use of snipers and quadcopters (often deliberately targeting children), and its use of starvation.

    I end by noting that unconditional western support for Israel finally seems to be waning, particularly as a result of outrage generated by the killing of six western aid workers (and a Palestinian), which, of course, only demonstrates a fundamental racism in the west. Despite the hypocrisy, however, I conclude that it is worth exerting as much pressure as possible on western politicians and the media to permanently shift their positions and to begin the necessary moves towards finally ending Israel’s 76-year impunity, and, by whatever means, ending its current, and unprecedented genocidal slaughter.

  2. Andy Worthington says...

    Russell B Fuller wrote:

    Thanks, Andy.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    You’re welcome, Russell. I’m glad you appreciate my efforts.

  4. Andy Worthington says...

    Judith Lienhard wrote:


  5. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Judith. Good to hear from you.

  6. Andy Worthington says...

    Gail Baker wrote:

    The AI is a huge component in Israel’s genocide. I wish peeps would connect the dots.

  7. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Gail. Good to hear from you.

  8. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote:

    Thank you, Andy. Another outstanding piece.
    “Israel is so utterly dependent on the US it literally takes just one phone call to reverse Israeli policy 180 degrees.” … yes, 100% correct.
    You might also want to educate some of the reading public about the importance of the Ben Gurion Canal in this ma$$acre.
    “How is the proposed Ben Gurion Canal tied to Israel’s Gaza invasion? An incentive to ignore October 7 warnings?”

  9. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks so much for the supportive words, Ward!

    I’ve read about the canal proposal, and it may be playing or have played a part in the motivations of some people within Israel, but I have to confess that I’m not much persuaded by any arguments that detract from the genocidal intent, for its own sake, of so much of Israel’s leadership – those who aren’t doing it for money, but because they have given in to the biggest failure any group of human beings can indulge in: the desire to slaughter an entire group of “others.”

  10. Andy Worthington says...

    Ken Mitchell wrote:

    Americans were conditioned to thinking that Israel is a David, fighting oil rich Goliaths who want to finish what Hitler started. This genocide in Gaza is waking up a lot of Americans. Biden should pull the plug on any more military aid to Israel, extend diplomatic recognition to Palestine and provide recovery aid.

  11. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Ken. Yes, fortunately, for many people, the colonial mask has slipped, and cannot be put back in place again. Your list of what Biden needs to do, and with some urgency, is entirely appropriate.

  12. Andy Worthington says...

    Anna Brown wrote:

    Thank you & as always, will assign for my students to read.

  13. Andy Worthington says...

    I am so honored that you are going to assign my writing to your students, Anna. Thank you so much!

  14. Andy Worthington says...

    Loncin Léon wrote:

    The civilian population is always the victim of these wars WANTED by certain Leaders! The worst is still all these children marked for life and finding themselves ALONE, abandoned, very vulnerable! Being a professional nurse, I cannot accept that hospitals are being bombed, where we provide care and relief; this is unacceptable!

  15. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Loncin. Very good to hear from you, and yes, you’re absolutely right, it is always civilians who suffer at the hands of monstrous warmongers, it is monstrous what has been done to so many children, and it is monstrous too that hospitals – places that are the opposite of war – should be so disgracefully and illegally attacked and destroyed.

  16. Andy Worthington says...

    S Brian Willson wrote:

    Thank you Andy for your consistent pursuit of truth among Western politicians and “leaders” who clearly are psychotically mentally ill, deranged and extraordinarily dangerous to the human condition and the earth.

  17. Andy Worthington says...

    Thank you for appreciating my efforts, Brian. Your description of our leaders’ derangement is spot-on, and any kind of longer perspective demonstrates how this long-standing derangement is only getting worse.

    Personally, I think many of our leaders are psychically damaged, in a novel manner, by their inability to understand how to deal with climate collapse (which reveals how all the miracles of the last 40 years of capitalist ‘development’ have been cumulatively suicidal), and, in the cases of some of the older leaders, they are taking vengeance on the young, and on life itself, as so many bitter old men have done throughout human history, but usually with less deadly weapons.

  18. Andy Worthington says...

    Anna M. wrote:

    Re: The inflated numbers of killed ‘terrorists’.

    That was the same in Afghanistan (and no doubt in Iraq etc), where every male of ‘fighting age’ killed, was automatically ranked under ‘Taliban fighters’, also by UNAMA, unless the victim could – posthumously – prove that that had not been the case. That is in addition to those who were killed ‘for fun’, out of boredom or sheer viciousness and after the fact had grenades or other arms planted on them, to suggest self-defense.

    As for Biden’s sudden ‘outrage’, I wonder whether even the foreign victims of the latest carnage were the trigger.

    I think it rather is a desperate and futile attempt to stem the surging tide of ‘noncommitted’ votes in the primaries, which risks costing him reelection in November, as they concern swing-states where four years ago he won with a much smaller margin than those negative votes. Even if these persons will not vote for Trump, they are liable not to vote at all – and who could blame them – making the race a much more even one. I’ll never understand why the Democrats could not find a better candidate than that genocidal Zionist zombie.

    There was an interview on AJE with some political figure who was asked why in fact the US support Israel in spite of everything, whether really as an indispensible ally, or what. The answer flabbergasted me, but on reflection it sounded perfectly plausible: they have no strategic or other higher purpose to support Israel. The reason they do it is solely the Israel lobby, AIPAC etc, whose support is crucial for winning elections. On the one hand the massive funding they provide, on the other hand the evangelical etc voters. Just like the rifle business is crucial for votes. And they call that a democracy …

    My own government did not wake up until the Israeli ambassador X’d about us all being extreme left- & right wing anti-semites, for suggesting it had been murder.

    He was invited this morning for a talk at out ministry of foreign affairs and – according to AJE – was told that we expect a proper military court case, including a Polish prosecutor, to judge this murder. And that was the term he used: murder. Even poor Guterres stopped being diplomatically apologetic about criticising Israel and is calling a spade a spade. As wonderful Francesca Albanese recently did. She pointedly started the presentation of her report by saying that genocide starts with the dehumanisation of the targeted population. A fact that far too often is overlooked, as we did not learn anything from the Hitler experience, the vilifying slander and other early symptoms, indications of what is being prepared and step by increasingly less careful step is tested to see whether it will create any punitive measures or just ‘outrage’.

  19. Andy Worthington says...

    Great to hear from you, Anna, and thanks for your thoughts and insights, beginning with your invaluable first-hand memories of how the US behaved in Afghanistan. I neglected to mention in my article confirmation from Haaretz, reported on April 1 by Democracy Now!, that “the Israeli military has created so-called kill zones inside Gaza where Israeli troops kill anyone who crosses into the area. One reserve officer told the paper, ‘As soon as people enter it, mainly adult males, orders are to shoot and kill, even if that person is unarmed.’ The report comes days after Al Jazeera aired footage of four unarmed Palestinian men being killed as they walked among the ruins near Khan Younis. In an interview with Haaretz, one Israeli officer acknowledged the four men were killed even though they ‘didn’t endanger our forces.'”

    As for Biden, yes, firstly, it’s a demonstration of the failure of the entire Democratic Party, even before October 7, to have committed to allowing Biden to run, essentially unopposed, for a second term, when, at the time, it was already apparent that he was too old for the challenges of the job.

    Since October 7, of course, this refusal to seriously consider someone younger has descended into a dark farce, as Biden’s intransigence only demonstrates the inflexibility of his addled Zionist mind, with frustrated officials frequently speaking out to explain how no one can change his mind, and, most crucially for the future of the Democrats, with his unqualified support for Israel, and his apparently complete indifference to Palestinian lives, threatening to sink the Party’s chances of keeping Donald Trump at bay.

    As you note, it is probably this fear that is driving the US’s far too belated ‘outrage’ – as well as, presumably, a barely-hidden tsunami of complaints from officials within the administration, whose unease is almost certainly widespread, even though only a few of them have resigned and spoken out.

    As for the interview you mention, the claims made in it – that actually it’s all about the power of AIPAC and other Israeli lobbying groups – strikes me as being of particular importance and concern, and the analogy you make with the gun lobby is also germane. What an absolute moral cesspit US politics is!

    I can only hope that, if this genocide can ever be brought to an end, the internal war in western countries, not just the US, regarding how much control a foreign government (Israel) has over policy-making will continue to be investigated and challenged. Morally, and ethically, it is now apparent that, across the west, hundreds of millions of citizens don’t endorse Israel’s evident control of their own politics, but it will be difficult to dislodge them, because they control so many politicians across the political spectrum, and, evidently, much of the mainstream media decision-making as well.

    I hadn’t been studying Poland’s response to one of its own being killed in the aid convoy execution, so thanks for updating me. Here in Britain, the fact that the three men killed were ex-military (with one even having served with the Special Boat Service, one of our “special forces”, which operated in Afghanistan) has opened a whole new can of worms for the government, not only arousing the ire of patriotic types who would normally support Israel, but also, I fear, adding to the anger of those who we don’t normally hear from – the white far-right who are, as far as I can tell, probably the only genuinely antisemitic people in the UK (and I imagine the situation is similar in other European countries).

    There is, sadly, some poetic justice in the fact that a cynical bully like Israel, which has completely devalued the meaning of antisemitism by equating it with any criticism of the State of Israel, regardless of how monstrous its actions are, has now discredited itself to such an extent that, like the boy who cried wolf, it has nothing left with which to tackle the ghosts of real antisemitism, which are now, once more, rearing their ugly heads across the European continent.

  20. Andy Worthington says...

    Ward Reilly wrote, in response to 9, above:

    Andy, what better way to get the canal built through Gaza, than to ignore the intel, then use the Oct.7 attack as an excuse to eliminate the Gaza and all of its people?
    Anyway, yes, it’s just a portion of the puzzle. Netanyahu’s hatred and blood-lust are really the only components necessary for this genocidal massacre.

  21. Andy Worthington says...

    And there’s also the natural gas off the coast of Gaza, which some people have been discussing, Ward:

    As you recognize, however, at the heart of it all we need to keep focused on what it is that drives people to want to commit genocide, and how it means they cannot be accepted anymore in the family of humanity. It’s really that simple. Any apologist for this genocide – and here in the UK, as in the US, there are many apologists in the media, in universities and elsewhere – really must be shunned from now on.

  22. Andy Worthington says...

    Zoon Imran wrote:

    Thnx Andy for your compassion for truth & justice as always heaps of respect & love ❣️

  23. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks for the lovely supportive words, Zoon!

  24. Andy Worthington says...

    Kären Ahern wrote:

    Emojis don’t cut it as I am angry and in despair about it all, but, Andy, glad you wrote this article. For Biden to “ask” for an ‘immediate ceasefire” and still be sending weapons with our tax dollars is an abomination. To not make conditions that Israel Prisoners, which includes at least 400 children and all of them that we know they are torturing in prison, be released as a condition if they want Hostages back is insane! That is a given and after many years of oppression and carnage, without the hostages, why would anyone assume Israel still won’t annihilate the Palestinians further? We absolutely must say, “Permanent Ceasefire!”.

  25. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Kären, and thanks for your thoughts. I absolutely agree about a hostage exchange – not only because it is absolutely unforgivable that Israel is holding so many Palestinians, including children, in lawless and brutal conditions, reminiscent of Bagram, and Guantanamo in its earliest days, but also because, practically, there is absolutely no guarantee that the return of the surviving Israeli hostages would do anything to stop further Israeli slaughter of Palestinians.

  26. Andy Worthington says...

    Lesley Marshall wrote:

    Thanks for excellent reporting. Alan Duncan’s words are so needed at this time.

  27. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Lesley. Great to hear from you, and I’m glad that Alan Duncan’s words also resonated with you. It really is extraordinary how we – and so many other western countries – have ended up in a position where our main political parties so relentlessly prioritise Israel’s interests before our own. It was, of course, obvious via the witch hunt against Jeremy Corbyn, but it’s unbearably sad that it’s taken a genocide to expose to so many people how deep this enforced fidelity to Israel is.

    One particularly important reason why I think the Israel Lobby needs to be thoroughly expunged from our politics, and which no one really seems to want to talk about, is because the only genuine antisemitism that exists – from the white far-right – has always been convinced that the Nazis (and Henry Ford) were right about a Jewish cabal controlling everything, and the existence and influence of AIPAC, CFI, LFI and all the other powerfully lobbying groups only serves to confirm their prejudices.

    As the many intelligent anti-Zionist Jews recognise, the biggest threat to the Jewish people is Zionism itself.

  28. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote:

    It’s like a real life terminator horror show horrific

  29. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, horrible, labour-intensive old school genocide reinterpreted through AI, Damien, helpfully removing any human scrutiny whatsoever, and involving more heavy-duty ordnance than anyone has ever seen.

  30. Andy Worthington says...

    Kären Ahern wrote, in response to 25, above:

    Yes, exactly. They want them all annihilated.

  31. Andy Worthington says...

    I think that’s what people don’t understand about genocide, Kären. The intent behind it is to eliminate every single member of the hated “other.” That might not always be practically possible, but it’s the driver of the intent. In Gaza, Israel’s intent is obvious both from the extent of the human slaughter, and also from the extent of the destruction of the conditions that enable life to be supported. Beyond that, they don’t have any concrete plan. The alternative to killing as many people as possible is to permanently expel all the survivors, but that’s been nothing but a fantasy from the beginning.

    Egypt was never going to allow 2m people into Sinai as refugees, and whenever I hear Israeli spokespeople talking about the “need” for western countries to step up and help, each taking 20,000 or 50,000 Palestinians to help Israel fulfil its deranged dreams of total power, I can’t help but laugh out loud at their self-absorption and their compete lack of understanding about how anti-immigrant sentiment has been growing in the west. In the UK, for example, we actually have a government that has been doing everything in its power to make it illegal to be a refugee.

  32. Andy Worthington says...

    Damien Morrison wrote, in response to 29, above:

    Andy, it’s so fucked up … imagine creating AI and instead of creating it for the common good it’s been created to kill created to punish … TO HARM … my god the humans as a species is becoming darker and darker and darker we are consuming and destroying everything … on our one and only planet … The biggest suicide cult in the known universe

  33. Andy Worthington says...

    Yes, well said, Damien. Humanity as a suicide cult. It’s so extraordinarily sad that people can’t break out of their narrow ways of thinking to understand what we’re doing to this astonishingly precious biosphere, our home, our only home. And sadly and shamefully, the genocide in Gaza is intimately tied up with this derangement. Fuelled by ancient messianic hate, the dream of the settler mentality that is the main driver of this genocide is to absolutely cleanse the Gaza Strip of its perceived poison, the existence of the Palestinians.

    It’s basically the bloodiest form of “gentrification” imagine, pushing out the “poor” so that the land can become a giant beach resort, a plan that the settlers aren’t even trying to hide, as can be seen from the real estate investment opportunity events that they’re running throughout North America.

    And yet they’re so blinded by their rage and their sense of entitlement that they don’t even realize that they have poisoned Gaza to such an extent with their lethal munitions and their wilful destruction of its water supplies and its land that they’ve made it uninhabitable. Even if the ghosts of the Palestinian dead don’t rise up to haunt them on their stolen land, they have made it into a horribly toxic landscape.

    The Guardian had a good article about this last week:

  34. Andy Worthington says...

    Abdellatif Nasser wrote:

    Thank you Andy, as always standing with humanity and justice.
    I think people now have become aware how evil is the apartheid Zionist regime in Israel.

  35. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Abdellatif, and thanks, as always, for the supportive words about my work. We can only hope that the extent of Israel’s derangement – so brutally exposed, and so viscerally appreciated by billions of people around the world – is enough to finally bring this murderous apartheid regime to an end.

  36. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    I still feel so enraged and heartbroken, Andy. The deliberate targeting of civilians, like the US (Obama with his drone assassination program) is a war crime that goes unpunished in the most chilling way, as people are still silent or indifferent about this. Not even 41,000 + deaths shock some.

  37. Andy Worthington says...

    I absolutely agree, Natalia, and I share your concerns about the significant number of people who are silent and indifferent about it, just as I know we share concerns about that same silence and indifference with regard to climate collapse.

    Fortunately, at least with Gaza, if not with the impending collapse of global civilization worldwide, the peddlers of lies have been exposed like never before, and I don’t see how they can ever again persuade the world to accept their aggressive self-assessment as the uniquely entitled victims who can do no wrong.

    As the death toll in Gaza has mounted, and the atrocities – almost beyond measure – have become more and more evident, the constant Zionist call for people to focus solely on the events of October 7, and to maintain it in a vacuum of unique significance, detached from prior and subsequent reality, is no longer even vaguely defensible.

    I think the west is finally realizing this – in part because of the ever-accumulating legal evidence of genocidal intent on Israel’s part, and in part because of some Democrats’ realization that they will lose to Trump in November unless they change course. Obviously, none of us can afford to rest until the bombing actually stops, but it does seem that 40,000 dead civilians might mark the point at which, faced with the prospect of that rising to 100,000 or more without decisive action, some with power and influence in the west have finally been able to ascribe a value to Palestinian lives.

    Their failure to do so earlier – I was discussing genocide in my very first article about Israel’s unprecedented vengeance on October 11 – must, however, never be forgiven or forgotten.

  38. Andy Worthington says...

    Mary Schott wrote:

    Natalia, a weight on my chest … I WILL NEVER FORGET.

  39. Andy Worthington says...

    Natalia Rivera Scott wrote:

    Mary, we will not forget, we will not forgive this. Exactly what you say: a weight on the chest.

  40. Andy Worthington says...

    Good to hear from you, Mary. That is a very good description of the suffocating feeling of witnessing this genocide, and knowing it has been taking place with the full support of our leaders.

  41. Andy Worthington says...

    This article by Patrick Wintour, the Guardian’s diplomatic editor, assessing how Israel’s genocide has been perceived around the world, and what it means in terms of shifting geopolitical power, is worth a read. What leapt out at me was former Israeli negotiator Daniel Levy’s assessment that Joe Biden “lives with an Israel in his head which probably never existed and certainly doesn’t exist today.”

    ‘The new world disorder: how the Gaza war disrupted international relations’:

  42. Andy Worthington says...

    Tamzin Jans wrote:

    AI was always considered a dangerous technology to use in warfare. Israel has just proven why. This tech is used to kill hundreds of innocent people. Imagine if governments use this same tech across the world; tomorrow you and I can be murdered.

  43. Andy Worthington says...

    Used to kill thousands or even tens of thousands of innocent people, Tamzin. The problems with AI, as highlighted by the +972 Magazine investigation, are that targeting depends of the parameters of the programming, which in this case seems very clearly to have been indefensibly broad and vague, and, compounding matters, was not subject to any kind of checks by human beings to ascertain the accuracy of the information. As you correctly note, if this model were to applied anywhere else, no one would be safe.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo and We Stand With Shaker. Also, photo-journalist (The State of London), and singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers).
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