A Million Palestinians Face Death by Starvation After Eight Months of Israel’s Genocide in Gaza

Palestinians seeking food in Deir el-Balah in the Gaza Strip in December 2023. Israel’s “complete siege” on Gaza has meant widespread shortages of food throughout the last eight months, but repeated blocking of humanitarian aid deliveries by Israel has meant that it is now estimated that a million Palestinians face death by starvation by mid-July. (Photo: Majdi Fathi).

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Eight months of unmitigated horror in Gaza demonstrates the absolute moral degradation of Israel, and the unparalleled moral failure of the west.

It’s eight months since Hamas and other militants broke out of the “open-air prison” of the Gaza Strip, where they, and the entire Palestinian population of 2.3 million people, had been subjected to a land, sea and air blockade for 16 years, and embarked on a brief but deadly killing spree in southern Israel, killing 1,068 Israelis (695 civilians and 373 members of the military and the police), as well as 71 foreign nationals, and kidnapping around 235 others, around half of whom were Israeli.

In response, as happened on numerous previous occasions when Israel was attacked by Palestinian military forces resisting the occupation of their land, Israel began carpet bombing the Gaza Strip, destroying key infrastructure, levelling apartment blocks with disproportionately heavy-duty bombs provided mainly by the US and Germany, and killing vast numbers of civilians.

In 2014, when Israel undertook the most savage of its many previous attacks on the Gaza Strip, a seven-week campaign killed over 2,300 Palestinians, wounded nearly 11,000 (including 3,374 children, of whom over 1,000 were permanently disabled), and led to the destruction of 7,000 homes, with an additional 89,000 damaged, before a ceasefire was finally reached.

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Ending Israel’s Impunity for Genocide in Gaza, and the Threat to Those, Like Joe Biden, Who Are Most Complicit

Karim Khan, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), flanked by Benjamin Netanyahu and Yoav Gallant, behind bars. Image via the Islam Channel, produced after Khan announced his intention to seek arrests for both men for war crimes and crimes against humanity in the Gaza Strip.

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I just want the bombing to stop. Billions of us around the world just want to the bombing to stop. But last night, in Rafah, Israel dropped countless US-supplied 2,000-pound bombs — hideously powerful weapons designed to pierce otherwise impenetrable military targets — on a displaced Palestinian civilian population, living in flimsy makeshift tents in what they were told was a “safe zone,” burning dozens of them alive, including children who were decapitated as their bodies burned.

For seven and a half months, a moral sickness has engulfed the State of Israel, also infecting parliaments and the mainstream media throughout most of the western world, as shrill, bullying and sometime gleeful proponents of genocide have sought to compel us, sometimes through violence, and often through intimidation, not only to turn a blind eye to the murder of 40,000 civilians in the Gaza Strip — killed with bombs of such intensity that they shouldn’t even exist, let alone be dropped onto packed civilian neighbourhoods day after day after day — but to endorse it, to support it as enthusiastically as they do.

For seven and a half months, those of us living in the majority of the countries of the west (or the Global North), have been ordered to believe that, despite the openly genocidal comments that have been regularly and insistently made by Israel’s leaders since the deadly attacks on southern Israel by Hamas and other militants on October 7 last year, (in which 1,139 people were killed), Israel’s response, in which most of the Gaza Strip has been destroyed, and 10,000 decomposing corpses are buried under the rubble, is not a genocide, but simply Israel exercising its “right to defend itself”, to “eliminate Hamas”, and to free the hostages seized by Hamas and other militants on October 7.

For seven and half months, we have been told that “this began on October 7”, in a blatant and frankly sickening effort to erase 76 years of oppression of the Palestinian people by the State of Israel, oppression which began in earnest with the blood-soaked establishment of the State of Israel, in 1948, when 15,000 Palestinians were murdered and 750,000 permanently exiled from their homes, but which actually began decades before, via the Balfour Declaration of 1917, in which the British government, then ruling Palestine as a Mandate after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, announced its support for the establishment of a “national home for the Jewish people” in Palestine, and encouraged the migration of hundreds of thousands of European Jews.

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The Best of Humanity Weeps for Gaza, While the Worst Cheers On Genocide, Malevolent and Psychopathic: Whose Side Are You On?

Palestinian flags on the most recent March for Palestine in central London on March 9, 2024 (Photo: Andy Worthington).

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Last week, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, the Geneva-based NGO, published its latest assessment of the death toll in Gaza, after 160 days of Israel’s relentless genocidal assault on the largely civilian population of the Gaza Strip, refugees from the ethnic cleansing that accompanied the blood-soaked establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, who, for the last 17 years, have been trapped in what Human Rights Watch described in 2022 as an “open-air prison”, because of Israel’s total blockade of all routes in and out, but which it would now be more accurate to describe as the world’s largest open-air graveyard, or the world’s largest concentration camp.

Shamefully, no mainstream media outlet took an interest in Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor’s assessment, even though it reported, credibly, that the death toll from Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza has now surpassed 40,000 (40,042, according to the report), with 14,861 of those killed being children, and 9,273 being women, and with 36,330 of those killed (90%) assessed as having been civilians.

Over 160 days, this means that, on average, 250 Palestinians have been killed every day — or ten every hour — with nearly a hundred of those killed every day being children.

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Genocide Continues in Gaza, Exposing The Unending Depravity of Israel, and the Ongoing Criminal Complicity of the West

The aftermath of an Israeli bombing raid in Tall az-Zaatar, in northern Gaza, on Sunday December 3, 2023 (Photo: Fadi Alwhidi/Anadolu).

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For 47 days, from October 8 until November 23, the State of Israel relentlessly bombed the 2.3 million trapped civilians of the Gaza Strip — held in “an open air prison” since 2007, when Israel imposed a total blockade on its inhabitants — with such ferocity that 20,031 people were killed, including 8,176 children and 4,112 women, according to the Geneva-based NGO Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor. The NGO also noted that over 36,350 people had been injured — many gravely so — and that 1.7 million people, almost three-quarters of the entire population, had been displaced, as nearly a quarter of a million homes were completely or partially destroyed.

To give some necessary perspective to those statistics, what it meant was that, for 47 days, Israel was killing 174 children every day — seven children every hour, or one every eight and a half minutes. To understand quite how grotesque and unprecedented the killing of children on this scale is, on November 7 Al Jazeera analyzed the death rates of children in other major conflicts of the 21st century — in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen — establishing that the death rate of children in those conflicts was between 0.6 and three children per day.

This was carpet bombing on an industrial scale, using some of the heaviest and deadliest bombs ever invented by the depraved individuals who work in the arms industry, many of which were supplied by the US, and yet, despite international experts almost immediately recognizing that this was the collective punishment of an entire civilian population, in response to attacks by Hamas militants on October 7, in which, according to initial reports, 1,400 Israelis had been killed (a figure most recently revised down to 1,200), western leaders were united in their uncritical support for Israel’s unqualified “right to defend itself.”

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Where Is The Outrage About Israel’s Profoundly Illegal ‘War on Hospitals’ in Gaza?

A wounded Palestinian woman heads south in Gaza in a wheelchair, having left Al-Shifa Hospital on November 12, 2023.

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Where is the outrage from western leaders, and the western mainstream media, about Israel’s ‘war on hospitals’ in Gaza?

Today, we hear that staff and patients at Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, which was invaded by Israeli soldiers three days ago, have been ordered to evacuate, on foot, to the south of Gaza, even though that is impossible for the seriously ill and for the 35 premature babies who are still alive, after their incubators stopped working days ago because the hospital ran out of fuel.

Four of these babies have died in the last few days, but the rest are tenaciously clinging on to life, although Al-Jazeera noted that another five are now “severely ill.” Yesterday, doctors at the hospital reported that everyone in the intensive care unit had died as a result of the fuel ban.

Most of those in the hospital — nearly all of the many hundreds of patients and their families, most of the medical staff, and thousands of internally displaced people whose homes were destroyed in Israel bombing raids, and who have been sheltering in the hospital’s grounds — were made to leave the hospital this morning, with numerous witnesses, including Dr. Adnan Al Barsh, Al-Shifa’s Head of Orthopedics, explaining that they were “forced to leave at gunpoint.”

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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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