20 Days of Israel’s Gaza Massacre leaves 6,500 dead: End it now!

Gaza Palestine 7

Israel’s genocidal assault against Palestinians is being ramped up to inhumane proportions. All masks are off about its intentions to completely annihilate the Palestinian people. Not only is Gaza under relentless bombardment with more than 6,000 bombs dropped on the blockaded enclave, but Palestinians under occupation in the West Bank are also facing a fresh wave of repression with many being fatally shot by IDF soldiers and settlers.

The death toll in Gaza has crossed 6,500 and the number of children killed is reported at 2,360, i.e., more than 400 children killed according to UNICEF which calls the situation “a collective stain on our collective conscience”. This is much more than the number of people that Israel and the U.S.-led ‘Western’ sphere say Hamas killed on October 7th. The body count of the dead is now just an unfinished number for Israel which plans to draw this massacre out till it becomes too tiring to talk about, and we must not let that happen.

Those across the world with even a modicum of rationality, fellow feeling, and empathy have been deeply moved and outraged by the many hundreds of visuals that show the plight of Gaza’s children. So many of their tiny bodies have been torn to shreds and burned by the hellfire that Israel is raining down on them. Some are crying for their dead and wounded parents on hospital beds, others are nothing more than charred bodies lined up on a stretcher. So many have been pulled out of the rubble of their homes and surrounding buildings. Many more are trapped inside, suffocating under tons of stone, all for the crime of being born Palestinian and inheriting the wrath of a brutal settler-colonial State.

The total blockade of food, water, and fuel to Gaza is not an unfortunate result of a supposed ‘war’. It is calculated eradication, plain and simple. It not only accelerates the death and destruction of lives and bodies but is calculated to impede any efforts to save lives. Israel has blocked the supply of food to Gaza and has bombed multiple bakeries in an enclosed area with no independent supply or sourcing of flour, bread, or other food items.

Reports of severe food shortages and starvation conditions prove that Israel intends to starve anyone who survives its indiscriminate bombardment. Water is the most basic of human needs and Israel has historically weaponized it against Palestinians, with its present actions on Gaza being no exception. Thirst, sanitation, medical treatment, and human dignity itself make water indispensable and by denying water, Israel has proved that it is not dealing with combatants or ‘Hamas terrorists’ but is accelerating its policy of ‘mowing the lawn’ into a ‘Final Solution’.

Livestreamed death, rampant propaganda and disinformation

The internet and social media have made many things possible, including watching people die in real time and being able to do nothing about it. A Palestinian journalist filmed his own death and that of a medic caused by an Israeli airstrike. Their terrified last moments are there for all to see, firstly as a testament to their courage and commitment to their duty and secondly as a record of the utter helplessness and terror that is being inflicted on an entire people. The camera that shows their perspective is like a writer using ‘you’ to place the reader in the shoes of a character.

Death is the universal unifier and leveler of all differences. We are afraid of it at a primal level, no matter who we are. We should all be able to understand the sheer strength of will it takes to stare down death itself and continue reporting and telling the world the truth from the ground. So many social media accounts of journalists, photographers, and regular people of Palestine have gone silent after their final appeals for their words and humanity to be kept alive. It is tragic that millions of online users can hear from these  arepeople just like them who can be murdered at any moment, who have nowhere to go and cannot escape. We can hear them but do nothing, and in this, we lose not just the precious human lives of ‘others’ but also our own humanity.

But there are many who don’t care, who only parrot the worn-down ‘what about Hamas’ line. It is disturbing how desensitized we have become to human lives being extinguished at so many levels: sometimes in a split second, sometimes in horrendous suffering from horrible injuries, and sometimes agonizingly slowly in the daily struggle and humiliation for food, water, toilets, shelter all while watching loved ones being murdered in the most brutal ways. Becoming ‘modern’, globalized, digitalized, tech-driven, etc. does not indicate any measure of real human progress if such acts of genocide and ethnic extermination can occur so openly in an instant, hyper-connected world where everyone’s eyes are on everyone else.

Not ‘conflict’ but genocide: Resources to read and share

Here is a list of posts and other resources that will dispel common pro-Israeli talking points, provide the Palestinian perspective, and make readers of the many interlinked issues in the ongoing ethnic cleansing underway against the Palestinian people:

1.        Regular updates on the ongoing genocide: death-toll estimates, important statements, and geopolitical developments [Tweet, Oct 25]

2.        Why Gaza death toll numbers are reliable, countering smears against doctors [Tweet, Oct 25]

3.        “We are being massacred, ethically cleansed, bombed relentlessly”- Mahmoud Alnaouq, now deceased, killed by Israeli airstrikes. [Tweet, Oct 13]

4.        Renowned Al-Jazeera journalist Wael Aldahdoh loses his entire family in Israeli airstrikes [Tweet, Oct 25]

5.        ‘Palestinian Roshdi Sarraj is the 23rd journalist killed by Israel-Gaza war’ [Al Jazeera, Oct 23]

6.        Human rights groups unanimous opinion on Israel’s apartheid policies: a compilation [Tweet, July 19]

7.        Al-Quds hospital receives ‘warning’ from Israel to evacuate, another hospital attack like Al-Ahli feared [Tweet, Oct 20]

8.        Dr Ghassan Abu Sitta, surgeon in Gaza, tweets about the patients that he is treating and the injuries they suffer and succumb to [Twitter profile]

9.        ‘Who is the terrorist’: A thread on Israeli disinformation, harassment of pro-Palestine advocates, and suppression of free speech in the West [Tweet, Oct 17]

10.  Food and water crisis created by Israel in Gaza: a thread of reports and first-hand accounts [Tweet, Oct 17]

11.  Verso Books provides e-books for free in solidarity with Palestine: [Website and downloads]

Arjun Banerjee is a political commentator.

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