Saturday was the deadliest day since Israel began its bombardment of Gaza, with over 1,000 people killed, the Euro-Med human rights monitoring group said Sunday.
The organization documented “a string of Israeli airstrikes with strong fire belts on Saturday. The strikes targeted buildings and inhabited residential blocks in Shuja’iya, Jabalia, and Beit Lahia without prior notice, demolishing them above the heads of their residents and burying dozens beneath the debris.”
After forcibly displacing over a million people from northern Gaza into the south, Israel launched a ferocious air bombardment and ground offensive aimed at forcing the population of Gaza into the Sinai Desert. Already 1.8 million people in Gaza, or about 80 percent of the population, are internally displaced.
Bisan Owda, the Palestinian filmmaker who has amassed a following of millions of people around the world by documenting her life as a refugee in Gaza, explained what is taking place in a social media post:
This is the emptying of the Gaza Strip. This is the displacing of 2.25 million people to be homeless. To be displaced in the Sinai desert. They are emptying Gaza. They are saying that the South is a combat zone and the North is a combat zone. Where to go? They never told us before and they will never tell us. They told us to go to the South. And we came to the South and they tell us to go to anywhere else.
On Saturday, the New Arab, the London-based pan-Arab news outlet, cited sources close to the Egyptian negotiators who said that Israel’s plan to push the Palestinians into the Sinai Desert was becoming more clear.
The source told the newspaper,
By reviewing the map published by the occupation army (yesterday, Friday) and dividing the Gaza Strip and the south into squares, with alternating strikes west and east within the south, it becomes clear that the goal is to slowly displace or move the population towards the Egyptian border.
The newspaper cited Mohamed Mahmoud Mahran, professor of public international law, saying: “What Israel did is a flagrant violation of the principles of international humanitarian law and the Geneva Conventions.” He continued, “The Israeli occupation authority does not have the right to forcibly displace Palestinian civilians or transfer them outside their areas of original residence, even if it distributes leaflets or issues warnings of the need to move to other areas.”
The death toll currently stands at more than 15,523 Palestinians killed in Gaza, 70 percent of whom were women and children, Gaza’s Ministry of Health said.
This includes 198 doctors and medics, 112 employees of the United Nations and 77 journalists.
Over the weekend, Israel designated about 28 percent of Gaza for evacuation, under conditions in which those who have already evacuated were not being allowed to return to their homes.
On Sunday, the World Food Program reported, “there is a high risk of famine for all the people of Gaza.” It added, “Gaza’s food system is on the brink of collapsing. Most shops are either shut down or have nearly empty shelves. Inflation is high as prices of essential food items have spiked while aid delivery has not been sufficient during the humanitarian pause to cater for the food and nutrition needs of people in Gaza.”
Against this backdrop, the United States has unequivocally endorsed Israel’s genocide and vowed to support it without conditions.
Appearing on the “Meet the Press” Sunday talk show, Pentagon Spokesman John Kirby was asked if there would be “consequences … if the United States feels as though Israel is not following a specific plan to protect civilians?”
To this, Kirby replied, “We’re going to continue to support Israel as they go after Hamas. The security assistance continues to flow. That’s not going to change.”
Kirby defended Israel’s targeting of the civilian population, declaring, “They have actually given civilians in Gaza a list, a map—it’s online—a list of areas where they can go to be more safe. There’s not too many modern militaries, in advance of conducting operations, that would actually do that. So they are making an effort to at least inform the civilian population about where to go and where to avoid.”
In reality, the entire purpose of the forcing the civilian population to flee is to facilitate the ethnic cleansing of Gaza, accompanied by the total destruction of social infrastructure, from housing, to schools and hospitals.
The actual genocidal attitude of the US ruling class toward the people of Gaza was summed up by Senator Lindsey Graham, who justified attacks against the civilian population by claiming it was “radicalized”—i.e., that it opposed Israel and the United States.
“This is a radicalized population,” he said. “I don’t want to kill innocent people, but Israel is fighting not just Hamas, but the infrastructure around Hamas.”
Asked whether he believes “that too many Palestinian civilians have been killed,” Graham replied, “What is too many people dying in World War II after Pearl Harbor? Did the American public worry about how many people were dying to destroy Tokyo and Berlin?”
The UK, meanwhile, has announced plans for a more direct intervention, declaring that it will be flying surveillance drones over the territory of Gaza in support of Israel’s military onslaught.
Originally published in WSWS.ORG