On the 10th day of the Israeli offensive, a week after the announcement of the Siege of the Gaza Strip, which established the fact that in addition to the bombing of buildings and civilian populations, the Israeli military authorities have completely closed the enclave by preventing the entry of water, food and gasoline after blocking access to electricity. This decision was based on the fact that the Israeli Minister of Defense considers the Gazans to be “animals” and that they had to be treated “accordingly”.
Air strikes and artillery fire therefore continued continuously for 10 days on this coastal enclave, whose population has already been living under air, land and naval blockade for 16 years. The strikes are still in progress, but at a time when the Israeli army is preparing to launch a ground incursion into this territory populated by 2.3 million inhabitants, it seems necessary to recall how the aggression how the ongoing massacre in the Gaza Strip represents an unprecedented human and humanitarian catastrophe. All this in the deafening silence of a significant part of the international community.
Watch: This is what #Gaza looks like after 9 days of Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people.#FreePalestine #غزة_تُباد #غزة_الآن #Gaza_under_attack #GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/OFEK3kEwtE
— Wafa News Agency – English (@WAFANewsEnglish) October 16, 2023
Since October 7, 2023, bombings on the Gazan population have already caused the death of 2,750 Palestinians, including 1,033 children. 9,714 people were injured and health authorities say a thousand people are still under the rubble of the airstrikes.
Beyond the people killed, it should be remembered that more than a million people were victims of forced displacement. 400,000 found refuge in the schools of UNRWA, the UN agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees. These hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are experiencing a new massive expulsion from their own land. Indeed, nearly 70% of the Gazan population arrived in Gaza during the tragedies of 1948, known as the “Nakba” during which thousands of Palestinians were killed and more than 700,000 were been expelled.
“After Israel ordered Gazans to evacuate the north, I rushed across the strip’s main road to rescue family members. It was the most difficult day of my life.”@MohammedZaanoun https://t.co/gaucqxNc9s
— B’Tselem בצלם بتسيلم (@btselem) October 14, 2023
Another key fact that must be mentioned is the Israeli white phosphorous bombing of civilian areas. Over the past ten days, many local human rights NGOs have denounced the use of white phosphorus in numerous Israeli strikes.
— Eye on Palestine (@EyeonPalestine) October 11, 2023
In recent days Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have conducted investigations and confirmed this accusation.
Breaking: @hrw has confirmed—based on verified video & witness accounts—that Israel used white phosphorus in Gaza & Lebanon. White phosphorus causes excruciating burns—causing lifelong suffering—& can set homes afire. Its use in populated areas is illegal https://t.co/AzN4bAHkau pic.twitter.com/USyi8fsOf9
— Omar Shakir (@OmarSShakir) October 12, 2023
Our investigations reveal that the Israeli army striking Gaza is equipped with white phosphorus artillery shells.
White phosphorus should NEVER be used in civilian areas.
— Amnesty International France (@amnestyfrance) October 13, 2023
3,731 residential buildings, including 10,500 housing units, were completely demolished by the Israeli army, while around 10,000 housing units were partially damaged. 7,100 of them are now uninhabitable.
At the same time, and taking advantage of the media focus on the Gaza Strip, the Israeli army and armed settler groups killed 58 Palestinians in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem. 1,200 people were seriously injured in these attacks. These killings took place in all the governorates of Palestine.
Over the past ten days, there is not a region of Palestine that has not experienced a military attack, a bloodily repressed demonstration or attacks by armed settler commandos. Eight of the 58 victims were shot by settlers. Four at Qusra during a terror attack by a group of settlers equipped with machine guns, then two more when the same group fired into the crowd gathered for the funeral of the first four. A woman was also killed when settlers sprayed her vehicle with bullets. Finally a man was kidnapped by settlers in Jericho on October 13, 2023. Residents of the Aqbat Jaber refugee camp discovered his lifeless body the next day.
BREAKING| Media coverage: “Four young Palestinians have been murdered in a pogrom carried out by Israeli Jewish settler militias in the village of Qusra, in the occupied #WestBank.” pic.twitter.com/EtbMNMZMeE
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) October 11, 2023
KEY BOMBING TARGETS
Since the start of the bombings in the Gaza Strip, civilian populations and buildings have not been spared, some have even been particularly targeted. Among the victims of these strikes are journalists, healthcare workers, humanitarian workers and UN staff.
In a statement released on October 16, the Palestinian Journalists’ Union announced that 11 journalists were killed and more than 20 others were injured in the bombings.
Ahmed Shehab, programmer of Voice of Prisoners radio, photojournalist Mohamed Al-Salhi, photojournalist Mohamed Fisent Abu Matar and photographer from the Khabar agency, Hisham Al-Nawajah. Muhammad Abu Rizq, Ain Media Foundation photographer Ibrahim Lafi, Fifth News Agency editor-in-chief Saeed Al-Taweel, journalist Muhammad Jarghouth of Smart Media Agency, journalist Asaad Shamlikh, journalist Salam Mayma, and journalist Hossam Mubarak.
The union also reported the destruction and targeting of 50 buildings housing media. The headquarters of the daily Al-Ayam went up in smoke in the strikes which targeted the Palestine Tower. Same fate regarding Ma’an’s offices which were located within the Watan Tower.
— Al-Jarmaq News (@Aljarmaqnetnews) October 8, 2023
Humanitarians and UN staff have also paid a high price for their commitment. Among the thousands of people affected by the bombings, UNRWA announced that 14 were part of the UN agency.
Dozens of UNRWA buildings were hit by the strikes. On Monday October 16, one of its largest school centers was completely reduced to ashes.
lsrasli warplanes destroy UNRWA warehouses in Gaza Strip. pic.twitter.com/sW73jwNIiu
— TIMES OF GAZA (@Timesofgaza) October 16, 2023
In addition to UN schools, the Israeli army targeted all educational centers in Gaza. The Palestinian Ministry of Education identified 164 schools affected in the bombings, including 17 directly targeted and one completely razed. 127 teachers fell under Israeli bombs.
Among civilian buildings, countless mosques were reduced to ashes, Gazan churches were also bombed.
The occupation fighter jets commit a new #massacre against the citizens of Gaza.
Dozens of people were killed, all civilians, in a new Israeli massacre when Israel warplanes fired missiles at a market and a mosque in Shati and Jabalya refugee camps.#GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/nTKgBVImvf
— Wafa News Agency – English (@WAFANewsEnglish) October 9, 2023
Since the order to evacuate northern Gaza, in total violation of international law, thousands of Gazans have been forced into further forced displacement, under penalty of no longer being considered by the army. Israelis like civilians. In its official communication, the Israeli army highlighted two routes that it established as evacuation corridors.
Unfortunately, the Israeli Air Force continued to bomb these roads on numerous occasions. The deadliest of the strikes hit a humanitarian convoy heading towards the south of the Gaza Strip. 70 Palestinians were killed in the explosion and 200 others were injured.
“Bodies scattered everywhere”
A convoy moving from the north to the south of Gaza following evacuation orders from Israel gets targeted by Israeli airstrikes leaving at least 70 dead pic.twitter.com/QdB5ijyxpN
— Middle East Eye (@MiddleEastEye) October 14, 2023
PUTTING THIS DATA IN PERSPECTIVE
In terms of people killed, the Israeli air offensive on the Gaza Strip is unequivocal, 2,750 Gazans were killed in just 10 days of airstrikes. During the Israeli aggression in Gaza in 2014, 2,200 Palestinians were killed in 51 days of attacks. Israeli strikes are therefore 6 times more deadly than in 2014, the year which was the most deadly for Palestinian civilians since 1967.
1,033 Palestinian children were killed in bombings on the Gaza Strip, more than a third of Gazans died under Israeli bombs. This macabre toll, reached in barely 10 days, should be put into perspective with another international conflict. As part of the Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine, more than 545 children were killed. This figure is published by the NGO Save The Children and is measured using UN data collected from February 24, 2022 to August 22, 2023.
According to these statistics, in Ukraine, a child has died from bombs every day since the start of the war. In Gaza, a child dies every 15 minutes.
GAZA UPDATE: More than 1,000 Palestinian children in Gaza have been killed by Israeli attacks. Additional children are unaccounted for and missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings, indicating the true death toll is much higher.
Our Oct 16 report: https://t.co/gRv7fQ4cut pic.twitter.com/TJOlXAPgaM
— Defense for Children (@DCIPalestine) October 16, 2023
During the day of October 12, in a statement, the Israeli army declared that it had dropped more than 6,000 bombs on the Gazan population and that 4,000 tons of explosives had been dumped on the Gaza Strip. For comparison, in 2019, a record year in terms of American bombings on Afghanistan in recent years, the American air force dropped 7,423 bombs over the entire calendar year. In Gaza, 6,000 bombs fell in just 6 days.
The Israeli army said it dropped 6,000 bombs on Gaza in six days, almost as many as the US dropped on Afghanistan in a peak year of bombing in 2019. In Gaza, 2,808 Palestinians have been killed, ~1,000 are missing under the rubble. #GazaUnderAttack pic.twitter.com/FR3FqGLH1G
— Visualizing Palestine (@visualizingpal) October 16, 2023
Another element of context, the quantity of Palestinians killed in the Occupied West Bank and in occupied East Jerusalem. In just ten days, the Israeli army and armed settler groups killed as many Palestinians as in 2014, the deadliest year for Palestinian civilians since the 1967 war.
For comparison, the current year saw just over 200 Palestinians killed by the army or armed settlers, 157 were killed in 2022. The last ten days have seen more Palestinians. will die in the West Bank only during the years 2021 (46) and 2020 (32).
Sources: WAFA / Eye on Palestine / Times of Gaza / Human Rights Watch / Amnesty International / Defense For Children / Save The Children / visualizing Palestine / OCHA OPT / WHO / Palestinian Journalists Union / Reporters Without Borders / Middle East Eye / Quds News Network/Al-Jarmaq News
Photo: Human Rights Watch