Israeli genocide of Palestinians in Gaza: 186,000

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THIS sorry country has so many issues for me to report in this column. But as a human, I have to express my outrage again and again over the ongoing Israeli genocide of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Yes, it was Hamas that provoked the carnage when it killed 1,139 Israelis and 373 soldiers in its raid on Israel on October 7 last year. But nothing can justify Israel’s campaign of genocide against Gaza, which murdered at least 40,000 Palestinians, half of whom are women and children.

Reports of Israelis raped and babies killed have been incontrovertibly proven as fake news spread by the famed — or notorious — Israeli intelligence agency Mossad. The Mossad also failed to explain why, for all its reputation that it is even better than the US CIA in intelligence-gathering, it miserably failed in detecting an attack that involved all of the Hamas’ forces right at its backdoor.

For whatever reason, the Hamas raid unleashed such murderous Israeli fury that it is obvious that their collective punishment involves the total depopulation of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

It is the US that has allowed Israel to undertake this genocide, having provided it with $12.5 billion since the war began, with the US House of Representatives passing a bill last April 20 to give another $17 billion in military aid. These amounts are on top of the $80 billion the US has given Israel since 1946.

Two Palestinian girls mourn the death of their brother, killed by US-made and financed Israeli bombs. AFP PHOTO

The US indeed is partly ruled by the Jewish elite, with famed historian John Mearsheimer, in his 2008 book “The Jewish Lobby,” expressing this in the often quoted sentence: “The US and Israel are joined at the hips.”

I cannot understand why people, why media, have not been outraged by Israel’s genocide. This, however, is another testament to the powerful US propaganda apparatus and the American dominance of media in the West and even Asia, such that it can make even an entire nation, for example — us — hate China in a few years’ time and using a gross misinterpretation of maritime claims in the South China Sea.

First time

This is the first time in human history that ordinary people can see the genocide itself on their TV screen almost every day as the Israel Defense Forces bomb civilian buildings, orders entire Palestinian populations to move from one area to another so they would die of starvation, dehydration and sickness, obliterates even hospitals run by international charity organizations, and precision targets 400 journalists so far so they cannot report on Israel’s crimes against humanity.

How can we not be moved to tears when we see in TV news almost every day Palestinian boys and girls with faces bloodied, their limbs severed by Israeli US-made bombs, grown civilian men wailing that all of their families had been killed in the war, and children so thin they appear as skeletons. “One Palestinian child is killed every 10 minutes: Israel has turned Gaza into a graveyard for thousands of children,” screamed the headline of the website “New Arab.”

Collage by ‘New Arab’ of Palestinian children in agony.

Our sense of humanity must not be limited by nation boundaries. Every human being must protest as much as we can against this horrific assault on our fellowmen.

News on the Gaza genocide usually mentions about 38,000 Palestinians killed by Israel, with roughly half being children.

Just watching the news, I have often thought these figures are underestimates, as Palestinians with only their bare hands have not been able to dig the rubble to bring out those buried there. It is impossible that many have died out of sickness, dehydration and hunger.

I was right; research published last week by the world’s prestigious general medical journal, the London-based The Lancet, estimates that the number of Palestinians killed as a result of the Israeli attacks is six times the reported figures. This article came out just last week entitled “Counting the dead in Gaza: difficult but essential.”

Excerpt from Lancet article:

“By June 19, 2024, 37, 396 people had been killed in the Gaza Strip since the attack by Hamas and the Israeli invasion in October 2023, according to the Gaza health ministry, as reported by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The ministry’s figures have been contested by the Israeli authorities, although they have been accepted as accurate by Israeli intelligence services, the UN and WHO. These data are supported by independent analyses, comparing changes in the number of deaths of UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff with those reported by the ministry, which found claims of data fabrication implausible.

Collecting data is becoming increasingly difficult for the Gaza health ministry due to the destruction of much of the infrastructure. The ministry has had to augment its usual reporting, based on people dying in its hospitals or brought in dead, with information from reliable media sources and first responders. This change has inevitably degraded the detailed data recorded previously. Consequently, the Gaza health ministry now reports separately the number of unidentified bodies among the total death toll. As of May 10, 2024, 30 percent of the 35,091 deaths were unidentified.

Some officials and news agencies have used this development, designed to improve data quality, to undermine the veracity of the data. However, the number of reported deaths is likely an underestimate. The non-governmental organization Airwars undertakes detailed assessments of incidents in the Gaza Strip and often finds that not all names of identifiable victims are included in the ministry’s list. Furthermore, the UN estimates that, by Feb. 29, 2024, 35 percent of buildings in the Gaza Strip had been destroyed, so the number of bodies still buried in the rubble is likely substantial, with estimates of more than 10,000.

Indirect deaths

Armed conflicts have indirect health implications beyond the direct harm from violence. Even if the conflict ends immediately, there will continue to be many indirect deaths in the coming months and years from causes such as reproductive, communicable, and non-communicable diseases. The total death toll is expected to be large given the intensity of this conflict: destroyed health care infrastructure; severe shortages of food, water and shelter; the population’s inability to flee to safe places; and the loss of funding to UNRWA, one of the very few humanitarian organizations still active in the Gaza Strip.

In recent conflicts, such indirect deaths range from three to 15 times the number of direct deaths. Applying a conservative estimate of four indirect deaths per one direct death to the 37,396 deaths reported, it is not implausible to estimate that up to 186,000 or even more deaths could be attributable to the current conflict in Gaza.

Using the 2022 Gaza Strip population estimate of 2,375,259, this would translate to 7.9 percent of the total population in the Gaza Strip. A report from Feb. 7, 2024, at the time when the direct death toll was 28 000, estimated that without a ceasefire there would be between 58, 260 deaths (without an epidemic or escalation) and 85, 750 deaths (if both occurred) by Aug. 6, 2024.

An immediate and urgent ceasefire in the Gaza Strip is essential, accompanied by measures to enable the distribution of medical supplies, food, clean water and other resources for basic human needs. At the same time, there is a need to record the scale and nature of suffering in this conflict. Documenting the true scale is crucial for ensuring historical accountability and acknowledging the full cost of the war. It is also a legal requirement. The interim measures set out by the International Court of Justice in January 2024, require Israel to ‘take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of … the Genocide Convention.’ The Gaza health ministry is the only organization counting the dead. Furthermore, these data will be crucial for post-war recovery, restoring infrastructure, and planning humanitarian aid.”

Facebook: Rigoberto Tiglao

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