“Every day we think that we’ve reached the worst thing that could ever happen, and it’s impossible that the world will be silent to it, and it will definitely get better, and we’ve finally reached the end. And then the next day proves that there’s something even worse.”
—Young female surgeon in Gaza
Israel’s relentless assault on Gaza is now in its seventh week. Israel’s tanks and troops have now taken control of northern Gaza, including Gaza City, and their deadly and devastating attacks continue to rain down from the ground and the air. On Wednesday, November 15, Israeli forces laid siege to Gaza’s main hospital, al-Shifa, and other medical facilities—all supposedly protected under international law—occupying them and forcing them to shut. More than half of civilian residences in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed. The densely populated Jabaliya Refugee Camp has repeatedly been attacked, with 80 people being killed on Saturday, November 18, alone. Two schools, including a United Nations school, also supposedly protected, have been destroyed.
Israel’s airstrikes have been unrelenting and indiscriminate. Everyone and everything is a target. Nowhere in Gaza is safe for Palestinians.
Over 12,000 people have now been killed, and more than 30,000 injured. Over 5,000 children have been killed. Some 3,560 people are missing—presumably buried in the rubble left by Israeli bombs.
What has become clear:
Despite Israel's claims this is all focused on destroying Hamas, a reactionary Islamic fundamentalist group that rules Gaza, this is a genocidal war on an entire people—not a precision-guided war targeting a rival political organization.
The Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (aka Netan-Nazi) and Israel’s rulers are seizing on Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel—which included the war crimes of taking hostages and the murder of civilians—to attempt a “final solution” to the “Palestinian problem.” This means, at a minimum, reducing the Palestinians to such a state that they can no longer pose any obstacle to Israeli objectives. Beyond that, it could mean mass expulsion and/or slaughter on a massive scale, beyond even what they are now carrying out.
Genocide Is a Serious Charge—and Israel Is Guilty!
Genocide is a serious charge, not a curse. And the evidence shows that Israel IS carrying out nothing less than genocide in Gaza and the West Bank.
In 1943, Raphael Lemkin, the Polish lawyer of Jewish descent who coined the term genocide and campaigned to establish the Genocide Convention, defined genocide as follows:
Generally speaking, genocide does not necessarily mean the immediate destruction of a nation, except when accomplished by mass killings of all members of a nation. It is intended rather to signify a coordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves. The objectives of such a plan would be the disintegration of the political and social institutions, of culture, language, national feelings, religion, and the economic existence of national groups, and the destruction of the personal security, liberty, health, dignity, and even the lives of the individuals belonging to such groups.
What’s unfolding before the eyes of the world fits this definition. It fits in the actual ways Israel is fighting this war, the actual effects these are having and will have if continued, and the actual aims and justifications of this war—both as openly articulated by the Netanyahu “wartime unity cabinet” and not-so-openly articulated. (See sidebar: “Calls for Genocide, ‘Erasing’ Gaza Echo Across Israel.”)
Israel is overwhelmingly targeting Palestinian civilians. This is nothing short of a genocide aimed at destroying Palestinian society and breaking the Palestinian people—by murdering thousands, making it impossible for the 2.2 million Palestinians in Gaza to eat, drink, sleep, get medical care, have babies, go to school, raise a family, in short to even live, while Israel carries out an ethnic cleansing in the West Bank.
In the last week, Israel told people to evacuate to the south of Gaza. Hundreds of thousands of people did flee, risking their lives only to end up crowded into unlivable conditions. Now people in the south are again being told to evacuate—with absolutely no place to go!
Gaza City: A Hollow Shell
Gaza City was the main city in the north of Gaza, home to nearly one million people.
Journalist Sharif Abdel Kouddous told Democracy Now! that it is now “a hollow shell.” He went on, “Most neighborhoods in Gaza City and in northern Gaza, in general, have been very badly damaged or destroyed…. Electricity, water, sewage infrastructure basically no longer exist… the smell of death is everywhere, as an untold number of bodies are lying under the rubble… the streets have been turned into graveyards… only a fraction of the people who lived in northern Gaza remain there, and most have been forcibly displaced to the south in scenes that are reminiscent of the Nakba… northern Gaza is basically uninhabitable now.”
Mass Destruction of the Necessities for Basic Survival
In Gaza as a whole, over 43,000 residential units have been destroyed and another 225,000 have been damaged—in total 60 percent of all residential units (with most damage concentrated in Gaza City in the north). In addition, 95 government buildings, 260 school buildings, 77 mosques, 25 hospitals and 250 medical centers have been destroyed, damaged, or forced to shut down. Eleven bakeries have been destroyed in addition to solar panels, water towers, a wheat mill and more. Destroying these targets destroys the ability of a population to live.
This and constant Israeli attacks and threats have forced 1.7 million Palestinians—3 out of every 4 Gazans—to flee from their homes. Israel has offered no reassurances whatsoever—and the U.S. hasn’t demanded any—that people will be allowed to return.
Israel’s siege blocking food, water, medicine and fuel needed to transport food, run hospital generators, pump water and treat sewage are threatening mass starvation and mass epidemics. The UN’s World Food Program is now warning that the entire population of Gaza—2.2 million people, half of them children—is at risk of starvation.
Gazans are barely able to have one meal per day. Meanwhile the promises by the U.S. and Israel to speed humanitarian aid are publicity stunts designed to hide the genocidal nature of Israel’s assault. Only 10 percent of the needed food aid is being delivered into Gaza.
This horrifying situation underscores the reality that Israel is waging a genocidal war on an entire people—the Palestinians—not a surgical attack directed only at Hamas.
The genocidal, Hitlerian message from Israel and its U.S. backers: No place is safe for Palestinians—not even hospitals protected by the United Nations and international law. Your lives are worth nothing—not even access to basic medical care. You’ll no longer have any institutions we don’t directly control to suit our purposes. Life will be impossible for you here in Gaza.
Corridors of Death
Israel has told Palestinians in northern Gaza to move south, that it was safer there. That it was designating certain roads as safe “humanitarian corridors.”
Palestinians have another name for them—“the corridors of death.” Why? Because people have been targeted and killed by Israeli airstrikes and gunfire while moving south. Doctors report seeing patients shot in their legs when they arrive in the south. And despite these pledges, Israel has never stopped bombing in the south. A third of the deaths in Gaza have taken place in the south. Now Israel is signaling that it’s going to escalate its military campaign “in every place that Hamas is, and it is in the south of the strip,” as a top Israeli military official put it.
One youth living in the south described the situation after he was wounded in an Israeli air strike: “People are torn into pieces, a head on one side and a leg on the other side. Entire buildings in one block are demolished by bombings. Innocent children, what do they have to do with this to be bombarded?”
Again, what’s Israel’s genocidal message here: Now that we’ve destroyed the north of Gaza and driven people out, we’re going to destroy the south and make life unlivable anywhere in Gaza.
“The West Bank is changing almost irreversibly”
Israel’s genocidal onslaught isn’t confined to Gaza. The liberal Zionist newspaper Haaretz writes:
In the West Bank, in addition to the increased rate of killings, there is the destruction of olive trees, and destruction of the ability for people to live together as a people. West Bank settlers are exploiting the “propitious moment” created by the war that Hamas started to expel thousands of Palestinians from their homes and lands. They are terrorizing them through various means in order to drive them from their villages. Far from everyone’s eyes, the West Bank is changing almost irreversibly. Nobody is stopping the settlers. … Under cover of the war, settlers are trying to prevent Palestinians from harvesting their olives throughout the West Bank.
Olive groves are crucial to what is left of Palestinian ownership of the land, major sources of income, and a cultural foundation of Palestinian life.
IDF soldier throwing a grenade into a mosque in Ramallah in the West Bank
Since October 7, at least 197 Palestinians have been killed in the occupied West Bank, including 48 children. Another 2,750 have been injured.
“Genocide Joe” Biden Backs Israeli Massacres
This is being given the full backing of Genocide Joe Biden. Biden has repeatedly refused to call for a cease-fire. The U.S. has not called for Israel to lift its criminal siege of Gaza. Instead, it has promoted ways for Israel to continue its campaign of war crimes and atrocities, while attempting to defuse public outrage with “humanitarian pauses” and meaningless increases in humanitarian aid.
The U.S. has also provided massive military support for Israel’s genocidal campaign. It has sent aircraft carrier groups and fighter planes into the eastern Mediterranean and speeded up arms deliveries to Israel. The U.S. has put 2,000 troops on high alert, pledged to deploy two of its most powerful missile defense systems to the region, and pledged another $14 billion in military aid to Israel on top of the $3.8 billion it receives every year. The U.S. also shares military intelligence with Israel.
And all this on top of decades of all-out support for Israel's continued apartheid, brutality and forced confinement of Palestinians—which is, as we've shown, taking the rapid leap to genocidal proportions.
No decent person can stand aside. Raise your voice, fill the streets and challenge everyone you know to join you in demanding:
Stop the U.S.-Backed Israeli Genocidal War Against Palestine!
The Palestinian People Must Be Free!
Down with the Racist Apartheid State of Israel and Its Master, U.S. Imperialism!
Stop the Repression, Censorship and Blacklisting of Pro-Palestinian Voices!
From the Imperialist USA to Palestine the People Need Real Revolution Based on the New Communism!
Gaza Hospitals Fail Under Israeli Bombardment; Doctors Without Borders Describes Horrific Conditions, Democracy Now!, November 13
Israeli airstrikes kill 80 in Palestinian refugee camp, Guardian, November 18
Palestinians and the U.N. report intense strikes in Gaza’s south, New York Times, November 18
Sharif Abdel Kouddous on the Targeting of Journalists & Israel’s “Colonial Fantasy” to depopulate Gaza, Democracy Now!, November 17
Stop Israel's Warmongering Settlers, Haaretz editorial November 17
Israel-Gaza war in maps and charts: Live Tracker, Al Jazeera, November 16
Israel Lays Siege to Gaza’s Hospitals, Strikes Jabaliya Refugee Camp Amid Telecoms Blackout, Democracy Now!, November 17
The U.N. warns that all 2.2 million people in Gaza are at risk of starvation, New York Times, November 16