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GAZA: Israel Attacks Homes, Hospitals, Schools, Refugee Centers, Bakeries and More—Destroying Palestinians’ Ability to Live 


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

Smoke fills the sky in Gaza Strip after Israeli airstrike, November 16, 2023.


Gaza Strip after Israeli airstrike, November 16, 2023.    Photo: AP

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.

Palestinians examine rubble after Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip at the Bureij refugee camp, November 14, 2023


Palestinians examine rubble after Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip at the Bureij refugee camp, November 14, 2023    Photo: AP

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!

Palestinians flee to the southern Gaza Strip, November 10, 2023.


Palestinians flee to the southern Gaza Strip, November 10, 2023.    Photo: AP

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.

Some Basic Truths About the U.S.-Supported Israeli War Against Palestine, by Bob Avakian


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.

Injured man in Khan Younis refugee camp pulled from rubble, November 18, 2023.


Injured man in Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza Strip is pulled from rubble after an Israeli air strike, November 18, 2023.    Photo: AP

“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!

On Genocide

Raphael Lemkin in “Axis Rule in Occupied Europe” (1943) invented the term “genocide” by combining “genos” (race, people) and “cide” (to kill).

Lemkin 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.

When Lemkin proposed a treaty against genocide to the United Nations in 1945, he defined it as follows:

The crime of genocide should be recognized therein as a conspiracy to exterminate national, religious or racial groups. The overt acts of such a conspiracy may consist of attacks against life, liberty or property of members of such groups merely because of their affiliation with such groups. The formulation of the crime may be as follows:

“Whoever, while participating in a conspiracy to destroy a national, racial or religious group, undertakes an attack against life, liberty or property of members of such groups is guilty of the crime of genocide.”

The Genocide Convention

The Genocide Convention adopted by the UN in Paris in 1948 defines genocide without the precursors and persecution that Lemkin noted in his definitions. The Convention defines genocide as follows:

“Article II: In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
(d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
(e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.”

Calls for Genocide, “Erasing” Gaza Echo Across Israel

Israel’s genocidal campaigns in Gaza and the West Bank have been accompanied by an unprecedented surge in extremely dangerous, direct calls for genocide and “erasing” Gaza. They’ve come from top officials, journalists, military leaders, celebrities, and social media influencers, and more. “Calls for Gaza to be ‘flattened,’ ‘erased’ or ‘destroyed’ had been mentioned about 18,000 times since October 7 in Hebrew posts on X, the site formerly known as Twitter,” the New York Times reports. Since October 7, one researcher has found 286 statements he classifies as “having the potential to incite unlawful behavior.”

Some examples from public broadcasts or platforms:

** On October 28, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu basically issued a call for a genocidal holy war. He said in a speech that Israel was “committed to completely eliminating this evil from the world. You must remember what Amalek has done to you, says our Holy Bible. And we do remember.”

This is a reference to a passage from the Book of Samuel in the Old Testament. In this bloodthirsty book, god commanded that the Israelites smite the Amalekites (a rival nation) after they launched a surprise attack on the Jewish people. In retribution, and in a scenario common in these scriptures, god's messenger, Samuel, said to Saul, the King of the Israelites: “Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy all that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.”

The Bible goes on to say that Saul infuriated god by sparing some of the Amalekites and their livestock. Samuel said, “He sent you on a mission, saying, ‘Go and completely destroy those wicked people, the Amalekites; wage war against them until you have wiped them out.’” Because of Saul's disobedience, god dethroned him.

So when Netan-nazi says, “You must remember what Amalek has done to you,” the genocidal intent is clear that what the ancient Israelites were called on to do to the Amaleks, the people of modern-day Israel should now do to the Palestinians. And it's definitely clear to the large population of Orthodox religious fanatics who make a life out of studying the Jewish scriptures.

** Yoav Gallant, the defense minister: “We are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly.”

** Israeli military leaders routinely call for the “eradication” of Hamas.

** Right-wing government Minister Amichai Eliyahu called for wiping out everyone in Gaza with nuclear weapons, saying there was no such thing as noncombatants in Gaza. He was suspended from cabinet meetings for saying this, but he's still in the government.

** Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter and member of the right-wing Likud Party said, “We are now rolling out the Gaza Nakba... Gaza Nakba 2023. That’s how it’ll end.”1

** Eyal Golan, an Israeli pop singer: “Erase Gaza. Don’t leave a single person there.”

** Sara Netanyahu, the wife of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “I don’t call them human animals because that would be insulting to animals.”

These calls for genocide open a window on the real nature of Israel as an illegitimate, settler-colonial state, an outpost of imperialism based on the dispossession and attempted destruction of the Palestinian people.

The calls for genocide from within Israel normalize and legitimize the expulsion, dehumanization, mass murder, and even nuclear annihilation of the Palestinians. These are not statements by fringe figures, and we’re witnessing this sentiment play out on the ground in Gaza right now.

Meanwhile, the U.S. rulers are steadfast in their support for Israel’s genocidal campaign and refuse to call out these blood-curdling cries for mass murder.

All this must be taken very seriously, widely exposed, and resolutely opposed!

See also “Calls for Genocide of Palestinians Grow in ‘Democratic’ Israel, as U.S. Continues Arming Israeli Military,”, November 13



‘Erase Gaza’: War Unleashes Incendiary Rhetoric in Israel, New York Times, November 15

Omer Bartov, What I Believe as a Historian of Genocide, New York Times, November 10




1. Nakba means “catastrophe” in Arabic and refers to the mass displacement and dispossession of over 700,000 Palestinians during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war when Israel was founded.  [back]

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