By Klaus Ziegler, December 21, 2023

The Gaza Strip unfolds like “a huge concentration camp”.  These are not the words of an anti-Semite, but of Israel’s former Director of National Security, Giora Eiland, an acclaimed Zionist war hero, for whom every civilian in Gaza is a legitimate military target. In a recent interview, he recommends “creating conditions in Gaza to make life unbearable, so that the population will be forced to move to Egypt or the Gulf…Gaza will have to become uninhabitable for any human being” [1], [2].

The brutal violence against the Palestinian people in Gaza violates the most elementary principles of human rights, and all conventions on international humanitarian law. The wars of extermination against the Tutsi population in Rwanda, and the genocide perpetrated by the Bosnian Serb forces in Srebrenica seemed like horrors of the past. For thirty years the world had not seen a more savage attack on a civilian population, besieged and defenseless. The total number of victims, 19,453, mostly children and women, is double the number of civilians killed in the Bosnian massacres [3], and that figure leaves out the thousands of children still lying under the rubble. No one knows how many are buried, how many are still alive, condemned to die in the most atrocious way.

According to United Nations data [4], more than 40,000 administrative buildings have been reduced to rubble. Reports by Reuters and Aljazeera [5] inform of 305,000 residential units being destroyed or damaged, 335 schools and universities, 197 mosques, 102 ambulances, and 26 of the 36 hospitals in Gaza are today dens of horror where wounded, burned, amputated people are piled up, without the possibility of receiving any palliative, without drinking water to quench their thirst, and where the dead must pile up in the corners of the corridors for fear of falling under the bullets of snipers propped up outside the hospital walls, ready to shoot at anything that moves.

The massacre extends to journalists, doctors, nurses, teachers, members of human rights groups, UN workers… According to Reuters [6], 101 UN employees have been killed since the beginning of the operations. According to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), 56 Palestinian journalists have been killed, as well as three Lebanese journalists and four Israeli journalists.

No doctors or nurses are safe. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, more than 200 health workers have lost their lives and 130 others have been injured. The testimony of physician without borders Mads Gilbert, of what has happened in Al-Shifa, the largest of the hospitals in Gaza, is chilling: “If I had to choose between Al-Shifa and hell I would choose hell. Patients in intensive care have died from lack of electricity; five neonates also died. There is no clean water or medical supplies as a result of the blockade. I have no words to describe the carnage, the indiscriminate killing…flies are flying around, what we are witnessing is an attack at the hands of one of the most savage and brutal armies in the world, an attack in violation of all the rules of international law…”

The lie

“Our target is Hamas; it is not attacking the civilian population.” “Unlike Hamas, Israel does not deliberately target civilians.” The brazenness of the Israeli government spokesman’s words borders on cynicism. The shameless lie is offensive, although the media spectacle can be comical, as on that occasion when the IDF (Israel Defense Forces) found in the basement of a hospital a list with the names of seven Hamas terrorists. The pamphlet turned out to be a calendar written in Arabic, and the names of the terrorists, the days of the week.

Al-Shifa was sprayed on the pretext that Hamas central command was located under the hospital. IDF spokesman Jonathan Conricus led reporters to the tunnels underground to show them the “smoking gun”. The video shows a pair of boots, personal items, camouflage, and a laptop, as well as several rifles, hidden behind a magnetic resonator. Conricus or his subordinates are unaware that it is impossible to place a metallic object near a three Tesla magnet.

And as irrefutable proof that Hamas does use human shields, the “Ministry of Propaganda” released a few weeks ago a video showing a beautiful nurse from Gaza denouncing the crime. Instead of choosing an average Palestinian woman, the creators of the soap opera decided to hire a Mexican-Israeli actress. How is it possible that such a sophisticated army could have such a miserable public relations department?

The ethical heights of the IDF

“The Israel Defense Forces is a unique army in the ethical way it operates.” The systematic attacks on refugee camps, such as the one in Jabalia, are the best example of that moral stature. After some one million people were forcibly displaced from the north to the south of the Gaza Strip (forced displacement constitutes a war crime), on October 31 the Israeli army began a bombing campaign on the camps where the civilian population was sheltering.   2,000 kilograms bombas fell that day on Jabalia. In the time that has elapsed since the invasion, Israel has dropped more than 25,000 tons of explosives, an attack that exceeds the destructive power of the two atomic bombs that fell on Hiroshima and Nagasaki [7].

CNN journalists reported apocalyptic scenes: “Children carried other wounded children and ran … gray dust filled the air. Unrecognizable bodies hung from the rubble. Some were bleeding, others screaming with burns. … I saw confused women calling desperately for their children. They did not know whether to cry for having lost them or to run to look for them, because many children were playing in the neighborhood at the time of the attack” [8].

The attacks continued. On November 4, a spokeswoman for the UN agency, UNRWA, confirmed that Israel had carried out another airstrike on a UN-run school, Al-Fakhoura, killing fifteen people and injuring dozens more. “At least one bomb hit the schoolyard, where displaced families had set up their tents.” It is known of the testimony of a child in shock trying to carry with his own hands the decapitated body of a classmate [8].

The attacks on the refugee camp were repeated on November 14, 17 and 23, as well as on December 2, 5, 6, 8 and 17. In the latter attack alone, 90 civilians were killed. As an IDF spokesman unashamedly acknowledged, the attack was not in vain, for “we succeeded in killing a Hamas terrorist”. Dropping a two-ton bomb on a refugee camp sheltering hundreds of children, women and elderly people displaced by the war to kill an enemy combatant is certainly an act of “the highest morality”, unique to the IDF, an army excelling in the art of murdering women and children.

The right to self-defense

The right to self-defense argument seems reasonable, if it were at least symmetrical, and if the Palestinians could also defend themselves. The IDF knows that Hamas hides in tunnels, and its objective is to destroy them, so why are operations not aimed at taking out these subway corridors, but at destroying the lives and infrastructure of the civilian population? The Israeli government itself recognizes that part of the network of tunnels is of its own making [9], invaluable military knowledge that the IDF would use to its advantage if it were congruent with its diatribe.

The thousands of civilian deaths contribute nothing to the direct fight against Hamas. From a logistical point of view, they represent no military gain, but a strategic defeat.  The massacre is justified by the argument that the dead civilians are “collateral damage, especially when the population is being used by Hamas as human shields”. But judging by the ratio of terrorists to dead civilians, the collateral damage appears to be the Hamas fighters.

Strictly speaking, a human shield is any individual forced to stand in the crossfire as a defense. There is no independently verified evidence that Hamas is doing so. In the attacks on Gaza in 2008 and 20014, Amnesty International’s research concluded that “contrary to repeated allegations by Israeli officials, it found no evidence that Hamas directed civilians to protect military assets or forced civilians to remain in or near buildings used by combatants.”[10] In the attacks on Gaza in 2008 and 20014, Amnesty International’s research concluded that “contrary to repeated allegations by Israeli officials, it found no evidence that Hamas directed civilians to protect military assets or forced civilians to remain in or near buildings used by combatants.”[10]

One could argue that if this were indeed a recurring practice its support within the population would not have increased. But we know that today Hamas enjoys the sympathy of the majority of the Palestinian population in Gaza, while its popularity has grown by 50% in the West Bank [11].

There is evidence, on the contrary, that the IDF uses Palestinians as human shields, a matter that has been known for years by several human rights organizations.  In 2005, Judge Aaron Barak, then president of the Israeli High Court of Justice, had to intervene at the time to declare “that this measure carried out by the Israeli military in recent years violates international law” [12].

Who has a legitimate right to defend themselves is a complex problem that cannot be solved in a Manichean way by dividing the world into civilized countries and barbaric Muslims.  In the West Bank, where Hamas does not control power, so far this year the IDF and armed settlers have killed more than 483 Palestinians, including 45 children, and wounded more than 12,700.

The danger for a West Bank resident of losing his home or dying under bullets is a daily reality.  The fear that their children will be arrested in the middle of the night and locked up in Israeli jails for decades, without trial, and without the possibility of ever seeing the light of day again, is not unjustified. Since 1967, when Israel occupied East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, Israeli security forces have detained more than one million Palestinians: two out of every five men have spent time in Israeli jails [13].

Suppose now, just as an academic exercise, that, invoking the right to self-defense, the Palestinian Authority undertakes a military campaign (if it had the weapons) against strategic sites in Israel that pose a potential threat to its population. Would we be willing to recognize such actions as an exercise of self-defense? The question is rhetorical, and the answer is obvious.

The existential threat of Hamas

U.S. Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield stated that “any truce at this point would be temporary when most dangerous to the Israelis, who would be exposed to relentless attacks…” Is there really any chance that Hamas will emerge from its tunnels and carry out attacks comparable to those of October 7?  Military analysts agree that that terrorist attack was a singular, almost inexplicable act, considering the state-of-the-art technology of Israel’s military intelligence.  The likelihood of a similar attack being repeated is more than remote. As University of Chicago professor John Mearshaimer states, “the argument that Hamas poses an existential threat to Israel has no merit, not even worth being consider [14].”

That Hamas has received millions of dollars under the auspices of the Netanyahu government is perhaps the best argument to show how far Hamas is from being perceived in Israel as a serious threat. The intentions of Netanyahu and his government are clear: “Whoever wants to hinder the establishment of a Palestinian state has to support the strengthening of Hamas and transfer money to Hamas,” Netanyahu told members of his Likud party in the Knesset in March 2019. “This is part of our strategy.” [H]

In order to determine which of the two parties constitutes a greater threat to its adversary it is reasonable to assess how capable a group is of inflicting damage on its opponent. The following chart might be a good starting point for this analysis.

Ethnic cleansing and genocide

The attack on Gaza has an important antecedent in the so-called Dahiya Doctrine [15], authored by Israeli General Gadi Eizenkot. This war doctrine advocates “the use of disproportionate military force without distinguishing between civilian and military targets, as a fundamental deterrent”.  Nothing better fits the canonical definition of terrorism in the precise sense of the term.  Israel’s conduct of the war against the Palestinians constitutes a manifest violation of the most elementary norms of the law of war and universal morality, one that should be called by its proper name: “state terrorism,” says Princeton professor emeritus Richard Falk [16].

The IDF’s actions undoubtedly point to an ethnic cleansing operation in Gaza. Unlike other brutal regimes where the truth is attempted to be camouflaged under some pretext or euphemism, the Netanyahu government has been open and clear about its genocidal intentions.  “We are fighting human animals and acting accordingly,” were the words of Defense Minister Yoav Gallant after ordering a complete siege of the Gaza Strip, with no electricity, no food, and no fuel. After the monstrous attacks of October 7, Israel’s President Issac Herzog warned the world: “It is an entire nation that is responsible. This rhetoric about civilians not being involved is absolutely false. They could have stood up; they could have fought against that malevolent regime.” Ariel Kallner, a member of the Likud party called for a new Nakba (catastrophe), “a Nakba that will eclipse the 1948 Nakba,” he said.

There is a growing consensus about the possibility of a genocide being perpetrated before our very eyes. For Luis Moreno Ocampo, the former prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Israel’s siege of Gaza shows clear signs of genocidal intent. He also pointed to the horrific war crimes perpetrated by Hamas, crimes against humanity that could even qualify as genocide. Raz Segal, an Israeli expert on the Jewish Holocaust calls Israel’s assault on Gaza a clear case of attempted genocide, and its justification “a shameful use of the lessons of the Holocaust.” “Israeli exceptionalism and comparisons of its victims to Nazis are used to justify, rationalize, deny, distort, disapprove of mass violence against Palestinians.”

The Horror of October 7 and Ground Zero

On the day of the attack on Israel, some 1500 Hamas terrorists broke down the security fence separating Gaza from Israel. After splitting into small groups, they launched a campaign of terror in several Israeli cities and surrounding IDF bases. During this brutal attack they entered the kibbutz shooting at point blank range at defenseless civilians while other terrorists went to the site of a music festival and murdered three hundred concert-goers there. According to reports, when Israeli first responders arrived, they were met with “gruesome scenes, including the murder of elderly people and bloodied rooms crammed with slaughtered civilians.”  The barbarism did not end there, the blood orgy concluded, Hamas terrorists kidnapped more than 200 people, including babies, women and elderly people, civilians, and soldiers, who were then forcibly taken to Gaza.

Anyone with a minimum of dignity and morality is obliged to condemn these acts. Any attack on the civilian population is an atrocious act that must be repudiated. The United Nations, the European Union, the Palestinian Authority, and human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have without exception condemned Hamas’ barbaric acts (absolutely rightly) as war crimes.

But October 7 is closer to being the end of the conflict, not the starting point. For decades now, Israel has subjected the people of Gaza to a series of savage assaults that have left thousands of dead.  The expression, “mowing the lawn,” coined by Efraim Inbar and Eitan Shami refers to a military strategy that seeks to diminish the motivation of Hamas fighters. These are “short, blunt military operations to maintain a certain level of control over the area without committing to a long-term political solution, similar to how one would mow a lawn to keep it tidy” [17].

The amount of “weed” cleared by the IDF over the past two decades is summarized in the following graph.


The military actions in Gaza have been a criminal enterprise of great magnitude, and also a strategic military disaster for Israel. If for every 1,000 Hamas dead, the lives of 5,000 children must be wiped out, wiping out the entire terrorist group would mean killing 20,000 more children.

The horror of the massacre has forced Israel’s accomplices in Washington to change their tune. The times when those criminals in power could napalm the population of Vietnam are a thing of the past. Humanity’s moral progress, though limited, does not permit such war crimes today. The images of wounded and mutilated Palestinian children, of men and women in rags, covered in dust, trying to pull their children out of the rubble with their bare hands, of children trying to carry in their arms other children bathed in blood, produce the same horror and repudiation as the unforgettable image of that naked Vietnamese girl running away from the fire of the American bombs.

In today’s world it is simply impossible to forcibly displace two million people, cram them into a concentration camp, annihilate tens of thousands and expel the rest into the desert to die of infection, disease, thirst, and starvation. This “final solution” is unacceptable.

The war criminal Benjamin Netanyahu and his thugs must understand that those biblical times of holy wars of extermination are a thing of the past. It is not possible in the 21st Century to invoke that book of horrors that is the Old Testament to order an army to mercilessly destroy an entire people, to “kill both men and women, infants and sucklings, oxen and sheep, camels and donkeys…”






















Avatar de Ana Cristina Vélez

Comparte tu opinión

1 Estrella2 Estrellas3 Estrellas4 Estrellas5 EstrellasLoading…

Todos los Blogueros

Los editores de los blogs son los únicos responsables por las opiniones, contenidos, y en general por todas las entradas de información que deposite en el mismo. no se hará responsable de ninguna acción legal producto de un mal uso de los espacios ofrecidos. Si considera que el editor de un blog está poniendo un contenido que represente un abuso, contáctenos.