Since the beginning of Israel’s destructive war on Gaza, initiated following the Hamas-led offensive on October 7, the Palestinian civilian population has been butchered and subjected to one of the most horrifying bombing campaigns in history. In order for the Israeli emergency war government to carry out its aggression, it has depended on a certain mythology built around the initial Hamas attack. In this article, we will look at claims and counterclaims, some of which have been incorrectly linked back to myself.
On October 31, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH), some 8,805 Palestinians in the Gaza Strip had been killed by Israeli airstrikes, of which 3,650 were children, 1,977 women, and 513 elderly people. A total of 58 health facilities were also struck by Israeli strikes, while a further 22,240 people were reportedly injured, the majority of whom were women and children. On top of this, some 1.4 million Palestinians—out of Gaza’s population of nearly 2.4 million—have been displaced from their homes. The World Health Organization (WHO) warned of an imminent public health catastrophe after over ten hospitals were rendered unusable and Israel’s blocking of fuel, electricity, water, medical supplies, and food to Gaza has led the still functioning health facilities to the verge of complete collapse.
Thousands of Palestinians are still trapped under the rubble, with an estimated 1,500 children amongst them, Gaza Emergency Services told TLAV. After running out of room in the hospitals to store bodies, medical workers were forced to use ice cream trucks to store the dead. Now they are resorting to mass graves instead. Many of the bodies of the dead are unidentifiable; entire families are being killed, meaning no one can confirm their identities. In other cases, the bodies have been so badly mutilated that even burying the right body parts of a single individual has been a challenge. Because of these challenges, parents have been writing their children’s names on their arms and legs so that they will be correctly identified if they are killed. Because of these horrific realities, the MoH’s statistics are believed to be much lower than the real total death toll.
This information does not even begin to paint a clear enough picture of the utter terror that Gaza’s people are suffering. One of the most densely populated areas on earth has reportedly been struck by over 18,000 tons of Israeli explosives within three weeks. So far, the Israeli military has used more explosive material than the US did when it dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. The fear now is that Israel will attack the primary hospitals that operate in the northern Gaza Strip, including the Quds Hospital and the Shifa Hospital, both of which are providing shelter for tens of thousands of homeless Palestinians. The Israeli military claims, without proof, that Hamas bases are under these facilities.
October 7: Mythology vs. Reality
Since October 7, Western corporate media and government officials have justified Israel’s campaign of death and destruction in the Gaza Strip. They have promoted numerous unverified allegations of what Hamas fighters did during their opening five-hour offensive. Before addressing this, what has to be noted is that even if every allegation the Israeli government, Zionist activists, and Western officials and media peddled were true, the scale of the atrocities does not even hold a candle to what has been committed against the people of Gaza.
When this war began, I published a number of articles here on TLAV detailing some of the claims regarding the Hamas attack of October 7. From the beginning, I expressed that the details of what truly transpired are hard to ascertain and that the situation was extremely messy. Fellow journalist Sharmine Narwani and I decided to do a deeper dive into the events that unfolded and published our investigative piece for The Cradle. Everything in that article is sourced, primarily back to Israeli reports. Other pieces were also published from Mondowiess followed by the Grayzone, which shed light on the very complicated picture that has been developing, regarding the October 7 offensive. Israel’s most trusted news outlet, Haaretz, has also released reports that cast doubt on the Israeli government’s narrative surrounding the attack, as well as what happened in the days following it while Israeli forces stormed the settlement areas that had been taken, in part, by Palestinian fighters.
It would take too much time to go over every single aspect that was covered throughout the pieces published on the complexity of the events on the ground, but I believe it to be important to note the following: Nowhere in my reporting have I claimed that unarmed Israelis were not killed by Palestinians, nor have I published a statistic to indicate a certain number. Additionally, in the piece that Sharmine Narwani and I wrote, we quoted Haaretz statistics to come up with the equation that 48.4% of the Israeli deaths were combatant casualties. This was based on data as of October 23. Haaretz has since added hundreds of new names to the list of casualties, which has altered that statistic. There is still no evidence of atrocities like the 40 beheaded babies story or mass rapes, which Western broadcast media outlets continue to peddle. Significant evidence has also been presented suggesting Israeli forces were responsible for many Israeli non-combatant casualties. This is why I believe there must be an independent investigation, by an impartial organization, into what happened on October 7—something that Israel and the US so far refuse to entertain.
The reason why there is so much focus on and disinformation about October 7 is that the Israeli government is using it to justify its war crimes in Gaza. However, I would like to dispute that this is somehow the start of the conflict or that it provides any kind of justification for what the Israeli government is doing.
Let us imagine that 40 babies were beheaded, and women were brutally raped. I even heard a story about a baby being baked in an oven that was shared across social media without evidence or any confirmation from the IDF. Let us imagine that Hamas fighters were carrying Al-Qaeda documents on how to make chemical weapons. You can even believe that Hamas turned into werewolves and tore apart Israeli babies in cots. Keep this all in mind. Let it make you angry. Now, ask yourself whether 1,300 Israelis being killed—a sizeable portion of them combatants, too—justifies the mass murder of around 4,000 children. If you answer that it does, you should take a look in the mirror and ask yourself why it is that you care so much more about Israeli lives than Palestinian ones.
On top of this, during every liberation struggle in human history, the non-combatant population belonging to the oppressor has been indiscriminately targeted. Israel has occupied Palestine for 75 years. During that time, the Palestinian people have faced too many massacres to note in one article. Israel has never been punished for its daily violations of international law. Rather, Israel has been rewarded by its Western allies for its oppression of the Palestinians. The US continues its flow of unchallenged foreign aid and weapons, and any serious talk of a Palestinian State had completely died before October 7. In its 2017 charter, Hamas not only accepted the idea of a two-state solution on the condition of a long-term ceasefire, but it also denounced anti-semitism. In 2018-19, the Palestinians of Gaza tried to non-violently confront the Israeli occupiers. They were ignored as over 300 of their people were murdered and tens of thousands were injured; no Israelis were killed during the protests.
What Is Happening Now
Days ago, Israel officially began its ground invasion of the besieged Gaza Strip. So far, the incursion has proven disastrous for both the civilian population of Gaza and the Israeli army itself. The Israeli military hasn’t even entered the populated urban areas in Gaza—where the terrain favors the defender and will prove the hardest stage of the military incursion—and yet they have lost tens of military vehicles, according to claims from Hamas. It is speculated that over 100 soldiers have already been killed; Israel’s official death toll for its soldiers is much lower currently, and there is no way of verifying the true numbers at this point.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is beginning to feel the heat as the Israeli people are expressing their displeasure with the significant defeat inflicted against Israel on October 7. Under this pressure, Netanyahu and his war government have vowed to completely eradicate Hamas. However, they have presented no clear goals for their military operation. At this point, the insistence on completely destroying Hamas has set the standard for how a victory for Israel would look—and what a defeat will also be defined by. If Israel fails to completely topple Hamas, then the Palestinian armed groups inside Gaza win the war by default. Due to the complex web of tunnels under Gaza and Israel’s apparent inability to achieve any significant victory against Hamas, it appears that the stated task of destroying Hamas is a mission impossible.
It seems more likely that the Israeli military will continue to take out its losses on the Palestinian civilian population while Benjamin Netanyahu ensures that his army’s ground incursion continues. The problem with this is as follows: If Israel continues to suffer such high casualties in Gaza without achieving any significant military feats, the Israeli military will come under huge internal pressure. This, in turn, could cause the army’s leadership to force an end to the attack out of fear of the irreparable damage that could be inflicted on the military as a whole should they continue suffering such high casualties. The Israeli army is clearly unprepared for its mission in Gaza. The strategy the IDF is employing shows immense recklessness. The Israeli prime minister may be betting on the military establishment forcing an end to the ground incursion, which would allow him to blame them for preventing the destruction of Hamas. Either way, it looks like this is it for Benjamin Netanyahu. His career is over, and he will never become prime minister again. The big question on everyone’s mind now is whether this war will expand across multiple fronts in a major way and what Hezbollah will do in the coming weeks.