Since October 7th, the ongoing horrific violence in Palestine and Israel has received incredible amounts of media coverage. Both Israelis and Palestinians are experiencing terrible pain and suffering. Unsurprisingly, the mainstream media’s reporting provided little context for the deadly Hamas attack and its war crimes. Note that the provision of the context is not a justification for the Hamas attack, but it allows people to have more information about what happened.
During the horrific Hamas attack, over 300 Israeli soldiers and police were among the over 1400 Israelis who were killed. The number of Israelis killed by friendly fire has not yet been determined. Hamas also took over 200 people as hostages and has since released four women hostages.
Since October 7th, indiscriminate Israeli attacks on Gaza, war crimes, have killed over 10,000 Palestinians, including over 4,000 children. Over 32,000 Palestinians have been wounded and there is no letup in sight. Note that these numbers of Israeli and Palestinian deaths are not just statistics, but they represent real people whose lives were important and whose loss has greatly impacted their families and friends.
The destruction of buildings and the infrastructure in Gaza is also widespread with the UN estimating that, as October 27th, Israeli attacks have destroyed over 45% of Gaza’s housing. Israel has also now launched its ground invasion of Gaza as part of its effort to eliminate Hamas and this invasion adds to the devastation in Gaza. Reporting on the invasion is hampered by Israel’s killing of at least 29 journalists working in Gaza.
Besides military attacks, Israel quickly imposed a total siege on Gaza, cutting off all deliveries of fuel, water, food, medicine and electricity. After almost two weeks, there finally has been a slight break in the Israeli siege with a relatively small number of trucks allowed into Gaza through the border with Egypt. These trucks carry enough food and water to meet a tiny, tiny percentage of the daily need for 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. The lives of these civilians are clearly at great risk. The international charity Oxfam has stated that Israel is using starvation as a weapon of war. Appallingly, the ‘humane’ US and Western nations support this war crime. Unsurprisingly, many nations that have suffered under Western colonialism oppose these Israeli crimes.
Lost in all the current coverage is the fact that violence against Palestinians has been going on throughout 2023 with numerous attacks by illegal Israeli settlers and the Israeli military in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian West Bank. Death, violence, imprisonment and dispossession of homes are threats faced daily by many Palestinians. Israelis also violate the al-Asqa mosque area, Islam’s third holiest site, when they invade, disrupt and attack Palestinians praying there. This Israeli violence may be briefly noted by the mainstream media, but then is quickly forgotten.
Moreover, the killing of and violence against Palestinian civilians in the West Bank has increased while the media attention is currently focused on Gaza. Israeli violence against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied territories has been going on for over five decades and continues to increase under the ever more extreme rightwing Israeli government.
Shockingly, the US and several other Western nations support the ongoing Israeli genocidal war crimes. The US even vetoed a UN Security Council resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire. What?! How many more Palestinians must be sacrificed before Israel is satisfied? Almost seven times as many Palestinians have already been killed as Israelis. When is it enough? Have we completely lost any sense of humanity?
The US, Israel’s biggest enabler, must say enough! There needs to be an immediate ceasefire and negotiations about ending the violence and the return of the hostages. There also must be negotiations about achieving a just settlement of the entire Palestine/Israel issue that ensures full human rights, freedoms and reparations for Palestinians.
If this killing of Palestinians isn’t ended soon, there have been warnings that other nations will feel forced to intervene to protect the lives of the 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza. We have to end this violence now before the Middle East explodes.
Ron Forthofer is a retired professor of biostatistics, having taught at the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. Since retirement in 1991, has been an activist for peace and social justice. He ran for Congress and for governor of Colorado for the Green Party.