The U.S.-armed Israeli assault on Gaza is in its third week, with more than 18,000 tons of explosives dropped on this tiny, densely populated area to date.
Hospitals deliberately targeted
On Oct. 31, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, the only Gaza hospital treating cancer patients, was bombed and partly destroyed. “One-hundred thirty medical staff have lost their lives,” so far from Israeli bombing, according to Ashraf al-Qudra, a Gaza Health Ministry spokesman. He called these hits “intentional,” adding “fifty-seven medical institutions have so far been hit. Thirty-two medical centers are out of service because of being targeted or lack of fuel.”
Also bombed Oct. 31 was the Jabalia refugee camp, killing scores of people.
‘A graveyard of children’
The Health Ministry also said 8,525 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli air raids since Oct. 7, including 3,542 children. The resistance reports that families are writing the names of children on their arms and legs so they can be identified if killed.
According to UNICEF, at least 940 children have been reported missing in Gaza, and that infant dehydration is a growing threat with only 5% of normal water output. “Gaza has become a graveyard of children,” UNICEF spokesperson James Elder said.
Gaza is still denied food, electricity and water, with only a few trucks of aid allowed, causing Palestinians to break into UN food storage warehouses out of desperation. With all attention on Gaza, settler violence in the West Bank has increased. Some 115 Palestinians have been killed there since Oct. 7, including 35 children; 200 have been injured and 1,000 displaced.
Resistance ambushed IDF ground forces
While continuing its massive aerial bombing, the Israeli Defense Forces has announced with much fanfare some small ground force incursions into Gaza with rapid retreats, claiming victories. In an Oct. 30 statement, Al Quds Brigade Commander Abu Hamza countered this with accusations that Israel is faking these progress reports. He said that IDF troops have been lured into ambushes by the resistance. Meanwhile, despite the heavy bombing, the resistance continues to fire rockets from Gaza, hitting targets inside the Israeli green line.
These facts on the ground reveal the invasion to be a massive and genocidal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza. There is confusion about this invasion in the United States, however, as the corporate media have become mouthpieces for U.S. and Israeli government war propaganda, portraying Israel as the victim and the Palestinian resistance as the aggressor. It’s time to clear this up.
Myth: Hamas, a terrorist organization, is waging a war of aggression against Israel, which has a “right to defend itself.”
Fact: The Palestinian people are fighting a national liberation war against their Israeli oppressor. This is not “poor little Israel.” Tel Aviv receives $3.8 billion from the United States annually, mostly in military aid, making it one of the most powerful militaries in the world with the most sophisticated weapons. According to international law, Israel has no “right of self-defense” in the territories it occupies. It does have obligations, however, to meet the needs of the population it holds under occupation. Bombing them is a war crime.
The Al Aqsa Flood offensive is a response to a 16-year blockade trapping a people in extreme poverty. The Palestinian fighters have small guage weapons. They have no air force, no army, no navy. They don’t even have a rear base. They operate out of tunnels from an open air prison, penned in on all sides.
Myth: This is about Hamas terrorism.
Fact: This is a fight waged by several groups representing the entire Palestinian people. Fighting from Gaza are: Hamas (Islamic Resistance Movement), Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command.
In a joint statement from Beirut on Oct. 28, the groups said: “This heroic epic is the battle of the entire Palestinian people, which they are waging in defense of their land, their sanctities, their existence, and their right to freedom, against a barbaric enemy that does not spare any of our people from its crimes. It targets hospitals, mosques, churches, universities, and ambulances, and cuts off electricity, water, fuel, the Internet, and cellular communications for our besieged people.”
Myth: Hamas is an illegitimate group that seized control in Gaza by force.
Fact: Hamas was voted into office by the Palestinian people. In a 2006 election for the Palestinian authority assembly, praised by international observers for its fairness, Hamas received the most votes. When Hamas took office in Gaza both the U.S. and Israel imposed sanctions on Gaza, punishing the people there for there for voting for Hamas. Hamas has been struggling to govern Gaza since then despite a U.S.-Israeli attempt to overthrow it in 2008, ever-tightening sanctions and five major bombings by Israel.
Myth: Palestinian fighters are committing atrocities against Jewish people.
Fact: These were shown to be lies, but the corporate media keeps repeating them as if true. Israeli military stories of Palestinian fighters decapitating babies, raping women and massacring Jewish youth have been debunked or remain unverified. Yet, the establishment media here and the Biden administration keeps repeating them and adding other fabrications, lending themselves as mouthpieces for Israeli war propaganda meant to create confusion, demonize Palestinians and justify the bombing of civilian areas.
Among other IDF lies widely repeated in the press here is the accusation that a resistance shell, not an Israeli bomb, killed 500 in Ahli al-Arabi Hospital when the resistance doesn’t have the weaponry to do this. The establishment press and the Biden administration have also challenged the veracity of Gaza Health Ministry casualty statistics because the ministry is “Hamas controlled.” Most recently, IDF commanders are falsely claiming that al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in Gaza where thousands are now seeking refuge from the bombings, is where Hamas has set up its military command, though Hamas has vehemently denied this.
Myth: Palestinian fighters seek the destruction of Israel.
Fact: The only state destroyed or being made impossible is a Palestinian state. The Israeli government and its settlers are destroying any base for a Palestinian state, while the Palestinian fighters seek to assert their national rights in the only way left open to them — armed struggle.
In 2018-2019, Gazans tried peaceful means to get their national rights. They organized non-violent Friday marches to the Israeli border demanding the right to return to their homelands and the lifting of the siege of Gaza. Israeli snipers regularly fired live ammunition on the unarmed demonstrators in this Great March of Return. Some 223 Palestinians were killed, 46 of them children. Nearly 10,000 were wounded and 155, mostly young men, required limb amputations.
In 2018, the Israeli Parliament passed the “Nation-State” law declaring that national rights in Israel belong only to Jewish people. This formally enshrined Israel as an apartheid, Jewish-supremacist state and disenfranchised the 2 million Palestinians who live there. As for the 3 million Palestinians on the West Bank, the law establishes “Jewish settlement as a national value” and mandates that the state “will labor to encourage and promote its establishment and development.” This gave a green light to the de facto annexation of the West Bank through further settlement.
In 2022, a new and ultra-rightwing Israeli government created a paramilitary National Guard under Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir, a settler in the West Bank who openly applauds those who kill Palestinians. Another West Bank settler, Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, was given the role of overseeing the West Bank. Smotrich has called for the destruction of Palestinian villages, opposes Palestinian statehood and denies the very existence of the Palestinian people. In its first six months, the new government authorized thousands of new settlements, bringing the number of Israeli settlers there to 700,000, in a move to permanently annex the West Bank.
Myth: Getting the hostages back is Israel’s primary concern.
Truth: Israel is willing to sacrifice the Israeli hostages to pulverize and depopulate Gaza. The resistance had made it clear from the start of Al Aqsa Flood offensive on Oct. 7 that it is willing to exchange the hostages it has for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Israel’s answer has been more bombing. “Hostages and civilian casualties will be secondary to destroying Hamas,” Economy Minister Nir Barakat told ABC News on Oct. 19, “even if it takes a year.”
On Oct. 30, Al-Quds Brigade Commander Abu Hamza delivered a message to the families of Israeli hostages that the IDF’s indiscriminate bombing of Gaza had already killed several hostages and was endangering the lives of others.
What are Israel’s real aims in this invasion? According to Ahmed Abofoul, Legal Research and Advocacy Officer at the Palestinian rights group Al-Haq, “It seems that the Israeli leaders saw an opportunity here to materialize the long-announced Zionist dream to get rid of the Gaza population.”
Massive protests worldwide oppose the genocide
While certainly confusing some, these gross distortions have not succeeded in masking the brutality of the Israeli invasion or stifling support for Palestine. Millions of people around the world and hundreds of thousands in U.S. cities, have taken to the streets to demand a free Palestine and denounce Israeli genocide and apartheid and the U.S. government as well for arming and protecting Israel. A giant national demonstration is planned for Washington, D.C., on Nov. 4. For more information click here.