Israel’s Genocidal War After Four Months

8 February by Gilbert Achcar


© IDF Spokesperson’s Unit, CC BY-SA 3.0

Four months have elapsed since the “Al-Aqsa Flood” operation and the start of the Zionist genocidal war that ensued. The situation has now surpassed the 1948 Nakba in terms of intensity of disaster as well as in terms of horror. Consider the facts presented by the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing in a remarkable article published by the New York Times on the 29th of January: Israel dropped as much explosives on the Gaza Strip as the equivalent of two atomic bombs of the type dropped by the United States on Hiroshima in 1945.



This massive bombing has hitherto led to the destruction of approximately 70 percent of buildings in the whole enclave, and 85 percent in its northern half. As a result, 70,000 housing units were completely destroyed and 290,000 housing units partially destroyed. If we add to this the destruction of the infrastructure of services such as water and electricity, and the health system, including hospitals, as well as the educational network (schools and universities), cultural and religious sites, and historic buildings, the outcome is an almost complete erasure of the Palestinian Gaza. This is similar to the erasure of most traces of Palestinian life through the destruction of about 400 cities and villages on the 78 percent of the land of Palestine between the river and the sea that were seized by the Zionist state in 1948.

The UN rapporteur proposed adding a new crime to the list of crimes against humanity, a crime he called “domicide.” He mentioned cases where this concept applies in the current century: Chechnya’s Grozny, completely destroyed by the Russian army under Vladimir Putin at the turn of the present century; Syria’s Aleppo, destroyed by the Russian army allied with Iranian and Assad regime forces in 2016; and Ukraine’s Mariupol, destroyed by the Russian army in the first months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022. To the rapporteur’s list must be added Iraq’s Fallujah, most of which was destroyed by the U.S. army in 2004, the second year of its occupation of Iraq, as well as Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Raqqa, both destroyed by U.S. forces and their allies during the war against ISIS in 2017.

Gaza’s “domicide” differs, however, from all these cases in that it did not affect just one city, but the entire enclave including all its cities – an area much larger than that of any of the cities mentioned above. The “domicide” of Gaza has gone along with a genocide against its population. Not only by killing a high percentage of them: about 27,000 at the time of writing, or more than one percent of the total population, according to the figures provided by the Ministry of Health in Gaza, which do not take into account the number of those who die as a result of the catastrophic health conditions created by the aggression, aggravated by Israel’s restriction of humanitarian aid access to the Strip. These conditions make a large portion of the wounded Palestinians, who number approximately 70,000, vulnerable to death or to permanent consequences that could have been avoided, had the required treatment been available. The same applies to the number of people suffering from natural diseases who no longer receive the medicines they need to survive, and whose number is not available.

Add to all the above that approximately two million people, i.e. 85 percent of the population of the Gaza Strip, were displaced from their homes to the city of Rafah and other areas adjacent to the Egyptian border. Even if the aggression suddenly stopped today and the displaced were allowed to go wherever they wished within the Gaza Strip, the vast majority of them would be forced to stay in their current shelter due to the destruction of their homes. Moreover, the Zionist army is now getting ready to complete its occupation of the Gaza Strip by invading Rafah, thus inevitably worsening the condition of the displaced, even if it forced them to move again to another area of the south of the Gaza Strip, so as to bring them under its control and detach them from what remains of the institutions that Hamas dominated since it took over the rule of the enclave in 2007.

All this is indeed a huge catastrophe that exceeds the 1948 Nakba in terms of intensity and horror, a new Nakba whose political impact on the history of the region, and even of the world, will not be less than that of the previous Nakba as the future will certainly prove. In the face of this horrific scene, the bavardage of the U.S. administration and other governments worried by the consequences of this new Nakba, or rather their babble about a “solution” to the Palestinian issue, refers to an extension to the Gaza Strip of the status of the West Bank’s Area A, by putting it back under the supervision of the Palestinian Authority which is itself under direct Israeli control, along with the continued deployment of occupation forces in most of the West Bank (Areas B and C) and their military intervention at will in Area A. Calling “state” such a rump entity that actually enjoys less sovereignty than South Africa’s Bantustans were granted during the Apartheid era, is nothing more than a miserable attempt to cover up Washington’s responsibility, along with most European states, in encouraging the Zionist genocidal war, and enabling it militarily – for Israel would certainly not have been able to carry on all that is described above without U.S. military support.

Translated from the Arabic original published in Al-Quds al-Arabi on 6 February 2024. Feel free to republish or publish in other languages, with mention of the source.


Gilbert Achcar

Professor of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies - SOAS, University of London

Other articles in English by Gilbert Achcar (8)

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