Gaza is one of the most heavily bombed areas in history, according to a report in the Financial Times.
“Gaza will also go down as a place name denoting one of history’s heaviest conventional bombing campaigns”, an expert told the newspaper.
More than 2 million Palestinians are trapped in the strip, making it one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.
The UK’s Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron warned in 2010 that Israel’s suffocating blockade had turned Gaza into a giant “prison camp”.
Human Rights Watch stated in 2022 that Tel Aviv’s 15-year siege of Gaza had made the strip “Israel’s open-air prison“. The human rights organization wrote, “The closure has devastated the economy in Gaza, contributed to fragmentation of the Palestinian people, and forms part of Israeli authorities’ crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution against millions of Palestinians”.
Israel has launched numerous bombing campaigns in Gaza – in 2008 to 2009, 2012, 2014, 2022, and 2023, among others.
However, Israel’s assault on Gaza in 2023 has broken records, in terms of the massive civilian casualties and catastrophic destruction of infrastructure.
The Financial Times detailed this devastation in a December 6 report:
Citing estimates of damage to urban areas, military analysts say the destruction of northern Gaza in less than seven weeks has approached that caused by the years-long carpet-bombing of German cities during the second world war.
“Dresden, Hamburg, Cologne — some of the world’s heaviest-ever bombings are remembered by their place names,” said Robert Pape, a US military historian and author of Bombing to Win, a landmark survey of 20th century bombing campaigns. “Gaza will also go down as a place name denoting one of history’s heaviest conventional bombing campaigns.”
Whole neighbourhoods have been levelled. By December 4, more than 60 per cent of the buildings in north Gaza had been severely damaged, according to analysis of satellite radar data by Corey Scher of CUNY Graduate Center and Jamon Van Den Hoek of Oregon State University.
That rises to as much as 70 per cent of buildings in some districts. Across the whole of Gaza, between 82,600 and 105,300 buildings have been left in ruins, according to the estimate, which counts buildings where at least half the structure was damaged.
The catastrophic destruction of northern Gaza in less than seven weeks has approached that caused by the years-long carpet-bombing of German cities during the second world war https://t.co/Hm0YiTNOjr pic.twitter.com/vC3Nx3BP5X
— Financial Times (@FT) December 7, 2023
In November, just over a month into Israel’s record-breaking assault, top UN experts published a statement that called on the “international community to prevent genocide against the Palestinian people“.
“Grave violations committed by Israel against Palestinians… point to a genocide in the making”, the UN experts said.
The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights wrote:
[Israeli officials] illustrated evidence of increasing genocidal incitement, overt intent to “destroy the Palestinian people under occupation”, loud calls for a ‘second Nakba’ in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territory, and the use of powerful weaponry with inherently indiscriminate impacts, resulting in a colossal death toll and destruction of life-sustaining infrastructure.
“Many of us already raised the alarm about the risk of genocide in Gaza,” the experts said. “We are deeply disturbed by the failure of governments to heed our call and to achieve an immediate ceasefire. We are also profoundly concerned about the support of certain governments for Israel’s strategy of warfare against the besieged population of Gaza, and the failure of the international system to mobilise to prevent genocide,” they said.
Of those killed, about 41 per cent are children and 25 percent are women. On average, one child is killed and two are injured every 10 minutes during the war, turning Gaza into a “graveyard for children,” according to the UN Secretary-General.
“This occurs amidst Israel’s tightening of its 16-year unlawful blockade of Gaza, which has prevented people from escaping and left them without food, water, medicine and fuel for weeks now, despite international appeals to provide access for critical humanitarian aid. As we previously said, intentional starvation amounts to a war crime,” the experts said.
#Gaza: UN experts point to evidence of genocide in the making, call for @UN protective presence in besieged enclave. “Failure to implement #CeasefireNowInGaza risks situation spiralling towards genocide conducted with 21st Century methods of warfare”: https://t.co/rdLSklxzj3 pic.twitter.com/80hWswVjju
— UN Special Procedures (@UN_SPExperts) November 16, 2023
The United States has staunchly supported Israel throughout this war, sending the country billions of dollars worth of weapons and military assistance, aiding Tel Aviv in its crimes against humanity.
Washington has also used its veto power in the United Nations Security Council to kill resolutions calling for a ceasefire or mere humanitarian pauses in Gaza.