The number of Palestinians killed in the war in Gaza has many pages, at times featuring dozens of people with the same last name. Israeli air attacks wiped out entire families.
The data of the Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza documenting the deaths of more than 7,000 Palestinians, including nearly 3,000 children, since the war began on October 7 is shocking. Each name is with a government identification number.
However, less than 24 hours earlier, United States President Joe Biden cast doubt over the figures, saying that he has “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using”. “I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed,” Biden said.
For Palestinian rights advocates, the US president’s comments are another episode in his administration’s push to “dehumanize” Palestinians and dismiss their suffering, as Washington continues to support the Israeli bombing campaign.
Moreover, critics were quick to point out that human rights experts, including at the United Nations, have long found the Palestinian Health Ministry’s data to be reliable.
Palestinian American activist Zeina Ashrawi Hutchison said Biden’s remarks seem to question Palestinians’ humanity “even in death”. “The president’s statements are outrageous, irresponsible, and flat-out racist and anti-Palestinian. Video
Biden’s publicly professed doubts come as the US continues to resist calls for a ceasefire and instead continues to pledge military support for Israel. Yara Asi, a Palestinian-American public health expert at the University of Central Florida, called the president’s remarks “appalling”. “To dispute those figures was really, really just putting both feet in with Israel on this, in yet another way that dehumanizes Palestinians,” Asi said.
With Israel preventing foreign journalists or researchers from entering Gaza as the conflict intensifies, the territory’s health ministry has become the go-to source for understanding the Palestinian death count. Israeli army is bombarding southern Gaza where it told 1.1M Palestinians to move for their safety.
“As if the president hadn’t already been complicit enough in the dehumanization of Palestinians, now he says he doesn’t trust us when we say we are being murdered,” Palestinian American activist and comedian Amer Zahr said. “How much lower could one stoop than to say we are lying about dying?”
Israeli troops and tanks have carried out a brief yet relatively large overnight ground incursion into Gaza ahead of a widely expected full-scale ground invasion after nearly three weeks of devastating air raids on the besieged Palestinian enclave.
Israel conducted a targeted raid using tanks in the northern Gaza Strip, as part of preparations for the next stages of combat. The ground raid comes after the United Nations warned it is on the verge of running out of fuel in the Gaza Strip, forcing it to curtail sharply relief efforts in the territory, which has also been under a complete siege.
Palestinian health officials said the Gaza death count was rising as Israeli jets pounded the enclave. Workers pulled dead and wounded civilians, including many children, out of landscapes of rubble in cities across the territory.
Western leaders are all leaders of democracies, and they have histories laden with the dead. France has Algeria; Italy has Libya and Ethiopia; the United Kingdom has most of the world; Germany has all of Europe; and the United States has all of Central and South America plus a good chunk of Asia.
In all of these places, these standard holders of Western civilization have waged wars big and small, and killed so many people that it is a wonder there is such a thing as overpopulation. Thus, when we hear that all of them have pledged to stand firmly by Israel, let us not be surprised they are only being consistent.