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The Palestinian victims of genocide in Gaza are vastly underreported. The figure commonly used will soon top 30,000. But these are only the verified and named victims killed directly by Israeli weaponry. The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor is perhaps the only authoritative source that reports more than 35,000, by adding a (conservative) estimate of those missing and presumed dead, most of them under the rubble of the roughly 300,000 destroyed buildings. But even the Euro-Med estimate does not include many of the delayed deaths among the more than 67,000 wounded, or the deaths from starvation, disease and exposure due the weaponization of food, medicine, sanitation, potable water, shelter, fuel, and all other conditions necessary to life.
Part of the result of bombing the hospitals and destroying the communication networks is to eliminate the means of even tabulating the deaths. Untabulated deaths necessarily go unreported in the totals, and yet their numbers are obviously growing, as rainstorms and floods spread sewage into the makeshift tents of up to 2 million refugees without toilets or sewage infrastructure. How many have died in such circumstances, uncounted and buried in common graves on the roadside, dug by starving volunteers in an attempt to preserve some dignity and sanitation among the filth and the stink? Does it equal or exceed the numbers killed directly by bombs or bullets?
If not now, it soon will. The fact is that we will never know the true number killed by Israel in Gaza. Perhaps the closest we will come is by counting the survivors and comparing the population total prior to October 7th. I suspect it will be a sobering figure, gleaned far too late to be of use to anyone but historians and criminal prosecutors.
The already sobering reality is that at least sixteen countries are helping Israel to commit the crime of genocide. This is the number that have withdrawn their financial support of UNRWA, the UN agency that has been the lifeline for millions of Palestinian refugees since the 1948 expulsion and genocide of Palestinians, which the current reprise seems certain to exceed in impact, as intended.
Will a ceasefire prevent the worst?
Some think it’s just around the bend. I can’t imagine it.
Hamas and its allies will never accept anything less than freedom, and Israel will not accept anything less than total control.
Furthermore, if one of the sides is losing, it’s not Hamas. Israel is a patient receiving a continuous transfusion from the US, all the while bleeding bleeding out from the rest of its body. Nobody knows the real statistics of Israeli casualties except that nearly all of them are soldiers, apart from the civilians killed on October 7th (mostly by Israeli soldiers executing the “Hannibal Directive”, as Israeli reports now admit). On the other hand, the Israeli military casualties are not necessarily Israeli. It is estimated that 5000 to 6000 are foreign mercenaries, one-third American, supported by US and other foreign money, which also sustains the economy and the military. (Putting foreign mercenaries on the front line helps to reduce the number of Israelis killed.)
Not all of Israel’s casualties are military, either, but also not civilian, except in an abstract sense. At least half a million have left the country, and 300,000 are refugees from the north and south. The economy is in tatters, despite the pocket money provided by the US to keep it going. Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall, and while the pieces are all there, no one will be able to put Humpty together again.
Gaza, of course, is also bleeding profusely, vastly more among its civilians than its combatants. In fact, Israel’s war is not so much against Hamas as it is against the civilian population, at least 70% women and children. The resistance effort is actually showing no sign of diminishing or becoming less effective. The effect of this is to prolong the genocide, but this does little to dim the popularity of the fighters, who are widely regarded as heroes, even among the population making the great sacrifices. None want to return to the oppressive status quo ante.
The sacrifices are, of course, horrific, and progressively moreso, dating from October 8th. The resources are more scarce with every passing day, by genocidal design. But so are the statistics. Many more Palestinians will die and be buried in anonymity, partly because the reporting network is being sabotaged and degraded, but also because many victims will not seek medical help, when the hospitals have no food to provide, nor blankets, nor tents, nor potable water, and because the hospitals mostly don’t exist anymore, also by design. The ratio of child deaths will rise, then possibly fall due to attrition, depending on the length of the holocaust. Perhaps a day of remembrance for the unknown casualties will be set aside, especially when it becomes clear that they vastly outnumber the known casualties, even if we can’t count them.
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Paul Larudee is a retired academic and current administrator of a nonprofit human rights and humanitarian aid organization. He is a regular contributor to Global Research.
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