DM168

MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

People are dying here – the faces and stories behind the escalating death toll of the Israel-Gaza war

People are dying here – the faces and stories behind the escalating death toll of the Israel-Gaza war
Illustrative image: Ahmed Abbasi. (Photo: Gift of the Givers) | Dr Mads Gilbert. (Photo: Leon Sadiki) | Akram Al Satarri. (Photo: Atef Safadi / EPA-EFE) | Gaza collage. (Photos: Dawood Nemer / AFP, Haitham Imad / EPA-EFE, Atef Safadi / EPA-EFE) | Graphic: Vecteezy

As international calls for a ceasefire grow, nowhere is safe for the people of Gaza. In homes, hospitals, shelters and the streets, civilians are being killed and families ripped apart.

Behind the rapidly escalating death tolls of civilians, media workers and healthcare personnel in the Israel-Gaza conflict lie thousands of human stories. As the politics of war unfolds, these individual lives should not be forgotten.

Calling for a ceasefire, the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adha­nom Ghebreyesus, said “no one is safe” in Gaza.

The killing of Ahmed Abbasi, the head of the Gift of the Givers office in Gaza, is the latest brutal indicator of just how true this statement is.

Abbasi was killed alongside his brother in an Israeli bomb strike when the two left a local mosque after morning prayers.

They were among 30 people injured or killed in the attack, according to Dr Malik Abou-Rageila, the Gift of the Givers’ Middle East head.

Gift of the Givers is well known for providing support to communities in crisis, and Abbasi had spent his time with the organisation’s Gazan branch helping those in need.

“Ahmed was so dedicated to the work and his heart was always with the beneficiaries that he helped…

“Many times, he was thanking us for the opportunity to get involved in this work, saying that it made him more humble and helped him identify the real meaning of life. Besides that, he was so active and so humble when he dealt with his team,” said Abou-Rageila.

Abbasi, a father of three, had “served the people of Gaza with distinction” since being appointed in 2013, said Gift of the Givers. He was responsible for implementing multiple projects, including those aimed at caring for orphans, widows, the elderly and the ill, and was involved in delivering water from the organisation’s desalination plants, and distributing food parcels and hot meals.

“A few days ago, he mentioned that it’s better to sit with his family of 34 in their own apartment and wait for their turn to die in dignity, as unarmed martyrs, rather than run from place to place as directed by the IDF [Israel Defense Forces],” the non-profit organisation said.

Abou-Rageila said Abbasi’s family was not able to attend the burial of Abbasi and his brother. The hospital to which their bodies were taken had no way of knowing when families of the victims would be able to come to the hospital because of communication cuts and the dangers that came with moving between areas.

“In the hospital, they decided that they should bury them quickly because there’s no power there in the hospitals [and] they don’t have mortuary fridges [in which] to keep the bodies,” he said.

Israel imposed a blockade preventing food, water, fuel and electricity from entering the Gaza Strip after a coordinated attack by Islamist group Hamas breached Israeli defences on 7 October. It has been widely reported that more than 1,200 Israelis were killed in that attack and about 240 others were taken as hostages.

Israel has hit Gaza with a barrage of retaliatory air strikes over the past 42 days. As of 15 November, the Palestine Ministry of Health put the resultant death toll at 11,470, including 4,707 children and 3,155 women. The number of injured is estimated to have exceeded 29,000.

Ahmed Abbasi, the head of the Gift of the Givers office in Gaza, and his brother were killed while returning from morning prayers. (Photo: Gift of the Givers)

Families in crisis

Ayah Jaber, a Gift of the Givers representative working in South Africa, was born in Gaza and has family members in the region. Her mother and sister have been displaced more than 10 times since the war began.

“My sister’s house was bombed on the second day of the war … She lives right on the border [between Gaza and Israel] … They left the first day and then the next day they got the news of their house being bombed – nobody phoned and warned them to leave.

“You can only imagine that if they were at the house, everyone would have been killed,” she said.

Jaber lost 50 members of her family when an airstrike hit her uncle’s home. Many of those who died are still under the rubble. Those bodies that have been recovered are burnt beyond recognition.

“There was only one survivor in that whole house … and that survivor is a child that’s seven years old and she’s completely burnt. How is she going to survive after the war? How is she going to live?” asked Jaber.

“There’s never been a war like this … When we think about it … we wonder, do they even have hearts? Are they aware that there’s people here? Are they aware that there’s lives, there’s dreams? There’s hope, there’s everything that’s wiped [away].”

According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), almost 1.6 million people have been displaced across the Gaza Strip since 7 October. Nearly 813,000 internally displaced people are sheltering in 154 UNRWA installations, including in the north.

Many Palestinians have been displaced to the south of Gaza since the IDF ordered the evacuation of 1.1 million people from northern Gaza in October.

“My sister moved to the south … My family doesn’t have any relatives in the south, so … they’re going to be homeless, they’re going to be on the street. [They are] trying to be in each other’s homes from one area to the next as much as they can for as long as they can before they have to rely on the street or a school or a hospital or a tent … I’m praying for them not to reach that point. A lot of people have already reached that point and … it’s really rough for them,” said Jaber.

Despite the shortage of supplies in Gaza, Gift of the Givers has continued to provide support to local people where it can. Supermarkets and warehouses have run out of stock, but Gift of the Givers members have been working with some local farmers to provide vegetable parcels to those in need, according to Jaber. They are also providing hot meals, hygiene packs and wood for cooking where possible.

Health and aid workers lost

Staff at a number of aid organisations have been displaced or killed. The UNRWA has lost 103 members in Gaza since the onset of the war, the highest number of UN aid workers killed in a conflict since the organisation’s inception. Doctors Without Borders (Médecins Sans Frontières/MSF) reported the death of one of its lab technicians, Mohammed Al Ahel, on 6 November.

Andrew Mews, the executive director of MSF Southern Africa, told Daily Maverick: “Many of our staff are displaced … Northern Gaza Strip hospitals are now very much on the front line of the conflict … It’s [got] to the point where, speaking to a doctor [on 14 November], the conflict was so close to the [al-Shifa Hospital] that they wanted to evacuate the patients, but it was not safe to evacuate the patients because the fighting was raging at the front door of the hospital.

“Therefore, our staff chose to stay with the patients. They are staying in the hospital and are not even able to go home at the end of the day … It’s incredibly difficult conditions in which to deliver healthcare.”

The IDF raided al-Shifa Hospital between 15 and 16 November, claiming that Hamas was using the facility as a command centre, according to an Al Jazeera report.

The Palestine Ministry of Health has reported that 26 of the 35 hospitals in the Gaza Strip are not functioning and nine are partially functioning. More than 200 health personnel have been killed.

The shortage of fuel and medical supplies in Gaza has reportedly brought the health system to the point of collapse. Various aid agencies, including Unicef, MSF and the World Health Organization, have warned of secondary health concerns such as starvation, dehydration and the spread of diseases.

MSF has sent a 15-member international medical team into southern Gaza via the Rafah border crossing with Egypt to make a rapid assessment of the state of hospitals in the area and provide support. However, Mews said that the movement of aid supplies into the region remains very limited.

“On average, I think … there’s 100 trucks a day crossing [the border], but … with the general siege of the strip, the ability to increase aid to the level that it needs to be is not there at all… We know with a million people displaced from the north to the south, it’s a drop in the ocean of what’s really required,” he said.

Media workers protested against the deaths of more than 40 journalists in the Gaza Strip. The demonstrators called for an immediate ceasefire. (Photo: Karine Pierre / Hans Lucas via AFP)

Journalists on the front line

Akram Al Satarri, a freelance journalist in Khan Younis, Gaza, told Daily Maverick “there’s no way to stay safe in Gaza”. He has been a journalist for about 17 years and says the level of destruction in the current conflict outstrips anything he has seen before.

“You could be just a passerby; you could be a visitor; you could be someone who’s displaced and sitting with other people, and you might end up being killed … No one is secure – the ongoing bombardment, the ongoing conflict has been affecting every single person in the area,” he said.

Palestinians search for bodies and survivors in the rubble of a residential building after an Israeli strike in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 12 November. (Photo: Haitham Imad / EPA-EFE)

Since the onset of the war, there have been frequent communication blackouts in Gaza because of cuts in electricity, telecommunications and internet services. This has affected the ability of many local journalists to report on what’s happening on the ground.

Satarri and his colleagues work without the assurance of safety at home or in the field. He spoke about his relative, Palestine TV correspondent Mohammed Abu Hatab, who was killed alongside 11 members of his family in an Israeli airstrike on 2 November.

“[Hatab] was working and then he left his work to go home to rest a bit. His home is three minutes’ … walk away from the hospital and he ended up killed. His son, his wife and … his daughter were killed … We are all working under these very critical conditions, while we are fully aware that we might get killed anytime soon,” said Satarri.

Journalist Akram Al Satarri reports from Gaza. (Photo: Supplied)

The international non-profit organisation, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has listed 42 media workers confirmed to have died since the outbreak of the Israel-Gaza war. Among them are 37 Palestinians, one Lebanese and four Israelis.

This number rivals the 42 recorded media worker deaths worldwide in 2022. The CPJ said there were more journalists killed in the first month of the Israel-Gaza war than in any other similar period of conflict since it started recording such deaths in 1992.

“We see the destruction that is taking place and we believe it’s our duty to communicate to the world the exact things that are happening in Gaza … and we understand that this is a sacrifice that we should be ready to give … for the sake of supporting Palestine,” Satarri said.

“When you see and know the reaction of the people worldwide and how they are responding to this ongoing carnage in Gaza and … how they’re calling for an immediate ceasefire, you feel like … the way you are doing things is … bringing about some change. When there are no comms at all, you also feel that you should live another day or another hour or another minute to be able to deliver a message that can be viewed … by the people of the world.”

Daily Maverick asked the IDF about the high rate of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip. It said it followed international law and took feasible precautions to mitigate civilian harm. DM

Norwegian physician, humanitarian and activist Dr Mads Gilbert talks about his time as a volunteer at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza at the Save Gaza public meeting in Ormonde, Johannesburg, 15 November 2023. (Photo: Leon Sadiki)

Norwegian doctor highlights plight of Gaza during solidarity tour in SA 

Imagine if doctors at Bara or Groote Schuur Hospital were told to evacuate their ailing patients, babies in incubators and thousands of people who had taken refuge on the grounds of the hospital complexes on a night when army battalions were at battle?

Unimaginable, here. But an apt comparison to help understand what happened on the night of Wednesday, 15 November, in Gaza as the al-Shifa Hospital complex, the Gaza strip’s most extensive, fell to the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).

The IDF alleges that Hamas used tunnels beneath the strip’s most prominent medical complex to hold Israeli hostages.

As the raid happened and was live-streamed to the world, Dr Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian emergency doctor, told a packed hall in Johannesburg what life is like at al-Shifa, which means healing.

Gilbert is in South Africa with the humanitarian journalism organisation Salaamedia on a solidarity tour with Palestine. He said South Africa’s struggle against apartheid was an animating one in Palestine and that quotes by Nelson Mandela that South Africa cannot be free until Palestine is free were common graffiti. “What you managed here is a huge inspiration,” he said.

Back in Gaza, the hospital had become a de facto refugee camp after the IDF issued notices for people to move from northern Gaza as they cleared it on 9 October, two days after Hamas killed more than 1,200 Israelis in various theatres of mass murder.

People fled as the tanks descended, and an estimated 50,000 packed into the 45,000m² al-Shifa complex. When the order came for doctors to take their patients and leave this week, they refused. “Thirty-eight neonates [babies born prematurely] had to be taken out of their incubators because of damaged oxygen systems. This is a man-made, not a natural disaster,” said Gilbert, who constantly communicates with his colleagues.

The attacks have made al-Shifa a point of global attention this week. South Africa will make a formal complaint to the International Criminal Court, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on a visit to Qatar, which is trying to negotiate a ceasefire.

A Palestinian rescuer carries a wounded man at al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on 9 October 2023. (Photo: Haitham Imad / EPA-EFE)

Gilbert has worked in Gaza for more than 40 years and commutes there two or three times a year. Until he flew to South Africa for the solidarity tour this week, he had been on the Rafah border between Egypt and Gaza, trying to get back.

“I wish I was in Gaza; I wish I wasn’t here,” he said. “It’s tough to get people in and get equipment in because Israel has Gaza in a complete siege. This happens not in 1423, not in 1123, but in 2023,” he said, echoing the world’s disbelief at the violent war that has ripped the hearts of Israel and Palestine.

He worked with doctors in Gaza and showed on-site photographs of his colleagues, Dr Sara Al Saqqa, Dr Marian Abusada and Dr Sobhi Skaik at al-Shifa. “They are exhausted from weeks of extreme workloads. I don’t want to paint a picture of a begging, pitiful Palestine,” said Gilbert, who said the characteristic of Palestine that best described its people was “steadfastness”. He said the doctors in Gaza were “masters of improvisation”, showing photographs of teams treating people on the floor.

Doctors and health workers worked without electricity or supplies. He said they had only 40% of essential drug lists, but denied they were doing operations without anaesthetics, as some reports said this week.

He played videos from inside al-Shifa taken by Dr Yousef Abu al-Rish, the minister of health in Gaza, a paediatrician. These showed thousands of people crowded into every available floor space to live. Winter is setting in and, this week, it rained. “There is no more time, Dr Mads,” Gilbert said the minister had told him a few nights before.

People wait in tent shelters in the darkness as fuel for electricity generation runs out outside al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City on 3 November. (Photo: Dawood Nemer / AFP)

On Wednesday night, after taking over the hospital, IDF soldiers made videos alleging that al-Shifa was a Hamas compound. They showed uniforms and armaments. Earlier in the week, they made other videos alleging that some of the estimated 240 Israeli hostages may have been held there. The videos had not been independently verified, said global broadcasters that showed them.

“I have been working in Shifa for 16 years and I have never seen a soldier. They [the Israelis] bomb Shifa every time there is an attack,” alleged Gilbert.

The regular attacks on al-Shifa are well documented. The Norwegian doctor has written a book on Gaza, and is a frequent commentator and noted medical specialist. The UN has said that 198 healthcare personnel, 31 doctors, 68 nurses, 20 paramedics and 26 pharmacists had been killed, and 152 healthcare structures attacked, according to figures quoted by Gilbert.

He will tour Durban and Cape Town before trying to return to Gaza, where he said the entire social fabric is being torn apart. A five-day ceasefire is being negotiated in Qatar to allow in more substantial medical and food supplies. The Israeli Embassy and the ambassador did not respond to requests for comment. DM

Read more in Daily Maverick: Israel-Palestine War

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R29.

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • John P says:

    This is indeed a story of horror and of mans inhumanity to man and is completely unjustifiable in that it is an attack on the civilian population, on aid and refugee organisations and on the infrastructure that allows people to survive.

    It is not a rational and targeted response to the evil terrorist attack carried out by Hamas but instead is now motivated entirely by hatred and a desire for revenge.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Its worse than hate these are things you never wish your worst enemy to go through you never hate a man past to his wife, children,relatives, pastors, his donor, his doctor, his journalist and his premature baby unless you are a horrible animal worse off there is countries who advocate democracy to the world who support this gruesome acts, i despise all of them they deserve to burn on earth hell is too civilised for them

  • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

    The lack of comments could be silent confirmation that the state of Israel and the Western masters are indefensible, they talk about the Israel victims to cover their terrorist acts not to save them obviously they will only talk about Palestinians in the past tense that is the aim, no amount of land grabbing and donations from their puppet masters will clean the blood in their hands

    • Dietmar Horn says:

      What about the blood on the hands of the perpetrators of October 7th and that of all jihadists? Is it not the case that according to their holy book and the sayings of their lawyers, the blood sacrifice of their human shields is for their good, since they enter paradise because of their right faith and are redeemed from their miserable earthly life?

      • Caroline de Braganza says:

        Have you studied and read the Koran?

        • Dietmar Horn says:

          Answering questions with a counter question is not an argument but a sign that you have run out of arguments. But yes, I know the Koran as well as the Bible and that’s exactly why I don’t believe that the Middle East conflict can be ended peacefully as long as people rely on supposedly divine texts to kill others.

          • Johann Olivier says:

            Whataboutism is literally countering a question with a question, Mr. Horn. You actually start your rejoinder with a question … then call out Ms. De Braganza for doing that. However, I couldn’t agree more with your thinking on religion. It is spot on.

  • Anton van der Westhuizen says:

    Yet.. Hamas wont free the hostages!! They started this they can end it!

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      After these bombings I doubt Hamas has hostages to set free it might be difficult to find even the remains from minced bodies, if you see the Israel marches inside Israel the message is a call for a cease fire because the realisation is this war was not about freeing their relatives but revenge, trully speaking no one can pick sides at this moment the Israeli citizens unfairly endured the Hamas attack they dont have strength of enduring the killing again of the captives by the same people who vowed to bring them back, there was never a plan to do so its sad to everyone except the western leaders who have everything to gain and zero to lose

    • Denise Smit says:

      No word in the article about the 7th October and the hostages. Never seen a soldier(terrorist) The are in the underground tunnels, but there must be visible places where they fire their rockets from, it can not be from underground. 7000 fired from Hamas to Israel. Where do they keep the rockets?

    • John P says:

      Even if Hamas release all the hostages unconditionally I doubt that Netanyahu will stop the killing. He is looking to stay in power at all costs and nothing unites a nation better than war.

      • Caroline de Braganza says:

        I agree John.

      • Enver Klein says:

        John, Netantyahu presented a flag of “The New Middle East” without Palestine during his September 22, 2023, address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. That day, he made it very clear with his map, what “normalisation” he really seeks, the elimination of Palestine, from the region. Does this indicate someone who would actively want the attacks on Gaza to end, even after he “destroys” Hamas?

  • Rachelle Seymore says:

    My heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones – on both sides. We all know this relationshp is complex and has been building up – on both sides. This article is very one sided. I see no mention of how and when this conflict started. I see a short paragraph at the end about Israel. Come on Daily Maverick. You can do better than this. It almost reads like an ANC report.

    • Agf Agf says:

      The thing is, they CAN’T do any better. The DM reporting has been one sided since the beginning.

      • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

        DM can only quote what the people they interview say they cannot deduct or add and if they put forward inputs its based on research mostly using available information that is in the public domain and it wont be what we like always its the nature of jornalism dont you think?

    • Caroline de Braganza says:

      In all fairness, this article is about the faces and personal stories behind the escalating death toll in Gaza, not a history lesson.

  • Andre Swart says:

    Hamas has started a terrible war!

    An unstoppable raging fire that decimates everything in it’s way!

    NEVER AGAIN!

    • Paul T says:

      c’mon man, do a bit of reading, this started way before 7 October. It is a horror story, but if you read honestly I think you won’t be so sure about who is the victim vs the perpetrator.

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      Emotionally thinking about this and taking the side you like you are right, but unfortunately those are not the facts of the situation dig deeper i know you are capable of doing it and dont be surprised when you realise what goes around comes around, i condemn terrorist acts among innocent civillians irrespective who commits them, only cowards kill woman and children and the elderly

    • Johann Olivier says:

      Sad thing is, Israel is creating the next 100 000 Hamas maniacs. This is EXACTLY what Hamas wanted. In asymmetric warfare, victory is not clear cut. Here’s the sad fact: Israel has already lost to these scum terrorists. They started losing almost 2 decades ago when they allowed religious nuts to occupy the West Bank. When they allowed these same settler lunatics to behave like overlords, under the protection of the army. When they created, in Gaza, the largest concentration camp (by definition) outside China. If anything, they encouraged the renaissance of the worst of Palestinian society. Israel cannot win here. On any level.

  • Agf Agf says:

    It’s really quite simple. If Hamas cares for the people of Palestine then they should surrender and hand all the hostages over. The war would be over in an instant.

    • John P says:

      No it would not, Netanyahu will still need his revenge

    • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

      so you honestly believe the state of Israel is the victim here? think again

      • Kanu Sukha says:

        Minds that have been ‘occupied’ (like the Palestinian territories) are not capable of ‘thinking’ … in fact, you would think that given our own history … many are hoping for the the return of our ‘apartheid’ regime … when things were apparently so much ‘better’ … than after the the arrival of ‘democracy’ ! Much of it naturally depending on whether you were a beneficiary or victim of it ! It is thee primary ‘driver’ of the values we subscribe to. Incidentally … I do not endorse/condone the ‘corruption’ that has steadily engulfed the ruling party and its allies.

  • Moyaki San says:

    It is well documented in British historical speeches and freely available documentaries that the brutality against Palestinians has always been the policy of right-wing Zionism since before the invention of Israel to ethnically cleanse Palestine for a Jewish-only state. A “Jewish-only” democracy is the same as the “Whites-only” democracy of apartheid where blacks were marginalised and brutalised to retain power.

    • André Pelser says:

      This is an emotional issue, but biased hate speech is not helpful.
      Read the book ” A peace to end all peace: the Fall of the Ottoman empire” by David Fromkin and bring the atrocities of the 7th of October and all civilian casualties in war into the frame. There is no justification for killing innocent civilians, nor for hostiles using them as human shields and holding hostages. Both sides are to blame, the question is how to bring about enduring peace – any suggestions?

      • dexter m says:

        The only option currently that would work is the one state option . Would mean both sides would have to create and accept a constitution and bill of rights to guarantee equal rights of all citizens. Check out “Standing Together” group in Israel trying to move beyond the zero sum game.

        • Paul T says:

          I agree 100%. The often touted 2 state solution will never lead to lasting peace. The idea of a Jewish state should be dismantled and a new state built from the ground up that includes all that inhabit it. It was a bad idea before 1947 and its a bad idea now.

        • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

          The two state solution can be interim until they get used to co existing side by side that will give time for the anger to simmer on both sides then they can build one state and if this can go to the civillians to decide on both sides you will be shocked how quick it can be achieved, politicians like secret agendas and they are polluted by third and forth countries

        • André Pelser says:

          Arab states should guarantee Israel’s safety and security and assume responsibility for policing radical Islamic organisations in their states.

          • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

            That would be worth the paper it’s written on, and valid for as long as the ink were still wet

      • Kenneth FAKUDE says:

        stop the occupation allow a palestinian state with its army, they will deal with Hamas and Israel will deal with their own security by the way there is the Syrian Golan heights occupation so Israel has a known habit of land grabbing and their pretend to be shocked they have enemies, the Palestinians can do nothing about Hamas in their current state, we had some armed groups here in south africa as well and they were freedom fighters, fortunately the National party had bad policies but they were human we had Boipatong and sharpville killings but we found our way to embrace our differences because everyone was south african, we had Bantu stans then for an effort of some self determination, you can not oppress people to a point that they cannot breathe because any air for them is fine hense the Palestinians breathe Hamas liking it or not, Gaza metro tunnels were not build 7 of october, they have been an open secret as long as they fired rockets and the iron dome stopped them it was ok as long as Israel continued with illegal settlements, something was always going to give and having said that i condemn the 7th of october and the revenge taking place with every fibre of my being if we could do it Israel can only the willpower is lacking and playing the victim worked for a while but it cannot be for ever unless they succeed in wiping out the Palestinians

    • Alan Salmon says:

      What utter rubbish. There are many Palestinians living peacefully in Israel with no evidence of ethnic cleansing!

      • Paul T says:

        A (not devout) muslim colleague who visited Israel with his family said he and his family were treated as second-class humans by the Israelis, and when they engaged with Palestinians in and around Jerusalem, none of them were happy. I don’t know what your definition of peace is, unless it just means “people not fighting”.

      • Johann Olivier says:

        Mr. Salmon. I presume you are in regular contact with Israeli Palestinians? They live in Israel, as Israeli citizens, but are constantly & consistently treated as lesser citizens. As for Palestinians on the West Bank, they are treated like sub-humans. No respect, little if any legal protection, no dignity. Not exactly ‘ethnic cleansing’, but an environment that strongly encourages departure.

  • Dov de Jong says:

    Burning women and children alive does not matter, raping and killing women does not matter, slaughtering babies in their cots does not matter, putting live babies in ovens and switching the ovens on does not matter, beheading babies does not matter, all of this does not matter because they are all Jews. When the Allies bombed Germany during the second World War, the firestorm of Hamburg that killed untold tens of thousands civilians was not trotted out as a crime against Humanity. Now all of a sudden some Norwegian doctor gets pulled centre stage, and he has written a BOOK !, so what he says must be gospel. I remind you dear reader that Adolph Hitler also wrote a book. What the woke world has not grasped is that the Jews of Israel were confronted once again with Ichtab el Yahud. This time the response is appropriate more so in view of the stated wish of Palestinians ” from the river to the sea Palestine will be free ” which is a call for the annihilation of the Jews in Israel, well I think cooperation in this regard will be lacking.

    • Nas Hodja says:

      Unfortunately, a huge amount of lies came out of Israel about Oct. 7. Yes, killing of unarmed civilians is a war crime, and Israel has done it at a far greater scale to the Palestinians. This oven business, and beheading of babies never happened. There may have been some isolated incidents of rape, but it was not widespread.

      Almost everything that Hamas did actually do (and no doubt some of them are war crimes) has been done to them by the settlers and the IDF, including rape and the killing of children.

      This stuff did not start with Hamas on Oct 7. The brutal subjugation, killing and dispossession of the Palestinian people started in 1948, and has been on-going for the last 75+ years. Read up about the Al-Dawayima massacre in 1948, and what the IDF did to children. One of more than 450 villages where Palestinians were killed and driven from their homes. The people of Gaza are among the +80% of Palestinians who were ethnically cleansed from their homes and villages which are on the other side of the fence, and Jews imported from other countries where given their homes and farmlands. All the want to do is return home.

      Before Oct 7, homes and apartment blocks were being bombed almost every week, and Palestinians having to pick up the broken mutilated bodies of their children from the rubble. Maybe something broke in them, and then they did care about the lives of Israeli children either. And we know what has been done since.

  • Bobby 10 says:

    Condolences to Gift of the Givers on the loss of Ahmed Abassi. An organization representing the best of humanity in a situation representing the very worst. There can be no justification for the killing of innocent civilians, especially children. Every person of conscience should be calling for an immediate cease fire!

    • Kanu Sukha says:

      If one of the replies is indicative … s/he suggested/alleged the Gift of the Givers individual/s must have been involved in ‘Hamas’ related ‘terrorist’ activities ! Talk about ‘occupation’ or poisoning of minds … and the lengths the occupation forces would go to, to discredit any factual information. Don’t be surprised if the IDF is ‘manufacturing’ (Chomsky) evidence like the US did about ‘weapons of mass destruction’ . With AI … and uncle Sam’s support of course, it should be a ‘cake walk’ for the Israeli regime (not all Israelis or Jews) to do so. As for the subjugation of the Uyghurs in China, no doubt the ‘blueprint’ for that system originated in Israel … quite an achievement for the Israeli regime !

      • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

        Thanks for the compliment – heard a lot of stuff we invented and control but this is the first time we’ve probably heard about invented the Uyghur blueprint. Thanks for the clarifying disclaimers too – I’m sure some of your best friends are Jewish. You must have such wonderful children

  • Allan Wolman Wolman says:

    Did Fariel &Co miss these reports? Must have as I don’t recall a single protest march or much exposure in the mainstream media:
    Overall deaths in the conflict in Syria: Source: Wikipedia
    Source: United Nations: Killed (minimum identified): 350,209 Time 2011-2021
    Source: Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
    (GCR2P): Killed (minim): 580,000 Time 2011 – 2022
    Source; Syrian Observatory for Human Rights:
    Killed 503,064 – 613,407 Time 2011 – 2013

    • Nas Hodja says:

      The western powers and media were not trying to green light a genocide on that occasion. The US was not enabling a genocide by giving the Syrian regime an endless supply of free bombs to bomb its people to rubble. Lot’s of letters were written, but maybe that’s why there were fewer protests.

      You can change the course of democracies through protests, but it is very difficult to change the course of dictators and tyrants. Sometimes protests happen in their own countries and that can have an effect.

  • Mark Wade says:

    The unprovoked, savage and brutal attack on Israel, where thousands of people were kidnapped, tortured, raped and murdered – and children decapitated and thrown into ovens, and raped and mutilated teenage girls dragged through the streets of Gaza – was barbaric, and Hamas expected a retaliation. Crying foul when it did happen is hypocritical. Hamas knows that releasing the 300-odd kidnapped victims will end the counter-attacks, yet, they’re using that as a ‘sympathy card’ – and creating a false narrative around Israel’s incursion. Well-documented proof is evident that Hamas are the perpetrators. And, as mentioned numerous times, the ANC, EFF and BDS are ‘useful idiots’ in the defense of Hamas.

    • Johann Olivier says:

      Mr. Wade. These numbers that you’re bandying about come from where? It seems even the Israeli government does not agree with you. So, merciless terrorists kill innocents & the answer is to kill many multiples more innocent people. As I’ve said elsewhere: Hamas has won. Hands down. They don’t care about these numbers. In fact, they enthusiastically support your POV. Keep that ‘Hamas victory’ flame burning. That victory-for-terrorist-scum emotive flame.

    • Enver Klein says:

      This is the strangest comment I’ve ever read: “… Hamas knows that releasing the 300-odd kidnapped victims will end the counter-attacks …”. Listen to or read Netanyahu’s interviews, he will not stop until Gaza is flattened, there is no two-state solution in his thinking. Netanyahu always campaigned for a strong Hamas, in the hope that they would attack and give him the reason he wanted.

  • Amanda Landman says:

    WAR is atrocious – there is no denying that and our nation has proved that we were prepared to do a lot, give up a lot, not to have a war…but when one party keeps on being an aggressor and refuses to commit to peace and prosperity, things will go awry. Israeli’s have been persecuted for many many years and the Jewish people have taken an oath “never again” – so they are now reactive to the astounding horrifying violence that was inflicted upon them a couple of weeks ago. All we can do is take away the lesson in that – let us unite as a nation and STOP the HATE! Do not pick a side here – because you don’t live there, you don’t see what’s happening, do not listen to one-sided rhetorics. Do not promote the hate – instead, focus on the higher vibrations for this war to end…

  • Petrus Kleinhans says:

    I am incredibly saddened by the world we are in since Russia invaded Ukraine and Hamas committed their attrocities on 7 October 2023. If 9/11 changed the world what has these events done?

    Why did Hamas not move their civilians out of harms way after their horrors of October 7th while expecting Israel’s inevitable response? Why don’t you see them busy doing so even now? Why does Hamas fight from among their civilian population in a densely populated area? Why are Hamas not held to any normal moral standard? Why are they allowed to treat the lives of their civilians as cheap currency? Why is it OK for them to hold babies, children, women and elderly as hostages?

    Why does Cyril Ramaphosa condemn Israels war but the Russian war is fine. This when Russia has been bombing, killing, raping and maiming Ukranian civilians for over a year and have abducted more than 19000 children.

    It seems we are in a place of complete moral relativity. What is this world we are leaving to the next generation? I am a grandfather and I am crying for my grand children.

  • Mordechai Yitzchak says:

    The majority of commentators here should thank whoever they are praying to 5x a day, that ensured a Joe Biden is in the White House (when it could just have easily been Donald Trump), that delegitimised Bibi Netanyahu’s power-base (he could once walk on water in Israel) and that the IDF really is the world’s most moral army (any other defence force on earth with its capabilities would have retaliated to an October 7th attack by levelling Gaza on October 8 by air and drone, without risking a single soldier).

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