The New York Times highlights historic rate of civilian deaths in Gaza

Menna Ossama, Sunday 26 Nov 2023

On 25 November, The New York Times released an article highlighting an alarming surge in civilian casualties in Gaza, surpassing even the deadliest moments of US-led attacks on Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan.

File Photo: Smoke and explosions caused by Israeli bombardment are seen on the horizon in northern Gaza. AP


A four-day pause in Israel's war on Gaza commenced on 24 November, after brutal Israeli bombardment had resulted in the tragic deaths of over 15,000 civilians. Among the victims were approximately 6,000 children and 4,500 women, with nearly 1.7 million people displaced.

Marc Garlasco, a military adviser for the Dutch organization PAX and a former senior intelligence analyst at the Pentagon, expressed his shock, stating, "It’s beyond anything that I’ve seen in my career," in an interview with the New York Times.

The article also drew attention to the disproportionate number of fatalities among women and children in Gaza, constituting 70 percent of all reported deaths within a span of less than two months. A comparison to conflict zones in Ukraine, Iraq, and Afghanistan revealed an accelerated pace of casualties.

Commenting on the situation, the article noted, "Israel’s liberal use of very large weapons in dense urban areas is surprising," highlighting that over 60,000 buildings, including approximately half of those in northern Gaza, have been damaged or destroyed.

Brian Castner, a weapons investigator for Amnesty International and a former explosive ordnance disposal officer in the US Air Force, warned that the Israeli forces' use of extremely large weapons in densely populated areas represents a perilous combination of factors.

The NY Times reported a shift in the Biden administration's stance, acknowledging the gravity of the civilian death toll in Gaza after initial skepticism. The true figures for civilian casualties may, in fact, be even more devastating.

Furthermore, Neta C. Crawford, a University of Oxford professor who is co-director of Brown University’s Costs of War Project, highlighted the potential public health risks arising from the destruction of healthcare systems and compromised water supplies in Gaza, underscoring the broader consequences of the conflict.

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