Nuseirat: Rescue and Massacre

Each day this war continues, it only grows more horrific.”
– Martin Grifffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Reports from Gaza say the Israeli assault on the Nuseirat refugee camp has killed 210 Palestinians and wounded more than 400. Israel is celebrating the rescue of four hostages – Noa Argamani, 25, Almog Meir Jan, 21, Andrey Kozlov, 27, and Shlomi Ziv, 40. All four were healthy and were reunited with their families on Saturday. But as Israel celebrate and western media comply with this framing, its worth remembering that Hamas has already offered to release hostages in ten previous ceasefire deals each rejected by Israel.

The bodies including 23 children and 11 women were taken to al-Aqsa Martyrs hospital, which also treated more than 100 wounded, a spokesperson, told Associate Press.

“Nuseirat refugee camp is the epicentre of the seismic trauma that civilians in Gaza continue to suffer,” Martin Griffiths, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator said.

In a new grotesque twist it seems that, according to reports including Sahour Axo, an independent Lebanese journalist, that  Israel used Joe Biden’s designated “humanitarian aid pier” as an access point for the raid in which more than 210 Palestinians civilians, mostly children, die in Nuseirat refugee camp yesterday.

This is denied by the US. According to AP:

“Pushing back against social media claims, the U.S Central Command said in a tweet that neither the American-built pier in Gaza that brings in aid for Palestinians by sea nor any of its equipment, personnel or other assets were used in the Israeli operation. It said Israel used an area south of the pier “to safely return hostages.”

Apart from the moral stance of claiming that a rescue operation that killed 100s of civilians in order to save four people, a success, the raids have other consequences for the whole crisis.

As the American writer Greg Stoker has written: “The Hostage Rescue Operation conducted early this morning will have far-reaching unintended consequences. Many are ecstatic right now about this first “success” after nearly 9 months, but there will be some hard realities and questions to answer come Monday”

“The hostage families were gaining political traction calling for a ceasefire. Now their voice will be suppressed. The Israeli establishment only cares about symbolic victories and will never admit that now they recovered 4 hostages, they’ll never get the opportunity again.”

“Hamas will change its tactics and procedures to ensure this will never happen again. 2) How do you claim that a rescue operation that killed 100s of civilians in order to save 4 people, a success? This disregard for Palestinian life continues to damage Israel’s reputation.”

“The U.S Administration has completely lost it. Biden makes a grand speech about a ceasefire/hostage deal, sends Blinken down to the region to broker this deal and makes grand statements that the U.S will put this proposal forward to the UNSC – THEN they conduct a joint operation with Israel, a country that is currently in trial for genocide, in order to rescue four hostages, whilst jointly killing hundreds of innocent civilians.”

He concludes:

“The only thing the U.S has accomplished here is to isolate itself further, be complicit in war crimes and render themselves unfit to lead any negotiations between the two parties involved.”

An UNRWA school turned shelter attacked. This time in Nuseirat, in the Middle Areas, hit overnight by the Israeli Forces without prior warning to the displaced or @UNRWA .

I think the idea of the US being some neutral moral arbiter in this dispute is obscene and outdated. But we can also see here the repeated conflation of aid and violence and the casual disregard for Palestinian lives, dehumanised and disregarded as so much collateral damage on an industrial scale. As Adam Shatz writes in the LRB ‘Israel’s Descent’:

“Over the last eight months, Israel has killed more than 36,000 Palestinians. An untold number remain under the debris and still more will die of hunger and disease. Eighty thousand Palestinians have been injured, many of them permanently maimed. Children whose parents – whose entire families – have been killed constitute a new population sub-group. Israel has destroyed Gaza’s housing infrastructure, its hospitals and all its universities. Most of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents have been displaced, some of them repeatedly; many have fled to ‘safe’ areas only to be bombed there. No one has been spared: aid workers, journalists and medics have been killed in record numbers. And as levels of starvation have risen, Israel has created one obstacle after another to the provision of food, all while insisting that its army is the ‘most moral’ in the world. The images from Gaza – widely available on TikTok, which Israel’s supporters in the US have tried to ban, and on Al Jazeera, whose Jerusalem office was shut down by the Israeli government – tell a different story, one of famished Palestinians killed outside aid trucks on Al-Rashid Street in February; of tent-dwellers in Rafah burned alive in Israeli air strikes; of women and children subsisting on 245 calories a day. This is what Benjamin Netanyahu describes as ‘the victory of Judaeo-Christian civilisation against barbarism’.”

This ‘victory’ is so awful it is conjuring new language.

Shatz continues:

“The military operation in Gaza has altered the shape, perhaps even the meaning, of the struggle over Palestine – it seems misleading, and even offensive, to refer to a ‘conflict’ between two peoples after one of them has slaughtered the other in such staggering numbers. The scale of the destruction is reflected in the terminology: ‘domicide’ for the destruction of housing stock; ‘scholasticide’ for the destruction of the education system, including its teachers (95 university professors have been killed); ‘ecocide’ for the ruination of Gaza’s agriculture and natural landscape. Sara Roy, a leading expert on Gaza who is herself the daughter of Holocaust survivors, describes this as a process of ‘econocide’, ‘the wholesale destruction of an economy and its constituent parts’ – the ‘logical extension’, she writes, of Israel’s deliberate ‘de-development’ of Gaza’s economy since 1967.”

Whatever words we use, Israel’s descent is our descent until action is taken to halt these events and re-build peace, however unimaginable that seems in the carnage. But, as in other conflicts the refrain remains ‘no justice no peace.’



Comments (3)

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  1. George Archibald says:

    It’s hard to know what to say. Everybody and his dog knows how appalling the extreme right Netanyahu government is, and how it is now as bad as the terrorist group that ‘runs’ Palestine. Hamas.
    Traditionally Israel killed around 10 Palestinians for each Israeli that Hamas killed, but now that ratio has risen 10 fold and more, and the hatred in the hearts of so many has taken over any reason that remained.
    Hamas knew well what the likely response from Israel would be to the 7th October attack, and I feel most for the Palestinian people…who have two enemies. Israel and Hamas. A dreadful situation for so many Palestinians.
    From a closer to home pov, I am also appalled at the responses from Starmer and Sunak, with Humsa Yousaf (and now John Swinney) the only major political leader to call out both sides for their appalling behaviour. Shocking.

  2. Daniel Raphael says:

    As ever, Mike, thank you. Posted at BlueSky.

  3. Daniel Raphael says:

    Wondering whether you’ve seen this: UK approved more than 100 arms export licences to Israel since Gaza war

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