In Both Israel and in Gaza, They Didn’t Deserve to Die

By Gideon Levy

An Israeli soldier stands in an apartment during a ground operation in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.

An Israeli soldier stands in an apartment during a ground operation in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday.Credit: Ohad Zwigenberg /AP

A photo by Associated Press’s Ohad Zwigenberg on the front page of Haaretz was worth a thousand words. It showed an IDF soldier inside a child’s room in Gaza, his foot resting on a bed. The room’s pink walls, intended to create a calm atmosphere, could not conceal the horror: the room was a mess, torn and tattered, with only a hairless doll strewn on the bed, reminding viewers that this was the room of a child, which will never serve as one again. Its inhabitants fled for their lives or were killed, or both.

The Gazan room looked exactly like the destroyed children’s rooms I saw in Kibbutz Be’eri on the morning after the massacre. One cannot avoid thinking about the fate of their little inhabitants, both here and there. If the children in Be’eri survived, they can at least hope for a better future. If the children in Gaza survived, no hope awaits them.

We Need Your HELP: Click Here To Support Independent Media: People For Global Justice – Since 2001

Children are children, one must reiterate, and one cannot but be equally horrified by what has happened to them, both here and there. In the fascist reality now sweeping Israel, even this statement is considered treasonous, subversive and an expression of Israel hatred. How dare you compare?

Midday Saturday, Hamas’ deputy health minister, Yousuf Abu al-Arish, speaking from the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza, announced that 39 premature babies are facing imminent death from suffocation, after generators shut down, cutting off oxygen flow to their incubators. Al-Arish cried out: “This is the moment we’ve been warning about.” Outside, there was already a pile of 100 bodies which had not been identified, covered in white shrouds. They could not be brought to burial, since the hospital was under siege, surrounded on all sides by tanks. The wounded and sick, as well as the dead, could no longer be extricated from the inferno.

Shortly afterward, Prof. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian doctor who had volunteered at the hospital in all the previous wars but was now stuck in Cairo, stated that Israeli snipers had spread out around the hospital and were shooting at it. One nurse on the premature baby ward was killed.

Photos from Al-Shifa Hospital before it was cut off showed dozens of bleeding wounded people lying on the floor, and a shrieking father rushing towards his dead infant, who was also strewn on the floor. Hell is there. Dr. Tanya Haj-Hassan, a physician from Doctors Without Borders, said she had no words left.

There were 4,506 dead children by Friday night. Forty thousand housing units have been totally destroyed. Half of Gaza lies in rubble. The Rantisi children’s hospital is under siege, with no one able to enter or leave. The Al-Nasr Children’s Hospital also stopped functioning and all the sick and wounded children there were evacuated, to God knows where. The Al-Buraq school was bombed on Friday night, and at least 50 people who had thought they had found refuge there were killed. The IDF reported that a Hamas company commander who had prevented Gazans from moving southwards was among the dead. Bingo.

One cannot maintain equanimity in view of these scenes. Even after the visits to kibbutzim and towns in the south the day after the massacre, even after being exposed to all the horrors that took place there. Even after all the stories of the survivors and the dead, and even after watching the movie put out by the IDF spokesperson. One cannot escape being horrified by what is now happening in Gaza, even in the knowledge of what lies underneath those hospitals.

No less horrific is the recognition that one must now take sides: You are either shocked by the atrocities committed by Hamas, or by the atrocities committed by the IDF. Decide. Choose sides. Which dead children shock you more? Which bereaved parents trouble you more? Can you not see the difference between Hamas, which came here to massacre, and an army that came to save hostages and wipe out Hamas? I can indeed, but the butchered children, and their no-less butchered parents, have little interest in the intentions of their killers.

On both sides, they didn’t deserve to die. Their killing is equally shocking, and there is no reason in the world to be apologetic about taking this stance.

Gideon Levy is an Israeli journalist and author. Levy writes opinion pieces and a weekly column for the newspaper Haaretz that often focus on the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories. Levy has won prizes for his articles on human rights in the Israeli-occupied territories

Click Here ToGet Our FREE Newsletter No Advertising – No Government Grants – This Is Independent Media

Views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Information Clearing House.





5 responses to “In Both Israel and in Gaza, They Didn’t Deserve to Die”

  1. scrdmgl Avatar

    I heartily disagree, the people in Gaza are repeating the suicidal immolation of Jews in their 1943 Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. They are buying their freedom with rivers of blood as their only alternative, even if they fail.

    1. rosross Avatar

      They certainly are and the Jews who died in WWII must be spinning in their graves, rocks and all at the genocidal travesty Israel commits in their name.

  2. Vladimír Sobotka Avatar
    Vladimír Sobotka

    V Gaze probíhá odvetná akce Izraele momentálně za teroristický útok Hamásu 7.10.2023, přičemž trpí i obyvatelstvo Gazy, což je odsouzeníhodné. Jaké je to obyvatelstvo? Může a chce nepomáhat Hamásu? Obojí těžko. Jednak území GAZA je něco jako protektorát Hamásu. Protektorát následuje po okupaci. Bylo území GAZA okupováno Hamásem nebo je Hamás součástí lokality a má s ní společnou ideologii a politiku? Jedná se v Gaze o kolaboraci s okupačním Hamásem nebo má Hamás dobrovolnou podporu? Jsou aspoň náznaky odporu obyvatelstva proti Hamásu? Asi nejsou. Buď ani nikdy nebyly, protože Hamás dělá to, co si obyvatelstvo přeje, nebo byly zlikvidovány. Všichni jsou tam islámisté se zakořeněnou nenávistí k Židům. Rozlišit to nelze a vypadá to, že obyvatelstvo poskytuje Hamásu podporu dobrovolně. Snad až na účast v živých štítech, ale Alláh je za to pochválí, protože to škodí Židům, že? A Tak mně nepřipadá, že se děje něco odsouzeníhodného, i když vraždění nevinných nikdy nebudu podporovat. Zejména nikdy nebudu podporovat teroristický Hamás a nebudu Židům upírat jejich právo na jejich domovinu, které jim islámisté upírají a v tom je celý problém.

  3. rosross Avatar

    As to what lies beneath the hospitals, surely Mr Levy you have not fallen for Israeli propaganda given your record? The Israelis have produced ZERO evidence that Hamas had bases in or beneath hospitals.

    The real story is the IDF has neither the courage nor the ability to tackle the Palestinian fighters in their tunnels and so is blitzing hospitals, school, refugee camps, ambulances from a distance because then it can maintain its killrate without risking the lives of its clearly poorly trained soldiers.

    Then again, years of fighting children, women, the old and the sick, often locked in cages or prisons like Gaza is going to create a very inferior soldier anyway.

  4. Marilyn Avatar

    Gideon and the others in Israel refuse to understand that the only children who died in Israel were slaughtered by IDF tanks in Be’eri