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“Complete Dehumanization”: Israel Killed Over 800 Palestinians in 11 Days

“We can no longer accept the statement that Israel is taking ‘all precautions’ — this is just propaganda.”

A Palestinian woman and a child cry as they mourn the death of a loved one following Israeli bombardment, outside a hospital in Deir el-Balah in the central Gaza Strip, on June 7, 2024.

Israel’s recent massacres in Gaza killed over 800 Palestinians in less than two weeks — an extreme rate of brutal killing that has become normalized in western circles due to the “complete dehumanization” of Palestinians, a human rights group said this week.

From June 1 to June 11, Israeli forces killed over 800 Palestinians and wounded over 2,400 as they carried out bombardments and raids across Gaza, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported. This is an average of over 72 Palestinians killed each day at the hands of Israeli forces.

This includes Israel’s assault of Nuseirat refugee camp on Saturday that killed 274 Palestinians, including 64 children, and injured 698 others, with Israeli forces carrying out one of the most deadly single attacks of their genocidal siege so far in order to retrieve four Israelis held hostage in Gaza. The attack was carried out on a bustling civilian center in the middle of the day, raising questions about whether Israeli forces violated international law.

MSF condemned Israel’s “propaganda” that it is not committing war crimes in Gaza.

“How can the killing of more than 800 people in a single week, including small children, plus the maiming of hundreds more, be considered a military operation adhering to international humanitarian law?,” said Brice de le Vingne, who heads MSF’s emergency unit, in a statement. “We can no longer accept the statement that Israel is taking ‘all precautions’ — this is just propaganda.”

The 11-day death toll also includes at least 70 Palestinians killed and over 300 wounded due to heavy Israeli shelling in central Gaza on June 4, MSF said; and at least 40 Palestinians killed and 74 wounded on June 6, when Israel bombed a UN school-turned-shelter in Nuseirat. The killings of hundreds of Palestinians in other Israeli attacks, ranging across southern, central and northern Gaza, in the first days of June have otherwise been largely ignored by news outlets, and are hardly documented by official sources.

Behind each death is a horrifying story of a Palestinian who lived through months of displacement, constant bombardment, hunger and likely the loss of family members, bearing witness to the 37,000 people killed by Israel in Gaza over eight months just to themselves be killed by Israeli forces. Survivors recall horrors, like children who recount being pulled out of the rubble of their homes, and the pervading smell of death.

The fact that Palestinian death has become a commonplace, everyday occurrence is a show of the widespread and “complete” dehumanization of Palestinians, MSF said. Indeed, Palestinians have been begging for decades for themselves, their families, and their children to be recognized as human beings, and not just as racialized subjects of Israel’s never-ending bloodbath or weapons manufacturers’ testing.

“Since October (and certainly before), the dehumanization of Palestinians has been a hallmark of this war,” de le Vingne said. “Catch-all phrases like ‘war is ugly’ act as blinders to the fact that children too young to walk are being dismembered, eviscerated, and killed.”

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