In a pointed riposte to U.S. President Joe Biden — who said he has “no confidence” in Gaza casualty figures provided by Hamas, Palestinian health officials on Thursday released a 212-page list identifying 6,747 people killed by Israeli air and artillery attacks on the besieged enclave since October 7.
The Gaza Health Ministry published the names, ages, genders, and civil identification numbers of 6,747 Palestinian victims of Israeli attacks, including 2,665 children. The list is in Arabic, with an English version said to be forthcoming.
Another 281 people, 248 of them children, could not be identified. In order to improve chances of identification should their children be dismembered by Israeli bombardment, some Gaza parents and guardians have taken to writing children’s names on their hands and legs.
All told, 7,028 Palestinians — including 2,913 children — have been killed in Gaza since Israel declared war in the wake of the Hamas-led infiltration attacks that left more than 1,400 Israeli civilians and soldiers dead on and after October 7.
The Ministry of Health released a report on those killed in Gaza, by Israeli airstrikes. Here is the name, ID number & age of those who’ve been identified. Where you see words vs a number – kids under 1.— Sana Saeed (@SanaSaeed) October 26, 2023
This follows a 2 week Israeli/US campaign to discredit MOH & Palestinians. pic.twitter.com/GJXmIF8emU
More than 17,000 Palestinians have been injured in Israeli attacks, nearly half the homes in Gaza have been damaged or destroyed, and over 1.4 million people have been displaced.
Israeli soldiers and settlers have also killed more than 100 Palestinians in the illegally occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since October 7, while nearly 2,000 others have been wounded there.
The Gaza Health Ministry said in a statement that it was releasing the list “so that the world knows that behind every number is the story of a person whose name and identity are known.”
“Our people are not nobodies who can be ignored,” the agency stressed.
“At a time when our people are waiting for urgent international intervention to stop the genocidal war being carried out by the Israeli occupier against all civilian components including health and media personnel… more than 2 million people living in the Gaza Strip are exposed to the ugliest types of systematic killing and brutal massacres,” the statement continued.
CNN has just published completely shocking before and after satellite images showing the extent of the obliteration of Gaza neighborhoods. Israel was not lying when it claimed to be focused on damage rather than accuracy: https://t.co/grJx0HyKpi pic.twitter.com/mPF5TTVOIv— Nathan J Robinson (@NathanJRobinson) October 26, 2023
The ministry accused the Biden administration of accepting all of the Israeli government’s claims “without any verification or scrutiny” and “devoid of all… morals and basic human rights values that it sings about.”
On Wednesday, Biden — who earlier this month declared his “rock-solid and unwavering” commitment to Israel — said during a White House press conference that he was “sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war.”
“But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using,” the president added.
Some critics condemned Biden’s stance as “genocide denial.”
However, the administration doubled down on its claim as White House Spokesperson John Kirby said during a Thursday press briefing that “the Gaza Ministry of Health is just a front for Hamas.”
“We can’t take anything coming out of Hamas, including the so-called Ministry of Health, at face value,” Kirby added.
The White House spokesman says that Gaza's 'so-called' Ministry of Health is just a front for Hamas and that their numbers are not reliable. They've gone with doubling down on genocide denial. pic.twitter.com/nTciOSiluX— Stop Cop City (@JoshuaPHilll) October 26, 2023
Some observers noted that the Biden administration cited Gaza Ministry of Health casualty figures as recently as last year in a State Department human rights report.
IfNotNow, a Jewish-led U.S. peace group, called the Gaza victims list “catastrophic” and “devastating.”
“President Biden publicly undermining the Gaza death toll is dangerous and wrong,” the group said. “Questioning death tolls directly dehumanizes Palestinians. It’s a key part of genocide denial. Israel is murdering Palestinians. By minimizing this, the U.S. is laying the groundwork for more death.”
Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, told The New York Times that the arguing over the number of dead in Gaza is akin to not seeing the forest for the trees.
“As the debate focuses on death tolls, the bodies continue to pile up,” Shakir said. “Our focus should be on how to prevent further mass atrocities, instead of debating whether or not the number is exactly accurate or not.”
“We know that Palestinians are being killed in unprecedentedly high numbers,” he said, “and that needs to end.”
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