Gaza Is Deliberately Being Made Uninhabitable

Caitlin Johnstone
5 min readDec 13, 2023

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

Infectious diseases are tearing through Gaza, whose healthcare system has been rendered almost nonexistent, and people are beginning to starve in massive numbers. All of this is due to concrete policy decisions made by Israel in its horrific assault on the Gaza Strip.

In an article titled “Gaza’s health system is ‘on its knees’ as Israel pushes into Khan Younis,” The Washington Post reports that the mass displacement of nearly two million Palestinians in Gaza has led to overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions that are rapidly giving rise to disease.

“Meanwhile, the Gaza Health Ministry and other medical workers said they were recording new cases of acute hepatitis, scabies, measles and upper respiratory infections, mostly among children,” the Post reports. “Infectious diseases are spreading fast, said Imad al-Hams, a physician at the Kuwaiti Hospital in Rafah, as people crowd into tiny slivers of land to escape advancing Israeli forces.”

In a recent interview with CNN, Doctors Without Borders emergency coordinator Marie-Aure Perreaut described conditions in Gaza as “apocalyptic”, saying living conditions at the Al-Aqsa Hospital she’s working from “can barely be described as living conditions anymore.”

“The healthcare system is completely collapsed at the moment,” Perreaut told Al Jazeera.

The UN World Food Programme reports that half of Gaza’s population is now starving due to Israeli siege warfare and the collapse of civilian infrastructure. In northern Gaza that figure goes up to nine in ten.

All of this aligns perfectly with Israeli policies of massive forced evacuations, attacking healthcare facilities, and laying complete siege to the Gaza Strip.

A doctor named Hafez Abukhoussa writes the following in a new article for Time titled “What I’ve Seen Treating Patients in Gaza’s Remaining Hospitals”:

“Gaza’s health care system has almost completely collapsed as a result of Israel’s ongoing bombardment. Hospitals and ambulances have been repeatedly attacked. According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, more than 250 medical workers have been killed so far, including two of my colleagues from Doctors Without Borders, who died while performing their duties in Al-Awda hospital in northern Gaza. Of Gaza’s 36 hospitals, only 11 are still functioning in any capacity, according to the World Health Organization. Hospitals in the north like Al-Shifa are barely functioning at all, as basic medicines and fuel have run out. My colleagues have been performing amputations by flashlight and without anesthesia. When Israeli soldiers raided Al-Shifa a few weeks ago — a move the head of the WHO called ‘totally unacceptable’ — doctors and staff were forced to abandon patients too sick or injured to evacuate. Some of those who refused to leave, including the hospital’s director, were arrested, alongside dozens of others. At Al-Nasr Children’s hospital, soldiers ordered staff to leave the patients, including four premature babies who required oxygen, who were later found dead.”

This all also aligns perfectly with the Netanyahu government’s reported agenda to “thin” the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip “to a minimum,” and with all the other calls for ethnic cleansing we keep seeing pushed by Israeli officials and thought leaders over and over again.

It also aligns perfectly with the suggestions made last month by an influential Israeli national security leader named Giora Eiland, a retired major general for the IDF.

“The international community warns us of a humanitarian disaster in Gaza and of severe epidemics,” Eiland wrote. “We must not shy away from this, as difficult as that may be. After all, severe epidemics in the south of the Gaza Strip will bring victory closer and reduce casualties among IDF soldiers.”

Eiland was completely dismissive of the idea that there are innocent people in Gaza, a sentiment we’re seeing pushed harder and harder as Israel draws nearer and nearer to a very, very dark chapter in the history of human civilization.

“They are not only Hamas fighters with weapons, but also all the ‘civilian’ officials, including hospital administrators and school administrators, and also the entire Gaza population that enthusiastically supported Hamas and cheered on its atrocities on October 7th,” Eiland wrote, adding, “Who are the ‘poor’ women of Gaza? They are all the mothers, sisters or wives of Hamas murderers.”

These comments call to mind those made in 2014 by far-right former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked:

“Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

When people talk about genocide in Gaza, they’re not just talking about the thousands of civilians who’ve been killed in Israeli airstrikes. The policies Israel has been deliberately putting in place have the potential to kill many, many more people than that in the coming months, and if Netanyahu and his goons get their way, that’s exactly what will happen.

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Featured image via Palestinian News & Information Agency (Wafa) in contract with APAimages (CC BY-SA 3.0 DEED), formatted for size.

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