How Much Killing Is Enough Killing?

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readOct 25, 2023

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

Israel has killed multiple times as many people since October 7 as were killed on October 7, has caused many times more destruction since October 7 than was caused on October 7, and has inflicted many times more pain and suffering since October 7 than was inflicted on October 7.

Even if you completely ignore the power dynamics and abuses which led to the Hamas attack and just look impartially at the raw data, it’s an easily quantifiable fact that what Israel has done since October 7 is worse than what Hamas did on October 7. While there is a huge taboo against saying this publicly, it’s not seriously debatable. The only way to make it seem otherwise would be to see Palestinian lives as worth less than Israeli lives, which is not a position that deserves to be taken seriously.

But that isn’t the foremost objective fact separating the death and destruction on October 7 from all the death and destruction that’s happened since. The foremost objective fact separating the death and destruction on October 7 from the death and destruction that’s happened since is that October 7 already happened, while the Gaza massacre is still ongoing and can be stopped.

Everything that happened on October 7 is in the past. It’s done. No matter how many bombs the IDF drops, no matter how many civilians in Gaza are killed, no matter how many buildings are smashed to rocks and powder, no matter how much propaganda the western media churn out, it won’t bring one single Israeli who died on October 7 back to life.

Nothing about October 7 can be changed. It’s in the past. We have no access to it. But what can be changed is the decision to keep killing civilians by the thousands with a relentless barrage of military explosives and strangling them to death with siege warfare for something they did not do.

At any time Israel could stop turning entire city blocks into rubble and adding to the thousands of children who’ve been killed, but they don’t. It’s still happening. Every hour this goes on is another decision made by the Israeli government to keep it going, and every hour it keeps going is more death and human misery in Gaza.

And at a certain point there’s a very important question that will need to be answered, and that question is this: how much is enough?

How much killing is enough killing? How many civilians need to die before we can draw a line under this one?

How high does the pile of mutilated and dismembered children need to be before it’s high enough? Give me a specific height please, in meters or in yards.

It’s an answer we’re going to come to one way or another. At some point we’re going to reach the end of the killing, either because some sliver of conscience awakened in the powers perpetrating and facilitating it, or because it became politically inconvenient to continue, or because some meaningless and arbitrary goal was declared to have been met, or because the killers felt satiated by the amount of killing they’d done, or because there was no one left to kill.

So we may as well begin chewing on that question right now so we can get settle on a number as soon as possible. How much is enough? It’s a question that demands an answer. And the answer we come to collectively will say a lot about our species, and about where it is headed.


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