A “war against humanity”: Six months of the Gaza genocide

April 7 marks six months since the beginning of the US-Israeli genocide in Gaza.

In the span of just half a year, Israel has displaced 1.9 million of Gaza’s 2.2 million people, denied the entire population access to food, water and medical care, and carried out daily, systematic massacres leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.

Ashraf Abu Draz mourns over the bodies of his two daughters who were killed in the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip, at a hospital morgue in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip, Thursday, April 4, 2024. [AP Photo/Fatima Shbair]

The death toll currently stands at 33,137. Once the missing are added, the true toll is likely over 44,000. A further 75,815 people have been wounded.

Over the course of just six months, 5.45 percent of Gaza’s population has been killed, wounded or is missing. A comparable percentage of the American population would be more than 18 million people.

Most shocking of all is the fact that two-thirds of those killed are women and children. Israel has deliberately targeted medical workers, humanitarian workers, journalists and artists. It is waging, as World Central Kitchen founder Jose Andres said Sunday, a “war against humanity.”

In the course of the past six months, every element of the US-Israeli justification for bombing, invading and blockading Gaza has been exposed as a lie.

Within weeks of the Hamas cross-border raid, it was revealed that Israel was in possession of Hamas’s entire operational plan for the October 7 attack that served as the pretext for the war. Despite this knowledge, Israeli intelligence and military forces were ordered to stand down and redeploy from the Gaza border immediately ahead of the attack.

In a matter of days, the Israeli military put into effect long-held plans for a genocidal war against the population of Gaza. “We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” declared Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant on October 9. “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel.” 

Just four days later, Israeli President Isaac Herzog declared, “It’s an entire nation out there that is responsible. It’s not true this rhetoric about civilians not aware, not involved…  we will fight until we break their backbone.” Agriculture Minister Avi Dichter declared, “We’re rolling out the Gaza Nakba” (a reference to the original ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in 1947-48, when the state of Israel was established).

Having made these statements of genocidal intent, the Netanyahu government systematically targeted all aspects of social, economic and cultural life in Gaza, working to level every hospital, school and home, and kill as many men, women and children as possible.

The genocide has undeniably shown that the perspective of Zionism is bankrupt and reactionary. Israel will forever be marked by its association with mass murder. It is the end product of decades of brutal oppression of the Palestinians, and the false identification of the interests of the Jewish people as a whole with the Israeli state.

Beyond Israel, the genocide stands as a condemnation of the entire imperialist order. The capitalist powers in the US-NATO axis have supported, armed, funded and politically justified one of the greatest crimes of the modern era.

As the Israeli government was publicly stating its intent to massacre and expel the population of Gaza, the Biden administration declared over and over its opposition to any negotiated settlement of the conflict. There is “no possibility” of a ceasefire, Biden said on November 9.

Just days later, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer addressed a pro-genocide rally in Washington, in which he bellowed, “We stand with you ... . We will not rest until you get the assistance you need.”

Over the course of six months, the Biden administration has made more than 100 separate arms transfers to Israel, making it clear that the Netanyahu government has a green light to starve, kill and torture the population of Gaza at will. 

This reality stands as an unanswerable rebuttal to the claims by the Biden administration and US media that the White House has sought to “pressure” the Netanyahu government to protect civilians.

In fact, the administration’s policy has amounted to a blank check for Israel, a policy that continues to this day despite the purely verbal criticism of Netanyahu by the White House.

The Biden administration’s categorical support for the Israeli genocide is part of an eruption of US militarism throughout the Middle East, including Iran, as part of a broader struggle for global domination targeting Russia and China.

The Gaza genocide will have vast and far-reaching social and political consequences. Already, the mass murder in Gaza has sparked the largest global mass demonstrations since the Iraq war. It has shown the imperialist powers, who endlessly invoke “human rights” to justify their wars, as enablers and accomplices of genocide.

Most of all, the Gaza genocide is a crime of capitalism. The capitalist social order is legitimizing every form of social barbarism: from nuclear war to perpetual mass death in a preventable pandemic to genocide. Future generations will see the Gaza genocide as an inflection point, propelling the growth of powerful currents in opposition to the capitalist social order.

As WSWS International Editorial Board Chairman David North explains in The Logic of Zionism: From Nationalist Myth to the Gaza Genocide:

The ongoing war, for all its horrors, has made one significant political contribution. It has awakened the youth. It has opened the eyes of the world. It has exposed the Zionist regime and its imperialist accomplices for the criminals they are. It has set into motion a tidal wave of outrage that is sweeping across the world and will sweep across those responsible for this genocide.

The task is to turn this growing opposition, which is as yet of a politically amorphous character, into a conscious movement based on a socialist perspective oriented to the working class.