The Gaza Health Ministry has released a detailed report containing the names of 6,747 individuals who have been killed in Israel’s retaliatory strikes on the Palestinian enclave since October 7. The report, which spans 210 pages, provides the name, age, gender, and ID number of each victim, including 2,665 children. However, the ministry noted that the list is not complete, as there are still around 300 unidentified bodies, many individuals who remain missing, and some who were buried without being admitted to the hospital.
The release of this report comes after US President Joe Biden expressed doubt about the death toll provided by the Palestinians. On Wednesday, Biden stated that he has “no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using” and that he has “no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed.” He added that he believes innocents have been killed, but considers it a consequence of waging war.
In response to Biden’s comments, Gaza Health Ministry spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qudra criticized the administration, stating that it is “devoid of human standards, morals, and basic human rights values” for questioning the validity of the death toll. Al-Qudra further explained that the ministry decided to release the report to expose the truth about the “genocidal war” carried out by the Israeli occupation and to highlight the fact that behind every number is a person with a known identity. He emphasized that the Palestinian people should not be overlooked or ignored.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have been conducting relentless airstrikes on Gaza for nearly three weeks since the surprise attack on Israel by Hamas on October 7, which resulted in the loss of 1,400 lives. These strikes have resulted in the destruction of residential buildings and mosques. Israeli authorities have accused Hamas fighters of using civilians as shields. The IDF had initially announced plans for a ground invasion of Gaza but has since delayed the operation.
Omar Shakir, the Israel and Palestine director at Human Rights Watch, supported the credibility of the numbers provided by the Gaza Health Ministry. He stated that their organization’s three decades of experience working in the occupied Palestinian territories has shown the ministry’s figures to be “generally reliable.” Shakir explained that the ministry obtains its data from hospitals and morgues.
The ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine has caused significant loss of life and devastation. The publication of the detailed report by the Gaza Health Ministry seeks to shed light on the human toll of Israel’s retaliatory strikes and emphasize the importance of recognizing the individual stories behind the numbers.