Israel's 'Mass Assassination Factory'
This is how the Israeli military has been killing civilians at a faster rate than in any other recent conflict.
+972 Magazine published an important report last week that details how the Israeli military is conducting the war in Gaza:
“Nothing happens by accident,” said another source. “When a 3-year-old girl is killed in a home in Gaza, it’s because someone in the army decided it wasn’t a big deal for her to be killed — that it was a price worth paying in order to hit [another] target. We are not Hamas. These are not random rockets. Everything is intentional. We know exactly how much collateral damage there is in every home [bold mine-DL].”
According to the investigation, another reason for the large number of targets, and the extensive harm to civilian life in Gaza, is the widespread use of a system called “Habsora” (“The Gospel”), which is largely built on artificial intelligence and can “generate” targets almost automatically at a rate that far exceeds what was previously possible. This AI system, as described by a former intelligence officer, essentially facilitates a “mass assassination factory.” [bold mine-DL]
The Israeli military campaign is killing huge numbers of civilians not just because they have been bombing indiscriminately in a densely-populated area, but also because they are deliberately hitting targets where they know large numbers of civilians will be killed. This includes bombing “private residences as well as public buildings, infrastructure, and high-rise blocks” even though these are not military targets. The result has been the devastation of Gaza’s housing and infrastructure and the killing of more than 10,000 women and children.
This is how the Israeli military has been killing civilians at a faster rate than in any other recent conflict and how it has killed more children in two months than were killed in all the other wars in the world combined for the last year. According to Defense for Children International Palestine, more than 6,600 children have been killed since the start of the war with thousands more still missing in the rubble of destroyed buildings. The spokesman for UNICEF, James Elder, was entirely right when he said, “This is a war on children.”
The +972 report also explains how the Israeli military strikes what are called “power targets” that are hit for the purpose of demoralizing and angering the population. These targets are not hit because they have military value:
Indeed, according to sources who were involved in the compiling of power targets in previous wars, although the target file usually contains some kind of alleged association with Hamas or other militant groups, striking the target functions primarily as a “means that allows damage to civil society.” The sources understood, some explicitly and some implicitly, that damage to civilians is the real purpose of these attacks [bold mine-DL].
There have been many more attacks on “power targets” in this war, and they are being carried out with even fewer constraints than in the past:
Not only has the current war seen Israel attack an unprecedented number of power targets, it has also seen the army abandon prior policies that aimed at avoiding harm to civilians. Whereas previously the army’s official procedure was that it was possible to attack power targets only after all civilians had been evacuated from them, testimonies from Palestinian residents in Gaza indicate that, since October 7, Israel has attacked high-rises with their residents still inside, or without having taken significant steps to evacuate them, leading to many civilian deaths.
There is abundant evidence that the Israeli military is committing war crimes on a massive scale. The Israeli government is inflicting collective punishment on the entire population of Gaza through both the bombing and the siege that is starving them of basic necessities. This is the military campaign that our government continues to support without conditions or limits. The civilian death toll is guaranteed to rise now that the war has resumed and the “mass assassination factory” does its gruesome work.
The U.S. is a witting accomplice to these crimes, and our government shares in the blame for what is being done to the people of Gaza. That makes ending the war our responsibility as Americans. To that end, there needs to be increased public pressure on the White House and Congress to demand a ceasefire and to halt military assistance.