Brief: Gaza’s Flour is Stained With Blood
March 06 2024

Gaza is approaching the six-month mark of sustained genocide. With each passing day, Israel's war crimes intensify, and the death toll of Palestinians skyrockets.

On Feb. 29, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire on a large gathering of Palestinians in Gaza City waiting for aid trucks to distribute flour and canned goods. This massacre that unfolded came on the heels of months of a manmade famine created by Israel to starve Gazans to death. The slaughter was promptly coined the ‘Flour Massacre.’

Hundreds of Palestinians, desperate for aid, gathered at al-Rashid Street in Gaza City at 4:30 am with the hope that trucks would finally enter Gaza after weeks of an aid shortage if not flat-out drought. Tragedy ensued quickly. The IOF began firing into the crowd from all angles, aiming to hit as many people as possible. Al Jazeera’s Ismail al-Ghoul reported live from the scene, stating that “after opening fire, Israeli tanks advanced and ran over many of the dead and injured bodies.” 

The death toll was catastrophic; at least 112 Palestinians were announced dead, and 760 were injured due to the indiscriminate shooting. Hospitals in Gaza have not been equipped to handle the influx of wounded and dead, especially since such facilities have been targeted by Israeli airstrikes and ground troops and have been rendered not functional in recent months. Ambulances were also not able to enter the area due to the devastation and chaos caused by Israel. Videos surfaced of individuals using donkey carts to transfer martyrs and injured people to nearby hospitals.

 Israel crafted its umpteenth lie, claiming that a "stampede" at the aid distribution site, caused a large death toll. Then, the lie took a new form. Israel changed its hasbara story, stating its soldiers did indeed open fire because they felt "threatened" by a group of starved, maimed, unarmed, helpless population. Additionally, the director of Kamal Adwan Hospital reported that a large number of fatalities at the Flour Massacre had gunshot wounds to their upper body, showing the IOF's intent to kill. 

Eyewitness accounts confirm Israel’s premeditated massacre. Jihad Rajab, a survivor of the Flour Massacre said, “As soon as the trucks entered the area, Israeli forces started firing heavily, resulting in the killing and wounding of scores of people. The occupation did not spare us, and they deliberately fired at us as we were awaiting the aid convoy,” reports the Palestine Chronicle. 

Genocide denial and passive voice have been the Western media’s preferred approach when reporting about Gaza since the start of Israel’s extermination campaign,

An analysis by The Cradle showed that Western media is whitewashing Israel’s crimes in Gaza by omitting Israel from headlines. Major news outlets such as CNN and The New York Times have been covering up Israel’s atrocities, publishing propaganda that vilifies and dehumanizes Palestinians. 

In response to a passive headline from The New York Times, human rights attorney Noura Erakat tweeted, “You’re so dishonest @nytimes. You sound more like lawyers for Israel, telling us twisted stories rather than journalists. Israeli troops have demonstrated a practice of shooting at humanitarian convoys as well as Palestinians from sea and land. Just say it.”

Without accountability, Israel is further emboldened to commit war crimes with a shield of protection from world leaders and media organizations. On March 3, the IOF, once again, opened fire on Palestinians seeking aid, killing at least 9. This was the second massacre committed against the starving population in one week. 

It is clear that the few aid convoys able to enter the besieged Gaza Strip are being used as bait to kill as many Palestinians as rapidly as possible. The alternative that Israel is offering Palestinians in Gaza is prolonged and painful starvation to death. Many children were starved to death, like 9-year-old Yazan Kafarnah, who died from malnutrition.

About The Author: 

Asma Barakat is the co-creator of an oral history archive titled Rooted in Palestine. Asma holds an MA in Sociology from The New School and a BA in Political Science from Montclair State University.

From the same blog series: Genocide In Gaza
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