Hours after US President Joe Biden refused to accept that numbers cited by the Palestinian Health Ministry for the people martyred by Israeli attacks were accurate, the ministry published a comprehensive report containing names, ages and genders of the martyrs even as it updated the figures show Israel had so far massacred over 7,000 Palestinians.
A bulletin issued by the Palestinian Health Ministry on Thursday said that thus far, Israeli military attacks had left 7,028 martyrs and another 18,482 were injured. Of these, 2,913 martyrs were children, 2,406 were men, and 1,709 were women. Three hundred ninety-seven martyrs were over 60 years of age. Among the injured, 7,521 are men, 6,168 are children, and 4,793 are women.
The health ministry had already announced that the health sector operating in the south of Gaza had completely collapsed, with the hospitals unable to provide medical services to the wounded and the sick. Israel has attacked at least 57 medical facilities during its ongoing campaign.
It added that the toll from the 15-day massacre had now exceeded the death toll of Gaza for the entirety of the narrow strip from all causes in 2022.
Even though Israel had directed Palestinians to evacuate North Gaza and head to South Gaza, pending aerial bombardment followed by a major ground offensive, Israel has continued to bomb the entirety of the strip.
The health ministry said that so far, 1,445 people have been martyred in North Gaza. Another 2,913 people were martyred in Gaza City. Bombings have claimed the lives of 1,004 people in the middle zone; 896 were martyred in the southern governorate of Khanyonis and 770 in the southern border region of Rafah.
Earlier on Wednesday, Biden told the media that he had "no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using" for the death toll in the Gaza Strip.
Speaking to the media at a news conference at the White House, Biden quickly clarified that he did not mean that Palestinians were not killed.
"What they say to me is I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I'm sure innocents have been killed, and it's the price of waging a war," Biden said, hinting that the deaths of Palestinians were their fault.
"(The) Israelis should be incredibly careful to be sure that they're focusing on going after the folks that (are) propagating this war against Israel. And it's against their interest when that doesn't happen," Biden added without providing any reason to doubt figures issued by the Palestinian Health Ministry.
South Gaza, not the haven Israel indicated
Palestinians, who had moved towards South Gaza after Israel airdropped leaflets warning it was going to bomb North Gaza, have said that they have found no respite in the south.
The UN said that some 600,000 Palestinians had fled south as Israeli bombing rendered some 1.4 million Palestinian residents of Gaza displaced.
But Israel has bombed targets across the strip, including the north, Gaza City, Khanyonis and even Rafah.
Around 30,000 displaced people have decided to take their chances and head back north with shelters. Hospitals in the south are overrun with refugees with the ministry stating that they are operating at more than 150% capacity, with the Al Shifa Medical Complex treating over 5,000 patients daily despite having a capacity of just 700.
The health minisry said that over 1,000 dialysis patients have had their dialysis session time nearly halved. Of the 50 ambulances available, only 25 remain operational.Fast running out of fuel, the WHO and the UNRWA have managed to secure 10,600 litres of fuel for Al Shifa Hospital.
Palestinian families said they have all been wiped out. Rahma Saqallah told AFP that she, her daughter, three sons and husband had fled from North Gaza to Khanyonis. They were sheltering in a multi-storey apartment complex with their extended family and some other families.
On Wednesday morning, Israel bombed the apartment complex, destroying two floors where some 60 people were sheltering. The attack killed her husband and three sons apart from 11 members of her extended family and 26 from other families.
Others who have decided to go north said that it was better to die in their homes so that at least they can maintain their dignity in death.
Meanwhile, there have been reports of settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank rising after October 7.
The settlers set fire to cars and attacked several Bedouin communities, forcing them to flee.
Strikes killed hostages
Hamas, which released some hostages earlier in the week who told the world about how they were friendly and cared for the needs of the captives, said that Israeli strikes had killed some hostages.
With Israel bombing indiscriminately, Hamas said that so far, Israel has killed 50 Israeli hostages.
Israel late on Wednesday launched ground raids into Gaza in search of hostages and targeting Hamas sites. The Israeli military claimed to have hit "numerous terrorist cells, infrastructure and anti-tank missile launch posts".
World continues to bicker
Meanwhile, on the global stage, countries were divided over the latest spate of violence in the Middle East.
The European Union debated "humanitarian pauses" to allow for aid to permeate into Gaza.
At the United Nations, calls for a ceasefire and to set up a humanitarian corridor were vetoed while Israel went on the offensive, calling for the resignation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres after he attempted an intervention on the matter. Guterres had to come out and clarify his comments later.
In the Middle East, Jordan warned that growing anger risks "exploding".
In Tel Aviv, in a televised address, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu admitted that his administration will have to answer tough questions about October 7, but before that, his war cabinet will deliberate on the timing of its anticipated "ground offensive" into Gaza.
Israelis mock Palestinians
Israelis, meanwhile, have been making and posting on social media, flaunting their access to basic amenities such as water and electricity and posing as dead Palestinians.
In Gaza, electricity is scarce, with generators and power plants running out of fuel and people lacking access to clean, potable water. Each person in Gaza has barely three litres of water available, with the World Health Organisation determining 50-100 litres per person per day as essential.
Videos of Israeli content creators making fun of Palestinians suffering without water, and electricity in Gaza are going viral ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/nwnC4kucMb— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) October 26, 2023
Videos have been posted with Israelis celebrating a flattened stretch of Gaza, mocking Palestinians for pretending to die or showing Palestinians in dog houses.
On the other hand, social media company Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, shut down the Instagram account of Eye on Palestine, which had been posting videos and images from the ground in Gaza. The page had six million followers. Meta claimed that the account was locked after detecting a "hacking attempt", but people decried it as censorship.
It followed a day after the 'X' (formerly Twitter) account of Palestinian independent journalist and photographer Motaz Azaiza was blocked. Though the account seemed to have been restored on Thursday.