Gaza death toll surpasses 10,000
By Khaoula Choual , Contributor
Gaza’s death toll has surpassed 10,000.
According to Gaza’s official media office, more than 12,000 Palestinians have been killed since Oct. 7. However, the official death toll has not been updated in days due to the collapse of Gaza’s health system, which was responsible for collecting statistics.
Palestinian-Calgarian, Tamer Jarada, said it was confirmed that 16 of his family members were killed after Israel launched airstrikes over the Gaza Strip. He lost his mother, father, sisters, his cousins and their children.
This is not Jarada’s first time witnessing war in the Gaza Strip. As a young boy, he experienced the First Intifada in 1987 at the age of four. He then lived through wars in 2000, 2008 and 2014.
He said he nearly got hit by an Israeli airstrike in 2008.
“I was just out getting some bread for the family and an airstrike happened, I would say, 20 meters away from me,” said Jarada. “I’m alive now just because somebody else was just walking in front of me.”
Voices are fading
Jarada said the scale of the mass destruction in Gaza presently has surpassed that of the past wars.
“No one is treating my people there in the Gaza Strip as humans and we are just asking for human rights,” he said. “We are just asking for fairness, equity and respect for the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people.”
Jarada describes that he and many Palestinian voices are not being heard by the government.
“We go to these demonstrations, we write to MPs, we send these emails, we meet politicians, but nothing is working,” he said. “We feel that our voice is fading.”
On Nov. 12, a protest was held in Calgary with as many as 1,500 people in attendance according to CityNews. An organizer of the event says there will be a protest every Sunday in Calgary until there is a ceasefire.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will back “humanitarian pauses” that would allow foreigners to leave Gaza and let humanitarian aid into the region. However, according to Trudeau, as per CBC, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, rejected demands for a ceasefire.
In the Washington Post, Biden said, “None, no possibility,” in response to a question concerning the likelihood of a cease-fire.
Around the world, a large number of protestors are calling for an end to the conflict and demonstrating support for Palestine, including those in Canada, the US, Australia, and the UK for an immediate ceasefire and denouncing the high number of civilian deaths caused by Israeli attacks.
Jarada still has family in Gaza, however, the Israel government has completely shut off electricity and internet access so he hasn’t been able to get in touch with his sister and in-laws. Additionally, the Israel government completely shut off food and water supplies to the Gaza Strip.
“We are hurting and frustrated about what has been happening in the Gaza Strip. We have reached a point where we are just waiting and afraid to hear more news about our families and loved ones.”
He stresses that there is a need to advocate for Palestinians for basic human rights.
“Advocating for justice for Palestinians is a call to address a wide range of historical, political and humanitarian issues. It’s a statement that highlights the need for fairness, equity and respect for the rights and dignity of the Palestinian people,” Jarada said.
According to the director of Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest hospital, Al-Shifa is currently sheltering 7,000 people, including patients, medical staff, and other civilians in need of shelter. The Israeli forces are still occupying the facility.
Aid organizations claim the fuel supply is insufficient, despite Israel’s announcement that it will permit two fuel trucks into Gaza each day to power water and sewage operations, according to Al Jazeera.
UN officials and human rights experts warned that Israel’s siege on Gaza is worsening an already dire humanitarian crisis. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in the Guardian, “Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children.” He also stated that more journalists have been killed over a four-week period than any conflict in at least three decades.
As of Nov. 17, at least 42 journalists and media professionals were among the 12,000 killed in the conflict, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists preliminary investigations.
The Palestinian-Calgarian refers to the current Gaza war as “ethnic cleansing and genocide” and argues a humanitarian ceasefire is urgent.
“My thoughts are with my people in the Gaza Strip during this incredibly challenging time. The horror of the situation and the mass destruction unfolding there are painful reminders of the urgent need for a ceasefire and urgent humanitarian assistance to alleviate the suffering of those affected.”