To Kill in Darkness

As Israel prepares for its ground invasion to decrease Gaza’s territory, it is also cracking down on dissent harder than ever, including on journalists, reports Elizabeth Vos.

Rockets fired from Gaza, 2014. (IDF/Flickr)

By Elizabeth Vos
Special to Consortium News

Further attacks on sheltering civilians loom as Israel prepares a ground offensive in northern Gaza: Tel Aviv has ordered Al-Quds hospital and five UNRWA schools in Gaza City to evacuate to escape imminent bombardment.

The Al-Quds hospital is reportedly treating over 400 patients and sheltering 12,000 displaced civilians.

Meanwhile, Israel continues to tighten its grip on internal dissent and media coverage of the carnage.

News reports indicated Friday that U.N. relief agency UNRWA’s representatives said Israel told them to evacuate five schools “as fast as possible… We did what we could protest and reject this decision, but this means that from now on these facilities are no longer safe.”

Journalist Max Blumenthal wrote on social media: “Israel is implying it plans to bomb UN schools. The message below was sent to UNRWA.”

The Palestinian Red Crescent wrote via X:

“PRCS faces an imminent threat. The IOF demands the evacuation of Al-Quds Hospital, a sanctuary for over 400 patients and around 12,000 displaced civilians. We call [on] the international community to act urgently, averting another catastrophe like Al-Ahli Hospital”

Speaking with Al Jazeera, a hospital representative said that the order to evacuate to escape bombardment was “immediate,” adding the words of the IDF: “Al-Quds hospital will be bombarded.” The aid group also indicated via X that 70 percent of the civilians sheltering on the hospital grounds are women and children.

Both the Al-Quds hospital and the UNRWA schools are in Gaza City, in the northern part of the Gaza strip, where Israel has already carried out heavy shelling of residential areas. Thousands of people were forced to seek shelter in institutions like hospitals and schools after their homes were destroyed. There is also no way to transport critically ill patients.

Even if healthy mobile civilians want to leave targeted hospitals and schools, their options are extremely limited. There is no way out of Gaza and no way for aid to be delivered thanks to Israel’s total blockade. [After U.S. pressure, a total of just 20 aid trucks were let into the territory on Saturday morning.]

Israel initially told residents of northern Gaza to evacuate to the south, but established safe roads were targeted, and numerous bombings were carried out by Israel in the southern portion of the Gaza strip, including a bombing on one of the last functioning bakeries.

That schools and a major hospital in northern Gaza would receive such threats from Israeli forces would indicate that Israel intends to decimate as many large buildings and groups of people as possible in preparation for a ground invasion in the North.

The warnings should be taken especially seriously in light of the bombing of the al-Ahli hospital earlier this week, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of civilians who had sought shelter there. Though responsibility for the bombing has not been established with certainty, new investigations seriously undermine Israel’s narrative.

New Evidence on Hospital Attack

Channel 4 News and Al Jazeera further debunked Israel’s version of events, including the direction from which the projectile that hit the hospital parking lot was fired as well as the alleged tape of Hamas fighters produced by Israel to evade responsibility for the attack.

Video evidence and multiple eyewitness accounts indicated that victims of the attack were torn to pieces, and the concussive blast of an airburst missile would explain this kind of damage as discussed by U.S. Army veteran and weapons expert Dylan Griffith, who spoke to the Middle East Monitor.

After being asked on social media about the lack of damage to the hospital’s structure, Griffith stated:

“Same premise. My guess is that this area was being used as a casualty collection point and the heat signatures drew the aircraft’s attention. It is my opinion that the damage seen is consistent with an airburst munition and I still hold that the incoming sound is that of a JDAM.”

Initial reports had suggested that Israel was likely responsible for the blast, before Israel and later the establishment press blamed the attack on a misfired Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket. If Israel is ultimately proven responsible for the bombing it will add to the country’s long history of lying about the crimes it commits against Palestinians and their allies.

Gaza Will Shrink

Beyond the hospital attack, members of Israel’s government are more comfortable openly discussing their homicidal intent. On Wednesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen admitted that Israel is engaging in ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their land in Gaza, saying,

“At the end of this war, not only will Hamas no longer be in Gaza, the territory of Gaza will also decrease.”

Seven U.N. experts have also sounded the alarm on Israel’s conduct in Gaza, as reported by the Electronic Intifada. Their statement described Israel’s actions as amounting not only to war crimes but to crimes against humanity.

Of a coming ground invasion, Chris Hedges writes:

“I have been in urban warfare in El Salvador, Iraq, Gaza, Bosnia and Kosovo. Once you fight street by street, apartment block by apartment block, there is only one rule — kill anything that moves.

The talk of safe zones, the reassurances of protecting civilians, the promises of ‘surgical’ and ‘targeted’ air strikes, the establishment of ‘safe’ evacuation routes, the fatuous explanation that civilian dead were ‘caught in the crossfire,’ the claim that the homes and apartment buildings bombed into rubble were the abode of terrorists or that errant Hamas rockets were responsible for the destruction of schools and medical clinics, is part of the rhetorical cover to carry out indiscriminate slaughter.”

To target a working hospital remains a war crime, just as it was a war crime to target other medical facilities, a U.N. aid building, and at least three places of worship where hundreds of civilians sought safety.

The New York Daily News reported that,

“In total, seven hospitals and 21 primary care health centers in Gaza are listed as ‘out of service,’ while 64 medical staff have been killed during Israel’s bombing campaign, a spokesperson for the Palestinian Ministry of Health.”

The situation on the ground is now so dire that surgeon and British Palestinian Dr. Ghassan Abu Sitta, who previously recounted his experience during and after the al-Ahli hospital attack, reported via social media on Thursday that medical workers have been reduced to treating bacterial-infected wounds with vinegar.

Dresden Was ‘Worth It’

Israel’s plans for Gaza are so extreme that they have openly compared it to the firebombing of Dresden in WWII. The Grayzone reported the Associated Press’s removal of the comparison from their reporting, as well as examples of Israel’s representatives making the Dresden comparison publicly, arguing that killing egregious numbers of civilians was “worth it” to beat the Nazis.

According to Defense for Children, 1,661 Palestinian children have been killed in Gaza by the Israeli military since Oct. 7, while “more than 4,000 Palestinian children are injured and hundreds are still missing under the rubble.”

The violence is so indiscriminate that former U.S. Rep. Justin Amash lost family members in Israel’s bombing of Saint Porphyrius Orthodox Church, where they sought shelter. The bombing of the church as well as mosques in Gaza constitute war crimes, as it is illegal to target places of worship.

Preparations Within to Kill in Darkness

As Israel prepares for its ground invasion, it is also cracking down on dissent harder than ever, including on journalists. Israel Frey, an Israeli journalist who had to go into hiding after speaking out against Israel’s attacks on civilians in Gaza, spoke via social media on Friday in reference to the more than 1,000 children killed in Gaza in the recent offensive.

He said:

“Anyone [in Israel] showing empathy for the pain we cause these innocents is labeled traitor [and is] being threatened, like the blood of the people of Gaza is worth nothing as if our war crimes will comfort our victims.”

The Nation likewise reports at least 170 Palestinians have been “arrested or brought in for questioning since the Hamas attack on the basis of online expression,” which can be as little as “liking” a pro-Palestinian post on platforms like Instagram, where a large volume of footage and images directly from Gaza are posted daily.

On Friday, the Israeli government approved regulations that will allow it to temporarily shut down foreign news channels, paving the way to shut down channels like Al Jazeera.

Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi said of the regulations:

“Israel is at war on land, in the air, at sea, and on the public diplomacy front. We will not allow in any way broadcasts that harm the security of the state… The broadcasts and reports of Al Jazeera constitute incitement against Israel, help Hamas-ISIS and the terror organizations with their propaganda, and encourage violence against Israel.”

In discussing a zero-tolerance policy for anti-war protests, an Israeli police chief threatened to send pro-Palestinian protesters to Gaza on buses: a death sentence given Israel’s current genocidal trajectory of extreme violence on those in the strip.

With high numbers of Israeli military casualties likely to come in a ground invasion, it also makes sense that authorities would preemptively crush dissent before a widespread backlash against the war can take root on the home front and internationally.

With the intensifying internal crackdown on speech and the threats to bomb hospitals and schools in Gaza, it is clear that Israel is gearing up for an all-out war that it knows will cause high civilian casualties and internal and foreign dissent.

Elizabeth Vos is a freelance reporter, co-host of CN Live! and regular contributor to Consortium News.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.

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17 comments for “To Kill in Darkness

  1. susan
    October 23, 2023 at 08:47

    As I’ve said before – I believe humans are predisposed to violence and war – we have no clue how to live in peace. It is all so disturbing…

    • Greg Grant
      October 24, 2023 at 03:19

      If that were true then why, whenever they want to mobilize us to war, do they tell us that we’re doing it to help, protect, save and free innocent people from evil and oppression?
      If we are predisposed to violence and war why don’t they just tell us the truth, that we’re marching off to rob, pillage and plunder?
      This argues that we are predisposed to love thy neighbor and have to be taught and manipulated into hate and murder.

  2. Iffy Sonte
    October 22, 2023 at 10:54

    The modern left is very good at reporting very old news, but acting shocked that the same thing that happened yesterday is happening today.

    NATO began talking about ‘information war’ decades ago.
    With Reagan’s invasion of Grenada, reporters from ‘the free world’ were either embedded with units, or kept well away from the fighting only listening to the briefings at HQ.
    Reporters that were not on such a short leash became targets. We bombed a TV station in Serbia for broadcasting the ‘wrong’ news. We fired tank shells at the reporters in Baghdad as the US tanks entered the city. The famous Collateral Murder video clip shows the killing of Reuters journalists on the streets of Baghdad.
    We have staged a series of assassination attempts on Russian journalists, again for the Thought Crime of saying something that the Emperor doesn’t agree with. We assassinated a prominent Arab journalist last year with an aimed sniper shot to the head under a protective helmet. The world most prominent dissident journalist is held in solitary confinement as if he is the most dangerous terrorist in the world.

    At some point can we finally just say … we get it, and move on to what to do about it?

  3. J Anthony
    October 22, 2023 at 08:29

    It is a sick, sad oirony that the Israeli/rightwing/Zionist factions have become the very thing they proclaim to never again allow- fascist genociding psychopaths. With help from the same factions in the US.

  4. Peter Sherman
    October 21, 2023 at 23:47

    I’m reminded of the mass extermination of native Americans. They, too, were treated as non-humans, and continually moved to less livable reservations. Even after the US broke dozens of treaties, they tried to hold back. But some of them could not. They went on the warpath. As Black Elk recalled after the Rosebud massacre of women and children: “We were not thinking. We were crazy; wanting only revenge.” They knew it was wrong to kill settlers- including women and children. But their knowledge was pushed away in their anger. In response to the attacks, the US government held all Indians to account for the crimes of the few. Israel is behaving in the same way. It discounts the misery that it has imposed on non-Israelis. When they go mad and strike back, it then proceeds to ramp up the misery- to the point that it is at now. But Israel is not alone. The US has continued to maintain this mentality to this very day.

  5. RWilson
    October 21, 2023 at 22:11

    Meanwhile the soft crackdown on dissent continues in the US. Here is today’s panel discussion on freedom of the press. Panelists are:

    Michael Abramowitz – Freedom house
    Amna Nawaz – PBS Newshour
    Michael Powell – The Atlantic

    There is no mention of Julian Assange. No mention of the vast amounts of crucial information withheld from the American public by the PBS Newshour and the rest of the corporate media (e.g. on the Ukraine conflict). Instead we get a self-congratulatory pablum of platitudes and generalities. The New York Times is lauded as the gold standard of journalism. Israel’s crimes are alluded to with the most delicate caution. In short, another round of corporate “journalistic” disgrace. No question in my mind who butters these people.

    Amna Nawaz discusses importance of global free press

    Viewer discretion advised: The glaring propaganda may be disturbing to some viewers.

    The panel does, however, show the professional facade of “reasonableness” in which the propaganda is often wrapped. Plus, the audience questions at the end are so obviously plants it’s almost funny. (No one in the audience interested in Assange.)

  6. irina
    October 21, 2023 at 16:46

    The Israelis seem to have put off any questions of how such an egregious breach of security happened in the first place ‘until after the war’ (by which time presumably no one will be asking anymore). I’ve done quite a bit of reading up on that aspect, curiously (or not) there is very little info available in the Western press but
    presumably quite a lot in other parts of the world. What I found out :

    As reported by CNN (and foreign press), Hamas openly conducted training operations in camps just a few kilometers from the Border Wall, in the area they later breached. They even published a video, in Sept. of
    2023, showing them practicing many of the tactics they used (paragliding, using bulldozers, zooming around on dirt bikes, rampaging through a fake Israeli village, etc). Apparently all this obvious activity was summarily dismissed as ‘posturing’. These camps could have been easily observed and monitored from sentries with binoculars assigned to observation stations on The Wall. Except there were no actual, human sentries as that task had been outsourced to more ‘sophisticated’ remote sensing devices and automated machine guns.

    Then, as has been reported multiple times even in the Western press, Egypt warned Israel several days ahead of the attack. This was apparently also dismissed. Excuses have been made that Israeli security had been relocated to the West Bank to protect settlers there, at the expense of those in the near vicinity of Gaza.

    Yet, despite Egypt’s warning and despite increased activity in the training camps, a large trance / rave festival was allowed to take place very near the border, with minimal security consisting of thirty private security guards armed only with handguns, hired by the festival organizers. This party was held in a known danger zone; shortly after the attack I read of parents who pleaded with their young adult offspring to avoid the area and not go to the rave. (Don’t hear much about that anymore.) What did the parents know that the IDF ignored, and why was permission given to hold the rave in the first place ? (These sorts of events always require considerable advance planning, notifications, and permits).

    Lots of other related questions come to mind — such as why isn’t there a “no man’s land” zone on the Israeli side, such zones are quite effective at monitoring activity and preventing incursions. Now all of Gaza is being turned into a “no man’s land”, which makes one wonder if that was the plan all along. After all, in March Netanyahu did go the the UN and wave around a map which showed both the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as completely incorporated into Greater Israel . . . .

  7. Lois Gagnon
    October 21, 2023 at 16:27

    The US/NATO imperium and the UN have the means to put a stop to this genocide. They are acting as if they are helpless to do so. I call BS. They could stop it before tomorrow morning if they wanted to. Their lack of action speaks volumes. They are cowards.

    Cut off Israel’s funding and kick them out of the UN for consistently violating international law. For that matter, kick out the US for same. What good are laws if they can’t be enforced?

  8. Miggs
    October 21, 2023 at 15:40

    Biden goes to Israel when it’s relentlessly bombing civilians. What does that say about the moral values of both governments? Our tax dollars at work.

    • robert e williamson jr
      October 21, 2023 at 22:06

      Miggs, greatings!

      “What does that say about the moral values of both governments”. or either government! Most important why has this situation came to this.?

      You statement brings a certain joy to me. An evil sort of joy. Here is my opinion, what little value it has.

      The U.S. have been killing babies since forever, native American, slaves, their own if it suited getting rid of witches, you know , those deplorable others.

      I could ask, “of either government and most important why has this situation in this tiny patch of Terra Firma because so valuable to be so hotly contested came to this point?

      Religious fanaticism. I personally have no dog in this fight! Myself and millions of others could give one shit what the other does until my tired butt gets dragged into their fight. Never the less I do know right from wrong.

      I’ve often queried myself on this concept of personal and social values. The indications delivered from the state to the states society about justification of law, the atypical political assessment the two party system politicians agree to label the society with is not , nor has it ever been representative of the reality of this society. Instead the assessments reflect the thoughts of the lobbyist, many times who advertise very using vague language very surreptitiously telling us what to believe. (My expressed opinion agian here) Trump tells the story then tells you why you should believe it, all directly in the face of reality and gets way with it, or did, and all them followers, well they present a large problem to the remainder of the population. They can be lead but cannot lead, got that!

      The United States was never been attributed to be a country that would commit wanton murder, but it did and hid from the reality, with the indigenous peoples , same with slavery. And oh yes , those possessed.

      Our countries leadership has been compromised and the time has come to address why this is true and who it benefits most . Why is this situation so far out of control that we are at odds with the rest of the worlds humanity. Could it be we have lost the ability to identify with the other. Could be because we are constantly told to not to do so because after all we are “Exceptional!”

      If our problems were lack of morals, corrupted morals or conflicted morals, well we would be right where we currently are.

      Both societies have fallen victim to seventy years of relentless propaganda and do not realize they have given up their personal sovereignty. It’s group think, they have fooled themselves into believing as long as they don’t rock the boat they are home free. They will not realize what they have done to themselves until they have to roll over on a family member for some prosecutor contrived bullshit. Or they stand facing the blinding brilliance of incoming in an instant the flash. It is very likely they will be vaporized in the next milli-second. The rapture has , well enveloped them.

      The Israeli population is of two fractions, those who have the power and those who exist there because they are artificially supported to be there. No I will not debate this statement it stands on it’s own merits which in reality mean these people are completely dedicated to their state providers. Settling land stolen from others.

      Speaking of Music – Willie Nelson and his song “Turn Out The Lights The Party Is Over” – See the last stanza of the third verse – “Turn out the lights, the party is over!” That is what she said!

      The Joke is on them.

      To the CN Crew, PEACE Ya ‘ll ! have good one.

    • J Anthony
      October 22, 2023 at 08:24

      It says that they have sunk to all-time lows and are only going to sink lower. How this is still tolerated is beyond me. I understand that people have to live their lives, and take care of themselves and their families. But turning a blind-eye is part of why this goes on. What else will make this stop aside from a mass uprising?

  9. Dfnslblty
    October 21, 2023 at 14:41

    The warnings/threats if IOF/IDG should be …
    Presented as genocidal and Presented to ICC/UN tribunals.
    usa should be politically and diplomatically forced to stop ALL arms shipments to israel.

    Only psychopathicaly deranged folk would target schools & hospitals.
    Only psychopathicaly deranged folk [usa] would send guns, missiles etc to any nation which targeted schools & hospitals.

    Thankyou for protest & sanity at CN.

    • J Anthony
      October 22, 2023 at 08:26

      You’re right, but as ever the US?Israel veto ceasefire resolutions at the UN and ignore entirely ICC. No one seems able to stop this madness aside from the perpetrators themselves. It is deeply unsettling.

  10. October 21, 2023 at 14:02

    T?? ??????? ??? ?? ????

    The Palestinians in Gaza have been virtual prisoners of Israel since Israel imposed its land, sea and air siege on the enclave in 2007. This siege was and is illegal under international law and amounts to a crime against humanity on a large scale. What the militants of the besieged Gaza did was a bold move to break the criminal siege.

    However, the loss of life that occurred in the operation at that time is very saddening as I oppose the killing of any human being, which Israel has been mercilessly doing since 1948. The present Israeli war on Gaza, the destruction of its infrastructure and the indiscriminate killing of thousands of people there is something only lawless Zionists may defend, but for the rest of humanity they are a flagrant violation of international law and total disregard of the basic norms of humanity.

  11. Frank Lambert
    October 21, 2023 at 11:35

    I sometimes wonder how many Israeli and right-wing Jewish people have photographs of Hitler and Himmler hanging on their walls, whom they might secretly admire. They sure want to emulate the German Waffen SS soldiers of the Third Reich, regarding the Palestinian people and other Arabs or those they consider undesirable. Yeah, I know, that sounds stupid. I’ve heard it before.

    They’ve been getting away with it for 75 years and with the blessing of the U.S Congress – both major parties under Zionist “influence” in international affairs and domestic finance, and how amazing so few people have so much power. Unbelievable!

    Money talks, and he or she (Janet Yellen) who controls the money controls the politicians.

    No sanctions against Israel by the U.N. nor humanitarian bombing of Tel Aviv to stop the calculate holocaust against the Palestinian people. Could this be an indication of who the biggest winners of WWII were? I know, that sounds crazy too, but maybe not.

  12. Vera Gottlieb
    October 21, 2023 at 10:55

    I hope I live long enough to see israel REAP what it is sowing.

  13. Steve
    October 21, 2023 at 10:47

    The Israeli ruling cabal wants the absolute destruction of the Palestinians and the erasure of even the memory of their existence.
    Pure evil.

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