Chris Hedges: Israel Reopens Gaza Slaughterhouse

Phase One of Israel’s genocidal campaign on Gaza has ended. Phase Two has begun. It will result in even higher levels of death and destruction.

Slaughterhouse – by Mr. Fish

By Chris Hedges
Original to ScheerPost

The skies over Gaza are filled — after a seven-day truce — with projectiles of death. Warplanes. Attack helicopters. Drones. Artillery shells. Tank shells. Mortars. Bombs. Missiles. Gaza is a cacophony of explosions and forlorn screams and cries for help beneath collapsed buildings. Fear, once again, is coiling itself around every heart in the Gazan concentration camp.

By Friday evening, 184 Palestinians — including three journalists and two doctors — had been killed by Israeli air strikes in the north, south and central Gaza, and at least 589 injured, according to the Ministry of Health in Gaza. Most of them are women and children.

Israel will not be deterred. It plans to finish the job, to obliterate what is left in the north of Gaza and decimate what remains in the south, to render Gaza uninhabitable, to see its 2.3 million people driven out in a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing via starvation, terror, slaughter and infectious diseases. 

The aid convoys, which brought in token amounts of food and medicine — the first batch was shrouds and coronavirus tests according to the director of al-Najjar hospital — have been halted.

No one, least of all President Joe Biden, plans to intervene to stop the genocide. Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Israel last week, and while calling for Israel to protect civilians, refused to set conditions that would disrupt the $3.8 billion Israel receives in annual military assistance or the $14.3 billion supplemental aid package.

The world will watch passively, muttering useless bromides about more surgical strikes, while Israel spins its roulette wheel of death. By the time Israel is done, the 1948 Nakba, where Palestinians were massacred in dozens of villages and 750,000 were ethnically cleansed by Zionist militias, will look like a quaint relic of a more civilized era. 

Nothing is off limits. HospitalsMosquesChurchesHomesApartment blocksRefugee campsSchoolsUniversitiesMedia officesBanksSewer systemsTelecommunications infrastructureWater treatment plantsLibrariesWheat millsBakeriesMarketsEntire neighborhoods. Israel’s intent is to destroy Gaza’s infrastructure and daily kill or wound hundreds of Palestinians.

Gaza is to become a wasteland, a dead zone that will be incapable of sustaining life. 

Gaza, Oct. 17, 2023. ( Saleh Najm and Anas Sharif/Fars News/Wikimedia Commons)

Not a War Against Hamas

Israel began to bomb Khan Younis on Friday after dropping leaflets warning civilians to evacuate further south to Rafah, located on the border crossing with Egypt. Hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians had sought refuge in Khan Younis. Once Palestinians are pushed to Rafah, there is only one place left to flee — Egypt.

The Israeli Ministry of Intelligence, in a leaked report, calls for the forcible transfer of Gaza’s population to Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. A detailed plan to intentionally displace the Palestinians in Gaza and push them into Egypt has been embedded in Israeli doctrine for five decades.

Already, 1.8 million Palestinians in Gaza have been driven from their homes. Once Palestinians cross the border into Egypt — which the Egyptian government and Arab leaders are seeking to prevent despite pressure from the U.S. — Palestinians will never return. 

This is not a war against Hamas. It is a war against Palestinians.

Israeli strikes are generated at a dizzying rate, many of them from a system called “Habsora” — The Gospel — which is built on artificial intelligence that selects 100 targets a day. The AI-system is described by seven current and former Israeli intelligence officials in an article by Yuval Abraham on the Israeli sites +972 Magazine and Local Call, as facilitating a “mass assassination factory.”

Israel, once it locates what it assumes to be a Hamas operative from a cell phone, for example, bombs and shells a wide area around the target, killing and wounding tens, and at times hundreds of Palestinians, the article states.

“According to intelligence sources,” the story reads, “Habsora generates, among other things, automatic recommendations for attacking private residences where people suspected of being Hamas or Islamic Jihad operatives live. Israel then carries out large-scale assassination operations through the heavy shelling of these residential homes.”

Some 15,000 Palestinians, including 6,000 children and 4,000 women, have been killed since Oct. 7. Some 30,000 have been wounded. Over six thousand are missing, many buried under the rubble. More than 300 families have lost 10 or more members of their families.

More than 250 Palestinians have been killed in the West Bank since Oct. 7, and more than 3,000 injured, although the area is not controlled by Hamas. The Israeli military claims to have killed between 1,000 and 3,000 of some 30,000 Hamas fighters, a relatively small number given the scale of the assault. Most resistance fighters shelter in their vast tunnel system. 

Israel’s playbook is the “Dahiya Doctrine.” The doctrine was formulated by former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot, who is a member of the war cabinet, following the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon.

Dahiya is a southern Beirut suburb and a Hezbollah stronghold. It was pounded by Israeli jets after two Israeli soldiers were taken prisoner. The doctrine posits that Israel should employ massive, disproportionate force, destroying infrastructure and civilian residences, to ensure deterrence.

Only Just Begun

Gaza, Oct. 7, 2023. (Ali Hamad of APAimages, for Wafa (Q2915969)/Wiki Plaestine)

Daniel Hagari, spokesman of the IDF, conceded at the start of Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza that the “emphasis” would be “on damage and not on accuracy.”

Israel has abandoned its tactic of “roof knocking” where a rocket without a warhead would land on a roof to warn those inside to evacuate. Israel has also ended its phone calls warning of an impending attack. Now dozens of families in an apartment block or a neighborhood are killed without notice.

The images of mass destruction feed the thirst for revenge within Israel following the humiliating incursion by Hamas fighters on Oct. 7 and the killing of 1,200 Israelis, including 395 soldiers and 59 police officers.

There is a sadistic pleasure voiced by many Israelis over the genocide and a groundswell of calls for the murder or expulsion of Palestinians, including those in the occupied West Bank and those with Israeli citizenship. 

The savagery of the air strikes and indiscriminate attacks, the cutting off of food, water and medicine, the genocidal rhetoric of the Israeli government, make this a war whose sole objective is revenge. This will not be good for Israel or the Palestinians. It will fuel a conflagration throughout the Middle East. 

[French President Emmanuel Macron warned on Saturday that Israel’s aim of eliminating Hamas risked unleashing a decade of war.]

Israel’s attack is the last desperate measure of a settler colonial project that foolishly thinks, as many settler colonial projects have in the past, that it can crush the resistance of an indigenous population with genocide.

But even Israel will not get away with killing on this scale.

A generation of Palestinians, many of whom have seen most, if not all, of their families killed and their homes and neighborhoods destroyed, will carry within them a lifelong thirst for justice and retribution. 

This war is not over. It has not even begun. 

Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for 15 years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East bureau chief and Balkan bureau chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning News, The Christian Science Monitor and NPR.  He is the host of show “The Chris Hedges Report.”

Author’s Note to Readers: There is now no way left for me to continue to write a weekly column for ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show without your help. The walls are closing in, with startling rapidity, on independent journalism, with the elites, including the Democratic Party elites, clamoring for more and more censorship. Please, if you can, sign up at so I can continue to post my Monday column on ScheerPost and produce my weekly television show, “The Chris Hedges Report.”

This column is from Scheerpost, for which Chris Hedges writes a regular columnClick here to sign up for email alerts.

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


19 comments for “Chris Hedges: Israel Reopens Gaza Slaughterhouse

  1. Renate
    December 5, 2023 at 16:50

    I used to believe that Hitler was one of a kind, but I now know, that there were many like him before and many will come after him, he has lots of company. The infamy of the massacre and a century of Palestinian history puts Biden and Netanyahu and their cabal morally in the same place. There is no excuse for their crimes. Israelis can’t claim that two wrongs make a right.

  2. LeoSun
    December 5, 2023 at 10:43

    Awh, “rub-a-dub-dub,”

    “Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have of them.” Marcel Proust

    On f/point, Mr. Fish’s, “Slaughterhouse.” This be it, the existential threat, the butcher., the baker, the Planet’s WarMakers. Now do Joey! Yellin @ the ATM, trying to withdraw $106BN! DENIED!! In$ufficient Funds.

    Plz, note, The Divided $tates of Corporate America’s Taxpayers are tapped the flock out! This Account is permanently Closed! F/WAR!!!


  3. December 5, 2023 at 09:46

    “This war is not over. It has not even begun.”

    Mr. Hedges proclaims a truth so profound that it almost commits the rest of his piece to irrelevance. This has the feel of a “beginning of an end.”

  4. Paula
    December 4, 2023 at 22:20

    How did the American people lose their ability to effect those who supposedly represent them. I think we need to quit paying our taxes. Taxation without representation! Again!! ” Not on my dime! Not in my name!” Will be taking those slogans to next march for Palestine.

  5. Julio Ramirez
    December 4, 2023 at 20:37

    What rings in my ears from memory is the statement from a U.S. commander in Vietnam: “In order to save that village we had to destroy it.” And the policy is alive and dead in Gaza.

  6. December 4, 2023 at 16:21

    Once you know contemporary Israelis are NOT descended from Biblical Israelites (note the spelling differences), but are predominately Turkic Khazars from southeastern Europe, clarity begins. However, having appropriated the word “Israel” to themselves, Khazars have convinced Judaeo-Christians (an oxymoron?) to blindly accept claims of their being “Gods chosen people”. Indigenous Arabs know the truth, hence resistance.

  7. Rafael
    December 4, 2023 at 16:00

    The graphic by Mr. Fish brings to mind an aphorism attributed to L.N. Tolstoy:

    As long as there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields.

  8. Vincent Amato
    December 4, 2023 at 14:38

    Although the term “proxy war” makes its way even into mainstream journalism rather impassively, that is probably because it is too abstract to spell out the United States’ involvement in the many conflicts in which we are presently engaged, most notably those in Ukraine, Syria and now, yet again, in Gaza. A good part of the definition of a proxy war is how that war is funded, but that is no small part of what is at work in this paradigm. To say we “support” Ukraine, or the Syrian resistance to the Damascus government, or Israel does not make clear what is at work. The fact is that, without, a steady flow of billions of dollars for weaponry, surveillance, spying and covert operations, the three conflicts mentioned here would be impossible. In other words, there would be no wars, no endless conflicts. To make it even clearer. The United States must bear total responsibility for what is taking place, for the death of innocents as well as the death of combatants on both sides. In almost every case, not only do we pour gasoline on burning fires, we short-circuit any attempts to move from the battlefields to the negotiating table. Whether this stance is motivated by ideology or by crass war profiteering by one of our few remaining industries or both makes little difference. Putin would not have invaded in the first place if the U.S. had not reneged on its promises, and even after the invasion, a quick withdrawal saving hundreds of thousands of lives and mass devastation could have been achieved through prompt negotiations; if we respected national sovereignty, there would be no uninvited troops in Syria; if we did not give Israel a blank check to spend on arms, it would not be so cavalier in violating the law and allowing ever-growing settlements in the West Bank. For all this we are responsible. And that does not mean just our government, this is how our tax dollars are put to work, a particularly sad reality given how much better conditions here within our shores might be if spent on human conditions and not on bombs.

  9. Vera Gottlieb
    December 4, 2023 at 14:04

    From ‘open air shooting gallery’ to ‘killing fields’.

  10. Otto
    December 4, 2023 at 10:30

    Do you remember or know how when some German soldiers or officers were killed by partisans in WWII the Germans rounded up many innocents and murdered them as a deterrent and for vengeance? Also the destruction of the French town of Lidice?

    The Israelis have really learned the lesson from the Nazis on how to deal with opponents,

    • Stephen Berk
      December 4, 2023 at 14:31

      I agree. The Israeli right wing, long in control, look at the Palestinians as subhuman, much as the Nazis looked at the Jews. Israel has turned Gaza into a big concentration camp. And now, as most news sources document, they are conducting genocide against the Palestinians. The Nazis attempted genocide against the Jews, and now the Israeli Jews are doing the same to the Palestinians. What does that say about any moral ground Israel might think they occupy? The bottom line is that genocide is always genocide, no matter who is committing it. Also those who commit genocide invariably have all the power and inflict genocide on people with much less power. It is an ugly, cowardly and utterly selfish thing to do..

    • Altruist
      December 4, 2023 at 16:06

      Good analogy. But may I provide a historical correction: Lidice was a Czech (not French) village which was destroyed (men killed,;women and children sent to concentration camps, most of whom were murdered) in reprisal for the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, the Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia by partisans. Another example for reprisal against a civilian population was Kristallnacht, which was ordered after the assissination of a German diplomat in Paris.

  11. Bob Newly
    December 4, 2023 at 10:28

    While I agree with most of Chris’ article, I think he got the revenge part, wrong. In MHO, the Israeli populations demand for revenge is the driver, as it gives license to their cynical leaders to pursue a plan – the removal of all Palestinians from Gaza – that they nurtured for ages; October 7th was the trigger, the excuse. I expect the West Bank will be next.

    • Em
      December 4, 2023 at 12:30

      Turning a blind eye as the occasion warrants, according to the US Hegemons arbitrary ‘rules of law’!

      Was Oct. 7th the same mindset set-up for Israel/US as that which triggered the need for Pearl Harbor, Dec.7th 1941; the Iranian coup d’etat instigated by the UK/US to overthrow the democratically elected government of Mossadegh in 1953: Gulf of Tonkin Aug. 1964; 9/11 Sept. 2001 incidents?????

      December the 7th is 3 days away, two months to the day of the warning given to the world by the democratically elected government of Hamas, provoked in response to over 75 years of Arab Palestinian ethnic cleansing by Israel; that history must no longer be permitted to keep on repeating itself to the detriment of all the worlds oppressed.

  12. Valerie
    December 4, 2023 at 09:33

    In Mr. Fish’s “Slaughterhouse”, his eyes look as dead as his soul.

  13. Em
    December 4, 2023 at 08:53

    A picture is a thousand times broader than the one brush stroke

    Mr Fish’s portrait certainly paints a picture of the many innocent thousands butchered in the ever ongoing slaughter, however, if we therefrom are to make the same claim that the entire fabric of America is not much more than a picture of the likes of a Joe Biden, and his ilk, behind the government, then likewise, this Hedges article is inappropriately titled.

    Perhaps a more appropriate title should read: Netanyahu, the slaughterer, Reopens the Slaughterhouse. 
    The continuum between the so-called good and evil contained in all of ‘human nature’ has been skinned down – crossed the line of demarcation into delusional behavior – to its ghastly skeletal remains, whereby ‘Israel’ and all the decisions it is now taking are from irrational and unreasoned attitudes; not only inflicting a further disastrous ‘catastrophe’ upon its proclaimed adversary, but irreparably harming its own long-term survival. It is now definitely on an immoral and even more precipitous spiral of suicidal civil war.

    Definitions of Morality as defined by Oxford Languages
    1. principles concerning the distinction between right and wrong or good and bad behavior.
    2. a particular system of values and principles of conduct, especially one held by a specified person or society.
    3. the extent to which an action is right or wrong.

    Please see and hear from inside the crumbling walls of purported ‘national security’ the rational truth being spoken, against the grain of audacious bigotry, deceit, fabrication, and outright lies:

    For an alternative perspective and report on the actual conditions within, and from inside Israel, recorded on Nov. 28th, the interview (48mins.) with suspended Member (for 45 days) of Israeli Parliament, Jewish Knesset Member, Dr. Ofir Cassif, Professor of Political Philosophy, interviewed by Swiss Professor of International and Neutrality studies, Dr. Pascal Lottaz.

    It is eye-opening!!!

  14. Francis Lee
    December 4, 2023 at 04:13

    I seem to remember the old Vietnam refrain. It went something like this.

    HEY, HEY LBJ. HOW MANY KIDS DID YOU KILL TODAY. Times don’t change it seems.

    • Vera Gottlieb
      December 4, 2023 at 14:02

      For the shame of the nation that claims to have ‘the most moral army’ in the world. Shun them!!!

    • Stephen Berk
      December 4, 2023 at 14:43

      I remember that chant well, having come of age during the Vietnam War. Israel’s genocidal behavior against the Palestinians has long been in the works. It is noteworthy that the Palestinians have occupied what Israelis call “the land” consistently for thousands of years. Sephardic Jews are also indigenous, and they generally lived side by side with the Palestinians more or less getting along for most of that period. The ones who are conducting the genocide against Palestine are the Ashkenazim, mainly those who migrated to Israel in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly in the context of Hitler’s genocide in World War Two. The Palestinians were not responsible for that genocide. But they are now paying the price. It would be a good thing for Jewish Israelis to see it as wrong and hypocritical in the extreme to inflict on the Palestinians what the Germans did on them.

Comments are closed.