We all understand that killing can be a murder, a war crime, a crime against humanity or an act of genocide, depending on the gravity and intention of the act. The same should apply for the destruction of homes.
In Gaza, we are witnessing destruction that is overwhelming in terms of its scale and impact, and far worse than what we saw in Dresden and Rotterdam during World War II, where about 25,000 homes were destroyed in each city. In Gaza, more than 70,000 housing units have been destroyed and more than 290,000 partially damaged. Recent conflicts are all proving to be equally destructive: In parts of Aleppo, up to 65 percent of structures were damaged or destroyed in five years of conflict, while in Mariupol, approximately 32 percent of the structures were damaged or destroyed in a year over 2021 and 2022. In about three months of conflict, a shocking 60 percent to 70 percent of structures in Gaza, and up to 84 percent of structures in parts of northern Gaza, have been damaged or destroyed.
The ferocity of the attacks is unprecedented: Israel is reported to have already dropped the explosive equivalent of the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima almost twice over. Much of the infrastructure in Gaza that makes it possible and worthwhile to live in homes there — water and sanitation, education, electricity and health systems, and cultural infrastructure like mosques, churches, and public and historic buildings — have been damaged or destroyed. This crushing of Gaza as a place erases the past, present and future of many Palestinians. [Continue reading…]