The Guardian revealed findings from their full-scale investigation of the destruction of Gaza as a result of the Israeli genocide.
General findings found that in the three focal neighborhoods of the investigation, at least 250 residential buildings, 17 schools and universities, and 16 mosques were leveled to the ground. The numbers prompted experts to label the genocide as a “domicide” as it not only forces Palestinians out of their homes or shelters but also makes it impossible for them to return to them.
“Israel” defends its unrestrained attacks on Gaza by blaming the whole situation on Hamas. It claims that Hamas infiltrates civilian areas, domestic homes, and complexes, something that has been repeatedly refuted, which “authorizes” the bombing of the entirety of the Strip.
On January 17, another study of satellite images obtained by Corey Scher of the City University of New York and Jamon Van Den Hoek of Oregon State University showed that 50 to 62 percent of all buildings in Gaza have been destroyed.
The Guardian‘s investigation focuses on three Gazan towns: Beit Hanoun, al-Zahra, and Khan Yunis.
Beit Hanoun is a town to the northeast of Gaza and was home to 50,000 Palestinians before “Israel” demolished it.
Beit Hanoun was also surrounded by agricultural land used for produce, but satellite images showed that those have been obliterated as well, making them a significant part of the 39% of agricultural lands in north Gaza that “Israel” destroyed.
An entire neighborhood, consisting of 150 residential buildings has been pulverized. This includes the Balsam Hospital and local schools, including a United Nations one, while the main hospital, Beit Hanoun Hospital, was severely damaged.
Moreover, the local cemetery was razed by bulldozers, and one of the oldest mosques, Umm al-Nasr, dating back to 1239, was also damaged.
Al-Zahra was home to 5,000 Palestinians before the genocide and was regarded as one of Gaza’s wealthiest neighborhoods.
Within its northern infrastructure were universities, tower blocks, and a large wastewater treatment plant. “Israel” destroyed everything and forged new bulldozed roads over the ravaged ones for the transportation of IOF soldiers.
In its east is al-Mughraqa neighborhood, which has seen relentless Israeli bombardment that left nothing but a visible crater where a building once stood.
The Turkish Palestinian Friendship Hospital stood in al-Zahra as well, but several of its departments had been bombed, and the roads leading to it are riddled with large holes where Israeli bombs exploded.
Al-Zahra’s three universities were also targeted by “Israel”. Al-Israa University was detonated by “Israel” in documented deliberation.
Over 3,000 Palestinian civilians resided in the tower blocks of al-Zahra, all of which were decimated to the ground.
Khan Yunis is Gaza’s main city and was sold as a “safe zone” by the IOF, who encouraged Palestinian civilians to evacuate there for safety but ambushed and bombed them and the town.
Among the destroyed infrastructure were residential buildings, schools, sports compounds, mosques, pharmacies, kindergartens, agricultural fields, and greenhouses. To be specific, over 100 greenhouses were bombed, leaving only large craters behind.
Khan Yunis also had a refugee camp that sheltered at least 41,000 people back in 2017 after they were forcibly expelled from their homes. The camp was also targeted by the IOF, resulting in damage to UN shelters and schools, as well as its hospital.
What is domicide?
By definition, domicide is “the planned, deliberate destruction of someone’s home, causing suffering to the dweller.”
Scholars have opted to use this word when describing the Israeli conduct in Gaza, saying the forced displacement of Palestinians and the bombing of different infrastructure, which renders most neighborhoods and towns uninhabitable, not just buildings and homes, is a direct consequence of the practice of “domicide”.
What “Israel” has been doing is a full-blown attack on Gaza to rid it of its rightful residents, either by killing them or by forcing them to evacuate to nearby countries, such as Egypt.
The scale of destruction adds to the fact. Balakrishnan Rajagopal, the UN special rapporteur on the right to adequate housing, said, “Gaza’s destruction is far worse in terms of the scale, ferocity and impact when compared to Ukraine, Syria or other conflicts.”
Ammar Azzouz, a research fellow at the University of Oxford and author of a book on domicide, also said, “Domicide’s impact unfolds with time. Its pain spreads not only across those who lost their homes in Gaza but also for those whose homes remain intact as their wider infrastructure has been targeted.”
He also pointed out how The Guardian‘s investigation and the footage obtained show the weaponization of Gaza’s architecture and infrastructure by “Israel” to create unsuitable and uninhabitable spaces, as well as its heritage sites to erase its identity.
Other scholars mentioned how the destruction of these towns and cities kills any sense of life, which might push people away.
He then added, “The destruction of homes plays a key role in both the displacement – communities cannot return if they have no home to return to – and the destruction of communities, as homes are destroyed and families displaced so all the things that make a community cohesive are destroyed and they are scattered to many different places.”
Marin Coward, professor of international politics at Queen Mary University of London, said, “If you can’t shop or learn, you can’t form a sense of belonging or call a place home.”