An injured child is brought to the Nassr hospital after the Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 19, 2023.

An injured child is brought to the Nassr hospital after the Israeli airstrikes in Khan Yunis, Gaza on October 19, 2023.

(Photo by Belal Khaled/Anadolu via Getty Images)

For Israel, the Equivalent of 15 9/11s. For Gaza, It's Now Up to More Than 260 9/11s.

But how can you even begin to count or calculate such death and grief on the sides of this equation?

If a picture’s worth a thousand words, how many numbers would it take to paint the picture of Israel’s U.S.-backed bombing of Gaza? President Joe Biden used nightmare-as-arithmetic rhetoric when he discussed the Hamas massacre. “For a nation the size of Israel,” he said, “it was like fifteen 9/11s.”

That’s true, proportionally speaking, and it’s ghastly. More than 30 Israeli children were killed on October 7. Their murders alone are the equivalent of roughly 1,000 U.S. deaths on 9/11. Dozens of children are in captivity and their safe return should be a top priority.

But what about Palestine? How many 9/11s has it experienced since October 7 — and in the decades before? What other losses has it endured? Let’s review the tragic numbers, then summarize President Biden’s proposed spending package (preview: it’s shamefully inadequate) before pivoting to U.S. public opinion and politics.

(Sourcing and details for these figures can be found at the end; all figures are based on the best data available during the blockade.)

Number of 9/11 Equivalents in Gaza and Palestine Since Current Bombing Began

  • 9/11s as a proportion of Gaza’s population: 260
  • 9/11s as a proportion of Palestine’s total population: 110
  • Children-only Palestinian 9/11s from current attack: 40+
  • Palestinian 9/11s in the West Bank since October 7: 1.85

Additional Palestinian 9/11s, 2000-2022

  • 9/11s from Israeli violence during 2018’s nonviolent protests: 4+
  • Total Israeli deaths during 2018 protests: 1 soldier.
  • Palestinian Children-Only 9/11s, 2000-2014: 40

The War on Medical Care During Current Gaza Bombing

  • Attacks by Israel on health care delivery and facilities: 72.
  • Number of attacks whose origin has been questioned: 1.
  • Healthcare workers killed on duty in Palestine: 16.
  • Number injured: 30.
  • Hospitals ordered by Israel to evacuate at severe risk to patients: 20+.
  • Hospitals forced to close due to airstrikes or shortages of electricity and supplies from Israel’s “complete siege”: 12.

Rescue/Relief Services During Current Assault on Gaza

  • Trucks admitted into Gaza with relief aid in the 18 days since bombing began: 50.
  • Number of trucks relief agencies say is needed: 100 per day.
  • Number of Gazans per each truck admitted to date: 42,000.
  • Palestinian Civil Defense rescue workers killed by Israeli airstrikes: 34.
  • United Nations relief workers killed by airstrikes: 35.

Housing and Shelter in Gaza

  • Estimated number of internally displaced persons: 1.4 million.
  • Number of people in UN-designated emergency shelters: 590,000.
  • Maximum recommended capacity of those shelters: 236,000.
  • People “sheltering in hospitals, churches and other public buildings”: 101,500.
  • People sheltering in non-UN managed schools: Approx. 71,000.
  • Housing units destroyed or rendered uninhabitable: 26,684.
  • Additional damaged housing units: 142,500.
  • Percentage of housing destroyed or damaged: 43 percent.

Status of Women and Children in Gaza Before Latest Attacks

  • Women at risk of dying in childbirth: 25 percent.
  • Infant mortality in Gaza: 24 deaths per 1,000 live births.
  • Infant mortality in Israel: 3.6 deaths per live births.
  • Children in Gaza at risk of failing to fully develop: 35 percent.
  • Water unsafe to drink: 97 percent.
  • Women “unable to access vital medical care due to restrictions on their freedom of movement”: 70 percent.
  • Children experiencing depression, fear, bedwetting, and/or grief: 80 percent.

Biden Spending Proposal

  • Total for Ukraine, Israel, and Gaza: $106.1 billion.
  • Percentage for Ukraine (est.): 64 percent.
  • Percentage for Gaza (est.): 2.84 percent.
  • Percentage for humanitarian aid: 8.5 percent.
  • Total amount to Ukraine: $66.1 billion.
  • Military aid to Israel: $14.3 billion.
  • US border security: $13.6 billion.
  • Asia military buildup: $7 billion.
  • Military spending as percentage of total (est.): 66 percent.

Public Opinion

  • Percentage of voters who agree that “the U.S. should call for a ceasefire and a de-escalation of violence in Gaza”: 66 percent.
  • Percentage of Democrats who agree: 80 percent.
  • Of Independents: 57 percent.
  • Of Republicans: 56 percent.
  • Of women: 68 percent.
  • Under 45: 70 percent.
  • Black: 72 percent.
  • Latino: 71 percent.
  • Democrats who oppose “send(ing) weapons/supplies to Israel”: 53 percent.
  • Democrats who support “send(ing) humanitarian aid” to Gaza: 70 percent.

Democrats in Congress

  • Number of House Democrats who have endorsed Ceasefire Now resolution: 18.
  • Total number of Democrats in the House: 213.

What you can do

Minutes to go here and ask your Representative to support a ceasefire (est.): 2.


Gazan and Palestinian 9/11s

As I write these words, the death toll from ongoing bombing stands at 5,700. In proportion to the population of Palestine, that’s the equivalent of 110 9/11s. (If you use only Gaza’s population, that number becomes 260 9/11s.)

The Gazan Health Ministry reports that half of those killed have been children, which gives us the above figure.

A lower estimate from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency puts the current child death toll at more than 2,000 — which is a “mere” 40 child-only 9/11s.

Settler violence and military attacks against Palestinians have surged in the West Bank, causing 96 Palestinian deaths as of Tuesday, October 24.

The Israeli military killed 214 people during Palestine’s non-violent March of Return in 2018.

46 of those killed during the March of Return were children, which makes up a separate, kids-only 9/11.

Every life is precious, but the use of force should be proportionate.

The United Nations reported in 2014 that Israeli forces and settlers killed 1,918 Palestinian children between 2000 and November 2014.

The War on Healthcare

The World Health Organization documented 72 attacks on health provision.

The World Health Organization stated, “Forcing more than 2000 patients to relocate to southern Gaza, where health facilities are already running at maximum capacity and unable to absorb a dramatic rise in the number patients, could be tantamount to a death sentence.”

Housing Destroyed or Damaged

Primary source: the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs.

Status of Women and Children in Gaza Before Latest Attacks



UNICEF writes that this developmental risk is “due to poverty, poor nutrition, lack of access to basic services, and high levels of family and environmental stress and exposure to violence.”

For depression in Gaza’s children, see Save the Children.

Infant mortality rate for Israel found here.

Biden Spending Package

Less than 8.5 percent of that money ($9 billion) consists of humanitarian aid.

Ukraine would get roughly two-thirds of the total package ($66.1 billion). $30 billion would purchase weapons through the Department of Defense. $14.4 billion would be used for “military intelligence” — which could conceivably include more collaboration between the CIA and Ukrainian assassination squads (see The Washington Post for details).

The State Department would receive $16.3 billion for war-related expenditures. Ukraine would also receive an unspecified amount of humanitarian aid.

$9.15 billion in humanitarian aid would be divided between Ukraine, Israel and Gaza, plus an additional small amount for unspecified other countries.

Israel would get $14.3 billion in military aid, plus an unspecified amount of the humanitarian assistance. If we assume that the package’s humanitarian aid is divided equally among the three countries named, Gaza would receive $3 billion, which is less than 3 percent of the total.

Four times as much money would go to “fortifying border security operations in the United States.”

$13.6 billion would be spent on fortifying border security operations in the United States.”

$7 billion would go to “strengthen security in the Indo-Pacific” with more military buildups near China.

It appears that roughly two-thirds of the total amount (65.3 percent) consists of military aid, although the White House fact sheet is unclear on this subject.

Public Opinion

Media coverage of the situation has slighted the plight of Palestinians, skewing public perceptions of the conflict. Nevertheless, striking signals are already apparent in the polling data.

The statement quoted in the bullet points is from a poll by Data for Progress. The statement continues, “The U.S. should leverage its relationship with Israel to prevent further violence and civilian deaths."

More than half of Democrats in a CBS/YouGov poll disagreed with sending more weapons, as the Biden package proposes to do. Biden’s proposal does not reflect their priorities, and only a handful of Democrats have signed on to the Ceasefire Now resolution in the House of Representatives.

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