The Israeli Defense Forces said 24 of its soldiers were killed in fighting Monday, marking the bloodiest day so far for the Israelis in the Gaza war. The IDF said that 218 soldiers have been killed since the war began more than 100 days ago, while Palestinian officials say more than 25,000 civilians have died.
Despite mounting losses for the Israelis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has maintained that his country will keep fighting until it sees “absolute victory.”
Military objectives trump casualties in Israel’s war aims
Israel is willing to see a high number of casualties if it translates to success in its military objective of eliminating Hamas, former IDF Colonel Miri Eisin told CNN in December. “Right now, for the Israeli public, the [threat of] Hamas’ military capabilities is such that we’re willing to go to a relatively high number [of casualties] to destroy it,” she said. Palestinian officials say more than 25,000 people — mostly civilians — have been killed in the conflict. The huge civilian toll has led to international outcry, including a genocide case brought against Israel by South Africa in the International Court of Justice. Public opinion has rapidly turned against Israel, Eisin acknowledged. “I absolutely feel that the world does not get it, they do not understand that we see this as an existential threat,” she told CNN.
IDF was previously underreporting its casualties
A review of hospital data by Haaretz suggested that the number of wounded soldiers was reportedly twice as high as the casualties the IDF was reporting. Until early December, the IDF had withheld reporting its casualties — unlike previous conflicts — but after Haaretz’ report it began issuing daily updates on the number of wounded and dead soldiers. Hospital officials were also reportedly unhappy with the IDF’s “tight oversight” over how hospitals reported on wounded military personnel, according to Haaretz.
Israeli teen jailed for refusing to join the IDF decries hypocrisy of ‘liberals’ in the country
An 18-year-old Israeli refused to join the IDF when he was called to the draft on Dec. 26, making him the first conscientious objector to be jailed in Israel since the war began. Tal Mitnick also refused to serve after a second draft call, and got sentenced to 30 more days in prison on Tuesday, the Guardian reported. “Israel has already lost this war,” Mitnick said. “More killing and more violence won’t bring back the lives lost on 7 October. I know people are hurt. Traumatised. But this doesn’t make anything better,” he said. Mitnick said that Oct. 7 changed the political undercurrents within Israel, which saw massive protests against Netanyahu’s controversial judicial reform months before the war began. Now, Mitnick said, “the supposed liberals, that protested judicial reform, are pilots massacring people in Gaza.”