US House Votes to Bar State Department from Citing Gazan Casualties from Health Ministry

ANGLO AMERICA, 1 Jul 2024

Kyle Anzalone | Antiwar - TRANSCEND Media Service

If passed into law, US diplomats would be unable to discuss casualty figures from Palestinian sources that are generally considered credible.

27 Jun 2024 – During the debate of the State Department funding bill, the House added a provision that would bar American diplomats from citing statistics from the Gaza Health Ministry. The amendment would prevent American diplomats from discussing the casualty figures produced by the Palestinian agency.

On Thursday, the House voted 269-144 for an amendment to the Department of State appropriations bill proposed by a bipartisan group led by Rep. Jared Moskowitz (D-FL). The provision “prohibits funds appropriated by this act to be made available for the State Department to cite statistics obtained from the Gaza Health Ministry.”

The amendment received bipartisan support. All but 14 Republicans voted yes, with Reps. Paul Gosar (AZ) and Matt Rosendale (MT) are the only no votes. The Democrats split support 69-114. The Democratic leadership in the House elected not to endorse or oppose the amendment.

During Israel’s nearly nine-month-long onslaught in Gaza, the Health Ministry has recorded nearly 38,000 deaths and 85,000 injuries. Many of those injured have life-altering wounds. The head of the UN Palestinian Aid Agency (UNRWA) estimates that over 2,000 children, or nearly ten per day, have lost legs since October 7.

Prior to Israel’s most recent military campaign in Gaza, the casualty figures were generally considered accurate and regularly cited by Western media. During Israel’s “Swords of Iron” operations, the corporate press has started to slant cover of those numbers by asserting Hamas runs the health ministry whenever the numbers are reported.

However, many human rights groups and officials believe the official figures are an undercount. Save the Children estimates that in addition to the 15,000 dead Palestinian children counted by the health ministry, an additional 4,000 are uncounted because their bodies have not been recovered.

During the debate over Moskowitz’s amendment, Rep Rashida Tlaib blasted the provisions as being a part of the decades-long coordinated effort by the House to “erase Palestinians from existence.”

“Today, we are witnessing the apartheid Israeli government carry out a genocide in real-time. This amendment is an attempt to hide it.” She added, “My colleagues don’t even want to acknowledge that Palestinians exist at all.”

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Kyle Anzalone is the opinion editor of Antiwar.com, news editor of the Libertarian Institute, and co-host of Conflicts of Interest.

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