2023 in review: 12 months of blood on Israeli and American hands

2023 in review: 12 months of blood on Israeli and American hands

2023 will be remembered for its last 3 months, when tens of thousands of Gazans were massacred with the blessing of the US government, when the world watched a “live-streamed genocide.” The first 9 months of 2023 were also far from peaceful. Here is a run-down of the coverage that If Americans Knew provided.

by Kathryn Shihadah

Since October 7th, If Americans Knew has worked to keep readers up to date on Israel’s brutal attack on Gaza and the alarming level of violence in the West Bank that followed the Hamas escape from Gaza and assault on Israeli kibbutzim. In those 11 weeks, we brought you about 100 articles.

Before October 7th, we posted or reposted roughly 140 articles, covering the situation in Israel-Palestine and news relevant to the region. That seems like a lifetime ago. For many of us, all of 2023 pales next to the situation in Gaza.

But the circumstances of January 1 – October 6 matter deeply, and can help us understand the subsequent events better. Join us in a look back over the first 9 months of 2023, and let’s see what light it sheds on the last 3 months.

At the bottom of this article, find our recommendations for understanding the historical context of the Palestinian struggle.

Keep in mind that no one knows better than Palestinians themselves that, in between these major stories, Israeli oppression has been relentless and crushing.

West Bank Before October 7

Data are dry and impersonal, but they can offer certain insights. A quick comparison of a few categories of Palestine-related statistics from 2022 and 2023 is very informative. For example:

Deaths – West Bank

Before the October 7th attacks*, Israeli forces had killed over 200 Palestinians in the West Bank, already making it the deadliest year for West Bank Palestinians since the UN started keeping records in 2005.

Since October 7th, at least 316 more have been killed in the West Bank, for a total of well over 500 in 2023.

Previously, 2022 had been the most deadly year for West Bank Palestinians, with “only” 146 killed.

Child deaths – West Bank

ReliefWeb, a UN-linked humanitarian information service, announced – 3 weeks before the October 7th attacks, that 2023 was the deadliest year on record for children in the occupied West Bank. At that time, 38 children had been killed.

Today, the number is at least 76.

Previously, 2022 had been the deadliest year for children in the West Bank on record, with “only” 36 deaths.

Map of Israel and Palestinian territories via BBC.
Map of Israel and Palestinian territories via BBC. (map)

A few headlines about Palestinian children:

Displacement – West Bank

Israeli home demolitions made 809 Palestinians homeless (357 of them children) before October 7th.

Since then, an additional 1208 people (586 children) have been displaced, for a total of over 2,000 displaced, 943 of them children.

In 2022, Israeli home demolitions made “only” about 823 Palestinians homeless (373 children).

Settler attacks – West Bank

In the 9 months before October 7th, Palestinians endured at least 315 settler attacks, during which 9 Palestinians were killed.

Since October 7th, an additional 353 Israeli settler attacks have been recorded, with at least 8 more Palestinians killed, for a total of over 660 attacks and 17 deaths in 2023. (Read about one of the most serious episodes of settler violence: Feb 27 Israeli settlers rampage as killings continue.)

In 2022, there were “only” about 250 settler attacks.

Palestinian political prisoner Khader Adnan, 45, became the first Palestinian to die in a hunger strike protesting the Israeli occupation and illegal detention of thousands of Palestinian civilians.
Palestinian political prisoner Khader Adnan, 45, became the first Palestinian to die in a hunger strike protesting the Israeli occupation and illegal detention of thousands of Palestinian civilians. (photo)


May 8: Khader Adnan’s death & Israel’s decades of despotic military orders

One of the heroes of Palestine in 2023 had to be political prisoner and hunger striker Khader Adnan.

Adnan began a hunger strike on the day he was imprisoned, February 5th, 2023. It was his 12th trip to Israeli prison; he had spent 8 years behind bars – and he was only in his 40s.

He died after 87 days on strike, protesting the Israeli occupation and illegal detention of thousands of Palestinian civilians.

At the time of Khader Adnan’s death, Israel held a shocking 4,900 Palestinians as political prisoners – over 1,000 of them  without trial or charges – as administrative detainees (read about the restrictions on administrative detention here). Since October 7th, Israel has arrested about 4,800 more; many of those since released have spoken of being tortured and humiliated.

6 Palestinian prisoners have died while imprisoned since October 7th, at least one apparently beaten to death.

Today, Israel holds over 2,000 Palestinian administrative detainees, and 7,000 total political prisoners. Last year at this time, there were “only” 800 detainees and 4,700 total political prisoners. Israel’s extensive use of administrative detention violates multiple international laws. Palestinian prisoners (including children) are routinely subject to torture.

Since 1967, Israel has imprisoned more than 700,000 Palestinians from the occupied territories (West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem).


Not only do Israel’s military and police use lethal force as a first resort, they also have the admiration and support of their government in doing so. Particularly notable are the Palestinian shot in the head for honking his horn, the Palestinian shot for protesting the deaths of 9 other Palestinians, and Israel’s use of tear gas in the pediatric ward of a hospital.

Here are some of the too-many stories we brought you in 2023:

After October 7th, of course, Israel’s “violence first” policy was its oxygen, especially in Gaza. As IAK’s daily updates have chronicled, Israeli forces have killed over 21,500 Gazans and injured almost 56,000. Many thousands more are suffering the effects of starvation, drinking contaminated water, and living in unsanitary conditions. (For statistics in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, see above.)


Before October 7th, Israel had already attacked the people of Gaza many times in 2023

On May 9th there was an escalation, beginning with what many considered an unprovoked attack that killed 15, and was over by May 13th. In all, 33 Palestinians were killed, along with 1 Israeli. Here are a few of the headlines we brought you during that escalation:

In between the escalations, Israel’s 17-year-long blockade of Gaza caused endless misery for the people. For example:

Don’t let the shortage of headlines fool you – whenever there is a time of de-escalation, Gazans still grapple with many serious challenges imposed by Israel (learn the basics here).


Benjamin Netanyahu’s new administration – sworn in at the end of 2022 – includes overtly racist parties, whose leaders now occupy high-level posts. They hit the ground running, putting into place protocols and normalizing rhetoric that reduced the already compromised rights of Palestinians. The government banned the flying of Palestinian flags; revoked senior Palestinian officials’ travel permits; discriminated against Palestinians in the prison system; and prioritized home construction on stolen Palestinian land – to name a few examples.

From January until October 7th, Israelis protested steadily against some of the alarming changes this new administration was considering – changes that would permanently shift the balance of power into the hands of radicals. No one protested those policies that harmed Palestinians.

Here are stories of just a few of the tactics that Israel employed in 2023 to guarantee its supremacy – some new, and some tried and true:


Israel and its apologists went out of their way in 2023 to monopolize the historical narrative, to erase the indigenous Palestinians’ very existence in the land. A few notable examples:

Israel’s war on history since October 7th includes the destruction of more than 200 heritage sites in Gaza, including mosques, churches, schools, museums and ancient archaeological sites, some of them dating back to the Phoenician area.

Gaza’s government media office called the targeting of the sites “a failed attempt to obliterate the Palestinian cultural and heritage presence and an attempt to conceal historical evidence and the depth of Palestinian history in the Gaza Strip” – and deemed their destruction a violation of international law.


Closely related to Israel’s war on history is its war on Christians. As Israeli leaders promoted their false narrative as the only rightful inhabitants of historical Palestine, and became more consumed by the “demographic threat” of non-Jews, their attacks on Christians have become more brazen. Here are just a few examples:

Since October 7th, Israel’s war on Christians has included snipers killing Christian women inside a Gaza church compound, and attacks on all 3 Christian churches in Gaza. Pope Francis has called Israel’s actions “terrorism.” (See more here.)


Throughout 2023, American politicians have been showing their true colors – standing with the oppressor state of Israel, or (occasionally) with the oppressed Palestinians (a punishable offense). Most have been bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. Here are some stories we brought you:


2023 saw a number of highly qualified individuals nominated for prestigious positions in higher education and government – only to be passed up because of their stance on Israel, as part of an ongoing war to silence or punish allies of the Palestinian cause. A few that If Americans Knew covered:

Since October 7th, Israel has tried to keep its narrative front and center in mainstream media, including through blatant disinformation campaigns that included Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and duped even US President Biden. When the fabrications were exposed, we reported that many news orgs, and the White House itself, were forced to retract statements, though some still peddle them. Here are a few other pieces in which IAK provided facts that mainstream news outlets failed to mention:


The stories of Israel’s criminality – and America’s collusion – never seem to end. Here is a sampling of the various other issues that we addressed in 2023:


Israel’s actions in the Palestinian territories this year have been bold and shameless. The prime minister has told the world blatant lies. Israeli politicians and spokespeople have used racist and genocidal language for all to hear. The Israeli military has paraded its war crimes across the global stage, ordering millions of Palestinians around Gaza like pawns on a chessboard, killing tens of thousands in their homes, places of worship, and “safe zones.” Israeli leaders are now discussing “voluntary” (forced) transfer of Gazans to the Sinai desert as a humanitarian response to the devastation they themselves have created.

In 2022, “apartheid” was a buzzword in conversations about Israel. This year, “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” have been widely used in describing Israel’s actions. That is quite a tribute to the country America supports unquestioningly.

But in the last 3 months or so, more and more of us, here and around the world, have learned the truth about Israel’s occupation, apartheid, and blockade. Millions have marched and rallied for Palestinian liberation. The inherently racist nature of Zionism is beginning to become clear.

Bottom line: If Americans Knew is committed to providing Americans facts on this crucial issue that mainstream media omit. We hope you will join us. Please share our posts, talk about the Palestinian situation, contact your Congress members, and support us financially if you possibly can.

* “Attacks” is used in the plural here because both Palestinians from Gaza and Israeli forces struck various locations in Israel on October 7th. A total of about 1,139 Israeli soldiers and civilians were killed that day, but it is currently unknown how many were killed by Palestinians. Israeli forces also carried out airstrikes in Gaza that day, killing over 230. 

For a complete list of Palestinians and Israelis killed since 2000, please visit Israel-Palestine Timeline  

Kathryn Shihadah is an editor and staff writer for If Americans Knew. She also blogs occasionally at Palestine Home.




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