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Israel’s Dresden Not Unachievable in Gaza

by Pini Herman

November 16, 2012 | 1:10 pm

Dresden 1945

"Israel needs to do to Gaza what the Allies did to Dresden ."

That was Noshie63's comment on the Forward's website getting likes from fellow readers.  Having read Farenheit 451, but not knowing the actual Dresden casualty figures, I wondered what a contemporary equivalent carnage would look like.  It turns out that only using the estimated Cast Lead death figures, we are already one-tenth the way to a carnage equivalent to the firebombing of Dresden in World War II.  A current incursion into Gaza could be a bit longer and costler than Cast Lead and if 6,800 Gazan City residents are killed then a casualty rate equivalent to WWII Dresden will have been achieved.

Dresden in WWII had a population of 1.6 million and a 2010 historical estimate by the City of Dresden Historians Commission of the bombing toll put it at 25,000 civilians killed during the Allied firebombing of February 1945, a far smaller Dresden death toll than popularly had been believed.

The Gaza Strip which has an estimated total population of 1.7 million. Just for the 2008-9 Gaza Cast Lead incursion into the Gaza Strip, B'Tzelem put the total deaths at about 3,195. To achieve a Dresden equivalent for the Gaza Strip another 22,000 Gazans need die. In the event another Cast Lead type incursion occurs into the relatively small geography of the Gaza Strip and Gazan casualties are worse than Cast Lead, an awful parity with Dresden in terms of the human toll is conceivable. Without a ceasefire, a Dresden scale death rate in Gaza may not be as far off as one might think.

Pini Herman, PhD. has served as Asst. Research Professor at the University of Southern California Dept. of Geography,  Adjunct Lecturer at the USC School of Social Work,  Research Director at the Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles following Bruce Phillips, PhD. in that position (and author of the “most recent” 15 year old study of the LA Jewish population which was the third most downloaded study from Berman Jewish Policy Archive in 2011) and is a past President of the Movable Minyan a lay-lead independent congregation in the 3rd Street area. Currently he is a principal of Phillips and Herman Demographic Research. To email Pini: pini00003@gmail.com To follow Pini on Twitter:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Bruce Phillips is Professor of Sociology and Jewish Communal Studies at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, Los Angeles. He has conducted Jewish population...

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