The huge civilian death toll in Gaza is explained by the scale of the bombing campaign and Israel's willingness to drop US-provided 2,000-pound bombs on densely populated areas that are packed with civilians.
Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon analyst who advises the Dutch NGO PAX, told the Times that he's never seen anything like it. "It's beyond anything that I've seen in my career," he said. Garlasco added that to find a historical comparison for so many large bombs in such a small area, one would have to "go back to Vietnam or the Second World War."
Israeli officials have frequently cited the Allied strategic bombings of Japan and Germany during World War II to justify their onslaught in Gaza. The comparison includes the US fire bombings of Japanese cities, which killed around 100,000 civilians in Tokyo in one night in 1945, as well as the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Israel has also invoked the US air campaign against ISIS, which killed tens of thousands of civilians in Iraq and Syria. But even the most brutal battle of the ISIS war does not compare to Israel's onslaught in Gaza. According to an AP investigation, between 9,000 and 11,000 civilians died during the Battle of Mosul. About a third were killed by US-led coalition airstrikes or Iraqi forces, a third were killed by ISIS, and the cause of death for the rest is undetermined.
The Battle of Mosul lasted for nine months, from October 2016 to July 2017. In less than two months in Gaza, the Israeli bombardment has killed at least 10,000 civilians, based on a conservative estimate cited by The Times.