UN's OCHA: Israel commits widespread war crimes in Gaza, humanitarian catastrophe is imminent

Palestinian Territory - The Israeli forces destroyed at least 70 industrial facilities and 970 residential units in the Gaza Strip, documented Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.

Israel is committing widespread crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip, Euro-Med Monitor said; amidst four consecutive days of its escalating war, Israel has cut off Gaza’s electricity, water, food, and fuel supplies, creating a threat of imminent humanitarian catastrophe.

Euro-Med Monitor stated that the Israeli attack has resulted in the deaths of 880 Palestinians, with approximately 59% of them being civilians, including 185 children and 120 women. Around 5,000 others have been injured, with hundreds remaining trapped under rubble and along border areas.

Euro-Med Monitor added that Israel’s army is expanding its military operations in Gaza, targeting residential buildings without prior warning and causing the deaths of entire families.

“What is happening in Gaza represents a comprehensive humanitarian disaster, especially with the lack of electricity and water affecting more than 90% of residents, and the disruption of various essential supplies,” the organisation said in a statement. The group documented the killing of seven journalists, injury of at least 10 more, and loss of contact with two.

About 40 media and press institutions have been damaged or completely destroyed due to Israel’s targeting of residential and commercial buildings, including the Palestine and Watan towers; 56 schools and roughly 30 kindergartens have been affected.

Euro-Med Monitor has recorded the destruction of at least 70 industrial facilities and 970 residential units, plus significant damage to approximately 7,920 residential units. Fourteen water and sanitation stations have been severely damaged, the statement said, affecting services for nearly half a million people.

Israeli warplanes bombed a house belonging to the Za’anin family in Beit Hanoun, northern Gaza, without prior warning, destroying the four-storey building where four families lived. The bombing resulted in the deaths of all 20 civilians inside, including 11 children and five women.

In a similar incident, an Israeli aircraft, without prior warning, targeted a house belonging to the Nabahin family, east of the Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. Directly hitting residents, the attack led to the deaths of 13 people, including 10 children and two women. Additionally, another four-storey house and neighbouring house were completely destroyed.

Euro-Med Monitor’s statement highlighted the events of Monday, 9 October, pointing to the Israeli army’s targeting of a residential building beside one of the main markets in Jabalia refugee camp in northern Gaza and an area near shelters provided for the displaced. The assault resulted in the simultaneous killing of over 40 people, exposing the severity of Israeli retaliatory crimes and collective punishment against Palestinian civilians.

Significantly, teams from the Palestinian Civil Defence in Gaza have lost much of their ability to retrieve the bodies of victims from under the rubble due to Israeli attacks in various areas of the Strip, given the shortage of necessary logistical supplies for such tasks.

The Israeli bombing has resulted in the deaths of five healthcare workers and the injury of 10 more, stated the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. According to the ministry, Israel’s attacks have targeted seven hospitals and health centres, causing direct damage to large parts of the facilities, and have forced the evacuation of Beit Hanoun Hospital—the only hospital in the city of Beit Hanoun—following repeated targeting of the building’s vicinity, which made it impossible for medical staff to enter or leave safely and damaged various sections within.

Officials from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza informed the Euro-Med Monitor team that Israeli authorities refused a request that was transmitted from the International Committee of the Red Cross to evacuate seriously injured individuals for treatment outside of the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Security Cabinet approved a declaration of war on Gaza on Saturday evening, allowing for extensive military operations in response to the armed attack by Hamas on Israel, referred to as (Operation Iron Swords-Israel) (The Battle of Al-Aqsa Flood-Hamas), which resulted in the deaths of approximately 900 Israelis and the capture of dozens more. Since then, the Israeli army has carried out thousands of airstrikes targeting residential neighbourhoods and multi-storey buildings inhabited by civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Monday night and Tuesday morning witnessed intensive Israeli attacks by air and sea, with limited ground actions. Shocking scenes of extensive destruction have been observed, including the erasure of entire neighbourhoods, including many central and densely populated areas.

Due to Israel’s consecutive attacks on neighbourhoods, Euro-Med Monitor estimated that nearly 400,000 people, including more than 180,000 in United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) facilities, have been displaced.

Euro-Med Monitor documented damage to about 14 UN facilities as a result of Israeli airstrikes, including the direct targeting of a UNRWA school housing hundreds of displaced individuals. The organisation’s statement also documented direct and severe attacks on universities, mosques, markets, banks, telecommunications companies, residential towers, and other civilian infrastructure.

The statement emphasised that Israel’s army is violating the principles of international humanitarian law in its continuous attacks on the Gaza Strip, especially the principles of necessity and proportionality, given the absence of shelters or safe areas for Gazan civilians. It stressed that international humanitarian law requires the protection of civilians in all circumstances and under any conditions, and considers the killing of civilians to be a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts, which may rise to the level of a crime against humanity.

“Attacking or bombarding towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended” is prohibited under Article 25 of the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land. Moreover, Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that, “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organisations, is prohibited, unless such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.”

According to Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the destruction of property that is not justified by military necessity and is carried out on a large scale constitutes a grave breach that requires prosecution. Such practices are also considered to be war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

Euro-Med Monitor further highlighted that, in parallel with systematic killings, Israel has imposed a complete closure on the Gaza Strip, which covers an area of approximately 365 square kilometres and is inhabited by around 2.3 million civilians. This closure has deprived them of water, food, fuel, electricity, and medical supplies.

Israeli Defense Minister Ya’alon has referred to Palestinians as “human animals” and vowed to act accordingly, announcing a “complete siege” on Gaza, which has already been under intensely strict restrictions since 2007.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reiterated its call for the United Nations, countries, and relevant powers to exert pressure on Israel to immediately cease its unjustifiable attacks on civilians, refrain from military operations, and open all closed border crossings to ensure the flow of medical, food, and logistical supplies into the Gaza Strip.





War Crimes 2196548152648049755

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