Palestinian territory – Israel’s army has killed multiple civilians in its ongoing attack on the Gaza Strip, while Israeli authorities have closed vital crossings to the Strip and disrupted the flow of vital humanitarian aid including food, medicines, medical supplies, and fuel, said Euro-Med Monitor in a statement.
At the time of the statement’s publication, the current Israeli military attack on the Strip had resulted in the deaths of 33 people in Gaza, according to data supplied by the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and the dead included six children and three women. An additional 111 others had been injured. As of 8:00 pm on Friday, 12 May 2023, Euro-Med Monitor confirmed that the Israeli army is responsible for the deaths of at least 10 Gazan civilians. These casualties occurred as a result of airstrikes targeting locations where Israel’s army had prior knowledge of civilian presence, which potentially constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
Using advanced enough technologies and methods, such as so-called “smart” munitions, the Israeli army and intelligence services are able to accurately ascertain the identity of individuals within the direct range of impact during strikes carried out by the Israeli Air Force. The Israeli military did not abide by the principles of international humanitarian law in its attack on the Gaza Strip, then, particularly the principles of necessity and proportionality. Euro-Med Monitor documented four separate incidents in which the Israeli army targeted alleged wanted persons despite their presence with their families, including their children. These actions resulted in the immediate deaths of the family members.
The bombing and destruction of civilian homes by Israeli warplanes, even if the homeowners or members of their family are associated with armed Palestinian factions, cannot be justified or legitimised. This type of violence constitutes an illegal practice that falls within the scope of collective punishment, and is practised extensively by Israel against Palestinians. The repeated Israeli military attacks on the Gaza Strip continue to exacerbate the dire humanitarian situation for the Strip’s 2.4 million residents. Israel has imposed a strict blockade on Gaza since 2006, impoverishing more than 61% of its population, rendering 47% of workers unemployed, and causing 53% of the population to suffer from food insecurity.
Since the beginning of its most recent attack, the Israeli authorities has closed all vital crossings it controls into the Gaza Strip, causing disastrous disruptions to the flow of essential supplies including food, medicines, basic medical supplies, and fuel. The closure of the Erez crossing—the only crossing from Gaza into Israel as well as other parts of the Occupied Palestinian Territory—has made it impossible for hundreds of patients suffering from serious diseases to travel to hospitals in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel for treatment; this situation could lead to the serious deterioration of their health, with potentially fatal consequences.
This latest Israeli bombardment has brought life in the various cities of the Gaza Strip to a halt. The majority of Gazan workers, including around 17,000 individuals employed in Israel, have ceased working. As a result, breadwinners face extra difficulties in securing basic necessities for their families. Gaza’s sole power plant may shut down within a few days due to the continued disruption of fuel supply, which will directly affect the operation of vital facilities such as hospitals and health centres, wastewater management facilities, water treatment facilities, potable water wells, desalination plants, and other service facilities that rely on electricity.
Article 25 of the Hague Convention (IV) respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land prohibits “[T]he attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended”, while Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that “[A]ny destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property […] is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.” Moreover, according to Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, “destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly” is a serious offence liable to prosecution; these practices are also classified as war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
The United Nations, relevant countries, and influential entities must put pressure on Israel to immediately cease its unjustified attack on the Gaza Strip, shield civilians from military operations, and reopen all closed border crossings to ensure the flow of food and vital medical and logistical supplies to the Strip. As a first step toward achieving justice for victims, the UN Human Rights Council should work to establish a fact-finding commission to investigate all incidents involving Gazan civilians, identify those responsible, and advocate for holding them accountable in relevant courts.