Geneva - In an open letter to the United Nations, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor highlighted that 2.5% of theGaza Strip’s total population has now been killed or injured in the bloody Israeli attacks.
Addressing UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Euro-Med Monitor called for official recognition ofIsrael’s actions in Gaza as genocide, in reference to the critical situation unfolding in the Strip since 7 October.
The Geneva-based organisation stated that the aforementioned percentage of victims in Gaza—which ishome to about 2.3 million people—would be equivalent to approximately 18 million European victims or 11 million Arab victims.
According to Euro-Med Monitor estimates, 17,144 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including 7,208 children, 3,716 women, and a total of 15,482 civilians. More than 33,830 Palestinians in Gaza have sustained various injuries.
Hundreds of victims’ bodies are still missing under the rubble of buildings or are among the corpses scattered in Gaza’s streets and border areas and impossible to locateor retrieve right now, said the human rights organisation, which stated that the actual death toll likely exceeds 20,000.
Euro-Med Monitor further highlighted that Israel has completely destroyed 56,450 housing units in the Gaza Strip, and has partially damaged 162,950 housing units. This means that more than 45% of the Strip’s total housing units are now unlivable, resulting in a million displaced Palestinians who are currently homeless.
In the open letter to the UN, Chairman of Euro-Med Monitor Ramy Abdu called on the Secretary-General toofficially recognise the situation in the Gaza Strip as genocide, investigate and document all Israeli crimes against humanity occurring in the Strip, and take swift action to prevent further killings.
Israeli violence in Gaza has reached alarming proportions, with severe consequences for the civilian population there. The sustained bombardment, forced displacements, and widely reported targeting of civilian infrastructure paint an appalling picture, wrote Abdu, necessitating immediate international intervention.
“We believe Israel’s conduct constitutes acts of arbitrary mass killing, forced population transfers, deliberate mass starvation, and destruction of vital infrastructure that is rendering Gaza uninhabitable in the long term,” the letter reads.
Israel’s actions fulfil at least two criteria that fall under Article II of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, says the letter;namely, “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group” and “deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part”.
Euro-Med Monitor’s letter also points to Israel’s fullprevention in the first week of the war the flow of food, water, fuel, electricity, medicines, and other aid to the entirety of Gaza.
This lack of basic supplies remains the case for Gazans in the northern half of the Strip, where Israel fully bans the entry of food, water, and humanitarian aid to the civilian population that has stayed in the area. Even in the south, however, Israel heavily restricts the entry of food, water,and aid via Egypt to “below the bare minimum required to sustain life”, the letter added.
This withholding of necessities is an intentional act by Israel, according to the letter, which cited the Israeli attempt to willfully degrade living conditions in the Stripto bring about the physical destruction of Gaza’s population, in part or in whole. The intent of the Israeligovernment becomes especially obvious when coupled with the vast destruction Israel’s military has inflicted upon the northern half of Gaza, which will render it uninhabitable and incapable of sustaining life for years after the war ends.
Euro-Med Monitor added that Israel’s genocide will causeimmense psychological harm to Gaza’s survivingpopulation, especially its traumatized children. This trauma is a direct result of the unprecedented, arbitrary, and disproportionate bombing and wiping out of entire neighbourhoods, and the 2.5% of Gaza’s total population that has been killed or wounded, which includes many children. Half of Gaza’s population is under the age of 18.
The letter referred to gruesome scenes of thousands of decomposing corpses piling up in the streets or stuck under the rubble, emitting a strong stench of death. Itpointed to the traumatic journeys of Gazans forced to flee their homes on foot, walking stretches of over 10kilometres while surrounded by Israeli troops who pointtheir rifles and guns at the forcibly displaced, and have arbitrarily detained dozens of people.
Before the current Israeli assault on the Strip, 91% of Gaza’s children already exhibited symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, while 71% showed symptoms of depression. This number has likely skyrocketed, and the violence is ongoing.
Euro-Med Monitor stressed that the Gaza Strip is witnessing a genocide in the making, a conclusion that was asserted by dozens of UN special rapporteurs in a statement dated 16 November 2023.
Genocidal intent has been well-documented in dozens of statements made by Israel’s government, including its president, prime minister, cabinet ministers, members of Knesset, public figures, journalists, and military commanders and soldiers. Multiple Israeli pop songs have been recently released that explicitly call for genocide, as well, further normalising a dangerous cultural shift amongmuch of Israel’s population.
The term “genocide”, as defined by the 1948 United Nations Genocide Convention, pertains to acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial, or religious group.
The events transpiring in Gaza align with the criteria outlined in the Convention and indicate a pressing need for the international community to address this crisis urgently, Euro-Med Monitor stressed.
Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor concluded that recognition of the situation in Gaza as genocide is essential, not only for ensuring accountability for perpetrators, but also for mobilising international support to halt the violence and safeguard innocent civilians.