Geneva - About 48 hours after the collapse of the temporary humanitarian truce in Gaza and the resumption of Israeli air, sea, and land attacks on civilian communities in widespread disproportionate raids, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor stated that Israel has intensified its forced displacement plans for Palestinians in the Strip.
Israel is crushing all forms of civilian life in the Gaza Strip, the Geneva-based rights organisation said, and returning residents to the pre-industrial stage by turning the Strip, including its homes, factories, businesses, and infrastructure, into piles of rubble.
The Euro-Med Monitor team has documented the Israeli mass murder massacres of Saturday 2 December. The rights group said that Israel targeted entire residential blocks, resulting in more than 1,000 people killed, wounded, or reported missing. This feeds fears of a more ruthless approach to achieving horrific field and political objectives at the cost of civilian lives and property.
A string of Israeli airstrikes with strong fire belts targeted buildings and inhabited residential blocks yesterday, said Euro-Med Monitor, in Shuja'iya, Jabalia, and Beit Lahia, without prior notice, demolishing them above the heads of their residents and burying dozens beneath the debris.
Rescue workers were informed of hundreds of casualties, including dead, wounded, and missing persons, following the destruction of about 50 residential buildings and houses in the crowded Shuja’iya neighbourhood in eastern Gaza, after simultaneous air and artillery strikes within a very short time.
Every day, said Euro-Med Monitor, some 2.3 million displaced people in the Gaza Strip fight to survive and deal with a nightmarish reality. Thousands of people wait in line each day, for example, to fill up on water that is scarcely drinkable. Living in a shelter centre within the Nuseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip, 48-year-old Bassem Al-Attar revealed that they rely on gathering wood to start a fire, which they use to cook meals in the morning and stay warm at night.
In a refugee centre in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Strip, 52-year-old Hiyam Al-Attar said that she chops up leftover bread every day to make lentil soup for her nine hungry children. As winter and bitter cold loom, hundreds of thousands of people are congregating in asylum centres and schools, amid a lack of food, means of public and personal hygiene, and health care services, noted Euro-Med Monitor.
Very few humanitarian operations have been carried out in Gaza since Israel resumed its attacks on 1 December. These operations have mostly involved distributing flour and offering shelter services in the central and southern regions of Gaza. Meanwhile, concerning rumours are circulating saying that Israel is enforcing a buffer zone in the Gaza Strip, effectively annexing land while forcing civilians to relocate progressively closer to the Egyptian border.
In an effort to force residents to leave their homes, the Israeli army posted a map of so-called “evacuation zones”—an outline of the entire Gaza Strip divided into hundreds of small sections, with around 25% of the areas designated for evacuation.
Al-Qarara, Khuza'a, Abasan, and Bani Suhaila are among the towns in eastern Khan Yunis that are included in the evacuation zone. The residents of these towns have been told to move south to Rafah. These regions, which make up 19% of the Gaza Strip’s total area (69 square kilometres), were inhabited by roughly 350,000 people prior to the conflict.
The eastern areas of Gaza City (Shuja’iyya, al-Zaytoun, and the Old City), as well as Jabalia, which are located in the northern part of the Strip, were also ordered to evacuate by the Israeli army. The designated areas, which house approximately 415,000 people, make up 6% of the Gaza Strip.
Saeed Morgan, 61, said that he and his family of 18 have been forcibly displaced five times since their house in the Yarmouk neighbourhood of central Gaza City was destroyed on 25 October by an Israeli air strike that took down a whole residential square. As a result of attacks on the areas to which they were forced to relocate, such as the Al-Falah School in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, south of the city, Morgan has so far lost five members of his family: three of his daughters, his daughter-in-law, and her infant child. As of right now, the remaining family members have no place to take refuge.
Prior to the most recent evacuations, the Gaza Strip had almost 1.8 million displaced residents suffering from extreme overcrowding, unhygienic conditions in refugee centres, and a marked rise in infectious diseases like diarrhoea and acute respiratory infections. Euro-Med Monitor raised specific concerns over the lives of vulnerable people that are being subjected to harsh shelter circumstances, including those with special needs, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and people recuperating from surgeries or injuries, as well as those with weak immune systems.
The week-long truce served as a stark reminder of Israel’s destruction and sabotage tactics in the Gaza Strip, said Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor, which have resulted in over 60,000 Palestinians either being killed, injured, or going missing. In just 50 days, Israel has destroyed roughly 60% of the Strip, said the rights group, expressing concern that the international community may still find these figures insufficient to call for a ceasefire.