Geneva - The Israeli army has turned schools sheltering tens of thousands of displaced people into military centres and field execution sites as part of its ongoing genocide in the Gaza Strip, which began on 7 October, Euro-MedHuman Rights Monitor said on Wednesday.
Euro-Med Monitor received testimonies about Israeli army forces carrying out unjustified field executions and killings of Palestinian civilians after detaining them for days inside the same schools where they had sought refuge from the violence.
The testimonies reveal horrific human rights violations and atrocities against civilians killed after their release. The timing of the murders indicates that there was no reason to shoot them, other than to satisfy the bloody desires of Israeli soldiers or express the comprehensive moral permissibility—in the eyes of Israel’s military—when it comes to slaughtering and humiliating Palestinian civilians.
Around 15 dead Palestinians’ decomposed bodies were found in Al-Falujah neighbourhood, west of the Jabalia camp. Based upon its initial investigation, Euro-Med Monitor confirmed that the individuals were subjected to field executions while being questioned by members of the Israeli army at the Shadia Abu Ghazaleh government school.
The bodies were discovered following the Israeli army’s withdrawal from the surrounding area of the school, following several days of abuses and violations against displaced people evacuating there.
“We were shocked to discover 15 bodies after the Israeli forces left the school,” Muhammad Jalal, 37, told the Euro-Med Monitor team. “It was obvious that they were directly shot, and some of them had their bodies disintegrated due to the heavy gunfire.”
Along the same line, displaced people at the Salah al-Din School in Gaza City affirmed that they were subjected to heavy gunfire three days ago, after the Israeli army stormed the school amid heavy and random gunfire, which led to the deaths of about 50 people.
One of the displaced people, who asked to remain anonymous, said that after Israeli forces separated the women and children from the men, they forced them to take off their clothes and subjected them to rough interrogations before forcing them to leave the school at gunpoint.
As the displaced people moved toward the Gaza Valley, he continued, the Israeli forces opened their machine gun fire at them, leaving five dead and several others injured.
The same incidents that were reported at the Salah al-Din school also occurred at the nearby Al-Ma’umaniyah and Al-Mukadssa Family schools in the same area, according to Euro-Med Monitor.
Field observations and eyewitness accounts indicate that Israeli forces stormed the Al-Mukadssa Family School, arrested the males, mistreated them, set some of them free, and severely tortured others.
Three days later, members of the Israeli military released more detained Palestinians before firing upon them without justification, killing two individuals: Abdel Nasser Khader Haboub, an engineer, and Dr. Ahmed Hamdi Abu Absa, adean at the University of Palestine.
Additionally, according to Euro-Med Monitor, a direct Israeli artillery shelling of the UNRWA-run Abu Hussein School in the Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip resulted in the deaths of 20 Palestinians and the wounding of numerous others, some of whom were critically injured.
The bodies were found in pieces inside the school, which had been sheltering thousands of internally displaced people who had escaped Israeli artillery and air strikes on their neighbourhoods.
Euro-Med Monitor said that it receives daily reports of horrific atrocities and killings committed by Israeli forces, who regularly storm schools sheltering displaced people, and called for an independent and impartial international investigation into these egregious incidents.
The Geneva-based organisation called for allowing the entry of investigation committees and specialised technical committees into the Gaza Strip in order to document and determine the extent of the horrific Israeli crimes in shelter schools, including field executions, torture, starvation, and the Israeli military’s use of civilians as human shields.
Israel, stated Euro-Med Monitor, is determined to escalate its genocidal war against Palestinian civilians in order to push for their forced displacement, which is in violation of international law. This amounts to a war crime, stressed the rights group.
A total of 24,142 people have been killed in the Gaza Strip, including 9,420 children and 4,910 women, while 48,901 more have been injured, according to Euro-Med Monitorestimates.
Israel has relentlessly violated the international Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor emphasised,by collectively targeting the people of the Gaza Strip for simply being Palestinians. This targeting, the organisation reiterated, is ongoing and has included mass killing, physical and psychological torture, and undermining the basic living conditions that are necessary for survival.
“The Contracting Parties confirm that genocide, whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish,” reads Article 1 of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Article 2 of the Convention defines genocide as any of the following acts: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.