Geneva - Fifteen days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to take all possible measures to prevent the crime of genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, and to take immediate steps to ensure humanitarian aid to Palestinian civilians there, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor asserted that the Israeli army has maintained its rate of killing civilians, depriving them of their most basic human rights, besieging them, and starving them.

In defiance of the ruling of the world’s highest court and in violation of its own international obligations, including international law and principles, Israel persists in committing egregious violations that amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, including genocide against the Palestinian people.

Euro-Med Monitor reported that the Israeli army has killed over 1,864 Palestinians—including 690 children and 441 women—and injured over 2,933 more since the ICJ ruling, bringing the death toll of the ongoing Israeli military attacks against the Gaza Strip on 7 October to 35,880, including 13,880 children and 7,910 women.

            According to Euro-Med Monitor, the Israeli army is still systematically destroying residential neighborhoods, civilian infrastructure, and other facilities, rendering most of the Gaza Strip de facto uninhabitable. During the period since the ICJ ruling, the Israeli army blew up at least 43 residential squares each square containing between 20-50 houses, mainly in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip, and continued to bomb and destroy houses even after its military operations in the southern Gaza Strip were terminated a few weeks ago.

A European report, based on satellite imagery, revealed massive destruction caused by the Israeli army’s aggression on the Gaza Strip, showing that at least 68 percent of the buildings were destroyed or damaged in the northern Gaza Strip, at least 72 percent in Gaza City, 39 percent in the central camps, and 46 percent in Khan Yunis. As for the city of Rafah in the south of the Gaza Strip, where Israel threatens to carry out a military operation, the destruction rate reached about 20 percent.

UN estimates concluded that after the current war, it will take at least a year just to clear the rubble, and between seven and 10 years to rebuild the destroyed homes, and it would take the Gaza Strip until 2092 just to restore the GDP levels of 2022, with GDP per capita and socioeconomic conditions continuously declining. However, even with the most optimistic scenario, it would still take the Gaza Strip’s GDP per capita until 2035 to return to its pre-blockade level.

In addition to demolishing all structures in the eastern Gaza Strip that were situated between 1,000 and 1,500 metres away from the border fence, the Israeli army has levelled entire residential squares to create a buffer zone that would enclose over 15% of the wider Gaza Strip, which does not exceed 365 square kilometres, and is among the most densely populated areas in the world.

Yesterday, Friday, Israeli forces stormed several schools sheltering thousands of displaced people in the Khan Yunis camp, killing at least nine of them, and arrested the men after forcing them to strip naked, while the women were forced to leave towards either the Gaza European Hospital area or the Mawasi area of Khan Yunis and Rafah.

Instead of ensuring humanitarian aid to civilians in the Gaza Strip in accordance with the ICJ ruling, Israel has intensified its efforts to impede aid by a number of means. For example, groups of radical Israeli settlers were at multiple times permitted by the Israeli police and under the direction of Minister of National Security Itamar Ben Gvir to obstruct aid trucks' passage through the Kerem Abu Salem crossing.

Due to Israeli restrictions, hundreds of thousands of people in the northern Gaza Strip experienced severe and ongoing food shortages, amid strong signs that famine has started to spread in the region. As a result, the population as a whole has lost more than 1,200 tons of weight. This will negatively impact their immune systems and general health in the future and result in more deaths than those arising from .direct killing

According to the Integrated Food Security Phase Classification, as of 7 February, the entire population in the Gaza Strip (100%) is classified in IPC Phase 3 or above (Crisis or worse). This is the highest share of people facing high levels of acute food insecurity that the IPC initiative has ever classified for any given area or country. In addition, more than half a million people are facing catastrophic conditions (IPC Phase 5, Catastrophe), characterized by households experiencing an extreme lack of food, starvation, and exhaustion of coping capacities.

Seventy-year-old Palestinian Ahmed Shaker Ayesh was reported to have died of starvation in Gaza City's Al-Shati Camp on January 28 by his relatives, according to information provided by Euro-Med.

It is noteworthy that following the ICJ ruling, Israel launched a new incitement campaign against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), the largest body providing aid to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, claiming that 12 of its stuff members participated in the 7 October attack. Subsequently, as a kind of collective punishment for all Palestinians, 18 countries stopped funding UNRWA, which provides shelter to over 1.2 million of the 1.9 million refugees living in the Gaza Strip. The continued withdrawal of funding would terminate the UN agency's operations, prolonging starvation, famine, and despair in the Gaza Strip, as well as the disruption of essential services.

As it enters the fifth month of its genocidal war against the Gaza Strip, in addition to non-stop bombing operations, which have destroyed residential homes over the heads of their residents and killed forcibly displaced people despite their compliance with illegal Israeli evacuation orders, Israel also continues its attack on what is left of Gaza’s health system. Euro-Med Monitor has documented several serious Israeli military attacks in the past few days which have disrupted the partial return of hospital services, particularly in Gaza City and the Strip’s northern regions. Sabotaging any chance of saving Palestinian lives, Israel has fired on and bombarded hospitals, ambulances, and medical teams, Euro-Med Monitor said.

The Israeli military is besieging hospitals in Khan Yunis, in the south of the Gaza Strip, and directly targeting the health facilities there, to the extent that both the government-run Nasser Hospital and Red Crescent-affiliated Al-Amal Hospital are on the verge of shutting down due to the ongoing siege and frequent targeting.

Though most of the displaced people were evacuated first, PRCS Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Yunis was subjected to severe bombing and shootings as well, and its surgical department had to shut down after it ran out of fuel and oxygen. Euro-Med Monitor confirmed on 5 February that the Israeli army ordered the evacuation of the hospital following 20 days of military attacks and a complete siege. This order resulted in the immediate evacuation of approximately 8,000 people, who had nowhere else to go. Forty elderly people, eighty sick and injured individuals, and 100 administrative and medical staff members were left behind at the facility.

In the meantime, Euro-Med Monitor reported that following the withdrawal of Israeli military vehicles from the southern Al-Rimal area, west of Gaza City, the Israeli army killed and injured dozens of displaced Palestinians, set fire to and destroyed residential homes, the headquarters of public institutions like Al-Aqsa University, UN-run schools, and shopping centres.

Euro-Med Monitor noted that Israel has not shown any seriousness in investigating horrific crimes, including killings and executions of Palestinian prisoners, including civilians, and systematic looting and burning of homes, according to testimonies given to the Maariv Hebrew newspaper today by an Israeli army doctor who served for two months. Israel has not yet launched an investigation into these violations or brought charges against any civilians, military personnel, or political figures implicated in inciting the extermination of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Video footage of Israeli army officers Haya Ben Himo and Itzik Wolf, as well as a video clip released by another Israeli soldier promoting his barbershop while standing next to the bodies of three Palestinian victims, including a woman, were reviewed by Euro-Med Monitor. These videos directly referenced official incitement by Israeli officials to commit the crime of genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, including the "Amalek directives" with additional statements stating genocidal intent and dehumanizing Palestinians, and confirming their practical implementation on the ground.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor once again calls for international investigations into the human rights violations that have been documented since Israel launched its military assault on Gaza. It also calls on the International Criminal Court to expedite its investigative processes, prioritise its work to address the situation in the Gaza Strip, and endeavour to put an end to Israel’s impunity, and bring all those who issued and carried out the orders to justice and hold them accountable, and ensure justice and compensation for the victims.

Euro-Med Monitor once again calls on the international community to uphold its legal and moral obligations to both itself and the people living in the Gaza Strip, to ensure that the ICJ's ruling is carried out, and to move swiftly to put an end to the genocide that the court determined must urgently be prevented there. Additionally, Euro-Med Monitor calls on the international community to exert decisive pressure to ensure delivery of necessary humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip as soon as possible, without delay, and without hindrance, to stop the spread of famine there. Lastly, the human rights monitor calls on the international community to firmly urge access of international and UN investigation committees to the Gaza Strip in order to prevent the destruction of evidence related to Israel's crimes.

As the primary human rights organisation in the Gaza Strip, where over two million people rely on it for survival, Euro-Med Monitor warned of the dangerous consequences of many donor countries’ decision to suspend their funding to UNRWA in light of the current catastrophic conditions and the famine that is spreading in the Gaza Strip. The Geneva-based organisation described the decision as a grave violation of these countries' international obligations, particularly with regard to protecting the Palestinians from the crime of genocide.

The international community must act swiftly to honor and act on a binding executive decision of the ICJ, establish an immediate ceasefire, guarantee the safety of civilians and their return to their homes, and step up efforts by international organisations to monitor, record, and document Israel’s breathtaking violations of the ICJ ruling. These violations must be reported and widely disseminated in order for the Republic of South Africa and other countries involved in the lawsuit to prepare and submit a comprehensive report backed by evidence regarding the grave and pervasive violations of the human rights of Palestinian civilians.