Palestinian Territory – Israel’s army has committed numerous thefts and robberies of Palestinian residents’ property, among other crimes that continue for the second consecutive week in the vicinity of Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Medical Complex.

The Israeli army has been conducting a massive military assault on Al-Shifa Medical Complex and the surrounding areas, in the west of Gaza City, since 18 March. During this operation, Israel’s army has committed a number of crimes, including extrajudicial executions, murder, physical liquidations, and arbitrary arrests. Additionally, fresh testimonies have surfaced, exposing the involvement of Israeli forces in stealing cash and valuable property from Palestinian homes after forcibly evacuating their owners.

Israel’s army condones and occasionally even encourages its members to steal money and property from Palestinian homes and residents in the Gaza Strip, and does not hold the perpetrators accountable for these violations, since they are frequently carried out without official documentation.

The Israeli army has been caught stealing gold jewelry and cash from homes it has raided and from people it drove into the southern Gaza Valley. After forcing the owners of these houses out of their homes, Israeli soldiers took everything they owned, including their personal belongings. 

Euro-Med Monitor has previously documented systematic thefts since the Israeli army began carrying out ground military operations inside the Gaza Strip on 27 October 2023. These operations have become systematically practised, as evidenced by the frequent storming of residential areas, the raiding of homes, and the launching of random arrest campaigns.

As part of an Israeli strategy centred on collective retaliation and the dehumanisation and decimation of the Palestinian populace, soldiers have set fire to, bombed, and destroyed many of the homes in the Strip after looting and robbing them first.

“When the Israeli army stormed the house where we were staying in western Gaza, they searched the entire place,” a doctor called Yahya Khalil Deeb Al-Kayyali, 59, told Euro-Med Monitor. “They found jewelry and gold belonging to my son’s bride, as well as gold belonging to other women from the Al-Ifranji family. Along with other personal belongings, we also had bags containing deposits totaling more than $100,000 [USD].” Al-Kayyali stated that the total value of all of these belongings was more than $200,000 USD, explaining that the Israeli soldiers broke laptops apart with their feet and “took everything away”: “The soldiers stopped my wife when she attempted to take the bags. I informed the officer that there was a sizable quantity of cash.” The officer laughed and said the cash would be distributed among the soldiers.

“I told them that we were civilians,” Al-Kayyali continued. “I spoke to them in English. They asked the males to take off all their clothes completely, so we got naked except for our boxers. We were led to the restroom and held there. They took my 30-year-old son, Amer, to a neighbouring room and subjected him to severe interrogation and torture.

“I was hearing him screaming, as they asked him for information. He told them that he had recently come from Germany and knew nothing. They then put me through an interrogation and made death threats. I was verbally abused amid very cold weather.

“Then, while I was still undressed, a soldier asked me to go down to the Bseiso family’s house and call them. He said that he would shoot me if I [tried to run away]. I approached [the Bseiso family] and instructed them to raise their hands. The soldier was standing on the balcony when they went out.

“There was a blind man and a disabled man with them,” added Al-Kayyali. “But the soldier insisted on taking off their clothes and asked me to bring them home. They took the women to another place in the house before using them as a human shield during an exchange of fire with gunmen.”

Social media videos of Israeli soldiers boasting about stealing cash and valuables are circulating online, along with footage showing them purposefully damaging civilian houses in the Gaza Strip by setting them on fire or writing racist or Zionist slogans on the walls.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor calls for a comprehensive and impartial international investigation into the grave violations and war crimes being committed by the Israeli army against the people of the Gaza Strip and their property. The international community must act swiftly to ensure legal accountability.