Palestinian Territory - The Israeli army has stormed UNRWA-run schools sheltering hundreds of displaced families in Jabalia, northern Gaza Strip, killing and arresting dozens of them. Israel has also forced thousands of civilians to evacuate under non-stop air and artillery bombardment.

The Euro-Med Monitor field team is monitoring the escalation and acceleration of the Israeli assault on the civilian population in Jabalia and its refugee camp. The assault started on Saturday evening (11 May), just a few hours after the Israeli army issued new evacuation orders against 10s of thousands of people, amid heavy air and artillery strikes. 

Euro-Med Monitor’s field team has reported that aresidential square in the Jabalia camp was bombed by Israeli aircraft; the square was home to the Nayrab,Abu Lahiya, Khalil, and Atta Allah families. Multiplevictims remain under the rubble at the time of this publication.

Six UNRWA schools on Schools Street in the Jabalia camp, which housed thousands of displaced people, have been besieged by Israeli army forces. The schools and their surroundings were targeted by artillery shelling and gunfire, including from quadcopter aircraft. Thousands had to escape under artillery fireand shelling before Israeli forces reached the schools, taking nothing with them but the clothes on their backs.

Thirty-two civilians in Jabalia and its camp are confirmed to have been killed, along with a number of additional victims who had been sheltering inside thecentres that Israeli forces stormed. Dozens more were arrested, forced to remove their clothes, and tortured. Preliminary evidence suggests that at least one civilian, identified as Issa Hamouda from Jabalia al-Balad, was tortured to death after his arrest.

As Israeli forces continue to target ambulance and rescue crews, preventing them from reaching casualties in schools functioning as shelters and in the surrounding streets, as well as those trapped near or under targeted homes, the number of victims and people reported missing is expected to rise.

All of Jabalia’s streets and neighbourhoods are being subjected to intense air and artillery bombardment and fire belts in an attempt to force out the local population. In a systematic and collective way, the Israeli military is creating a coercive environment and repeatedly, violently, and directly bombing homes, residential neighbourhoods, and shelter centres.

The Israeli escalation in the northern Gaza Strip is part of a wider, more extensive escalation across the wholeof the Strip, particularly in the Zaytoun neighbourhoodin southeast Gaza City and in the southern Gaza Strip city of Rafah, where a week-long ground invasion has resulted in forced relocation orders and increased bombing along the Egyptian border and in the city’s west.

As the crossings remain closed and aid, including fuel, is stopped, the Strip’s health and humanitarian systems have started to collapse, while hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate to Khan Yunis’s water- and resource-poor neighbourhoods.  

The international community must intervene swiftlyand decisively to stop all Israeli military attacks on various parts of the Gaza Strip that target civilians and civilian objects directly, systematically, on a large scale, and in a recurring pattern; and to stop Israel’s crime of genocide against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, which is entering its eighth month. Israel must beforced to stop all its crimes, including killing civilians, forced displacement, preventing the entry of humanitarian aid, and targeting medical and relief teams, all of which constitute different forms of full-fledged international crimes. Israel must also be pressured to comply with the rules of international law and the decisions of the International Court of Justice to protect Palestinian civilians in the Strip from genocide.