Palestinian Territory - The Israeli army has committed another horrific massacre against Palestinian civilians in Gaza City who were trying to access communications and Internet services.This adds another crime to the long list of atrocities that Israel’s army has committed against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip since its genocidal war began last October.

Israel has committed full-fledged war crimes and crimes against humanity as part of its genocide in the Strip, ongoing for nearly eight consecutive months now.  

Notably, the Israeli army continues to repeatedly target and kill Palestinian civilians, including journalists, as they attempt to access communications and Internet services to reach their families or employers. Using aerial bombardment,snipers, or drones, Israel directly targets these individuals—who pose no threat or danger to its army—in various areas of the Gaza Strip.

An Israeli drone fired a missile at a group of Palestinian civilians in the heart of Gaza City on Wednesday afternoon. The civilians had gathered at an “Internet distribution point” on Al-Jalaa Street at the Ayoun Hospital intersection. The missile killed at least four people, including a child, whose body parts were recovered. Fifteen others were injured, some with moderate to severe wounds.

Hassan Saeed Barakat, the father of one victim of the Israeli bombing, told the Euro-Med Monitorteam that dozens of people had gathered to attempt to contact their family members when an Israeli drone launched a surprise missile attack. The attack directly targeted the tent being used as an Internet distribution point, causing the massive and deadly explosion.

Instead of accessing the Internet via electronic SIMcards, Palestinian civilians have recently been turning to these random distribution points and physically high places to try to access communication networks due to the systematic and widespread destruction of civilian objects by Israeli forces in the Strip. With the destruction of mobile phone network transmission stations, Palestinians are struggling to communicate. 

In order to hide the truth, impede press coverage of its crimes, and prevent locals from transmitting information to one another, the Israeli army periodically targets civilians across the Strip who are trying to access communications and Internet services.

This targeting occurs at a time when the people living in the Strip are experiencing severe, nearly non-stop communication disruptions, which makes their lives significantly more difficult than they already are.

Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are dealing with these communications disruptions while experiencing continuous, round-the-clock aerial and artillery bombardment by Israel, which has been occurringfor almost eight months now.  

Due to their inability to contact with and check onloved ones, obtain potentially life-saving information, or document the serious crimes being committed against them on a daily basis, residents of the Strip live in a heightened state of terror whenprevented from regularly accessing the Internet and other vital forms of communication.

Israel has deliberately destroyed the Gaza Strip’sonly terrestrial network and the aerial transmission stations of mobile phone networks located on building roofs. This has resulted in the majority of the Strip’s residents being forced to search for other ways to connect with people both in and outside of the enclave, which is not an easy technical feat, especially given the extreme degree of violence that civilians are frequently subjected to.

Since the Israeli military invasion began on 7 October 2023, Israel has shut off communications and the Internet in the Gaza Strip no fewer than 13 times with its direct targeting of civilian telecommunications infrastructure and electrical generators. Israel has also prevented the necessaryfuel supply from reaching these generators.

The Palestinian Telecommunications Company reported on Sunday 13 May that “air and artillery bombardments carried out by the Israeli occupation” caused the suspension of Internet services that had just recently been restored to a significant portion of the Strip’s population.

The Israeli army has damaged and destroyed a great deal of communications towers as well as high-rise buildings that housed transmission booster stations, particularly in the Gaza City and North Gaza governorates. This has resulted in heavily weakened services that are interrupted for long periods of time.

Despite prior coordination efforts carried out by the United Nations, the Israeli army has also repeatedly targeted technical crews from telecommunications and Internet companies working to repair lines, killing several of them and injuring others to varying degrees.

The Israeli military’s systematic, pervasive, anddeliberate killing of Palestinian civilians is essential to the genocide that Israel is being allowed to commit against the people of the Gaza Strip. As Israel and its allies are committing atrocities that are classified as war crimes and crimes against humanity under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the entire international community must act swiftly to put an immediate stop to them.

Urgent international intervention is necessary toend Israel’s impunity, make sure that those responsible for the genocide in the Gaza Strip are held accountable, and ensure that all survivors are fairly compensated.

The international community must guarantee that Israel is compelled to cease all of its crimes, including the crime of collective punishment it perpetrates against all Gaza Strip residents through arbitrary means and methods, such as willfully deactivating and destroying telecommunications systems; depriving residents of timely access to emergency medical care, safety, and communication; and cutting off communicationsservices. Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor stresses that cutting off these services contributes to Israel’sobscuration of the truth, providing a cover for the horrific crimes it is committing in the Strip.