Palestinian Territory - Israel has committed a new massacre against civilians in displacement tents in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip. Less than 30 hours after its first horrific massacre near the warehouses of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) in the so-called “safe zone”, Israel bombed displacement tents located in the vicinity of these same UNRWA facilities.

The Euro-Med Monitor field team documented the killing of seven civilians, including four women, after Israeli aircraft at dawn today (Tuesday 28 May), once again bombed displacement tents in the Tal Al-Sultan area, west of the city of Rafah. All victims were members of the Abu Jarad and Tanboura families. They had been forcibly displaced to the south after the Israeli army forced them to leave their homes in Gaza City and the Strip’s northern parts. However, they were targeted by Israeli aerial bombardment in their displacement tents. 

   The ICJ ordered Israel to cease all operations in Rafah. Yet the Israeli military is intensifying its ground incursion and accelerating the pace of bombardment   

This new targeting took place in the same area where last Sunday night (26 May), Israeli aircraft bombed other displacement tents, killing 45 Palestinians, including three elderly people, nine children, and 12 women. The new targeting shows Israel’s insistence on ignoring all international positions that denounced Sunday’s massacre. Israel continues to commit the most heinous crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip with the intention of eradicating them, in flagrant and egregious violation of international law and the International Court of Justice (ICJ) rulings.

Israel’s repeated targeting of displaced individuals who are supposed to be safe in tents and its recurrent bombing of the same location contradict the announcement made by Israeli officials that they are reviewing and investigating the rise in collateral casualties from the first massacre. According to these officials, the first massacre was justified as the intent was to kill leaders of Palestinian factions, and that what happened was an “unfortunate mistake”.

In a separate incident, two staff members working at the Kuwait Specialised Hospital in Rafah were killed yesterday (Monday) after being targeted by Israeli drones at the hospital gate. The victims were identified as Rashid Barhoum, 23, and Musab Al-Arja, 22. The hospital’s administration had announced earlier that the hospital was out of service due to the escalated Israeli military attacks on Rafah, the repeated and deliberate attacks on the hospital and its vicinity, and a recent deadly bombardment at its main gate.

The ICJ has ordered Israel to cease all operations in the Rafah Governorate, amid international demands to end the attack. Yet Israel is intensifying its ground incursion, accelerating the pace of aerial and artillery bombardment, and expanding its circle of killing and direct targeting of civilians—an apparent response to the recent ICJ ruling.

Rafah has endured a brutal night of nonstop bombing, which forced thousands of people to flee under the shelling. Meanwhile, Israeli forces broke through and took up positions on the hill known as Za'roub, an historical site on the Palestinian-Egyptian border. They then started bulldozing and excavation work in in a cemetery next to the hill.

More than 82 Palestinians, including 18 women and 15 children, have been killed within less than 100 hours of the ICJ’s Friday ruling to stop the Israeli military attack on Rafah. The attack has claimed the lives of 216 Palestinians so far, most of whom were women and children. This is not the final death toll, as it only includes those who were removed by rescue workers and medical teams from the targeted areas, while dozens of victims are still lying in the streets and trapped under the debris of destroyed homes with little hope of survival.

Israel’s ongoing heinous acts against the displaced population in Rafah are further evidence of its blatant disregard for international law and the ruling of the International Court of Justice calling on it to immediately cease its attacks. The bombing, killing, and destruction intensified immediately after the session ended. Israeli officials have not held back in publicly rejecting the Court’s ruling, either, calling it “antisemitic”.

Civilians in Rafah continue pay a heavy price for Israeli military attacks that flagrantly transgress international humanitarian law, particularly the principles of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity, i.e. taking appropriate precautions to avoid civilian deaths.

As a result of Israel’s ongoing military attack on Rafah, the World Food Programme warehouse and the UNRWA distribution centre in Rafah remain inaccessible. Since taking control of the Rafah border crossing on 7 May, Israeli forces have prevented the entry of humanitarian aid through it (beginning the day before, on 6 May) and have continued to keep it closed to sick and injured people seeking to receive medical treatment abroad.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor reiterates its call on all nations to fulfil their international obligations and halt all military, political, and financial support for Israel’s military assault on the Gaza Strip. In particular, all arms transfers to Israel, including export permits and military assistance, must end immediately; otherwise, these nations will be considered complicit in Israeli crimes committed in the Strip, including genocide.

Furthermore, Euro-Med Monitor urges the International Criminal Court (ICC) to acknowledge and handle Israel’s crimes in the Gaza Strip as international crimes, as they fall under the Court’s jurisdiction. Additionally, Euro-Med Monitor asks the Court to expand its lists of arrest warrants to include more Israeli officials. Israel is unambiguously committing genocide, an international crime that falls within the jurisdiction of the ICC.