Palestinian Territory - As part of the ongoing crime of genocide it has been committing since 7 October 2023, Israel has implemented a systematic policy of targeting civilians of the Gaza Strip, who are protected by international humanitarian law. This includes intensifying the bombing of shelter centres over the heads of the displaced peopleinside, as well as targeting areas designated as humanitarian zones.

The Israeli military has been killing large numbers of Palestinians in the Strip for nearly nine months now by bombing civilian targets, attacking United Nations-run shelter centres, and carrying out mass killings—each of which is a serious violation ofinternational law on its own.

By targeting UNRWA schools functioning as shelter centres, Israeli bombing tactics demonstrate a deliberate policy intended to prevent security across the entire Gaza Strip and deny displaced Palestinians stability or shelter, even if that shelteris only temporary.

Four Israeli attacks against shelter centres have been reported since dawn on Tuesday 25 June, in addition to the demolishing of several homes on top of their occupants. These attacks have resulted in numerous deaths and injuries, mostly of women and children. Just this afternoon, Israeli aircraft also bombed the Nadi Al-Jazeera shelter centre, west of Gaza City, killing one displaced person and injuring others.

This morning, Israeli planes bombed the Abdel Fattah Hammoud School in central Gaza, killing eight displaced people, all of whom were members of the Al-Jarro family. The victims have beenidentified as an elderly woman, her son, his wife, and their five children. A number of civilians were also injured in the attack.

Eleven additional displaced people—including five women and four children—were killed at dawnwhen Israeli aircraft bombed the UNRWA-run “Asmaa C” school, which is home to refugees in the Shiti’ camp near Gaza City.

This same school had previously been subjected to Israeli bombing at noon on Friday 7 June, which led to the death of four of the displaced people sheltering there, and the wounding of five others. The 7 June bombing also affected a room inside the school containing toys used for play as well as to implement psychological relief programs for traumatised children.

In addition, Israeli aircraft bombed the UNRWA-run “Industry” site on the afternoon of Sunday 23 June, targeting two rooms at the building’s western gate and killing four employees of humanitarian aid committees. Several displaced people were also injured.

Earlier, on Friday 21 June, Israeli tanks that hadinvaded Rafah fired multiple artillery shells into displacement tents in Al-Mawasi, west of Rafah. Israeli drones then bombed the area, setting it onfire, which killed 25 displaced people there and injured 45 others. The majority of the victims were women and children. Additional shells also landed close to Shams Chalet, which is situated on the coastal Al-Rashid Street (west of the Al-Mawasi neighbourhood), and serves as the International Committee of the Red Cross’s headquarters and residence for its delegation and employees.

Israeli aircraft also bombed a school housing thousands of displaced people in the Nuseirat refugee camp on 6 June, killing 40 of them, including women and children.

Apart from targeting refuge centres, Israeli aircraft bombed at least 12 houses in different areas of the Gaza Strip in the last 24 hours. As a result, many people have been killed and injured, some of whom are still under the rubble.

Targeting shelter centres flying the UN flag and homes housing displaced persons, as well as eliminating entire families, confirms that the Israeli military is continuing to violate the principles of distinction, necessity, proportionality, and isrefusing to take any precautions to prevent civilian deaths. Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor emphasises that there is no legal or moral justification for this violence, which is clearly part of a series of Israeli operations that deliberately usefirepower to inflict grave harm on vulnerable Palestinian civilians, destroying many of their lives.

Alongside political incitement and administrative and legislative actions by Israeli officials aimed at undermining the UN agency’s work in the Gaza Strip, the repeated attacks on United Nations buildings, which result in the deaths of internally displaced people as well as the inhumanedestruction and burning of their bodies, constitute a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and war crimes in and of themselves.

All UNRWA schools’ shelter centres were set on fire and destroyed by Israeli forces during last month’s invasion of Jabalia and its refugee camp.

Walaa Khaled Dabour, 42, was uprooted from Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip at the beginning of the genocide and forced to seek shelter in theJabalia Camp’s Al-Quds Primary School shelter centre (Abu Zeitoun Schools). She described to Euro-Med Monitor how the Israeli occupation army stormed the shelter, forcing a Palestinian civilian to set fire to every room while they were under threat from a quadcopter flying overhead:

“The displaced people with us in the shelter centre began evacuating on 12 May 2024, in light of the intensification of the artillery shelling, and we remained in the centre, which is located on the eastern side. There were fifteen of us total: my spouse, me, our kids, my spouse’s mother, my spouse’s sister, and her kids. Given that there was nowhere to seek refuge, we decided to stay inside the room. Exactly at the noon call to prayer on 15 May, a man in his forties entered the room, bearing injuries consistent with torture and beatings. Assuring us that he was a Palestinian, he informed us that, per the Israeli army’s request, we should now depart according to the schedule they had prepared. He had matches and something flammable with him. My daughter asked him what he was going to do. 

‘After beating me and holding me for hours, the soldiers told me to enter this shelter centre,’ he said to us. ‘Those who have stayed inside are ordered to immediately leave [and travel] towards the Israeli army checkpoint where people are detained, and [I am] to set fire to each room.’ He determined the exit route for us, while the occupation soldiers were still more than 200 metres from the shelter centre, in the back section of the shelter known as the Mazaya Hall area. Indeed, the young man ignited the rooms, and as we all exited along the approved route, tiny aircraft were circling overhead.

With my entire family following me, I marched outside with a white flag until we arrived at the army-designated meeting spot. We did not stay there for long before the army ordered us to walk west along a predetermined path, detaining both my 18-year-old son and my husband, Ali Abdul Raouf Dabour. As of right now, we know nothing about either of them and we have no idea about their fate. After the occupation army’s withdrawal, we went back to the same shelter and discovered that the fire had destroyed everyone’s supplies and mattresses, as well as all the rooms. There was nowhere else to go, so we went back to live in the same room, in spite of the fire and the darkness.” 

According to UNRWA, Israeli forces have bombed more than 190 UNRWA buildings over the past eight months, and killed more than 460 displaced people as a result, even though UNRWA shares the coordinates of all its facilities (including thisschool) with the Israeli army and other parties to the conflict.

Israel is continuing to expand its military operations in Rafah, including facilitating military redeployment and positioning along the border with Egypt, while continuing the bombing and forced displacement. This is done in flagrant violation of international law and the International Court of Justice’s ruling that the attack on the Rafah Governorate must stop. Notably, Israel did not hesitate to publicly reject the Court’s decision, and even intensified its bombing, killing, and destruction immediately after the session ended.

Civilians in Rafah are paying a heavy price for Israeli military attacks that seriously violate the rules of international humanitarian law, especially the principles of distinction, proportionality, and military necessity.

Based on the aforementioned, all nations are required to fulfill their international obligations by enacting strong sanctions against Israel and severing all other types of political, financial, and military support and cooperation. This includes immediately halting arms transfers to Israel, including export permits and military aid; otherwise, these nations will be held accountable for the crimes that have been committed in the Gaza Strip, including genocide.

Additionally, the International Criminal Court ought to keep looking into any and all crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip, broaden its investigation into criminal responsibility in order to hold all perpetrators accountable, issue arrest warrants for those responsible, and acknowledge and address Israel’s crimes in the Strip as they are international crimes that fall under the purview of the International Criminal Court and are clearly crimes of genocide.