Date: October 26, 2023
Time: 13:00 local time
Original Language: Arabic
On the 20th day of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip
The International Commission “Hashd “The Israeli aggression has resulted in the death and injury of 1% of the population of the Gaza Strip, with 70% of the casualties being children and women. Additionally, half of the civil buildings, homes, and infrastructure in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or damaged. Over one and a half million people have been displaced, and the collective sanctions have pushed the population to the brink, turning Gaza into a disaster-stricken area where a humanitarian catastrophe of unprecedented proportions is unfolding in human history.
For the twentieth consecutive day, the Israeli military forces have continued their large-scale aggression on the Gaza Strip, starting on October 7, 2023. They intentionally target civilians and their civilian properties, destroying homes and residential neighborhoods. In the past 24 hours alone, 481 civilians have been killed in 43 massacres that targeted families and residential areas. According to the latest official statistics, the aggression has led to the killing of 7,028 civilians, including 2,913 children, 1,709 women, 397 elderly individuals, 18 journalists, 73 medical and ambulance crews, and 37 UNRWA employees. Furthermore, 18,484 civilians have been injured with various injuries, most of which are of moderate to severe nature, and 70% of them are children and women.
Most of the casualties, both killed and injured, have fallen victim to continuous massacres, as their homes and residential areas are bombed without prior warning. Up to the time of issuing this statement, the Israeli forces have committed 731 massacres targeting families, resulting in the death of 5,224 civilians. Out of these targeted families, 20% have had their entire records wiped out, and the remaining families have lost at least 5 of their members. Thousands of bodies are still buried under the rubble due to a lack of equipment and fuel for the civil defense, along with the intensity of destruction, using scorched earth tactics around homes to turn them into graves for their inhabitants. Official sources have also reported over 1,600 missing persons, including 900 children buried under the rubble.
The Israeli aggression has resulted in the forced displacement of nearly one and a half million people from their homes, particularly in the northern governorate and the city of Gaza. They are living in dire humanitarian conditions due to the collective sanctions imposed on the Strip.
The Israeli retaliatory air, sea, and ground strikes have led to the destruction and damage of nearly 50% of residential units and civilian structures in the Gaza Strip. Mosques, churches, schools, shelters, hospitals, government offices, bakeries, water wells, and streets have also been targeted, along with service centres, ambulances, civil defense centres, humanitarian institutions, and media headquarters.
For the twentieth day, the Israeli occupation forces have continued to cut off water and electricity supplies, restrict fuel shipments, and close all border crossings. This poses a serious humanitarian crisis that may lead to a mass annihilation of the population, especially with the announcement that the fuel reserves for hospitals, UNRWA, ambulances, and rescue vehicles are nearly depleted. This threatens a complete halt to healthcare and humanitarian services, particularly with the continued closure of border crossings and the prevention of fuel entry.
The ongoing aggression has forced 12 hospitals to cease operations after being targeted, as well as the surrounding areas, and a massacre was committed at Al-Ahli Hospital. On the other hand, preventing the travel of the wounded and patients in the Gaza Strip to hospitals in the West Bank and abroad, as well as blocking the entry of medicines, medical supplies, medical equipment, and doctors, has exhausted the medical staff. All hospitals are at risk of suspension due to the depletion of the necessary fuel for their generators, jeopardizing the lives of 7,000 patients and injured individuals.
The military attacks have caused severe damage to the agricultural and economic sectors, as well as all service sectors in the Gaza Strip.
The aforementioned data clearly illustrates that the main goal of the Israeli military operation is to cause civilian casualties among Palestinians, especially children and women, and to destroy civilian and public properties that are indispensable for life. The direct military targets and planned destruction of homes and civilian properties are aimed at rendering the Gaza Strip uninhabitable, forcing its population into forced displacement and creating a humanitarian catastrophe. Moreover, the Israeli military attacks are characterized by a vengeful nature, seeking retribution against civilians and their properties, accompanied by collective punishment.
Racist statements and threats from Israeli officials persist, attempting to dehumanize the residents of the Gaza Strip to justify acts of genocide and war crimes. The evidence on the ground and medical reports raises suspicions of Israel’s use of internationally banned weapons, turning the Gaza Strip into a testing ground for the weapons of the occupying state and its international partners. This is in addition to the disproportionate use of force, where military experts estimate that the Israeli state has dropped thousands of tons of explosives equivalent to a nuclear bomb in an area that is the world’s highest in population density, with around 2.3 million people living across different areas in the Gaza Strip. These explosives include land, air, and sea weaponry, as well as the ferocious attacks that engulf all areas of the Strip using white phosphorus shells, missiles, barrel bombs, and soundless concussion missiles that cause extensive destruction in the targeted areas. These attacks closely resemble an earthquake emitting toxic chemical gases, which may indicate the deliberate use of weapons and techniques to induce changes in the environment, making Gaza a devastated region unfit for habitation.
In addition to the Israeli crimes committed against civilians and their properties in the Gaza Strip, the killing machine was directed at citizens in the cities and villages of the West Bank, with a clear and planned escalation of field killings, which reflects a terrifying state of human rights violations, with the number of martyrs since the beginning of the aggression reaching (106) martyrs and 1600 injuries. In addition, arbitrary arrest campaigns have continued, with a total of about 1500 detainees. The attacks by settlers on the people of the West Bank and the city of Jerusalem continue, and there is profanation of holy places, especially the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The physical violations we mentioned earlier indicate that the Israeli occupying forces have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide. They deliberately targeted civilians with killing, injury, and forced displacement, showing a complete disregard for both the general and special protection of civilians, especially children, women, and civilian infrastructure and the property of citizens. This reflects the extreme terrorism of the organized state and a blatant violation of international law. Furthermore, retaliatory actions and collective punishment contradict Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, regarding the protection of civilians in times of war. The Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip is aimed at breaking the will of the Palestinian people to prevent them from continuing their just struggle for their national rights, independence, and their right to self-determination.
There is no legal basis for the Israeli authorities to suffocate over two million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, turning it into a large prison. They are denied access to water, electricity, medical supplies, food, and humanitarian assistance as a form of collective punishment and a humanitarian crime that violates all international conventions and agreements, especially the rules of international humanitarian law and human rights treaties. Thus, we confirm that the actions of the Israeli occupation constitute serious violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention, The Hague Conventions, and the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. They amount to complete war crimes, acts of genocide, and crimes against humanity.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians Rights (Hashd)expresses solidarity with the families of the victims and the Palestinian people everywhere, especially in the Gaza Strip. We commend and thank all those working in the healthcare sector, municipalities, ambulance services, emergency services, and civil defense for their tremendous humanitarian efforts despite limited resources. We emphasize the need to expedite the opening of humanitarian corridors and the entry of life-saving fuel and equipment to provide relief to the people of Gaza, especially for the forcibly displaced individuals, numbering nearly one and a half million, living in dire conditions in shelters, most of which are run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), hospitals, churches, mosques, and the homes of relatives and friends. We must also consider those who have lost their homes and livelihoods due to the brutal Israeli bombings.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians Rights (Hashd) welcomes international solidarity movements with the Palestinian people, continuing to reject the law of the jungle and standing by the values of humanity and the principles of international law.
We emphasize the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination and resistance to the occupier by all available means, recognized as a lawful right in international law. We hold the Israeli forces and the United States government, as well as Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and other parties, responsible for the lives of Palestinians in Gaza and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories. We warn of the escalation of aggression and the worsening of humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip due to the continued closure of crossings.
We condemn the justifications provided by Israeli political and military leaders, which are neither friendly nor realistic. They are used to justify the behavior of their war machine towards civilians and their properties. At times, they accuse their attacks of targeting the infrastructure of resistance factions in their military operations. This is not real and does not align with the reality that points to the destruction of homes and residential neighborhoods. This, in itself, is a clear violation of the international legal rule “if in doubt, do not attack,” which governs the rules of armed conflict. Furthermore, they claim that they are defending themselves, although there is no doubt about the right of self-defence for an occupied state against the legitimate right of the Palestinian people to defend themselves. They claim to target fighters, which the facts on the ground deny, as most of the victims of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip are children, women, the elderly, and civilians, in addition to targeting the families of members of Palestinian political parties. These are war crimes and extrajudicial killings prohibited under international humanitarian law.
We appreciate all the positions opposing Israeli acts of genocide, war crimes, and terrorism. We condemn the official international community’s silence and its inability to stop Israeli crimes and physical violations in Palestinian territory, casting doubt on the entire system of international work, law, and justice.
We warn against the worsening of humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip, with the continuing shortage of humanitarian aid and the closure of border crossings, leading to a suffocating blockade that affects the lives of civilians and their overall human rights. Also, the ban on the entry of medical and relief aid and necessary equipment for the health sector and civil defense continues. This includes preventing the evacuation of patients and the wounded to West Bank hospitals and abroad. Furthermore, the entry of foreign journalists and international humanitarian organization workers into the Gaza Strip is still prohibited, and fuel needed to operate the power plant to ensure the delivery of water to the people and the operation of hospital generators is also prevented. This situation negatively impacts overall health and humanitarian services for the people in the Gaza Strip who suffer from a lack of electricity due to Israeli electricity cuts and the prevention of the necessary fuel for all humanitarian and health services.
The International Commission “Hashd” hereby records and demands the following:
- It confirms that the deliberate killing of civilians by Israeli occupation forces constitutes a crime of genocide, war crimes according to the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, and all international human rights agreements. It condemns the continuous international and regional failure to stop the ongoing acts of genocide and aggression against civilians and the heinous crimes committed by the Israeli occupation authorities in Gaza and other Palestinian territories, including war crimes, ethnic cleansing, forced displacement, and abuse of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli detention centres. It also condemns the policy of racial discrimination, especially in the 1948 territories. This international failure to act and the silence are seen as a green light for the Israeli occupation forces to continue shedding the blood of civilians, committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in Gaza.
- It calls on the States Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to declare a clear and unequivocal position on Israel’s refusal to comply with and apply the Convention in the Palestinian territories. It also urges them to take effective action to protect civilians in the Palestinian territories and ensure respect for the rules of international humanitarian law.
- It demands that the International Human Rights Council and the International Fact-Finding Committee investigate Israeli crimes, including the deliberate targeting of civilians, especially women and children, field killings in the West Bank and Jerusalem, the destruction of civilian property, crimes of racial discrimination, forced displacement, and ethnic cleansing in the Palestinian territories.
- It calls on the United Nations General Assembly to assume the responsibilities of the United Nations Security Council, given its failure to stop the aggression and uphold international law (under the banner “United for Peace”). It urges the international community to work to end the crimes of genocide, war, ethnic cleansing, settlement expansion, and the siege in the Palestinian territories. This includes stopping the targeting of civilians, especially women, children, journalists, and medical staff. It also calls for resolutions that support the provision of protection to civilians, the boycott of the occupying state, and the imposition of sanctions. It advocates for a program to end the occupation as one of the worst forms of aggression and to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their right to self-determination.
- It calls on the Palestinian leadership to fulfil its legal, moral, national, and ethical duties by breaking the silence and standing alongside its people. It urges the cessation of all relations with the occupying state and with the states that support and enable this aggression. It also calls for the withdrawal of recognition from the occupying state and internationalization of the conflict. This should be accompanied by diplomatic and boycott efforts and accountability through the International Criminal Court and the principle of universal jurisdiction, including activating the role of the Palestinian judiciary to ensure that Israeli criminals are not exempt from accountability.
- It declares the Gaza Strip a disaster area and calls for the immediate provision of all health and humanitarian needs for the victims of the Israeli occupation’s crimes. It stresses the urgent need to develop a Palestinian strategy based on national unity. It calls for the convening of the Secretaries-General to form a collective national leadership until the reorganization, activation, and unification of all the institutions of the political system, with the Palestine Liberation Organization at the forefront.
- It urges the international community and its organizations to fulfil their commitments in accordance with Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which obligates them to respect the Convention under all circumstances. This includes fulfilling their obligations under Article 146 of the Convention to prosecute those accused of committing grave violations of the Convention. Accountability through international prosecution is the most effective means of preventing further crimes in the future and ensuring that victims receive legitimate and effective international justice.
- It calls on the world to cease all forms of relations and cooperation with the Israeli occupying state and to expel it from the United Nations. This is due to its racist nature and violations of all human rights standards and relevant international legitimacy related to the Palestinian issue. This should continue until it commits to human rights and the rights of the Palestinian people, ending the long-lasting occupation.
- It calls upon the Office of the Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court to include the crimes committed in the Gaza Strip in the file of Israeli crimes under investigation. It also calls for an end to the policy of procrastination and double standards.
10. It demands that the Permanent Fact-Finding Committee open an investigation into the Israeli occupation’s crimes against civilians and civilian properties, as well as growing suspicions regarding the internationally prohibited use of military force.
- It calls on the international community to take serious action to open a humanitarian corridor to ensure the evacuation of the wounded, the passage of fuel, medical supplies, and necessary equipment, and medical services and humanitarian aid to facilitate these operations, and to pressure Israel to restrict all of its military actions in accordance with the principles and rules established in both the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the First Additional Protocol of 1977.
- It urges the United Nations and the countries of the world to quickly work to provide sufficient support that ensures the ability of UN institutions, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), and the World Food Programme to offer essential services to those displaced and affected. Immediate intervention is required to halt the unprecedented deterioration in humanitarian conditions and human rights in Gaza and to pressure Israel to cease its aggression and lift the strict siege imposed on Gaza. It should also demand the immediate opening of all crossings.
- It calls upon the specialized agencies of the United Nations and international humanitarian organizations to work in partnership with governmental entities, civil society, and the private sector to ensure the promotion of the rights of women, children, and people with disabilities, as well as all civilians affected by the aggression. They must provide financial and psychological support to ensure their access to humanitarian services.
- It warns against the continued silence and the inability of the international community to stop Israeli crimes against civilians and their civilian properties in Gaza, against the citizens in the cities and villages of the West Bank, and against the civilians living in Jerusalem and its neighborhoods. It also warns against the crimes of racial discrimination in the ’48 territories and the inability to hold the leaders of the occupation accountable for these crimes. This silence and inaction are perceived as a green light for the expansion of aggression, which threatens regional and international security and peace.
In conclusion, The International Commission to Support Palestinians Rights emphasizes the urgency for the people of the world, including nations, political and popular movements, civil and human rights organizations, to demand more than ever before to fulfil their individual and collective legal and moral responsibilities. They should take practical measures that lead to ending Israeli aggression and genocide crimes against civilians, especially children and women, and to ensure respect for the principles and provisions of international humanitarian law, the rules of war, and the judgments of the courts. This will ensure, in the future, a comprehensive international program to end the occupation, assert the legitimate and inalienable rights of the Palestinian people, and take a binding international decision to end the occupation and provide international protection for the Palestinian people.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians Rights (Hashd)