Date: November 21, 2023
Time: 13:00 local time
URGENT APPEAL FOR THE PROTECTION OF FORCIBLY DISPLACED PERSONS AND HALTING GENOCIDAL CRIMES AGAINST THEM
The International Commission to Support Palestinians Rights (Hashd) issues this urgent appeal and call to the free people of the world, the United Nations, high-contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions, the Human Rights Council, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, special rapporteurs, and all contracting committees in the United Nations, regional organizations, the European Union, the International Parliamentary Union, and international humanitarian and human rights organizations.
This is to urge immediate action to stop the genocidal crimes, ethnic cleansing, and ongoing massacres against civilians, especially those forcibly displaced by the continuous Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip for 46 consecutive days. The Israeli aggression has resulted in the forced displacement of nearly 1.7 million citizens out of the 2.3 million inhabitants of the Gaza Strip. Approximately 914,000 of them are taking refuge in 154 schools affiliated with the UNRWA, while the rest live in hospitals, streets, or in the homes of relatives and friends. They endure catastrophic humanitarian conditions due to water shortages, food scarcity, and the systematic depletion of Gaza’s essential resources, leading to the collapse of the humanitarian system and various service sectors, particularly healthcare services that have completely halted in northern Gaza and Gaza City due to the occupation’s crimes of bombing, targeting, and invading hospitals.
The most serious violations include the deliberate commission of massacres by the Israeli occupation forces against forcibly displaced persons in shelters, particularly in UNRWA schools. Fifty-six schools have been directly targeted or subjected to shelling in their vicinity, resulting in hundreds of martyrs and injuries. In the past week, Israeli occupation forces escalated their crimes against forcibly displaced persons by targeting schools housing them. The bombing of the Fakhoura School three days ago by Israeli warplanes led to the martyrdom and injury of 200 citizens. Similarly, the Tal Al-Zaatar School in Jabalia Camp was targeted, causing the killing and injuring of dozens of displaced persons. Prior to this, the Falah School in the Zaytoun neighborhood in Gaza was also targeted, resulting in the martyrdom of 60 citizens and the injury of many. Other schools, including the Shati School, the Bureij School, and others in various parts of the Gaza Strip, have experienced similar attacks. These massacres primarily focus on forcibly displaced persons in northern Gaza and Gaza City, with the aim of killing and displacing those remaining to the south of the Strip.
According to UNRWA statistics, around 300,000 citizens are currently in UNRWA schools in northern Gaza and Gaza City. Despite UNRWA relinquishing its role towards them due to evacuation orders issued by the Israeli forces for all residents of northern Gaza and Gaza City on the tenth day of the aggression, the displaced persons were left without any relief services.
For 46 days, Israeli forces have repeatedly targeted civilians, committed massacres, and besieged Al-Rantisi Hospital in northern Gaza, demanding its evacuation after parts of it were shelled and preventing the entry of necessary medical supplies and fuel to operate its generators. The evacuation process is underway, similar to what happened with Shifa Hospital.
As ground operations expand in northern Gaza and Gaza City, Israel continues to employ scorched-earth policies and settle places and residential neighborhoods. However, over 600,000 citizens from the northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates continue to live in catastrophic conditions, lacking any services after the Israeli forces destroyed their homes, bakeries, water stations, hospitals, and disabled the entire humanitarian services system. Complicated forced evacuation operations, due to the lack of transportation for the sick, elderly, children, and pregnant women, persist. This is exacerbated by the continued targeting of civilians in all areas of the Strip and the ongoing persecution of displaced persons along the Salah al-Din Road, whether through killings, intimidation, or arrests.
For two days of ruthless random bombardment and the use of phosphorus bombs and incendiary belts, forced displacement occurred for those remaining in the Beit Lahia Project area, Tall al-Zaatar, and parts of Jabalia City. They are currently in UNRWA schools, hospitals, and mosques, with a real fear of additional collective massacres against them.
Therefore, we address you today, through this urgent appeal, to take immediate action to ensure the condemnation of genocidal crimes, ethnic cleansing, and forced displacement. We urge you to intervene to stop the targeting of civilians and civilian facilities, protect shelters housing displaced persons, safeguard hospitals, and press for the flow of humanitarian aid, medical supplies, and relief materials to all areas of the Strip to help prevent the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of Israeli occupation crimes.
It is worth noting that Israeli genocidal and war crimes against civilians have led to the martyrdom of 1,330 citizens, including 5,560 children, 3,580 women, 103 employees of UNRWA, 204 medical staff and paramedics, and 60 journalists. Additionally, over 30,000 others have been injured, with 75% of the dead and injured being children and women. The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the presence of approximately 6,000 missing persons under the rubble of their homes, half of whom are children.
The ongoing Israeli aggression forces forcibly displaced persons to live in catastrophic conditions due to water shortages, food scarcity, power outages, lack of privacy in overcrowded schools, relatives’ and friends’ homes. They suffer from diseases, health epidemics, and intimidation, in addition to losing many family members, family disintegration, the absence of communication, and the lack of internet access to check on their loved ones or communicate with the outside world. The conditions imposed by the Israeli occupation, preventing the entry of humanitarian aid, medical supplies, and relief materials to displaced persons in UNRWA schools in northern Gaza and Gaza City, exacerbate the crisis. Furthermore, the inadequate aid that has entered the Strip—approximately 1,600 trucks within three days before the aggression—is insufficient, covering only about 10% of humanitarian needs, according to statements from the UNRWA, the World Health Organization, and the World Food Programme. This underscores the urgent need to pressure for an end to the aggression and ensure the opening of additional humanitarian corridors to enhance the chances of delivering humanitarian aid to all residents and areas of the Strip, especially in the northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The commission of massacres, mass killings, genocide, forced displacement, and the imposition of collective sanctions are grave crimes and serious violations of international humanitarian law, particularly the Geneva and Hague Conventions, the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, human rights standards, and we call on you once again for urgent and immediate intervention to halt the war, military actions, genocidal crimes, ethnic cleansing, and forced displacement in the Gaza Strip. Ensure the protection of civilians, including forcibly displaced persons in UNRWA schools, and guarantee the delivery of humanitarian aid to them. We emphasize the necessity of restoring the services of the UNRWA for all displaced persons and compelling the occupation to abide by international laws and treaties.
The free world and international organizations are today called upon to form an international humanitarian alliance to exert pressure on the occupation to cease the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip, protect civilians and civilian structures, and ensure the flow of humanitarian aid. Also, work on activating accountability pathways, boycotts, and sanctions against the Israeli occupation until it ceases its aggression against civilians and their property. The Israeli occupation is the main cause of the suffering of Palestinians and a threat to regional and international security and peace.
We hope for your prompt and immediate intervention, as hundreds of citizens, especially children and women, are killed and injured every day due to the Israeli occupation forces’ excessive use of deadly and disproportionate military force and the use of internationally prohibited weapons against the people of Gaza. This has resulted in the death of 4% of the population and the destruction of 60% of residential and civilian buildings, especially in the northern Gaza and Gaza City governorates.
We look forward to your continued efforts to contribute to the protection of civilians, halt the international crimes committed against them, and put an end to the law of the jungle and double standards.
Accept our utmost respect and appreciation.
The International Commission to Support Palestinians Rights (Hashd)