The International Commission Hashd sent a memorandum briefing on the Israeli aggression and genocide crimes in the Gaza Strip and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories.

The International Commission Hashd sent a memorandum briefing on the Israeli aggression and genocide crimes in the Gaza Strip and the rest of the occupied Palestinian territories.

A humanitarian appealImportantMain

Date: February 6, 2024

Reference Number: 67/2024

Statement and Memorandum regarding Israeli Aggression and Genocide in the Gaza Strip and Occupied Palestinian Territories

The International Commission to Support Palestinians Rights (Hashd) has sent a memorandum and identical statement to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the members of the Security Council, the members of the General Assembly of the United Nations, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Human Rights Council, the President of the UN Fact-Finding Mission, the International Court of Justice, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, the Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Palestinian Territories, the European Union, the International Parliamentary Union, the European Parliament, the Arab Parliament, the African Union, the Union of Latin American States, the Russian Federation, the Group of 77 and China, the League of Arab States, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, to international organizations and freedom-loving people around the world.

The memorandum addressed the overall crimes of genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other violations suffered by the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories as a result of the ongoing and unlawful aggression by the state of Israeli occupation and its relentless war on the inhabitants of the occupied Palestinian territories.

This aggression has resulted in a shocking toll of casualties and unprecedented massive destruction. According to the statistics of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, the aggression has resulted in the martyrdom of more than 23,000 individuals, including over 13,000 children, 9,000 women, 2,000 elderly, 346 medical personnel and paramedics, 152 employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, 122 journalists, and 46 civil defense workers.

Moreover, more than 67,000 civilians have been injured, 75% of whom are children and women. Nearly 8,000 people remain missing under the rubble of destroyed homes, with approximately 4,000 individuals arbitrarily detained without any information regarding their whereabouts or conditions of detention, constituting enforced disappearance crimes.

The Israeli occupation aggression has forcibly displaced around 2 million citizens from their homes due to indiscriminate shelling and the destruction of residential neighborhoods, turning them into graves for their inhabitants. This is in addition to the systematic destruction of all aspects of human life and civilian infrastructure in various areas of the Gaza Strip, especially in the northern Gaza Strip, Gaza City, and Khan Yunis.

Until now, the aggression has resulted in the destruction and damage of approximately 80% of buildings, residences, and facilities in the Gaza Strip. According to estimates by governmental and international entities, 360,000 housing units have been completely or partially destroyed, along with 134 government buildings, 376 schools and universities, 320 mosques, 3 churches, 17 bakeries, 13 wells and reservoirs, 30 hospitals, and 53 health centers. Additionally, 121 ambulances have been destroyed or damaged, and approximately 40% of agricultural lands have been razed. Thousands of businesses, economic facilities, civil institutions, professional unions, clinics, lawyers’ offices, journalists’ offices, civilian vehicles, and fishermen’s boats have also been destroyed.

The most heinous crimes have been committed through over 2,400 mass massacres targeting families whose homes were bombed without prior warning, resulting in the collective extermination of entire families. Hospitals have been targeted, resulting in the killing of wounded and sick individuals inside, as seen in Al-Ahli Hospital, Al-Quds Hospital, Rantisi Pediatric Hospital, Al-Shifa Hospital, Indonesian Hospital, Al-Awda Hospital, and others, with 30 hospitals taken out of service. Furthermore, the displaced were targeted at the shelters in UNRWA schools, resulting in dozens of martyrs and hundreds of injuries. Most of the shelters in the northern Gaza Strip have been destroyed and set on fire to forcibly displace the population.

Israeli occupation forces have utilized various types of weapons, including internationally prohibited weapons, through widespread aerial bombardment using warplanes, tanks, and naval vessels, resulting in the destruction and damage of 80% of residential homes and civilian facilities throughout the Gaza Strip, including populated civilian areas. This blatant disregard for international war laws and humanitarian law by Israeli forces showcases their egregious violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which protects civilians during times of war and constitutes the fundamental legal framework for human rights standards and humanitarian principles in the occupied territories.

The memorandum affirms that the Israeli aggression against the Gaza Strip constitutes an unlawful military action, explicitly violating the Charter of the United Nations. Israeli forces have committed genocide, war crimes, and violations of physical provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, a binding agreement that must be applied and respected by the Israeli occupation state in the occupied Palestinian territories, in addition to other international legal instruments governing the rules of international humanitarian law, such as the Hague Conventions and the protocols related to the protection of victims of international armed conflicts.

The aforementioned legal texts support many legal opinions and judgments, including the advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice in The Hague issued on July 9, 2004, which affirmed the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to the occupied Palestinian territories. The International Criminal Court’s ruling confirmed the applicability of the Rome Statute establishing the court to the occupied Palestinian territories, where Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, are subject to continuous military occupation by Israel since 1967.

Israel is considered an occupying power, and as such, it has legal and humanitarian obligations and responsibilities towards the Palestinian civilian population in the occupied Palestinian territories, including Gaza, even after the unilateral Israeli withdrawal in 2005. Israel retained extensive security powers in Gaza, directly impacting the lives of civilian populations, while maintaining economic and military control over the land, sea, and borders of Gaza. Israel also has full control over the population registry, family reunification procedures, entry and exit of goods into and out of Gaza, and the supply of fuel, electricity, gas, and water to Gaza. Furthermore, Israel has imposed a complete blockade on Gaza since 2007 and has launched military attacks on the Gaza Strip in the years 2008-2009, 2012, 2014, 2018, 2019, 2021, 2022, and 2023, leading to the current wide-scale aggression and ongoing genocide.

The memorandum highlighted statements from world leaders, officials of international organizations, reports from United Nations institutions, Palestinian and international human rights organizations, all asserting that Israeli forces committed genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Israel focused its airstrikes and attacks on civilians without regard for their lives, deliberately causing deaths and injuries among them, especially targeting children, women, journalists, and medical personnel. Additionally, Israel deliberately bombed and destroyed homes, residential neighborhoods, civilian facilities, and infrastructure, forcibly displacing civilians, all in flagrant violation of international law. This demonstrates a complete disregard for the understanding and definition of the comprehensive destructive war waged against Palestinians in Gaza and other occupied Palestinian territories.

The memorandum outlined violations of the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Conventions, and other conventions of international humanitarian law blatantly committed by Israeli forces during their brutal aggression. The severe and unprecedented violations of the human rights of Palestinians were accompanied by targeting civilians and protected property under international humanitarian law, through the use of Israeli military aircraft to bombard civilian targets and residential areas, in violation of all international treaties and conventions, including the Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949, and the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court. Israeli military operations have spilled the blood of Palestinian civilians in homes, hospitals, schools, UNRWA facilities, mosques, and even in the tents of displaced persons.

The Israeli occupation forces imposed retaliatory collective punitive measures on the Gaza Strip residents, cutting off electricity and water supplies, and preventing and obstructing the entry of humanitarian aid, medical supplies, leading to thirst and hunger among civilian populations. This action constitutes a serious violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits collective punishment, as well as Article 50 of the Hague Regulations concerning the laws and customs of land warfare of 18 October 1907, which states that “no general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as collectively responsible.” Additionally, it violates Articles 56, 25, and 27, which protect public property, places of worship, and hospitals. Israeli military forces deliberately committed genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity in the context of organized attacks and aggression against Palestinians, especially in Gaza, which includes airstrikes, ground and naval bombardments on one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

The memorandum highlighted crimes and violations of the occupation in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including the clear and planned escalation of field killing operations, indicating a terrifying state of violation of the right to life. Israeli forces’ operations in the West Bank, including raids on Palestinian cities and camps and excessive use of force, led to the killing and martyrdom of 387 Palestinians, including 89 children, bringing the total number of martyrs since the beginning of 2023 to 524, with 3,800 injured and 5,700 arbitrary arrests. The number of prisoners in Israeli prisons reached nearly 12,000, excluding the estimated 4,000 prisoners from Gaza, whose whereabouts and conditions of detention are unknown. Since the beginning of the aggression on Gaza, the Israeli Prison Service escalated torture and abuse against prisoners, following instructions from the terrorist Minister of National Security, Naftali Bennett. Moreover, settler attacks on Jerusalem residents and throughout the West Bank, protected by the Israeli army, have increased, along with the escalation of colonial settlement expansion, land confiscation, house demolitions, and desecration of Christian and Islamic religious sites. This includes the escalating crimes of storming Al-Aqsa Mosque courtyards by extremist settlers, assaulting worshippers, arresting worshippers under the age of 50 from entering the mosque to pray.

In conclusion, the International Commission stressed that the international crimes and Israeli assaults on Palestinian civilians, the use of internationally prohibited weapons, committing civilian killings, causing injuries, destroying infrastructure, and damaging all sectors, are flagrant violations of international humanitarian law, particularly the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, international humanitarian law, the Rome Statute establishing the International Criminal Court, and the Hague and Fourth Geneva Conventions concerning the protection of civilian persons in time of war. The Commission urged immediate international intervention to investigate genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity against civilians and civilian objects by Israeli military forces, ensuring accountability for occupation leaders and punishment. The international community was called upon to take practical measures to respect and ensure respect for the principles and provisions of international humanitarian law, human rights law, and international customary law, to end the occupation, provide international protection for Palestinians, and uphold their inalienable rights. The Commission warned against delaying humanitarian and legal intervention, as every hour sees violations of international laws and increasing casualties, especially among civilian children and women, emphasizing the international community’s duty to protect the human rights and lives of Palestinian civilians like all other peoples.

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