The International Commission to Support Palestinian Rights (ICSPR)
Special report on:
The latest Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip
War crimes in light of blatant Arab and international silence
The Israeli military occupation authorities launched a brutal air attack on the Gaza Strip, on August 5, 2022, and lasted for three consecutive days, resulting in the death of (50) martyrs, including (18) children, and (6) women, including an elderly woman over sixty years old. And the total number of wounded reached (360) with various injuries, between serious and medium, most of them are151 children , 85 women and (132) young people were injured.
The aforementioned aggression resulted in extensive damage to housing, as the total total demolition of housing units amounted to about (18) housing units, and about (71) housing units that are partially uninhabitable, in addition to the damage of (1675) housing units that are partially habitable, in addition to Damage to about (3) educational facilities, (10) media facilities, and (284) electricity networks. Losses as a result of agricultural damage are estimated at one million US dollars, as a result of damage to (130) dunums, according to the preliminary estimates of the competent government authorities.
Noting that the crimes of the Israeli occupation in the Palestinian territories have increased, since the beginning of this year, to (132) martyrs, and more than (1800) wounded, half of them are children, and the occupation authorities expanded during this year the arbitrary arrests, which affected nearly (3400) ) citizens until the date of writing this report, while hundreds of residential facilities and infrastructure have been damaged, ranging from total to partial, as a result of the continued policy of demolishing and destroying citizens’ homes.
This aggression, par excellence, has resulted in heinous war crimes and crimes against humanity, All of this is taking place in the light of an blatant Arab and international silence, which has given the occupying power the green light to tighten the siege and escalate the war operations and brutal bombardment in the Gaza Strip, at a time when the residents of the Gaza Strip are denied the exercise of any of their human rights, and the suffering and humanitarian crisis they live in in an atmosphere of intimidation are exacerbated and constant terrorism.
The outcome of the violations suffered by civilians during the war attack launched by the Israeli occupation forces on the Gaza Strip showed a flagrant disregard for the minimum rules of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, regarding the protection of civilians in time of war, which is the basic legal framework for human rights and humanitarian standards in the occupied territories, Which also affirms that “the occupying power is not free to use whatever force, procedures or policies it wants in its management of the occupied territories, and it must take into account to the fullest extent the lives and interests of the civilian population and protect their property, and therefore aggression is an illegal military act, due to its clear violation to the Charter of the United Nations.
The occupying power is also a belligerent occupying power with legal and humanitarian obligations and responsibilities towards the occupied territory and its residents, including the Gaza Strip, as it is the only force controlling it and controlling all its entry points, air, land and sea, In addition, it imposes a siege and severe restrictions on it, including controlling its border crossings, managing the population registry, procedures for family unification, and the entry of goods and individuals to and from the Strip.
First: Targeting civilians and protected property constitutes collective punishment and punishable war crimes:
The aforementioned Israeli aggression was accompanied by serious violations of Palestinian human rights, affecting women, children, the elderly and other protected groups, as well as deliberately targeting residential areas, agricultural lands and infrastructure, in violation of all international conventions and treaties, including the Fourth Geneva Convention for the Protection of Civilians in Time of War of 1949, Especially Article 147, on the basis of which the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court considers the Israeli military operations in the Gaza Strip to be war crimes, and its elements are linked to the mere occurrence of grave violations of the Geneva Convention, and the best evidence for this is the massacre of the “Jabalia Camp” in the northern Gaza Strip, during which a group was targeted Of the children were playing in front of their homes, which led to the fall of 5 victims, including three children who arrived at the hospital in torn pieces.
Through the horrors we have witnessed in reality, image and sound, it can be said that these types of violations constitute blatant Israeli crimes against the Palestinians, and also amount to crimes against humanity and war crimes. Especially since the occupation authorities did not care about the lives of safe civilians, and even deliberately inflicted deaths and injuries on their ranks directly. In this regard, the crimes of the occupation can be highlighted through the following:
Targeting civilians and intentional killing:
Facts on the ground confirmed that the entire civilian population of the Gaza Strip was targeted by Israeli warplanes, despite the fact that willful killing and intentional acts of imposing harsh living conditions are considered a crime against humanity, when committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against any group of the civilian population, with knowledge of the attack.
The occupation forces used excessive lethal armed force throughout the Gaza Strip, as they fired dozens of rockets from the air at residential homes and civilian facilities. For example, 53 civilians were killed or wounded, most of them children and women, during the targeting of the occupation authorities in Al-Sha`out camp in Rafah In the southern Gaza Strip, a 3-storey building was hit by about 6 missiles without warning, which led to widespread destruction in the targeted residential area.
Although the Fourth Geneva Convention granted special protection to women, children and the elderly, Article 17 of which states: “Parties to the conflict shall endeavor to establish local arrangements for the transportation of the wounded, sick, the infirm, the elderly, children and women and the maternity from besieged or encircled areas, and for the passage of men of all religions, and medical personnel and medical missions to these areas. Children were also granted special protection in times of armed conflict. The UN Security Council Resolution No. 2427 emphasized the need to protect children during armed conflicts, as stated in the texts of the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, especially what was stated in Article 38 of it, which deals with the situation of armed conflict, Among its texts: 1 – States Parties undertake to respect the rules of international humanitarian law applicable to them in armed conflicts and related to children and to ensure respect for these rules; 2 – States Parties shall, in accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect the civilian population in armed conflict, take all feasible measures to ensure the protection and care of children affected by armed conflict; The first protocol annexed to the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child stipulates the need to protect children under occupation and during armed conflicts. With a close look at targeting children, we find that there was deliberateness by the occupying forces and disregard for all the rules of international law that protected children in flagrant violation of the Convention and its international obligations, which resulted in The Israeli aggression resulted in the death of 18 children and the injury of 161 children.
With regard to war crimes committed against women in the Gaza Strip, Security Council Resolution No. 1325 of 2000 stipulated the protection of women during armed conflicts, and the promotion of their participation in efforts to prevent their outbreak, and in Article 9 of it, requested all parties to the armed conflict to fully respect the law. international law applicable to the rights and protection of women and girls, in particular as civilians, In particular the obligations applicable to these parties under the Fourth Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their First Additional Protocol of 1977, and other international conventions, as well as bearing in mind the relevant provisions of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Which makes the crimes committed against women complex war crimes and requires international accountability. The aggression led to the death and martyrdom of 6 women and the injury of 85 women with various injuries.
Destruction of civil and service property and facilities
The facts on the ground confirmed that all civilian facilities are in the area of targeting by Israeli warplanes, which confirms the pure Israeli intention to eliminate all the capabilities of the Palestinian people in the Strip, and to destroy their infrastructure, the elements of their existence and their public properties, Especially since the last aggression in August 2022 on the Gaza Strip resulted in extensive damage to civilian property and facilities, as the total total demolition of housing units amounted to (18) housing units, and about (710) housing units partially uninhabitable, in addition to damages ( 1675) a partially habitable housing unit, This is in addition to causing damage to at least (3) educational facilities, (10) media facilities, and (284) electricity networks. In terms of agricultural sector losses, for example, they amounted to about one million US dollars, as a result of damage to (130) dunums. Although the rules of international humanitarian law have given civilian and service property special protection, Article 56 of the Regulations Concerning the Laws and Customs of War on Land, The Hague of October 18, 1907 states: “The property of municipalities, of institutions devoted to worship, charitable and educational work, and of artistic and scientific institutions, shall be treated as private property, even when they are the property of the State, Any seizure, destruction or willful damage to such institutions and historical, artistic and scientific monuments is prohibited, and judicial measures are taken against the perpetrators of these acts.”
In this regard, it can be said that the grave violations by targeting civilian property, including facilities, are not justified by any military necessity or advantage, and therefore the Israeli targeting with the aim of the method and this form is considered illegal and arbitrary acts, in light of the decisions of international humanitarian law with its components.
The deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip
On the other hand, the war attacks led to a sharp deterioration in the already deteriorating humanitarian situation, due to the continuation of the long-term siege imposed by the occupation authorities on the Gaza Strip for more than 16 years. Banning the fuel consignments needed to operate the power station, which led to its suspension and led to a reduction in the amount of electricity in the Strip, so that the number of hours of electricity delivery reached about 4 hours per day, which negatively affected all services provided to citizens, except for the aggravation of the drinking water crisis. It threatened to stop the health sector due to electricity cuts and a lack of fuel needed to operate hospital generators in the Ministry of Health, and threatened the ability of Gaza Strip hospitals to provide medical services to citizens and the wounded of the aggression. The capacity of the hospitals during the aggression, which constituted a grave violation of the right to health of citizens and the injured alike .
Second: The Israeli claim of self-defense
During every Israeli aggression, the occupation authorities claim that their aggression is “self-defense”, aimed at stopping the attacks on the Israeli cities adjacent to the Strip, but the audio and video evidence indicates otherwise, especially in light of the occupation authorities’ use of excessive and unjustified force on the Strip, as You have not respected a basic rule of customary international humanitarian law, which is necessity and proportionality, which means that civilian casualties and property should not be inflicted in a manner disproportionate to the military advantage to be gained from an attack.
Contrary to the Israeli allegations, the aggression on the Gaza Strip was not justified by any necessity, and it is not commensurate with the damage caused to civilians and their property, given the military force that was used in the aggression on the Gaza Strip, the number of civilian casualties and the extent of the destruction they sustained compared to the Israeli losses, Where the distinction between protected civilians and civilian objects on the one hand, and military objectives on the other, is the spirit and essence of international humanitarian law, which must be respected in all circumstances.
During the last aggression, populated civilian areas were targeted without taking into account the privacy enjoyed by the Gaza Strip, in terms of the narrowness of the geographical area, overcrowding of buildings and the sticking of buildings, especially in refugee camps. It has targeted civilians, their homes and properties, with the aim of premeditated murder, and sowing chaos and terror in the hearts of the civilian population who live in terror.
On proportionality and military necessity, Article 51 of Additional Protocol I to the Fourth Geneva Convention affirms that “the following types of attacks, among others, shall be considered indiscriminate attacks: (a) An attack by bombardment, by whatever methods or means, that treats as a single military objective a number of clearly separated and distinct military objectives located in a city, town, village or other area containing a concentration of civilians or civilian objects; (b) An attack that could be expected to cause loss of civilian life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, or to cause a mixture of such losses and damage, would disproportionately exceed the concrete and direct military advantage expected from that attack. Article 57 (b) of it states that “any attack shall be canceled or suspended if it appears that the objective is not a military objective or that it is covered by special protection, or that the attack may be expected to cause loss of civilian life or injury to civilians, or damage to civilian objects.” Or to cause a mixture of these losses and damages, in an accidental way, that exceeds the expected tangible and direct military advantage that is expected to result from that attack.”
The Commission found that it targeted defenseless civilians and civilian facilities.
The two Additional Protocols of 1977, annexed to the four Geneva Conventions, emphasized respect for the principle of proportionality and distinction (Article 48 of Protocol I and Article 13 of Protocol II), where international humanitarian law aims to strike a balance between two conflicting interests, the first of which is what is dictated by considerations of military necessity. The second is what is dictated by the exigencies of humanity.
Third: Live testimonies of the crimes of the occupation during the aggression
On: August 7, 2022, the Israeli occupation army committed a horrific massacre near Al-Faluja cemetery, in the northern Gaza Strip. According to local sources, at least 5 martyrs, all of whom were children, were killed: (Jamil Ihab Jamil Najm 13 years old, Jamil Najm al-Din Jamil Najm 4 years old, Hamed Haider Hamed Najm 16 years old, Nazmi Fayez Abdel Hadi Abu Karsh 14 years old, and Muhammad Salah Najm, 17 years old), as a result of targeting a group of citizens in the aforementioned cemetery by the occupation aircraft, Later, on August 16, 2022, the Israeli occupation army admitted its responsibility for the aforementioned massacre. The Hebrew newspaper, Haaretz, confirmed, according to a translation of the Safa Agency, that an investigation conducted by the occupation army proved that its forces were responsible for the killing of five children, Four of them are from the “Najm” family, and one from the “Abu Karsh” family, while they were playing in the Al-Faluja cemetery in Jabalia in the northern Gaza Strip. What conclusively proves that the occupation does not give any weight to the covenants of international humanitarian law and human rights laws.
– On: August 7, 2022, the Israeli warplanes targeted a house with a number of missiles, in the Shu’out neighborhood in the southern Gaza Strip, which resulted in the complete destruction of a number of houses, and the fall of 8 martyrs, who were pulled out from under the rubble, including a 14-year-old child and two women, In addition, 40 civilians were injured, and they were taken to Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital, among whom are in critical and serious cases. It should be noted that the rescue teams had great difficulty in evacuating the martyrs and the wounded from under the rubble, due to the nature of the bombing that leveled an entire neighborhood to the ground, and because the area is overcrowded with adjacent buildings and residents, in addition to the repercussions of the siege affecting the equipment needed for rescue and emergency, which exacerbated the death toll as a result of mentioned targeting. The occupation authorities justified the targeting by targeting the leader of the Islamic Jihad movement “Khaled Mansour”, who was in a residential house and was not participating in the hostilities, which is the justification that the human mind cannot comprehend on the one hand, On the other hand, the targeting reveals the occupation’s sacrifice of the most important principles that govern international humanitarian law, namely distinction, proportionality and military necessity, which is not available here, which means that we are facing serious circumstances in committing punishable war crimes, in accordance with the Rome Statute founding the International Criminal Court.
Fourth: The Gaza Strip is a laboratory for new bombs
According to the data published by the Hebrew Channel 12: that new bombs were used in the assassination of “Taysir al-Jabari”, and they have smart (sliding) technological characteristics that penetrated the wall of the seventh floor and the roof of the sixth floor, which is located in the leader of al-Jabari, and the bomb exploded in the same room in which The target is located in it after activating the detonator.. What reinforces the hypothesis that the occupation authorities deal with the Gaza Strip as if it were a laboratory for new bombs and weapons. This hypothesis is reinforced by the doctors’ live testimonies, which say beyond any doubt, that the weapons used result in complex injuries, amputations in the limbs, and lacerations in tissues and organs.
Fifth: Shy Arab reactions, and international bias that shed light on more crimes
Unexpectedly, the Israeli military aggression on the Gaza Strip in August 2022 received shy and modest reactions, in contrast to the American and British bias towards the occupation at the expense of the victims, For example, there was no immediate position of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and his condemnation of the aggression, and later he welcomed the declaration of a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, and in return the United States of America expressed Israel’s right to defend itself, The European position was also not better. The European Union’s foreign policy coordinator, Josep Borrell, said that the European Union is following what he described as the violence in the Gaza Strip with “great concern.” Britain also stressed Israel’s right to defend itself, and called for restraint. Ignoring dozens of Palestinian civilian casualties, including children and women. In this context, it can be said that these positions have clearly revealed the state of duplication and politicization of the provisions of international humanitarian law, which society deals with when it comes to the Palestinians, and it can also be said that they have opened the appetite of the occupation to commit more crimes against safe civilians. What constituted a shock for them and their families that would grow with time the longer the wait for the international community took.
It is illogical to legitimize the false allegations of the occupation authorities for the war crimes they are committing against the Palestinian citizens in the Gaza Strip, according to the text of Article 8 of the Rome Statute and Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention as war crimes, coupled with the policies of collective punishment of our Palestinian people,Also, according to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and that its claim that it launched the aggression with the aim of self-defense and ensuring protection for Israeli civilians, has no legal basis in light of the principles of international humanitarian law that prohibit reprisals against protected persons and their property.
The international Commission (ICSPR) confirms the need to always distinguish between civilians and non-civilians, and holds the occupying power fully responsible for war crimes committed against civilians and civilian objects, and stresses the responsibility of the Israeli occupation to protect the life and safety of Palestinian civilians in all circumstances and in accordance with the rules of international humanitarian law. At the time, the allegation of the presence of armed resistance elements inside the Gaza Strip does not in any way justify the use of excessive force in this way against civilians.
The aggression launched by the Israeli occupation forces reflects the utmost disregard for the decisions of international humanitarian law and the lives of Palestinian citizens, as it constitutes acts of reprisals and collective punishment of Palestinian citizens, in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, regarding the protection of civilian persons in time of war, Therefore, what the Israeli occupation is doing constitutes a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Rome Statute that establishes the International Criminal Court, and the Security Council and General Assembly resolutions on the protection of children and women during armed conflicts and is considered a war crime par excellence. It requires a decisive international position that restores consideration to the principles of international justice and accountability, and in return guarantees the protection of Palestinian human rights and an end to the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
Seventh: Claims and Recommendations
It calls on the international community and its various organizations to activate the tools of accountability and international accountability for each of those who ordered and/or carried out war crimes and crimes against humanity against Palestinian civilians, as this is the most effective way to reduce the commission of other crimes in the future, and to ensure the victims’ right to obtain legal and judicial redress Active international.
We call on the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children to provide due protection for Palestinian children, and to work without delay to include the Israeli occupation forces in the black list of countries that violate children’s rights.
The necessity of holding the Israeli occupation responsible for the reconstruction of what was destroyed by the Israeli war machine during the aggression on Gaza, including bearing the costs of reconstruction and putting pressure on the occupation forces to open the crossings in order to bring in the basic materials needed for reconstruction.
Accelerate the procedures for a serious investigation into the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Israeli military occupation forces during the aggression on Gaza, including the investigation of the occupation forces’ use of prohibited types of weapons against the civilian population, the prosecution of the perpetrators of those crimes, and those who ordered their perpetration at the political and military levels to the military occupation authorities and its military forces.
Putting pressure on countries and international companies to stop the supply of all kinds of weapons and munitions that led to massive and widespread violations during the aggression on the Gaza Strip.
Urgent and immediate action to compel the Israeli military occupation authorities to lift the comprehensive siege imposed on the Gaza Strip, which prevents the freedom of movement and movement of people and goods, and to rescue more than 2 million Palestinian civilians living in an unprecedented state of economic, social, political and cultural suffocation, due to The policy of collective punishment and reprisals against civilians.
The necessity for the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfill their obligations under Article 1 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which requires ensuring respect for the Convention in all circumstances, as well as fulfilling their obligations under Articles 146 and 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, relating to the protection of civilians in times of war, which They provide for the prosecution and prosecution of persons responsible for grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions.
Ensuring the activation of all United Nations mechanisms to ensure that Israel, as the occupying power of the occupied Palestinian territories, is committed to complying with and fulfilling all its legal obligations towards the civilian population, including ensuring the safety and well-being of the population.
Demanding the European Union to suspend the association agreement with the Israeli occupation, for violating its second clause, which stipulates that human rights must be respected, including stopping all forms of cooperation as an entity that sponsors terrorism and practices systematic, long and wide violations of human rights.
Inviting the Office of the Public Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court to include the crimes committed in the Gaza Strip in the file of the Israeli crimes that are being investigated.
Calls on all Palestinians to work hard to restore unity and hold comprehensive elections to ensure the rebuilding of all the institutions of the political system so that they can play their role in building a Palestinian strategy based on the internationalization of the conflict and the restoration of national unity, and considering this as a national and moral duty, and at least it constitutes a practical response to Escalation of occupation crimes.
Demanding the Palestinian Authority to leave the betting box on negotiations immediately, and to activate diplomatic work and legal moves with the International Court of Justice and next to the International Criminal Court, in order to ensure the speedy opening of meaningful investigations into the crimes of the occupation against the Palestinian people.