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Palestinian human rights organizations call on the international community

Intervene to stop Israeli massacres in Gaza and provide protection to Palestinian civilians

Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, 10 October 2023

Al-Aklouk TowerAl-Aklouk Tower

Date: 9 October 2023

Over the past two days, the Israeli army has conducted a relentless series of attacks by air, sea, and land against the civilian population in Gaza, destroying dozens of houses with their residents still inside, residential and commercial buildings—often without issuing precautionary warnings—and wiping out entire Palestinian families. Mosques and medical facilities have also come under attack. 

The population is being urged, by means of random texts, to evacuate their homes, heightening fear, terror and panic among the civilian population whilst warplanes hover constantly. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, between 7 October and as of 3 p.m. on 9 October 2023, 560 Palestinians have been killed, and 2,900 have been injured. Hundreds of homes have been destroyed, resulting in the displacement of thousands of civilians. Water and electricity supplies continue to be cut off.

Al-Mezan, Al-Haq, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights strongly condemn Israel’s widespread and systematic targeting of civilians in the Gaza Strip, which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, warranting the intervention of the international community to ensure accountability. In armed conflicts, all civilians and civilian objects must always be protected. All parties must abide by their legal obligations under international human rights and humanitarian law—including the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution regulating the conduct of hostilities. Israel must not treat the entire Gaza Strip as a single military objective. It is prohibited to treat as a single military objective, a number of clearly separate military objectives located in a town or city with concentrations of civilian objects.

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The following are the most egregious Israeli attacks conducted in the Gaza Strip between 8 and 9 October 2023, as monitored and documented jointly by Al-Haq, Al-Mezan, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: 

  • At approximately 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, 8 October 2023, Israeli warplanes targeted the four-story house of the Al-Nabaheen family, east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in the Middle Area District without prior warning, killing 13 Palestinians, including 10 children and two women. The attack also resulted in the complete destruction of the house. 

  • At approximately 12:30 p.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the four-story house of Jamil Hassan Mohammad Al-Za’anin, 66, located near the Abdul Azzam mosque in Beit Hanoun, in the North Gaza District. The four-story building was home to four families. The attack killed 20 Palestinians inside the houses, including five women and 11 children, and destroyed the house.

  • At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, 8 October 2023, Israeli warplanes targeted the four-story house of the Al-Assar family, east of the Al-Nusairat refugee camp in the Middle Area District. Four Palestinians were killed in the attack, including two children and a woman. The attack also led to the complete destruction of the targeted house and three neighboring houses. 

  • At approximately 5:30 p.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the house of the Harara family, east of Al-Sheja’eyya neighborhood in eastern Gaza City, killing five Palestinians and totally destroying the house.

  • At approximately 8:30 p.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the two-story house of the Shamallakh family, located in the Sheikh Ejlein neighborhood south of Gaza City, and home to three families. Nine Palestinians were killed in the attack, including two women and three children, and the house was completely destroyed. 

  • At approximately 9:50 p.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted an apartment in a residential building owned by the Abu Zohri family in the Al-Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah City without prior warning. The attack killed five Palestinians, including two women and an infant; 30 others sustained various injuries.

  • At approximately 1:20 a.m. on Monday, 9 October 2023, Israeli warplanes targeted the house of Rafat Abu Helal, a leader of the Al-Nasser Salah al-Deen Brigades, in the Bashit neighborhood of Rafah refugee camp, without prior warning. The attack resulted in the complete destruction of Abu Helal’s house and several neighboring houses with their inhabitants still inside. Raafat Abu Helal, along with 19 civilians from his family and four other families, were killed, including nine women and four children; 40 other civilians sustained various injuries.

  • At approximately 2:00 a.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the two-story house of the Abu Al-Amrein family in the Al-Qarara village, northeast of Khan Younis City, without prior warning. The attack destroyed the house around its inhabitants, and caused severe damage to several neighboring houses. Five Palestinians, including two women and two young girls, were recovered from the rubble. At the time of writing the civil defense teams are still trying to locate missing individuals under the rubble.

  • At approximately 3:00 a.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the four-story house of Mousa Samir Al-Qatanani, 64, located opposite to the Um Al-Fahm School in Beit Lahiya, in the North Gaza District, without prior warning. The house, inhabited by five families, was completely destroyed, and all 13 civilian occupants, including four women and five children, were killed.

  • At approximately 3:30 a.m. on Monday, 9 October 2023, Israeli warplanes targeted the two-story house of the late Ibrahim Hassan Abdulqadir Hamdan’s sons, located in the Tal al-Zaatar area in Jabaliya, in the North Gaza District, without prior warning. The house, inhabited by five families, was completely destroyed, and four Palestinians were killed, including two women and two children. 

  • At approximately 4:30 a.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the Ahmed Yassin mosque, a four-story structure located opposite to the Al-Shate’ Elementary School in Al-Shate’ refugee camp, west of Gaza City. The attack completely destroyed the mosque and killed three civilians, two women and a young girl.

  • At approximately 5:00 a.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the two-story house of the Fayyad family, located south of Deir al-Balah, in the Middle Area District, without prior warning. The attack resulted in the complete destruction of the house and two adjacent houses, and the killing of three Palestinians.

  • At approximately 6:00 a.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted an open area in Al-Sammouni Street, southeast of the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood in Gaza City. The attack resulted in the killing of two sisters, Mira Mahmoud Fouad Abu Ghneima, 6, and Lara, 5. 

  • At approximately 7:10 a.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the two-story house of Faisal Qishta in the Qishta neighbourhood, south of Rafah City, without prior warning. The attack killed Faisal and his daughter, and injured 14 others. The house was completely destroyed due to the attack. 

  • At approximately 11:10 a.m. on the same day, Israeli warplanes targeted the Al-Sousi mosque in Al-Shate’ refugee camp, killing 11 civilians, including children.

  • Lastly, at noon, on Monday 9 October, the Israeli army perpetrated one of the most heinous crimes of the past two days by attacking a residential building in the Jabaliya refugee camp in the northern Gaza district. The building, which belonged to the Abu Eshkian family, was located in a densely populated area near shelter centers designated for displaced individuals. The attack killed 35 civilians, who were admitted by civilian cars and ambulances to the Indonesian Hospital in the same district. Another significant number of people were injured.

The number of people forcibly displaced from their homes has increased. The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced that it is now providing shelters to around 73,538 internally displaced persons in 64 of its schools across all the Gaza Strip, including 45 designated for emergencies. Thousands more are expected to have taken shelter with their extended families. UNRWA has also announcedthat 14 of its schools were damaged. Our organizations have documented the direct targeting of some of these schools. 

As part of its total warfare against the Palestinian civilian population, the Israeli government cut off electricity and water supplies to the Gaza Strip, where now electricity supply does not exceed 4 hours a day. This foreshadows catastrophic consequences in light of the disruption of water and sewage plants. The Palestinian Water Authority estimated the decrease in water supply at 40 per cent due to the interruption of supply by Mekorot, the Israeli national water company. 

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Al-Haq and Al Mezan condemn in the strongest terms the targeting of civilians and the destruction of homes and other private and public structures. We further condemn terrorizing the people of Gaza and displacing thousands of them from their homes, the denial of the protected civilians their right to access water and electricity. These acts are in breach of international law and are considered a collective punishment and clear war crimes.

Gaza’s protected civilian population, especially women and children, are the ones paying the price for the lack of will and inaction on the part of the international community to put an end to Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people, and address the root causes of the current situation in Palestine. As we write, Israeli crimes are increasing, also in light of the international community’s silence, a catastrophic humanitarian outcome is looming in Gaza.

Our organizations call for respect for the principles of international humanitarian law and to refrain from targeting civilians under all circumstances, including targeting the civilian economic infrastructure damaging civilian livelihoods, and preventing the provision of humanitarian supplies. We call on the international community to take urgent action to stop attacks and protect civilians as an integral part of their legal obligations. 

We equally renew our call on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to expedite the investigation into the situation in Palestine to hold those responsible for committing international crimes accountable.

We call on the peoples of the world, solidarity groups and friends of Palestine to continue to pressure their governments to take urgent action to stop the Israeli military attacks, and to protect civilians, their property, and the indispensable facilities needed in Gaza.

 


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