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Israeli Razing Of Residential Areas To The Ground Heralds Its Dangerous Intentions


May 14, 2021

Geneva – The Israeli forces last
night destroyed full residential areas in the northern Gaza
Strip, the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor said. The
international community must intervene and ensure that
Israel obliges to stop its attack, which challenges the
rules of international humanitarian law.

The Israeli
Air Force, early on Friday, launched about 450 missiles on
the Gaza Strip. Most of these missiles were concentrated in
the northern area of the strip in densely populated areas.
The attack killed several civilians and wounded dozens of
others, while dozens of homes, streets and civilian
institutions were destroyed.

Last night’s attack was
the most violent in the history of the Israeli military’s
attacks on Gaza, especially in terms of the size and
intensity of the fire considering the time taken to
implement them.

The Israeli artillery forces,
stationed south of Ashkelon in the northern Gaza Strip,
participated in the violent bombing campaign. Hundreds of
shells were fired towards residential areas in the northern
Gaza Strip leaving mass destruction and dozens of displaced
families.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency
for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has so far refrained from
providing humanitarian aid to the displaced families who
fled to its schools in Jabalia camp, despite it being their
duty to provide necessary aid to the displaced
immediately.

According to the Ministry of Health in
Gaza, the number of Palestinians killed in the ongoing
Israeli military attack since Monday evening, May 10, 2021,
has risen to 122 Palestinians, including 31 children, 20
women and more than 900 injured.

The Israeli army’s
usage of violent bombing violates the principle of
proportionality and distinction. The army also uses
high-intensity fires for intimidation, revenge and the
collective punishment of civilians rather than military
necessities.

The horrific bombing campaign and
displacement of civilians from their homes are reminiscent
of the 2014 Operation Protective Edge’s mass displacement
of more than half a million Palestinians. At the time,
reports made by human rights experts concluded that such
displacement constituted a war crime.

Entire
residential buildings and neighborhoods were also destroyed
in Beit Lahia, northern Gaza Strip. The attacks included the
bombing of homes belonging to residents in Al-Bureij camp in
the middle of the Gaza Strip, and the city of Khan Yunis in
the south, which caused the death of entire
families.

Israel has reused the strategy it used in
the previous attacks: deliberately targeting civilian homes
and wiping out residential neighborhoods, without any regard
for the rules of international humanitarian law. Israel has
been able to proceed with its violations by taking advantage
of the global system’s inability to hold it accountable and
enjoying an open balance of impunity.

Article 25 of
the Hague Regulations concerning the Laws and Customs of War
on Land profits states “The attack or bombardment, by
whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings
which are undefended”. Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva
Convention stipulates that “Any destruction by the
Occupying Power of real or personal property […] is
prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered
absolutely necessary by military
operations”.

Destruction of property for no clear
military justifications is a grave breach of Article 147 of
the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime under the
Statute of the International Criminal Court Article 8 (2)
(b) (2).

The international community’s silence,
including the indecisive and negatively idle position of the
EU and its member states towards the ICC investigation into
war crimes in the occupied territories, have contributed to
Israel’s escalation of violations against Palestinian rights
without deterrence.

We are seeing the effects of this
negative stance in a multitude of ways, the enforced
displacement of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh
Jarrah; building of additional settlements in Givat Hamatos
and Har Homa, which would effectively render a two-state
solution impossible; imposing restrictions on Muslim
worshipers access to the al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan and
installing barriers at the Damascus gate; or maintaining
Gaza’s suffocating blockade while the pandemic is ravaging
the city.

The official Israeli escalation encouraged
extreme right-wing settlers in Israel to intensify their
racist attacks on Palestinians, their farms and properties
throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, while the
Israeli government took no action to end these increasing
attacks.

All those concerned must act decisively to
stop the violent and disproportionate Israeli attacks on the
Gaza Strip and make every effort to end the military
operations, which is claiming more civilian lives every
hour.

ICC must monitor the ongoing Israeli violations
in the Gaza Strip and include them in their current
investigation into previous violations, and hold the Israeli
leaders and soldiers accountable. They cannot escape
punishment.

© Scoop Media

 



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