Occupation Update: Gaza Crisis (July 14, 2014)
PHOTO: A Palestinian house demolished by an Israeli airstrike, July 11, 2014 Jehad Saftawi/IMEU
- Since July 7, Israel has killed at least 172 Palestinians in Gaza.
- According to the United Nations:
- Of the dead, at least 133 (approximately 80%) have been civilians, including 36 children.
- 1140 Palestinians have been injured, including 296 children and 233 women.
- 940 homes have been destroyed or severely damaged.
- 5600 Palestinians have been displaced because of damaged or destroyed homes. In addition to those 5600 an estimated 16,000 people from northern Gaza have taken refuge at 20 UNRWA schools in Gaza City and Jabalia.
- At least 25,000 traumatized children require psychosocial support.
NOTABLE INCIDENTS OF CIVILIAN CASUALTIES
- On July 13, 18 members of the same family, including six children and three women, one of them pregnant, were killed, and 16 others injured by Israel in an unsuccessful attempt to assassinate Gaza’s chief of police by attacking his cousin’s home.
- On July 12, an Israeli airstrike killed two residents of a special needs facility in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza and seriously wounded several others. The dead were 31-year-old Ola Washahi and 47-year-old Suha Abu Saada, who both suffered from severe mental and physical handicaps.
- On July 10, Israeli forces killed 8 members of the Al Haj family, including five children, during an attack on their home in Khan Younis in southern Gaza.
- On July 9, Israeli forces killed at least 9 civilians and wounded 16 others as they watched the World Cup at the Fun Time Beach café in southern Gaza.
SHORTAGES OF MEDICAL SUPPLIES
- According to the UN: $60 million (USD) is urgently needed to cover out of stock medical supplies and medical referrals out of Gaza. The UN also reports “additional supplies are needed for all essential drugs and disposables, especially those needed for trauma treatment, including burns, as well as anesthesia drugs.”
DAMAGE TO MEDICAL FACILITIES & DEATHS & INJURIES TO MEDICAL WORKERS
- According to the UN, two hospitals, three medicals clinics, one treatment centre for the disabled and four ambulances have been damaged by Israeli attacks. One doctor has been killed and 19 medical staff injured.
STATEMENTS/REPORTS FROM HUMAN RIGHTS ORGANIZATIONS
- On July 11, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay issued a statement expressing “alarm at the Israeli military operations resulting in the killing of Palestinian civilians in Gaza” and the firing of rockets into Israel. The statement also noted:
“For its part, the Government of Israel must take all possible measures to ensure full respect for the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack, during the conduct of hostilities, as required by international humanitarian law. In all circumstances, they must avoid targeting civilians.
“However, we have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes.
“Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law.
“The targeting of civilian homes is a violation of international humanitarian law unless the homes are being used for military purposes. In case of doubt, buildings ordinarily used for civilian purposes, such as homes, are presumed not to be legitimate military targets.”
- Also on July 11, Amnesty International issue a statement entitled UN must impose arms embargo and mandate an international investigation as civilian death toll rises. The statement read in part:“Israeli air strikes have targeted civilian homes in Gaza on the basis that they are the family homes of ‘Hamas operatives’, according to statements by the Israeli military, destroying the homes after warning the families to leave. However, in several such cases no evidence has emerged to indicate that the alleged ‘Hamas operatives’ were inside the homes at the time of the attack, that the homes were being used to store munitions, or otherwise were being used for military purposes.
“‘Unless the Israeli authorities can provide specific information to show how a home is being used to make an effective contribution to military actions, deliberately attacking civilian homes constitutes a war crime and also amounts to collective punishment against the families,’ said Philip Luther.”
“In other cases, civilians have been killed in Israeli air strikes on or next to their homes. In the first three days of the military operation, Israeli air strikes on or adjacent to houses killed at least 32 civilians, including multiple members of the Karawa’, al-Hajj, Hamad, al-Nawasra, and Malaka families; at least two of the houses were reportedly attacked without warning.”
“Other civilian homes have been hit using the ‘knock on the roof’ procedure, in which Israeli forces fire a small missile at the home as a ‘warning’, before firing another missile which destroys the home. In some but not all cases, families receive telephone calls from the Israeli military in advance.”
“‘There is no way that firing a missile at a civilian home can constitute an effective “warning”. Amnesty International has documented cases of civilians killed or injured by such missiles in previous Israeli military operations on the Gaza Strip,’ said Philip Luther.”