Noten 41 t/m 52/Sweet Caroline en Vriend Milders


” 7 – Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to

spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the

object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.”



The seven fundamental rules which are the basis of the Geneva Conventions and the Additional Protocols.  

 1 – Persons hors de combat and those who do not take a direct part in hostilities are entitled to respect for their

lives and their moral and physical integrity. They shall in all circumstances be protected and treated humanely

without any adverse distinction.

 2 – It is forbidden to kill or injure an enemy who surrenders or who is hors de combat .

 3 – The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for by the party to the conflict which has them in its power.

Protection also covers medical personnel, establishments, transports and equipment. The emblem of the red

cross or the red crescent is the sign of such protection and must be respected.

 4 – Captured combatants and civilians under the authority of an adverse party are entitled to respect for their lives,dignity, personal rights and convictions. They shall be protected against all acts of violence and reprisals. They shall have the right to correspond with their families and to receive relief.

 5 – Everyone shall be entitled to benefit from fundamental judicial guarantees. No one shall be held responsible for an act he has not committed. No one shall be subjected to physical or mental torture, corporal punishment or cruel or degrading treatment.

 6 – Parties to a conflict and members of their armed forces do not have an unlimited choice of methods and means of warfare. It is prohibited to employ weapons or methods of warfare of a nature to cause unnecessary losses or excessive suffering.

 7 – Parties to a conflict shall at all times distinguish between the civilian population and combatants in order to

spare civilian population and property. Neither the civilian population as such nor civilian persons shall be the

object of attack. Attacks shall be directed solely against military objectives.


”Israel cut off all water on October 11, and most desalination also stopped that day due to the cutoff in electricity, leaving about 600,000 people without clean water, Omar Shatat, deputy director general of Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, told Human Rights Watch.”



Denial of Water, Fuel, Electricity Endangers Lives

18 OCTOBER 2023

Update October 19, 2023: President Joe Biden announced that the United States mediated an agreement allowing the movement of up to 20 trucks of food, medicine, and water into Gaza. The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has urged negotiators to raise their “level of ambition.” OCHA reported that, in August 2023 alone, 12,072 truckloads of “authorized goods entered Gaza through the Israeli and Egyptian-controlled crossings.” After the total siege on the civilian population on October 9, a single dispatch of 20 truckloads does not adequately address the dire humanitarian situation in Gaza, Human Rights Watch said. Israel’s international partners should press the Israeli government to restore water and electricity supplies and lift its unlawful restrictions on aid delivery and closure.

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli government should immediately end its total blockade of the Gaza Strip that is putting Palestinian children and other civilians at grave risk, Human Rights Watch said today. The collective punishment of the population is a war crime. Israeli authorities should allow desperately needed food, medical aid, fuel, electricity, and water into Gaza, and let sick and wounded civilians leave to receive medical treatment elsewhere.

Israel announced on October 18, 2023, that it would allow food, water, and medicine to reach people in southern Gaza from Egypt, but without electricity or fuel to run the local power plant or generators, or clear provision of aid to those in the north, this falls short of meeting the needs of Gaza’s population.

The Israeli bombardment and total blockade have exacerbated the longstanding humanitarian crisis resulting from Israel’s unlawful 16-year closure of Gaza, where more than 80 percent of the population relies on humanitarian aid. Doctors in Gaza report being unable to care for children and other patients because the hospitals are overwhelmed by victims of Israeli airstrikes. On October 17, a munition struck al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza City, causing mass casualties; Hamas blamed Israel for the strike, while Israel said it was a rocket misfire by Palestinian militants. Human Rights Watch is looking into the strike.

Public health officials said the lack of water, contamination of areas by sewage, and many bodies that cannot be safely stored in morgues could trigger an infectious disease outbreak.

“Israel’s bombardment and unlawful total blockade of Gaza mean that countless wounded and sick children, among many other civilians, will die for want of medical care,” said Bill Van Esveld, associate children’s rights director at Human Rights Watch. “US President Joe Biden, who is in Israel today, should press Israeli officials to completely lift the unlawful blockade and ensure the entire civilian population has prompt access to water, food, fuel, and electricity.”

Senior Israeli officials have said the total blockade of the Gaza Strip, where children comprise nearly half of the population of 2.2 million, is part of efforts to defeat Hamas, following its October 7 attack on Israel. Hamas-led Palestinian fighters killed more than 1,300 people, according to Israeli authorities, and took scores of civilians, including women and children, as hostages. On October 9, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced “a complete siege … no electricity, no water, no food, no fuel. We are fighting human animals, and we act accordingly.” The Palestinian Health Ministry has reported, as of October 18, that 3,478 Palestinians have been killed. The Palestinian rights group Defense for Children International – Palestine reported that more than 1,000 children are among those killed.

The laws of war do not prohibit sieges or blockades of enemy forces, but they may not include tactics that prevent civilians’ access to items essential for their survival, such as water, food, and medicine. Parties to the conflict must allow and facilitate the rapid passage of impartial humanitarian aid for all civilians in need. Aid may be inspected but not arbitrarily delayed.

In addition, during military occupations, such as in Gaza, the occupying power has a duty under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to the fullest extent of the means available to it, “of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population.” Starvation as a method of warfare is prohibited and is a war crime.

Under international human rights law, states must respect the right to water, which includes refraining from limiting access to, or destroying, water services and infrastructure as a punitive measure during armed conflicts as well as respecting the obligations to protect objects indispensable for survival of the civilian population.

Israel’s total blockade against the population in Gaza forms part of the crimes against humanity of apartheid and persecution that Israeli authorities are committing against Palestinians.

News media reported on October 17 that Israel had refused to allow humanitarian aid into Gaza, while Egypt was refusing to allow Palestinians to cross into the Sinai. Egypt and Israel should permit civilians to pass through their respective crossings to seek at least temporary protection or life-saving medical care, while also ensuring that anyone who flees is entitled to voluntary return in safety and dignity.

Lack of Medical Care

Shortages of medical equipment, supplies, and medication in the face of overwhelming casualties are causing avoidable deaths in hospitals in the Gaza Strip. More than 60 percent of patients are children, Dr. Midhat Abbas, director general of health in Gaza, told Human Rights Watch. An intern emergency room doctor at Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital wept while speaking to Human Rights Watch by phone on October 15:

Yesterday, in the intensive care unit, it was full, and all ventilators were in use. A child came in with head trauma who needed a ventilator. They had to choose between two children, who would die. He [the doctor] made a decision that one child was more promising to treat, so we were forced to switch the ventilator, and the other child died.

A doctor at the Northern Medical Complex said that on the night of October 14, intensive-care unit medics had to disconnect an adult patient from a ventilator to use it for a 10-year-old. He said a lack of medical supplies had obliged him to stitch a woman’s head wound without gloves or sterile equipment.

In a voice message on October 14, a doctor at al-Shifa hospital described a group of patients with “back wounds, including compound fractures, that can be really painful.” He said that the hospital had run out of painkillers to administer to them.

Ghassan Abu Sitta, a British surgeon volunteering at al-Shifa hospital, posted on social media on October 10, that “the hospitals, because of the siege, are so short of supplies that we had to clean a teenage girl with 70 percent body surface burns with regular soap because the hospital is out of chlorhexidine (antiseptic).” On October 14, he said in a voice note shared with Human Rights Watch: “We are no longer able to do anything but the most life-saving surgeries” because medical supplies were exhausted, and deaths and injuries had caused staff shortages.

More than 5,500 pregnant women in the Gaza Strip are expected to deliver within the next month, but face “compromised functionality of health facilities” and lack of “lifesaving supplies,” the United Nations Population Fund said on October 13.

“We need insulin [for diabetics],” said the head of a UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) shelter on October 15. “People are dying.” The shelter was overwhelmed with 15,000 internally displaced people.

The UN World Health Organization stated on October 14 that it had flown medical and basic health supplies for 300,000 patients to Egypt, near the Gaza Strip’s southern border, and more than 1,000 tons of other humanitarian aid had been shipped to the area. As of October 17, though, humanitarian workers and aid remain blocked via the Rafah border crossing. Israeli attacks have reportedly hit the crossing repeatedly, rendering it unsafe. Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry said four Egyptian aid workers were injured in the Israeli strikes and that “there is not yet any sort of authorization for a safe passage from the other side of the crossing.”

Israel’s order on October 13 to all civilians located in the north of the Gaza Strip to evacuate to the south exacerbated the medical crisis: 21 hospitals currently holding more than 2,000 patients are located in this region. The World Health Organization said the evacuations “could be tantamount to a death sentence” for the sick and injured and said hospitals were already beyond capacity in the southern Gaza Strip. A pediatric doctor at Kamal Adwan Hospital said evacuating would likely cause the deaths of seven newborns in the ICU who were connected to ventilators.

Dr. Abu Sitta said that Israel’s evacuation order forced the Mohammed al-Durra Pediatric Hospital east of Gaza City to close, including a neonatal intensive care unit supported by the charity he volunteers with, Medical Aid for Palestinians.

The sick and wounded, including children and pregnant women, have not been allowed to cross Rafah into Egypt or the Erez crossing into Israel to receive treatment. Dr. Abbas, the director general of health, said, “We are in desperate need of a safe humanitarian passage for patients immediately, [and] we need field hospitals immediately.”


On October 7, Israeli authorities cut the electricity it delivers to Gaza, the main source of electricity there. Israeli authorities also cut fuel necessary to run Gaza’s only power plant. The power plant has since run out of fuel and shut down. On October 17, Dr. Abbas told Human Rights Watch by phone that hospitals’ emergency generators will run out of fuel “within hours.”

The International Committee of the Red Cross regional director warned on October 11 that the power cuts are “putting newborns in incubators and elderly patients on oxygen at risk. Kidney dialysis stops, and X-rays can’t be taken. Without electricity, hospitals risk turning into morgues.”

Water and Sewage

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported that 97 percent of the groundwater in Gaza is “unfit for human consumption,” leaving people dependent on the supply of water from Israel and on the territory’s desalination plants. Israel cut off all water on October 11, and most desalination also stopped that day due to the cutoff in electricity, leaving about 600,000 people without clean water, Omar Shatat, deputy director general of Gaza’s Coastal Municipalities Water Utility, told Human Rights Watch.

The last functioning desalination plant stopped operating on October 15. Israel partially resumed water delivery that day, but only to the eastern Khan Younis area, and it amounted to less than 4 percent of the water consumed in Gaza prior to October 7, according to OCHA.

UNRWA warned that “people will start dying of severe dehydration” unless access to water is resumed. The Associated Press reported on October 15 that a doctor had treated 15 cases of children with bacterial dysentery due to lack of clean water, which can also cause diseases like cholera, particularly in children under 5.

“Israel has cut off the most basic goods necessary for survival in Gaza, where there are more than a million children at risk,” Van Esveld said. “Every hour that this blockade continues costs lives.”














30 OCTOBER 2023

‘Collectief straffen en wegjagen van Gazanen is mogelijk etnische zuivering’

De leefsituatie in Gaza wordt met de dag zorgwekkender. Dit weekend braken duizenden mensen in bij opslagplaatsen en distributiecentra van de Verenigde Naties om aan meel en andere levensmiddelen te komen.

Na de Hamas-aanslagen op 7 oktober blokkeerde Israël Gaza volledig. Sinds vorig weekend worden hulpkonvooien toegelaten, maar slechts mondjesmaat. Dit beleid is illegaal, volgens het Internationaal Strafhof. “Israël straft de Palestijnen collectief. Er is mogelijk sprake van etnische zuivering”, zegt universitair docent internationaal strafrecht Marieke de Hoon.

De afgelopen weken was de verdeling van levensmiddelen nog redelijk georganiseerd, zegt Tamara Alrifai, woordvoerder van de VN-organisatie voor Palestijnse vluchtelingen UNRWA. “De 600.000 mensen in VN-gebouwen kregen heel weinig, maar wel geregeld, voedsel en medicijnen.”

Maar toen vrijdagavond alle communicatie uitviel nadat Israël de aanvallen opvoerde, brak er paniek uit, zegt Alrifai. “Niemand wist wat er gebeurde. Mijn collega’s konden geen berichten versturen over de voedsel- en waterdistributie. Dus mensen namen het heft in eigen hand en besloten zelf voedsel uit opslagplaatsen te halen.”

Een minstens zo nijpend probleem is het grote gebrek aan brandstof, waardoor elektriciteitsgeneratoren niet draaien en ontziltingsinstallaties stilliggen. Inwoners moeten vervuild water drinken. “Mensen zijn afhankelijk van water dat ze kopen bij kleine waterstation”, zegt de lokale journalist Noor Swirki tegen Nieuwsuur. “Dat water komt uit de grond en is niet veilig om te drinken of om mee te koken, maar ze hebben geen keuze.”

UNRWA noemt het brandstoftekort desastreus. “Als we geen brandstof meer hebben, kunnen we de bakkerijen niet voorzien van schoon water en kunnen we onze vrachtwagens niet sturen om de levensmiddelen op te halen die nu via Egypte binnenkomen”, zegt Alrifai.

‘Israël mag noodhulp niet belemmeren’

Volgens nieuwszender Al Jazeera zijn sinds het begin van de oorlog 87 vrachtwagens Gaza binnengelaten via de door Egypte gecontroleerde grensovergang bij Rafah. Dat aantal is een fractie van wat nodig is voor de 2 miljoen Gazanen, zegt Alrifai. “Voor de oorlog kwamen er elke dag zo’n 500 trucks binnen, waarvan 100 met humanitaire goederen.”

Het opzettelijk belemmeren van humanitaire hulp is een oorlogsmisdaad, zegt internationaal strafrechtdocent De Hoon. “Israël voldoet hiermee niet aan de plicht om burgerslachtoffers zoveel mogelijk te voorkomen.”

Ook het Internationaal Strafhof in Den Haag spreekt van een schending van het internationaal recht. “Er zouden geen belemmeringen moeten zijn voor het leveren van noodhulp aan kinderen, vrouwen en mannen”, zei aanklager Karim Khan bij een bezoek aan de grensovergang tussen Egypte en Gaza. “Dit zijn onschuldige mensen met rechten.”

Waarschijnlijk overtreden ook Israëls luchtaanvallen het internationaal recht, zegt De Hoon. “Een legitiem militair doel mag je aanvallen, ook als er de kans is op burgerslachtoffers. Maar dit moet op een proportionele manier en dat lijkt in Gaza nu niet te gebeuren.”

Dat Israël vaak waarschuwingen stuurt voor een bombardement, pleit het land volgens De Hoon niet vrij. “Burgers moeten kunnen wegkomen, maar in Gaza kunnen ze nergens heen.”

VN-medewerkers gedood

Het dodental in Gaza steeg zondag naar 8005, volgens het zorgministerie van Gaza, dat onder controle staat van Hamas. De cijfers worden door verschillende hulporganisaties als betrouwbaar gezien. Bij de Israëlische aanvallen zijn ook 59 UNRWA-medewerkers omgekomen.

“Elke dertien minuten sterft er een kind in Gaza”, zegt Jason Lee van hulporganisatie Save the Children. “Geen plek hier is veilig, overal zijn beschietingen en luchtaanvallen. 60 procent van de bevolking, 1,4 miljoen mensen, is hun huis uit gevlucht.”

Israël maakt te weinig onderscheid tussen burgers en militairen, zegt De Hoon. Als voorbeelden geeft ze de aanvallen op woongebouwen, waar ook veel kinderen wonen, en op burgers die naar het zuiden van Gaza vluchten. “De regering verschuilt zich achter het argument dat Hamas begon. Maar je kunt niet suggereren dat die kinderen Hamas-strijders zijn. Palestijnen worden zo gedehumaniseerd. Mensen worden niet meer als mensen gezien en de drempel om ze te doden wordt verlaagd.”


Dit “collectief straffen en wegjagen” van Palestijnen is mogelijk etnische zuivering, zegt De Hoon. De VN waarschuwde al voor “een massale zuivering” van inwoners van Gaza en pleit voor een staakt-het-vuren.

Of er ook sprake is van genocide, zoals Palestijnse organisaties en onder andere een Spaanse minister zeggen, vindt De Hoon lastig te bepalen. “Daarvoor moet je aantonen dat er bij Israëlische leiders een specifieke opzet is om de Palestijnen uit te roeien. Dat zeggen ze niet. Hamas is er bijvoorbeeld wel heel duidelijk in dat ze de joden willen uitroeien. Maar Israël zit wel op het duistere randje.”

Hoe dan ook, zegt De Hoon, zijn er signalen dat genocide kan gaan plaatsvinden. “Maar aan strafzaken hebben we nu niks. Andere landen moeten ingrijpen om te voorkomen dat Israël die genocide zal plegen. Staten hebben die plicht.”





United Nations S/RES/2417 (2018) Security Council Distr.: General 

24 May 2018   

  Resolution 2417 (2018)

 Adopted by the Security Council at its 8267th meeting, on 24 May 2018 The Security Council, 

Recalling all relevant Security Council resolutions, including resolutions 1296 (2000), 1894 (2009), 2175 (2014), and 2286 (2016) and its Presidential Statement of 9 August 2017 (S/PRST/2017/14), 

Deeply concerned about the level of global humanitarian needs and the threat of famine presently facing millions of people in armed conflicts, as well as about the number of undernourished people in the world which, after decades of decreasing, increased over the last two years, with the majority of food insecure people and seventy-five percent of all stunted children under the age of five living in countries affected by armed conflict, amounting to 74 million people facing crisis food insecurity or worse in situations of armed conflict,

  Noting the devastating impact on civilians of ongoing armed conflict and related violence, and emphasising with deep concern that ongoing armed conflicts and violence have devastating humanitarian consequences, often hindering an effective humanitarian response, and are therefore a major cause of the current risk of famine,

Expressing concern over the growing number of armed conflicts in different geographic areas all over the globe, and underlining the urgent need for redoubled efforts for their prevention and resolution, addressing where pertinent the regional dimensions of armed conflicts with specific emphasis on regional diplomacy and arrangements, 

Reiterating its commitment to pursue all possible avenues to prevent and end armed conflicts, including through addressing their underlying root causes in an inclusive, integrated and sustainable manner, 

Recognising the need to break the vicious cycle between armed conflict and food insecurity, 

Reiterating its primary responsibility for the maintenance of international peace and security and, in this connection, its commitment to address conflict-induced food insecurity, including famine, in situations of armed conflict, 

Reaffirming the full respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of States in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, 

Recognising that armed conflict impacts on food security can be direct, such as displacement from land, livestock grazing areas, and fishing grounds or destruction of food stocks and agricultural assets, or indirect, such as disruptions to food systems and markets, leading to increased food prices or decreased household purchasing power, or decreased access to supplies that are necessary for food preparation, including water and fuel, 

Noting with deep concern the serious humanitarian threat, posed to civilians by landmines, explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices in affected countries, which has serious and lasting social and economic consequences for the populations of such countries and their agricultural activities, as well as of personnel participating in law enforcement, humanitarian, peacekeeping, rehabilitation and clearance programmes and operations, 

Stressing the particular impact that armed conflict has on women, children, including as refugees and internally displaced persons, and other civilians who may have specific vulnerabilities including persons with disabilities and older persons, and stressing the protection and assistance needs of all affected civilian populations, 

Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and in peacebuilding, and stressing the importance of their equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and the need to increase their role in decision-making with regard to conflict prevention and resolution, 

Recalling the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and their Additional Protocols of 1977, and the obligation of High Contracting Parties and parties to armed conflict to respect and ensure respect for international humanitarian law in all circumstance s, 

Underlining that using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare may constitute a war crime, 

Stressing that responding effectively to humanitarian needs in armed conflict, including the threat of conflict-induced famine and food insecurity in situations of armed conflict, requires respect for international humanitarian law by all parties to conflict, underlining the parties’ obligations related to protecting civilians and civilian objects, meeting the basic needs of the civilian population within their territory or under their effective control, and allowing and facilitating the rapid and unimpeded passage of impartial humanitarian relief to all those in need, 

Recalling its intention to mandate United Nations peacekeeping and other relevant missions, where appropriate, to assist in creating conditions conducive to safe, timely and unimpeded humanitarian assistance, 

Demanding that all parties to armed conflicts fully comply with their obligations under international law, including international human rights law, as applicable, and international humanitarian law, in particular their obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the obligations applicable to them under the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977 and 2005, to ensure the respect and protection of all medical personnel and humanitarian personnel exclusively engaged in medical duties, their means of transport and equipment, as well as hospitals and other medical facilities, 

Reaffirming the obligation of all parties to an armed conflict to comply with international humanitarian law, in particular their obligations under the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the obligations applicable to them under the Additional Protocols thereto of 1977, to ensure the respect and protection of all humanitarian personnel and United Nations and associated personnel, as well as with the rules and principles of international human rights law and refugee law, 

Reaffirming the need for all parties to armed conflict to respect the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence in the provision of humanitarian assistance, including medical assistance, and reaffirming also the need for all actors engaged in the provision of such assistance in situations of armed conflict to promote and fully adhere to these principles, 

Stressing that the fight against impunity and to ensure accountability for genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and other egregious crimes has been strengthened through the work on and prosecution of these crimes in the national and international criminal justice system, ad hoc and mixed tribunals as well as specialized chambers in national tribunals, 

Reaffirming the primary responsibility of States to protect the population throughout their whole territory, 

  1. Recalls the link between armed conflict and violence and conflict-induced food insecurity and the threat of famine, and calls on all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law regarding respecting and protecting civilians and taking constant care to spare civilian objects, including objects necessary for food production and distribution such as farms, markets, water systems, mills, food processing and storage sites, and hubs and means for food transportation, and refraining from attacking, destroying, removing or rendering useless objects that are indispensable to the survival of the civilian population, such as foodstuffs, crops, livestock, agricultural assets, drinking water installations and supplies, and irrigation works, and respecting and protecting humanitarian personnel and consignments used for humanitarian relief operations;

2. Stresses in this regard that armed conflict, violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law, and food insecurity can be drivers of forced displacement, and, conversely, forced displacement in countries in armed conflict can have a devastating impact on agricultural production and livelihoods, recalls the relevant prohibition on the forced displacement of civilians in armed conflict, and stresses the importance of fully complying with international humanitarian law and other applicable international law in this context; 

3. Stresses the need for humanitarian assistance to be gender- and agesensitive, and to remain responsive to the different needs of the population, ensuring that these needs are integrated in the humanitarian response; 

4. Calls on all parties to armed conflict to comply with their obligations under international humanitarian law, and underlines the importance of safe and unimpeded access of humanitarian personnel to civilians in armed conflicts, calls upon all parties concerned, including neighbouring States, to cooperate fully with the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator and United Nations agencies in providing such access, invites States and the Secretary-General to bring to its attention information regarding the unlawful denial of such access in violation of international law, where such denial may constitute a threat to international peace and security, and, in this regard, expresses its willingness to consider such information and, when necessary, to adopt appropriate steps; 

5. Strongly condemns the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in a number of conflict situations and prohibited by international humanitarian law; 

6. Strongly condemns the unlawful denial of humanitarian access and depriving civilians of objects indispensable to their survival, including wilfully impeding relief supply and access for responses to conflict-induced food insecurity in situations of armed conflict, which may constitute a violation of international humanitarian law; 

7. Urges all parties to protect civilian infrastructure which is critical to the delivery of humanitarian aid and to ensure the proper functioning of food systems and markets in situations of armed conflict; 

8. Urges those with influence over parties to armed conflict to remind the latter of their obligation to comply with international humanitarian law; 

9. Recalls that the Council has adopted and can consider to adopt sanction measures, where appropriate and in line with existing practice, that can be ap plied to individuals or entities obstructing the delivery o 

10. Strongly urges States to conduct, in an independent manner, full, prompt, impartial and effective investigations within their jurisdiction into violations of international humanitarian law related to the use of starvation of civilians as a method of warfare, including the unlawful denial of humanitarian assistance to the civilian population in armed conflict, and, where appropriate, to take action against those responsible in accordance with domestic and international law, with a view to reinforcing preventive measures, ensuring accountability and addressing the grievances of victims; 

11. Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide information on the humanitarian situation and response, including on the risk of famine and food insecurity in countries with armed conflict, as part of his regular reporting on countryspecific situations; 

12. Further requests the Secretary-General to report swiftly to the Council when the risk of conflict-induced famine and wide-spread food insecurity in armed conflict contexts occurs, and expresses its intention to give its full attention to such information provided by the Secretary-General when those situations are brought to its attention; 

13. Further requests the Secretary-General to brief the Security Council every twelve months on the implementation of this resolution within his annual briefing on the protection of civilians.


”Het Internationaal Humanitair Recht (IHR) verbiedt ten strengste het gebruik van verhongering/uithongering als oorlogsmethode. Israël is gebonden aan de IHR-verplichtingen om te voorzien in de behoeften en bescherming van de bevolking van Gaza. In 2018 nam de VN-Veiligheidsraad resolutie 2417 aan, waarin unaniem de inzet van uithongering tegen burgers als oorlogsmethode werd veroordeeld en elke weigering van humanitaire toegang als een schending van het internationaal recht werd verklaard”




26 OCTOBER 2023,het%20internationaal%20recht%20werd%20verklaard.

Honger wordt gebruikt als oorlogswapen tegen de burgers van Gaza, zo stelt Oxfam Novib en herhaalt haar dringende oproep om voedsel, water, brandstof per direct binnen te laten. Uit de analyse van VN-gegevens door Oxfam blijkt dat slechts 2 procent van het voedsel, dat onder normale omstandigheden binnenkomt, Gaza bereikt sinds de totale blokkade die op 9 oktober is ingevoerd. Dit was na de gruwelijke aanvallen van Hamas en de gijzeling van Israëlische burgers. Vóór de vijandelijkheden leverden 104 vrachtwagens per dag voedsel aan de Gazastrook, één vrachtwagen per 14 minuten.

Ondanks dat sinds het weekeinde 62 vrachtwagens met hulpgoederen het zuiden van Gaza binnenkwamen via de grensovergang bij Rafah, bevatten er slechts 30 voedsel. Sinds zaterdag komt dit neer op slechts één vrachtwagen per drie uur en twaalf minuten.

Michiel Servaes, directeur Oxfam Novib: “De situatie is ronduit afschuwelijk. Miljoenen burgers worden collectief gestraft. Ze zijn verzwakt, ziek en wanhopig en de internationale gemeenschap kijkt toe. Wat ook de aanleiding van een oorlog is, er bestaat geen rechtvaardiging om honger te gebruiken als wapen. Die ondergrens hebben we met elkaar in regels vastgelegd. Door die bodem van menselijke waardigheid zakken nu vele duizenden gewone vrouwen, mannen en kinderen in Gaza. Wereldleiders kunnen zich niet langer verschuilen achter wollige taal en diplomatieke spelletjes. Zij hebben de plicht om in actie te komen, nu!“

Het Internationaal Humanitair Recht (IHR) verbiedt ten strengste het gebruik van verhongering/uithongering als oorlogsmethode. Israël is gebonden aan de IHR-verplichtingen om te voorzien in de behoeften en bescherming van de bevolking van Gaza. In 2018 nam de VN-Veiligheidsraad resolutie 2417 aan, waarin unaniem de inzet van uithongering tegen burgers als oorlogsmethode werd veroordeeld en elke weigering van humanitaire toegang als een schending van het internationaal recht werd verklaard. De humanitaire situatie in Gaza maakt pijnlijk duidelijk dat deze VN-resolutie volledig genegeerd wordt.

‘Het is nota bene Nederland die in 2018 het initiatief heeft genomen in de VN Veiligheidsraad om honger uit te bannen als wapen in de oorlog. Het was Nederland die er internationaal heel hard voor heeft gevochten dat het uithongeren van een burgerbevolking niet alleen werd gezien als ‘omstreden tactiek’ maar als oorlogsmisdaad werd erkend. Het was Nederland dat zich helder uit heeft gesproken toen er schendingen werden gepleegd in landen als Jemen, Syrië en Oekraïne. En wat Oxfam Novib betreft moet Nederland zich nu ook luid en duidelijk uitspreken en zich hardmaken voor de naleving van datzelfde oorlogsrecht.’ aldus Servaes.

Bron: Oxfam Novib


”Een minstens zo nijpend probleem is het grote gebrek aan brandstof, waardoor elektriciteitsgeneratoren niet draaien en ontziltingsinstallaties stilliggen. Inwoners moeten vervuild water drinken. “Mensen zijn afhankelijk van water dat ze kopen bij kleine waterstation”, zegt de lokale journalist Noor Swirki tegen Nieuwsuur. “Dat water komt uit de grond en is niet veilig om te drinken of om mee te koken, maar ze hebben geen keuze.””




30 OCTOBER 2023



Medische zorg is in Gaza bijna niet meer mogelijk. Zeker vier ziekenhuizen zijn omsingeld door het Israëlische leger en met name het grootste hospitaal, Al Shifa, ligt al een paar dagen onder vuur. Volgens internationale hulporganisaties is Al Shifa verstoken van water en elektriciteit en kan er niet meer worden geopereerd. Waarom valt Israël ziekenhuizen aan?”




11 NOVEMBER 2023

Door het uitvallen van de stroom, vanwege gebrek aan brandstof, zijn er volgens de directeur van het Al Shifa-ziekenhuis in Gaza-Stad zeker twee pasgeboren baby’s en een jonge man op de intensive care overleden. Een kleine 40 pasgeboren baby’s in couveuses vechten voor hun leven. Dat meldt het ministerie van Volksgezondheid, dat onder bewind van Hamas staat.

Ook de Wereldgezondheidsorganisatie (WHO) en het Rode Kruis melden dat er sprake is van intens geweld bij het grootste ziekenhuis. Bij aanvallen zijn al meerdere doden gevallen. Het Rode Kruis pleit voor het beschermen van zo’n 20.000 gewonden, ontheemden en het medisch personeel. ‘Dit kan niet zo doorgaan, deze mensen moeten in lijn met het oorlogsrecht worden beschermd’, schrijft Fabrizio Carboni namens het Rode Kruis op X.

De WHO wil dat er een gevechtspauze komt, zodat iedereen de ziekenhuizen veilig kan verlaten. De ziekenhuisdirectie van Al Shifa en het Israëlische leger meldden dat de baby’s en andere patiënten die in levensgevaar zijn, worden geëvacueerd. Volgens een woordvoerder van het Israëlische leger willen de militairen helpen ‘omdat we niet willen dat Hamas in de toekomst doorgaat deze mensen als menselijk schild te gebruiken’.

Ook een ander groot ziekenhuis in Gaza, Al Quds, is uitgevallen door brandstoftekort. De Palestijnse Rode Halve Maan, zusterorganisatie van het Rode Kruis, meldt dat er geen brandstof meer is voor de generatoren die voor stroom zorgden. Ook is er een tekort aan medische goederen, voedsel en water. De baby’s in deze kliniek riskeren uitdroging door een tekort aan alternatieven voor moedermelk.

Volgens de Palestijnse autoriteiten worden meerdere ziekenhuizen flink geraakt door Israëlische aanvallen. Het Indonesische ziekenhuis zou zijn beschadigd en in het Al-Rantisi-ziekenhuis zou brand zijn uitgebroken. Vier ziekenhuizen zouden zijn omsingeld. Tanks en andere gepantserde voertuigen hebben het gebied rondom de ziekenhuizen volledig afgesloten, meldt Al Jazeera.


Volgens de directeur van het Al Shifa voert Israël oorlog tegen de ziekenhuizen in Gaza-stad. Het Israëlische leger (IDF) zegt dat burgers geen doelwit zijn en dat het IDF zijn best doet om ze niet te raken. Israël meldt dat Hamas verborgen commandocentra onder het Al Shifa en andere ziekenhuizen heeft gebouwd.

Het gebouw zelf zou ook worden gebruikt om aanvallen uit te voeren. Daarbij zouden burgers als menselijk schild worden ingezet. Onder het Al Shifa zouden slaapzalen en badkamers zijn voor tientallen Hamas-strijders. Ook zou Hamas zelf nog voldoende brandstof hebben. Hamas ontkent de beschuldigingen.

Volgens defensiespecialist Peter Wijninga, verbonden aan het Den Haag Centrum voor Strategische Studies, heeft het IDF tot nu toe geen sluitend bewijs geleverd dat er onder de ziekenhuizen inderdaad commandocentra zijn gevestigd. ,,Maar dat is niet zo vreemd, aangezien Hamas deze centra tot nu toe altijd verborgen wist te houden. Ik denk dat Israël niet zomaar aanvallen uitvoert in de buurt van gezondheidsvoorzieningen. Ze weten meer. De kans is dan ook groot dat ze binnenkort bewijs zullen vrijgeven. Want bewijs van de aanwezigheid van militaire faciliteiten is ook noodzakelijk om de beschermde status van een ziekenhuis te laten vervallen. Anders kunnen deze aanvallen als een oorlogsmisdaad worden gezien.’’

Toch vindt Wijninga het een zeer lastige afweging om een ziekenhuis aan te vallen. ,,Israël zegt de zogeheten ‘nevenschade’, ofwel burgerslachtoffers, zo beperkt mogelijk te willen houden, maar in dit geval is dat bijna niet te doen. Veel patiënten kunnen niet eens worden geëvacueerd. Het IDF moet een afweging maken of de militaire winst van het oprollen van een commandocentrum opweegt tegen de slachtoffers die er worden gemaakt. Dat lijkt me een enorm dilemma.’’

Raketlanceerinstallaties bij scholen

Tot nu toe werden er beelden getoond van tunnels die beginnen in bunkers en woonhuizen en raketlanceerinstallaties die vlakbij scholen en speeltuinen zijn neergezet. Wijninga: ,,Zeker als Hamas ook ziekenhuizen en de tunnels onder deze gebouwen gebruikt voor militaire doeleinden, kun je deze organisatie ook verantwoordelijk houden voor de slachtoffers. Niet alleen Israël.’’

In de tussentijd wordt de situatie van de ziekenhuizen in Gaza dus steeds ernstiger en is medische zorg in veel gevallen niet meer mogelijk. Volgens de WHO zijn 21 van de 36 klinieken in de strook buiten gebruik doordat ze verwoest of beschadigd zijn, of doordat de brandstof op is. Hulpgoederen die vanuit Egypte Gaza binnenkomen, kunnen het noorden niet bereiken vanwege de onveilige situatie. In de ziekenhuizen die nog wel (deels) operationeel zijn, liggen niet alleen patiënten. Tienduizenden Gazanen die hun huis uit zijn gevlucht, gebruiken de ziekenhuizen als schuilplaats.



”Door het uitvallen van de stroom, vanwege gebrek aan brandstof, zijn er volgens de directeur van het Al Shifa-ziekenhuis in Gaza-Stad zeker twee pasgeboren baby’s en een jonge man op de intensive care overleden.”




11 NOVEMBER 2023



”Volgens Dekkers zou Israël helpen met de evacuatie van de baby’s, maar is dat niet gebeurd. Het Israëlische leger (IDF) zegt gisteren brandstof te hebben achtergelaten bij het ziekenhuis, maar ook dat die door Hamas is ingenomen. Volgens Dekkers was die brandstof sowieso onvoldoende.”




De twee grootste ziekenhuizen van Gaza-stad functioneren niet meer, zegt correspondent Ralph Dekkers. Het Al-Shifa zit al drie dagen zonder water en ook de brandstof is op. Toch zitten er nog tussen de vijf- á zeshonderd patiënten, zegt Dekkers, waaronder baby’s waarvan de couveuses niet meer werken.

Volgens Dekkers zou Israël helpen met de evacuatie van de baby’s, maar is dat niet gebeurd. Het Israëlische leger (IDF) zegt gisteren brandstof te hebben achtergelaten bij het ziekenhuis, maar ook dat die door Hamas is ingenomen. Volgens Dekkers was die brandstof sowieso onvoldoende.

Er wordt flink gevochten rond de ziekenhuizen in Gaza-stad‘, aldus Dekkers die erop wijst dat de VS weliswaar heeft gewaarschuwd dat die gevechten zich niet naar het ziekenhuiscomplex mogen verplaatsen, maar dat het er wel ‘naar uitziet dat het die kant opgaat’. Volgens Dekkers doet het verhaal al jaren de ronde dat zich onder het ziekenhuis een Hamas-commandopost bevindt, maar dat zodra de IDF het ziekenhuis inneemt, die post zich ongetwijfeld via de verbonden tunnels zal verplaatsen.

Escalatie Libanon

De strijd tussen Israël en de Hezbollah-milities in Libanon is het stadium van de schermutselingen inmiddels ruim voorbij en escaleert intussen verder. Beide partijen vuren volgens Dekkers raketten op elkaar af met een diepte van veertig kilometer. Israël heeft gewaarschuwd met een krachtig antwoord te zullen komen. ‘Dat kan heftiger worden’, zegt Dekkers.

Ook in Syrië nemen de gevechten in intensiteit toe: de VS heeft vannacht opnieuw Iraanse posities in het land onder vuur genomen nadat Amerikaanse bases in de regio het doelwit waren.

De Israëlische president Netanyahu heeft ten slotte een opmerkelijke speech gehouden waarin hij zegt dat de Palestijnse Autoriteit onder leiding van Mahmoud Abbas geen rol zal spelen in de toekomst van Gaza. Daarmee gaat hij lijnrecht in tegen bondgenoot Verenigde Staten die juist wel inzetten op een bestuurlijke hoofdrol voor de Palestijnse Autoriteit.





  • The Israeli military’s repeated, apparently unlawful attacks on medical facilities, personnel, and transport are further destroying Gaza’s healthcare system and should be investigated as war crimes.”


Israel’s Blockade, Bombardment Decimate Healthcare System; Investigate as War Crimes

14 NOVEMBER 2023
  • The Israeli military’s repeated, apparently unlawful attacks on medical facilities, personnel, and transport are further destroying Gaza’s healthcare system and should be investigated as war crimes.
  • Concerns about disproportionate attacks are magnified for hospitals. Even the threat of an attack or minor damage can have massive life-or-death implications for patients and caregivers.
  • The Israeli government should end attacks on hospitals. The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the ICC should investigate.

(Jerusalem) – The Israeli military’s repeated, apparently unlawful attacks on medical facilities, personnel, and transport are further destroying the Gaza Strip’s healthcare system and should be investigated as war crimes, Human Rights Watch said today. Despite the Israeli military’s claims on November 5, 2023, of “Hamas’s cynical use of hospitals,” no evidence put forward would justify depriving hospitals and ambulances of their protected status under international humanitarian law.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported that at least 521 people, including 16 medical workers, have been killed in 137 “attacks on health care” in Gaza as of November 12. These attacks, alongside Israel’s decisions to cut off electricity and water and block humanitarian aid to Gaza, have severely impeded health care access. The United Nations found as of November 10 that two-thirds of primary care facilities and half of all hospitals in Gaza are not functioning at a time when medical personnel are dealing with unprecedented numbers of severely injured patients. Hospitals have run out of medicine and basic equipment, and doctors told Human Rights Watch that they were forced to operate without anesthesia and to use vinegar as an antiseptic.

“Israel’s repeated attacks damaging hospitals and harming healthcare workers, already hard hit by an unlawful blockade, have devastated Gaza’s healthcare infrastructure,” said A. Kayum Ahmed, special adviser on the right to health at Human Rights Watch. “The strikes on hospitals have killed hundreds of people and put many patients at grave risk because they’re unable to receive proper medical care.”

Human Rights Watch investigated attacks on or near the Indonesian Hospital, al-Ahli Hospital, the International Eye Care Center, the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, and the al-Quds Hospital between October 7 and November 7. Human Rights Watch spoke by phone with two displaced people sheltering in hospitals and 16 healthcare workers and hospital officials in Gaza and analyzed and verified open-source data, including videos posted to social media and satellite imagery, as well as WHO databases.

Israeli forces struck the Indonesian Hospital multiple times between October 7 and October 28, killing at least two civilians. The International Eye Care Center was struck repeatedly and completely destroyed after a strike on October 10 or 11. Strikes hit the compound and vicinity of the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital on October 30 and 31. Damage to the hospital as well as a lack of fuel for hospital generators resulted in its closure on November 1. Repeated Israeli strikes damaged the al-Quds Hospital and injured a man and child out front. Israeli forces on several occasions struck well-marked ambulances, killing and wounding at least a dozen people in one incident on November 3, including children, outside al-Shifa hospital.

These ongoing attacks are not isolated. Israeli forces have also carried out scores of strikes damaging several other hospitals across Gaza. WHO reported that as of November 10, 18 out of 36 hospitals and 46 out of 72 primary care clinics were forced to shut down. The forced closure of these facilities stems from damage caused by attacks as well as the lack of electricity and fuel.

Health workers at Gaza’s hospitals told Human Rights Watch they are dealing with unprecedented numbers of injured patients. Additionally, thousands of internally displaced people sheltering at hospitals have been put at risk, facing shortages of food and medicine. Gaza’s hospitals have been forced to address these issues with shortages of medical staff, some of whom have been killed or injured outside their work.

A doctor at Nasser Medical Center said: “At 3 a.m. I dealt with a 60-year-old woman with a cut wound in her head. I can’t make a suture to heal her wound—no gloves, no equipment—so we have to use unsterile techniques.”

Hospitals and other medical facilities are civilian objects that have special protections under international humanitarian law, or the laws of war. Hospitals only lose their protection from attack if they are being used to commit “acts harmful to the enemy,” and after a required warning. Even if military forces unlawfully use a hospital to store weapons or encamp able-bodied combatants, the attacking force must issue a warning to cease this misuse, set a reasonable time limit for it to end, and lawfully attack only after such a warning has gone unheeded. Ordering patients, medical staff, and others to evacuate a hospital should only be used as a last resort. Medical personnel need to be protected and permitted to do their work.

All warring parties must take constant care to minimize harm to civilians. Attacks on hospitals being used to commit “acts harmful to the enemy” are still unlawful if indiscriminate or disproportionate. The use of explosive weapons in densely populated areas heightens the risk of indiscriminate attacks. Attacks in which the anticipated loss of civilian life and property are excessive compared with the concrete and direct military gain are disproportionate. Concerns about disproportionate attacks are magnified with respect to hospitals, since even the threat of an attack or minor damage can have massive life-or-death implications for patients and their caregivers.

The Israeli military on October 27 claimed that “Hamas uses hospitals as terror infrastructures,” publishing footage alleging that Hamas was operating from Gaza’s largest hospital, al-Shifa. Israel also alleged that Hamas was using the Indonesian Hospital to hide an underground command and control center and that they had deployed a rocket launchpad 75 meters from the hospital.

These claims are contested. Human Rights Watch has not been able to corroborate them, nor seen any information that would justify attacks on Gaza hospitals. When a journalist at a news conference showing video footage of damage to the Qatar Hospital sought additional information to verify voice recordings and images presented, the Israeli spokesperson said, “our strikes are based on intelligence.” Even if accurate, Israel has not demonstrated that the ensuing hospital attacks were proportionate.

Israel’s general evacuation order on October 13 to 22 hospitals in northern Gaza was not an effective warning because it did not take into account the specific requirements for hospitals, including providing for the safety of patients and medical personnel. The sweeping nature of the order and the impossibility of safe compliance, given that there is no reliably secure way to flee or safe place to go in Gaza, also raised concerns that the purpose was not to protect civilians, but to terrify them into leaving. The WHO director general has said that “it’s impossible to evacuate hospitals full of patients without endangering their lives.”

The Israeli government should immediately end unlawful attacks on hospitals, ambulances, and other civilian objects, as well as its total blockade of the Gaza Strip, which amounts to the war crime of collective punishment, Human Rights Watch said. Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups need to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians under their control from the effects of attacks and not use civilians as “human shields.”

The Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and Israel should investigate apparently unlawful Israeli attacks on healthcare infrastructure in Gaza.

The International Criminal Court prosecutor has jurisdiction over the current hostilities between Israel and Palestinian armed groups that covers unlawful conduct by all parties. The ICC’s Rome Statute prohibits as a war crime “[i]ntentionally directing attacks against … medical units and transport.” Israeli and Palestinian officials should cooperate with the commission and the ICC in their work, Human Rights Watch said.

The United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and other countries should suspend military assistance and arms sales to Israel as long as its forces continue to commit widespread, serious abuses amounting to war crimes against Palestinian civilians with impunity. All governments should demand that Israel restore the flow of electricity and water to Gaza and allow in fuel and humanitarian aid, ensuring that water, food, and medication reach Gaza’s civilian population.

“Israel’s broad-based attack on Gaza’s healthcare system is an attack on the sick and the injured, on babies in incubators, on pregnant people, on cancer patients,” Ahmed said. “These actions need to be investigated as war crimes.”

Blockade’s Effect on Hospitals

Israel’s blockade has severely constrained hospitals, which have run out of essential medicines and basic equipment. While Israeli authorities have allowed minimal humanitarian aid into Gaza, they have continued to block the entry of fuel, which hospitals need for their generators. WHO reported that “hospitals are on the brink of collapse due to the shortage of electricity, medicine, equipment and specialized personnel.”

On October 22, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) expressed grave concern about the impact of the blockade. They noted that 120 newborn children were in incubators, 70 of whom required mechanical ventilation. The incubators and ventilators cannot operate without a stable electricity supply. “The death toll will increase exponentially if incubators start to fail, if hospitals go dark, if children continue to drink unsafe water and have no access to medicine when they get sick,” UNICEF said. Between November 11 and 13, three premature babies and 29 other patients reportedly died at al-Shifa hospital amid the power outage and lack of medical supplies, according to UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Emerging reports show that unsanitary conditions at hospitals are further affecting access to health care. Tanya Haj Hassan, a doctor who runs a support network for Gaza healthcare workers, told The Guardian that “hundreds of people are sharing one toilet and living in the hospital corridors, and that obviously has significant concerns for hygiene, sanitation and the functioning of the hospitals.” Doctors are also reporting that more and more patients are showing signs of disease associated with overcrowding and a lack of sanitation.

A doctor at al-Aqsa Hospital told Human Rights Watch on October 23: “There is a huge shortage of medicines, no electricity, no diesel, no solar, no water to drink or to use. And the electricity company shut electricity to all civilians. … There is a chronic triage and restrictions on medication; we have had to make referrals to Egypt, but there is no way to get there.”

Israeli Evacuation Orders

Israeli authorities have ordered the evacuation of all 22 hospitals in Gaza city and northern Gaza. “These [evacuation orders] are impossible to carry out, risking the lives of inpatients and internally displaced persons (IDPs), and particularly the most vulnerable requiring life support,” WHO said, adding that there is “insufficient ambulance capacity for transfer and insufficient bed capacity to care for these patients in the south.” WHO described the order as “a death sentence for the sick and injured.”

OCHA expressed concern that “thousands of patients and medical staff, as well as about 117,000 IDPs, are staying in these facilities.” Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders or MSF) general director Meinie Nicolai said: “Israel’s 24-hour notice that people in Northern Gaza must leave their land, homes and hospitals is outrageous—this represents an attack on medical care and on humanity.”

As of November 13, all but one of the hospitals in Gaza city and northern Gaza are reportedly out of service, according to OCHA.

Human Rights Watch interviewed two people with disabilities sheltering in hospitals who said they could not evacuate. “If they bomb the hospital, I will be dead. I know I cannot move,” said Samih al-Masri, a 50-year-old man who said he lost both legs in an Israeli drone strike in 2008 and was sheltering at al-Quds hospital.’

Indonesian Hospital
The Israeli military repeatedly struck the compound and vicinity of the Indonesian Hospital in Beit Lahiya, one of two major hospitals in northern Gaza.

On October 7, an airstrike hit an area behind the Indonesian Hospital, which OCHA reported killed two men, including a staff member, and injured five others. Hosni Salha, a security guard, was killed while sitting in one of the hospital’s vehicles along with the driver and a paramedic, a doctor from the hospital said. After the attack, the doctor took a photo at the scene that shows a destroyed vehicle. The second civilian was a man passing by the hospital when the attack occurred, the doctor said.

The doctor said that the hospital was treating patients injured in the hostilities, including families wounded in airstrikes that hit their homes. He said that following airstrikes that hit his apartment building, he searched for his daughter, a second-year engineering student. The strikes killed her and four other civilians, including a child: “I started digging with my hands with all my strength; civil defense members haven’t arrived yet. I kept digging with my hands until I saw part of her t-shirt, I kept digging, when I saw her, she was already martyred.”

The doctor said the Israeli military provided no order to evacuate or advance warning before the first attack on the hospital. He said that on October 13, a week after the first strike, the hospital received an Israeli evacuation order.

Even those who finish their treatment can’t leave. They have no place to go after losing their houses and families and there is no safe place. We have a girl at the hospital who lost her entire family. She currently has no one to stay with, no place to go to. There’s also a boy staying at the hospital. We are waiting for him to be identified by a family member or relative. 

On October 16, another airstrike hit five meters away from the hospital, partially damaging the building, which the doctor said terrified patients and staff.

He said that on the night of October 27, after the Israeli government apparently deliberately disrupted telecommunications in Gaza, the hospital was struck again, causing additional damage to the building. Human Rights Watch geolocated a video and three photographs released on October 28 showing a crater inside the hospital’s courtyard.

On October 30, OCHA reported that this attack came after a renewed order by the Israeli military to immediately evacuate the hospital.

CCTV footage published by Al Jazeera on October 29 shows the moments the hospital ceiling collapsed due to strikes near the hospital. The hospital published photos of the collapsed ceiling to its Facebook page, which it said were the result of strikes in the vicinity of the hospital. Another strike on October 30 targeted an area near the hospital, causing dust and smoke to spread to its entrance. Footage from November 4 and November 6 show additional strikes in the hospital’s vicinity.

In a November 5 news conference, an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) spokesperson alleged that “the Indonesian Hospital is being used by Hamas to hide an underground command and control center,” that Hamas had a rocket launchpad 75 meters from the hospital, and that it was stealing fuel from the hospital.

In a news conference the next day, the Indonesia-based Medical Emergency Rescue Committee (MER-C), a volunteer group that funds the hospital, disputed the allegations, stating that the only tunnel connected to the hospital was used to send fuel to the hospital’s fuel tank to power its generators. Human Rights Watch is not in a position to corroborate the claims by Israel or the committee.

A MER-C volunteer told the media on October 30 that 2,530 people had been treated at the hospital for injuries and that 164 patients remained hospitalized. He said that more than 1,500 displaced residents were also sheltering in empty hospital rooms and in courtyards. On October 31, an influx of patients were sent to the hospital following an Israeli airstrike on Jabalia refugee camp that Gaza’s Health Ministry reported killed more than 50 people and injured 150. On November 2, Gaza’s Health Ministry reported that the hospital’s main generator stopped operating due to a lack of fuel.

International Eye Hospital
Human Rights Watch reviewed and verified photos and video footage of the International Eye Hospital in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City showing large structural damage to the main building. In the published material and in satellite imagery from October 10 and 11, damage signatures are consistent with an airstrike using a large air-dropped munition. Two strikes appear to have taken place: one on October 8 and another on October 10 or 11, which destroyed the facility. On October 21, the hospital wrote in a post on its Facebook page that the “hospital no longer exists” with a photo showing its complete destruction. 

Human Rights Watch was unable to find any published information from Israeli authorities in English, Arabic, or Hebrew reflecting that any advance warning was given or providing any legal basis for the attacks on the medical facility.

Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital
Beginning the night of October 30-31, the Israeli military repeatedly struck the compound and vicinity of the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, south of Gaza City on the campus of the Islamic University of Gaza’s Faculty of Medicine. The hospital served as the only specialized cancer treatment center in the Gaza Strip.

In satellite imagery collected on the morning of October 30, three impact craters are visible, one measuring 10 meters in diameter, less than 100 meters from the main hospital complex. On the morning after, an additional crater is visible within the hospital complex in the courtyard, measuring at least 15 meters in diameter.

OCHA reported on October 31 that the hospital had been “hit for the second night in a row,” that there was damage to the third floor, and that staff and people sheltering in the hospital were exposed to smoke, causing suffocation and panic.

The hospital director, Sobhi Skaik, told Human Rights Watch on November 3 that the October 31 attack struck the third floor of the hospital, affecting both the east and west wings, as well as the approximately 100 to 150 cancer patients there, their families, and hospital staff.

Human Rights Watch verified several videos posted on social media that show the effects of the attacks. A video posted to social media early on October 30 shows damage to the hospital’s interior. A video taken from inside the hospital and published on social media early in the evening on October 30 shows a strike near the hospital complex. A loud blast is heard in the video followed by billowing smoke.

Photos and video published by the media and on social media on October 31 show damage inside the hospital’s east wing, where there is a large circular hole in the southeastern-facing exterior wall, blown out windows, and a destroyed interior wall.

Human Rights Watch determined that the damage was most likely caused by a shell from a direct fire weapon, such as a tank’s main gun. A video posted on social media on October 30 shows an Israeli tank along Salah al-Din Road, 1.7 kilometers east of the hospital. Multiple clusters of armored military vehicles, including tanks and bulldozers, are also visible on satellite imagery from October 31 southeast of the hospital following the Israeli offensive inside the Gaza Strip. On that day, the closest armored vehicles were less than 500 meters from the hospital.

The hospital shut down on November 1 because of the airstrikes and lack of fuel. Skaik said hospital staff were forced to evacuate patients to the Dar al-Salam hospital in Khan Younis in unsafe conditions. “We evacuated under fire,” he said. “We had no protection.” He said an international agency told him that all they could do was “convey the message” to the Israelis.

According to Skaik and the Gaza Health Ministry, on November 2, four cancer patients died following the hospital evacuation. Skaik said that Dar al-Salam hospital was trying to provide services but that it was unable to provide the cancer patients the treatment they needed without the medical devices at the Turkish-Palestinian Friendship Hospital, which cannot be transferred, and that medications were running out. The Health Ministry warned that the condition of 70 of the hospital’s cancer patients was critical.

Human Rights Watch was unable to find any published information from Israeli authorities in English, Arabic, or Hebrew providing any advance warning to the hospital or a legal basis for the attacks on the medical facility. Turkish officials have condemned the Israeli military’s attack on the hospital as a violation of international law.

Al-Quds Hospital
Multiple Israeli strikes had hit the vicinity of the al-Quds hospital in the Tal al-Hawa neighborhood of Gaza City by October 16, as shown in videos and photos posted to social media that Human Rights Watch collected and reviewed. The strikes followed Israeli evacuation orders, despite visual evidence that the hospital was being used to treat patients and shelter displaced families. Several high-rise buildings were completely destroyed in the streets adjacent to the hospital, as is evident in November 6 satellite imagery.

The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) issued a statement that the hospital, which is under its auspices, had received an Israeli order to evacuate by 4 p.m. (initially 6 a.m.) on October 14. By October 16, strikes had hit the vicinity of the hospital five times, the PRCS said. A video it published on October 18 shows a strike hitting less than 200 meters from the hospital’s entrance.

On October 20, the PRCS reported that the Israeli authorities warned about a strike on the hospital by phone and ordered an evacuation. On October 22, Israeli authorities reportedly ordered the hospital to evacuate twice within the span of half an hour. The PRCS posted a video from inside the hospital showing people standing at its entrance following what the hospital said were intense Israeli strikes 20 meters away. The hospital said the strikes occurred during a meeting of hospital staff with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

On October 29, the PRCS said that Israeli authorities warned it about a strike on the hospital and ordered an immediate evacuation, which was preceded by strikes that destroyed buildings as close as 50 meters from the hospital. Footage published on October 29 shows a strike next to the hospital building, just in front of another PRCS site, and damages to the hospital. Videos published on October 30 show the aftermath of the strike and damage to the PRCS site.

Strikes hitting the vicinity of the hospital continued on October 31, according to posts by the PRCS. Footage published on November 2 by the PRCS and other social media accounts show additional strikes in the vicinity the hospital. The PRCS announced on November 2 that fire from Israeli vehicles one kilometer south injured a man and child in front of the hospital and hit the sixth floor of the hospital where many displaced women and children were sheltering, damaging the hospital’s central air conditioning units and a water tank.

Video footage shows shattered windowssmoke, and dust as a result of what appears to be an explosion roughly 35 meters northwest of the main hospital entrance on November 3. The PRCS reported that the attack, whose effects are shown in video footage posted on social media, shattered internal glass panels and collapsed parts of the hospital’s plaster ceiling. There were 21 injuries reported, mostly to women and children. Further strikes were reported near the hospital throughout the day.

On November 5, footage shows medical personnel moving an injured man into the hospital while an explosion is audible in the background after a hit nearby. The PRCS stated that the strikes then increased in intensity, duration, and proximity to the hospital, and have led to 12 injuries among people sheltering inside, in addition to injuries to two patients, one of whom was in the intensive care unit.

OCHA reported that 14,000 displaced people were in al-Quds hospital along with hospital staff and patients as of October 29. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies warned that hundreds of injured, bed-ridden, and long-term patients, including those in intensive care, on life-support, and babies in incubators, were being endangered by strikes in the vicinity of the hospital along with displaced people and medical staff, and that it “is close to, if not impossible” to evacuate patients in the current situation.

Strikes on Ambulances

Israeli forces have on several occasions struck ambulances marked with the Red Cross or Red Crescent emblem, often near hospitals. Ambulances, like medical facilities, have special protections under the laws of war such that they may not be attacked unless being used to commit “acts harmful to the enemy” and after due warning. In at least one case, the Israeli military claimed that armed groups were unlawfully using the ambulance that had been attacked, but did not provide more information or a warning.

On November 3, the Israeli military struck a marked ambulance just outside of Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital. Video footage and photographs taken shortly after the strike and verified by Human Rights Watch show a woman on a stretcher in the ambulance and at least 21 dead or injured people in the area surrounding the ambulance, including at least 5 children. Gaza’s Health Ministry reported that 15 people were killed and 60 injured in the strike. An IDF spokesperson said in a televised interview that day: “Our forces saw terrorists using ambulances as a vehicle to move around. They perceived a threat and accordingly we struck that ambulance.” Human Rights Watch did not find evidence that the ambulance was being used for military purposes.

On October 7, WHO reported that an ambulance in front of the Nasser Medical Complex in Khan Younis was struck around 2 p.m., injuring several paramedics. A verified video posted to social media and an Anadolu Agency photograph showed the destroyed ambulance outside the complex.

WHO reported that a separate attack on October 7, which hit two ambulances in Jabalia, killed two paramedics and injured others.

Gaza’s Health Ministry also reported that on October 13, Israeli strikes hit three ambulances, injuring 10 paramedics.

Hostilities and Blockade

The Israeli military’s current operations in Gaza began following an October 7 Hamas-led attack in southern Israel that resulted in the killing of about 1,200 people, hundreds of them civilians, according to the Israeli government. Hamas and Islamic Jihad took hostage 240 people, including children, people with disabilities, and older people. Palestinian armed groups in Gaza have also launched thousands of rockets indiscriminately towards Israeli population centers.

The Gaza Health Ministry reported that since the Israeli bombardment of Gaza began on October 7, more than 11,000 people have been killed as of November 10, including more than 4,500 children. Over 1.5 million people have been displaced, OCHA said.

The Israeli government’s blockade of Gaza, preventing civilians’ access to items essential for their survival, such as water, food, and medicine, amounts to collective punishment and is a war crime. Warring parties must facilitate the rapid passage of impartial humanitarian aid for all civilians in need. During military occupations, such as in Gaza, the occupying power has a duty under the Fourth Geneva Convention, to the fullest extent of the means available to it, “of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population.”



  • Concerns about disproportionate attacks are magnified for hospitals. Even the threat of an attack or minor damage can have massive life-or-death implications for patients and caregivers.”


Israel’s Blockade, Bombardment Decimate Healthcare System; Investigate as War Crimes

14 NOVEMBER 2023





20 OCTOBER 2023

As Israeli forces continue to intensify their cataclysmic assault on the occupied Gaza Strip, Amnesty International has documented unlawful Israeli attacks, including indiscriminate attacks, which caused mass civilian casualties and must be investigated as war crimes.

The organization spoke to survivors and eyewitnesses, analysed satellite imagery, and verified photos and videos to investigate air bombardments carried out by Israeli forces between 7 and 12 October, which caused horrific destruction, and in some cases wiped out entire families. Here the organization presents an in-depth analysis of its findings in five of these unlawful attacks. In each of these cases, Israeli attacks violated international humanitarian law, including by failing to take feasible precautions to spare civilians, or by carrying out indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between civilians and military objectives, or by carrying out attacks that may have been directed against civilian objects.

“In their stated intent to use all means to destroy Hamas, Israeli forces have shown a shocking disregard for civilian lives. They have pulverized street after street of residential buildings killing civilians on a mass scale and destroying essential infrastructure, while new restrictions mean Gaza is fast running out of water, medicine, fuel and electricity. Testimonies from eyewitness and survivors highlighted, again and again, how Israeli attacks decimated Palestinian families, causing such destruction that surviving relatives have little but rubble to remember their loved ones by,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

The five cases presented barely scratch the surface of the horror that Amnesty has documented and illustrate the devastating impact that Israel’s aerial bombardments are having on people in Gaza. For 16 years, Israel’s illegal blockade has made Gaza the world’s biggest open-air prison – the international community must act now to prevent it becoming a giant graveyard. We are calling on Israeli forces to immediately end unlawful attacks in Gaza and ensure that they take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects. Israel’s allies must immediately impose a comprehensive arms embargo given that serious violations under international law are being committed.”

Since 7 October Israeli forces have launched thousands of air bombardments in the Gaza Strip, killing at least 3,793 people, mostly civilians, including more than 1,500 children, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza. Approximately 12,500 have been injured and more than 1,000 bodies are still trapped beneath the rubble.

In Israel, more than 1,400 people, most of them civilians, have been killed and some 3,300 others were injured, according to the Israeli Ministry of Health after armed groups from the Gaza Strip launched an unprecedented attack against Israel on 7 October. They fired indiscriminate rockets and sent fighters into southern Israel who committed war crimes including deliberately killing civilians and hostage-taking. The Israeli military says that fighters also took more than 200 civilian hostages and military captives back to the Gaza Strip.

“Amnesty International is calling on Hamas and other armed groups to urgently release all civilian hostages, and to immediately stop firing indiscriminate rockets. There can be no justification for the deliberate killing of civilians under any circumstances,” said Agnès Callamard.

Hours after the attacks began, Israeli forces started their massive bombardment of Gaza. Since then, Hamas and other armed groups have also continued to fire indiscriminate rockets into civilian areas in Israel in attacks that must also be investigated as war crimes. Meanwhile in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, at least 79 Palestinians, including 20 children, have been killed by Israeli forces or settlers amid a spike in excessive use of force by the Israeli army and an escalation in state-backed settler violence, which Amnesty International is also investigating.

Amnesty International is continuing to investigate dozens of attacks in Gaza. This output focuses on five unlawful attacks which struck residential buildings, a refugee camp, a family home and a public market. The Israeli army claims it only attacks military targets, but in a number of cases Amnesty International found no evidence of the presence of fighters or other military objectives in the vicinity at the time of the attacks. Amnesty International also found that the Israeli military failed to take all feasible precautions ahead of attacks including by not giving Palestinian civilians effective prior warnings – in some cases they did not warn civilians at all and in others they issued inadequate warnings.

“Our research points to damning evidence of war crimes in Israel’s bombing campaign that must be urgently investigated. Decades of impunity and injustice and the unprecedented level of death and destruction of the current offensive will only result in further violence and instability in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” said Agnès Callamard.

“It is vital that the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court urgently expedites its ongoing investigation into evidence of war crimes and other crimes under international law by all parties. Without justice and the dismantlement of Israel’s system of apartheid against Palestinians, there can be no end to the horrifying civilian suffering we are witnessing.”

The relentless bombardment of Gaza has brought unimaginable suffering to people who are already facing a dire humanitarian crisis. After 16 years under Israel’s illegal blockade, Gaza’s healthcare system is already close to ruin, and its economy is in tatters. Hospitals are collapsing, unable to cope with the sheer number of wounded people and desperately lacking in life-saving medication and equipment.

Amnesty International is calling on the international community to urge Israel to end its total siege, which has cut Gazans off from food, water, electricity and fuel and urgently allow humanitarian aid into Gaza. They must also press Israel to lift its longstanding blockade on Gaza which amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s civilian population, is a war crime and is a key aspect of Israel’s system of apartheid. Finally, the Israeli authorities must rescind their “evacuation order” which may amount to forced displacement of the population.

Gaza’s civilians pay the price

Amnesty International investigated five Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, which took place between 7 and 12 October. Between 2012 and 2022, the Israeli authorities have denied, or failed to respond to, all of Amnesty International’s requests to gain access to Gaza. For this reason, the organization worked with a Gaza-based fieldworker who visited attack sites and collected testimony and other evidence. Amnesty International researchers interviewed 17 survivors and other eyewitnesses, as well as six relatives of victims over the phone, for the five cases included in this report. The organization’s Crisis Evidence Lab analysed satellite imagery and verified photos and videos of attack sites.

In the five cases described below Amnesty International found that Israeli forces carried out attacks that violated international humanitarian law, including by failing to take feasible precautions to spare civilians, or by carrying out indiscriminate attacks that failed to distinguish between civilians and military objectives, or by carrying out attacks that may have been directed against civilian objects.

Under international humanitarian law, all parties to the conflict must, at all times, distinguish between civilians and civilian objects and fighters and military objectives and direct their attacks only at fighters and military objectives. Direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects are prohibited and are war crimes. Indiscriminate attacks – those which fail to distinguish as required – are also prohibited. Where an indiscriminate attack kills or injuries civilians, it amounts to a war crime. Disproportionate attacks, those where the expected harm to civilians and civilian objects is excessive in comparison with the “concrete and direct military advantage anticipated,” also are prohibited. Knowingly launching a disproportionate attack is a war crime. 

Whole families wiped out

At around 8:20pm on 7 October, Israeli forces struck a three-storey residential building in the al-Zeitoun neighbourhood of Gaza City, where three generations of the al-Dos family were staying. Fifteen family members were killed in the attack, seven of them children. The victims include Awni and Ibtissam al-Dos, and their grandchildren and namesakes Awni, 12, and Ibtissam, 17; and Adel and Ilham al-Dos and all five of their children. Baby Adam, just 18 months old, was the youngest victim.

Mohammad al-Dos, whose five-year-old son Rakan was killed in the attack, told Amnesty International:

“Two bombs fell suddenly on top of the building and destroyed it. My wife and I were lucky to survive because we were staying on the top floor. She was nine-months pregnant and gave birth at al-Shifa hospital a day after the attack. Our entire family has been destroyed.”

Amnesty International interviewed a neighbour whose home had been damaged in the attack. Like Mohammad al-Dos, he said that he had not received warning from Israeli forces, and nor had anyone in his family.

“It was sudden, boom, nobody told us anything,” he said.

The fact that the building was full of civilians at the time of the air strike further supports the testimony of survivors who said Israeli forces did not issue any warnings. It took relatives, neighbours and rescue teams more than six hours to remove the bodies from beneath the rubble.

Amnesty International’s research has found no evidence of military targets in the area at the time of the attack. If Israeli forces attacked this residential building knowing that there were only civilians present at the time of the attack, this would be a direct attack on a civilian object or on civilians, which are prohibited and constitute war crimes. Israel offered no explanation on the incident. It is incumbent on the attacker to prove the legitimacy of their military conduct. Even if Israeli forces targeted what they considered a military objective, attacking a residential building, at a time when it was full of civilians, in the heart of a densely populated civilian neighbourhood, in a manner that caused this number of civilian casualties and degree of destruction would be indiscriminate. Indiscriminate attacks that kill and injure civilians are war crimes.

On 10 October, an Israeli air strike on a family home killed 12 members of the Hijazi family and four of their neighbours, in Gaza City’s al-Sahaba Street. Three children were among those killed. The Israeli military stated that they struck Hamas targets in the area but gave no further information and did not provide any evidence of the presence of military targets. Amnesty International’s research has found no evidence of military targets in the area at the time of the attack.

Amnesty International spoke to Kamal Hijazi, who lost his sister, his two brothers and their wives, five nieces and nephews, and two cousins in the attack. He said:

“Our family home, a three-storey house, was bombed at 5:15 pm. It was sudden, without any warning; that is why everyone was at home.”

Ahmad Khalid Al-Sik, one of the Hijazi family’s neighbours, was also killed. He was 37 years old and had three young children, who were all injured in the attack. Ahmad’s father described what happened:

“I was at home in our apartment and Ahmad was downstairs when the house opposite [belonging to the Hijazi family] was bombed, and he was killed. He was going to have his hair cut at the barber, which is next to the entrance of our building. When Ahmad left to go get a haircut, I could not imagine that I would not see him again. The bombing was sudden, unexpected. There was no warning; people were busy with their daily tasks.”

The barber who was going to cut Ahmad’s hair was also killed.

According to Amnesty International’s findings there were no military objectives in the house or its immediate vicinity, this indicates that this may be a direct attack on civilians or on a civilian object which is prohibited and a war crime.

Inadequate warnings

In the cases documented by Amnesty International, the organization repeatedly found that the Israeli military had either not warned civilians at all, or issued warnings which were inadequate. In some instances, they informed a single person about a strike which affected whole buildings or streets full of people or issued unclear “evacuation” orders which left residents confused about the timeframe. In no cases did Israeli forces ensure civilians had a safe place to evacuate to. In one attack on Jabalia market attack, people had left their homes in response to an “evacuation” order, only to be killed in the place to which they had fled. 

On 8 October, an Israeli air strike struck the Nuseirat refugee camp in the centre of the Gaza Strip, killing Mohammed and Shuruq al-Naqla, and two of their children, Omar, three, and Yousef, five, and injuring their two-year-old daughter Mariam and their three-year-old nephew Abdel Karim. Around 20 other people were also injured in the strike.

Ismail al-Naqla, Mohammed’s brother and the father of Abdel Karim, told Amnesty International that their next-door neighbour received a call from the Israeli military at around 10:30am, warning that his building was about to be bombed. Ismail and Mohammed and their families left the building immediately, as did their neighbours. By 3:30pm, there had been no attack, so the al-Naqlas and others went home to collect necessities. Ismail explained that they had thought it would be safe to do so as five hours had elapsed since the warning, though they planned to leave again very quickly.

But as they were returning to their apartments, a bomb struck the building next door, destroying the al-Naqlas’ home and damaging others nearby. Mohammed and his family were still in the courtyard of their building when they were killed. Ismail described seeing part of his five-year-old nephew Yousef’s brain “outside of his head” and said that three-year-old Omar’s body could not be recovered from under the rubble until the next day. He told Amnesty International that Mariam and Abdel Karim, the two surviving children, were released from hospital quickly as Gaza’s hospitals are overwhelmed with the volume of casualties.

Giving a warning does not free armed forces from their other obligations under international humanitarian law. Particularly given the time that had elapsed since the warning was issued, those carrying out the attack should have checked whether civilians were present before proceeding with the attack. Furthermore, if, as appears, this was a direct attack on a civilian object, this would constitute a war crime.

‘Everyone was looking for their children’

At around 10:30am on 9 October, Israeli air strikes hit a market in Jabalia refugee camp, located a few kilometres north of Gaza City, killing at least 69 people. The market street is known to be one of the busiest commercial areas in northern Gaza. That day it was even more crowded than usual, as it was filled with thousands of people from nearby areas who had fled their homes empty-handed earlier that morning after receiving text messages from the Israeli army.

Amnesty’s Crisis Evidence Lab reviewed six videos showing the aftermath of the airstrike on Jabalia camp market. The images show a densely populated area with multi-storey buildings. Videos of the aftermath and satellite imagery show at least three multi-storey buildings completely destroyed and several structures in the surroundings heavily damaged. Numerous deceased bodies are also seen under the rubble in the graphic footage.

According to the Israeli military, they were targeting “a mosque in which Hamas members had been present” when they struck Jabalia market, but they have provided no evidence to substantiate their claim. Regardless, membership in a political group does not in itself make an individual targetable. Satellite imagery analysed by Amnesty International showed no mosque in the immediate vicinity of the market street.

Based on witness testimony, satellite imagery, and verified videos, the attack, which resulted in high civilian casualties was indiscriminate and must be investigated as a war crime.

Imad Hamad, aged 19, was killed in the strike on the Jabalia market while he was on his way to buy bread and mattresses for the family. His father, Ziyad Hamad, described to Amnesty International how a day earlier their family had left their home in Beit Hanoun after receiving a warning message from the Israeli army, and had walked almost five kilometres to a UNRWA-run school, which was operating as a shelter, in Jabalia camp.

On the walk, his son, Imad, had carried his toddler brother on his shoulders. The next day, Ziyad told Amnesty International, he was carrying Imad’s dead body on his own shoulders, taking his son to be buried.

Ziyad described the hellish scenes he encountered at the morgue where he found his son’s body, along with many others.

“The bodies were burned, I was scared of looking. I didn’t want to look, I was scared of looking at Imad’s face. The bodies were scattered on the floor. Everyone was looking for their children in these piles. I recognized my son only by his trousers. I wanted to bury him immediately, so I carried my son and got him out. I carried him.”

When Amnesty International spoke to Ziyad and his displaced family, they were at a UNRWA-run school which was sheltering displaced people. He said there were no basic services or sanitation, and that they had no mattresses.

Ziyad’s despair at the injustices he has suffered is palpable.

“What did I do to deserve this?” he asked.

“To lose my son, to lose my house, to sleep on the floor of a classroom? My children are wetting themselves, of panic, of fear, of cold. We have nothing to do with this. What fault did we commit? I raised my child, my entire life, for what? To see him die while buying bread.”

While Amnesty’s researcher was talking to Ziyad over the phone, another air strike hit nearby.

Since Amnesty researchers interviewed Ziyad on 10 October, conditions for internally displaced people have deteriorated further, due to the scale of the displacement and the extent of the destruction and the devastating effects of the total blockade imposed since 9 October. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the number of internally displaced people in Gaza had reached 1 million by 19 October, including over 527,500 people who are staying in UNRWA emergency shelters in central and southern Gaza.

‘We cannot even count our dead’

On 10 October an Israeli air strike hit a six-storey building in Sheikh Radwan, a district of Gaza City, at 4:30pm. The strike completely destroyed the building and killed at least 40 civilians.

Satellite imagery suggests damage to buildings on this street sometime between 12:11UTC on 10 October and 7:30UTC on 11 October. The Crisis Evidence Lab geolocated two videos posted to social media that corroborate the destruction of homes in Sheikh Radwan. One of the videos, which was posted online on 10 October, shows people pulling the body of a dead infant from the rubble.

Amnesty International spoke to Mahmoud Ashour whose daughter, Iman, and her four children, Hamza, six months, Ahmad, two years, Abdelhamid six, and Rihab, eight, were all killed in the attack.  

He said:

“My daughter and her children came here to seek safety because this area was relatively safe in previous attacks. But I couldn’t protect them, I have no trace left of my daughter.” 

Mahmoud described the extent of the devastation:

“I’m talking to you now as I’m trying to remove the rubble with my hands. We cannot even count our dead.”

Fawzi Naffar, 61, said that 19 of his family members, including his wife, children and grandchildren, were all killed in the air strike. When Amnesty International spoke to Fawzi five days after the air strike, he had only been able to retrieve the remains of his daughter-in-law and his “son’s shoulder.”  

Amnesty International’s research found that a Hamas member had been residing on one of the floors of the building, but he was not there at the time of the air strike. Membership in a political group does not itself make an individual a military target.

Even if that individual was a fighter, the presence of a fighter in a civilian building does not transform that building or any of the civilians therein into a military objective. International humanitarian law requires Israeli forces to take all feasible precautions to minimise harm to civilians and civilian property, including by cancelling or postponing the attack if it becomes apparent that it would be indiscriminate or otherwise unlawful.

These precautions were not taken ahead of the air strike in Sheikh Radwan. The building was known to be full of civilian residents, including many children, and the danger to them could have been anticipated. This is an indiscriminate attack which killed and injured civilians and must be investigated as a war crime.

Amnesty International is calling on; 

The Israeli authorities to:

  • Immediately end unlawful attacks and abide by international humanitarian law; including by ensuring they take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians and damage to civilian objects and refraining from direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects, indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.
  • Immediately allow unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid to Gaza’s civilians.
  • Urgently lift its illegal blockade on Gaza, which amounts to collective punishment and is a war crime, in the face of the current devastation and humanitarian imperatives.
  • Rescind their appalling “evacuation” order, which has left more than one million people displaced.
  • Grant immediate access to the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territory to carry out investigations, including collecting time sensitive evidence and testimonies.

The international community and particularly Israel’s allies, including EU member states, the US and the UK, to:

  • Take concrete measures to protect Gaza’s civilian population from unlawful attacks.
  • Impose a comprehensive arms embargo on all parties to the conflict given that serious violations amounting to crimes under international law are being committed. States must refrain from supplying Israel with arms and military materiel, including related technologies, parts and components, technical assistance, training, financial or other assistance. They should also call on states supplying arms to Palestinian armed groups to refrain from doing so. 
  • Refrain from any statement or action that would, even indirectly, legitimize Israel’s crimes and violations in Gaza.
  • Pressure Israel to lift its illegal 16-year blockade of the Gaza strip which amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s population, is a war crime and is a key aspect of Israel’s apartheid system.
  • Ensure the International Criminal Court’s ongoing investigation into the situation of Palestine receives full support and all necessary resources.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to:

Urgently expedite its ongoing investigation in the situation of Palestine, examining alleged crimes by all parties, and including the crime against humanity of apartheid against Palestinians.

Hamas and other armed groups to:

Immediately end deliberate attacks on civilians, the firing of indiscriminate rockets, and hostage-taking. They must release civilian hostages unconditionally and immediately.





20 NOVEMBER 2023

  • Further evidence of war crimes killing 46 civilians
  • Victims of attack on church include three-month-old baby and woman aged 80
  • “There is nowhere safe in Gaza during this war” – Ramez al-Sury, whose three children were killed

Israeli forces have demonstrated – yet again – a chilling indifference to the catastrophic toll on civilians of their ongoing relentless bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip.

As part of its ongoing investigation into violations of the laws of war, Amnesty International has documented two illustrative cases in which Israeli strikes killed 46 civilians, including 20 children. The oldest victim was an 80-year-old woman and the youngest was a three-month-old baby. These attacks must be investigated as war crimes.

The attacks, which occurred on 19 and 20 October, hit a church building where hundreds of displaced civilians were sheltering in Gaza City and a home in al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.

Amnesty International, based on its in-depth investigation of these events, has determined that these strikes were indiscriminate attacks or direct attacks on civilians or civilian objects, which must be investigated as war crimes.

“These deadly, unlawful attacks are part of a documented pattern of disregard for Palestinian civilians, and demonstrate the devastating impact of the Israeli military’s unprecedented onslaught has left nowhere safe in Gaza, regardless of where civilians live or seek shelter,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Amnesty International’s Director of Global Research, Advocacy and Policy.

“We urge the International Criminal Court’s prosecutor to take immediate concrete action to expedite the investigation into war crimes and other crimes under international law opened in 2021.

“The harrowing accounts from survivors and relatives of victims describing the devastating human toll of these bombardments offer a snapshot of the mass civilian suffering being inflicted daily across Gaza by the Israeli military’s relentless attacks, underscoring the urgent need for an immediate ceasefire.”

Amnesty International visited the sites of the strikes, took pictures of the aftermath of each attack, and interviewed a total of 14 individuals, including nine survivors, two other witnesses, a relative of victims and two church leaders. Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab analysed satellite imagery and open-source audio-visual material to geolocate and verify the attacks.

The organization also reviewed relevant statements by the Israeli military and sent questions to the Israeli military’s spokesperson unit on 30 October regarding the church attack and the al-Nuseirat camp attack. At the time of publication, no response had been received.

Israeli authorities have not published any credible evidence of the basis for these strikes, including about alleged military objectives present. On the contrary, in the case of the bombing of the church building, the Israeli military published contradictory information, including a video it later withdrew and a statement it failed to substantiate. Amnesty International’s research did not find any indication that the buildings hit could be considered military objectives or were used by fighters.

These findings build on previous Amnesty International documentation of unlawful Israeli strikes during the current escalation and on documentation of a similar pattern of unlawful strikes during previous rounds of Israeli operations in Gaza. The current bombardment is unparalleled for Gaza in its intensity, in the number of civilians killed, and in the level of destruction to homes, schools, hospitals, and other civilian infrastructure

“Israeli forces’ callous disregard for international humanitarian law has been documented by the organization extensively in previous military operations – but the intensity and cruelty of the current bombardment is unparalleled,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas.

“The horrifying death toll in Gaza – with more than 11,000 Palestinians killed, including more than 4,600 children within just six weeks – is in itself a signal of just how disposable Palestinian lives are in the eyes of Israeli forces ordering and carrying out these attacks.”

‘My heart died with my children’

On 19 October, an Israeli air strike destroyed a building in the compound of the Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church in the heart of Gaza’s old city, where an estimated 450 internally displaced members of Gaza’s small Christian community were sheltering. The strike killed 18 civilians and injured at least 12 others.

Ramez al-Sury, who lost his three children and 10 other relatives in the attack, told Amnesty International: “My heart died with my children that evening. All my children were killed: Majid, 11, Julie, 12, and Suhail, 14. I have nothing left. I should have died with my children.

“I left them only two minutes earlier. My sister called me to go downstairs to the basement to help my father [who is] bedridden since he had a stroke… my children stayed in the room with my cousins and their wives and children. That is when the strike happened and killed everyone.

“We left our homes and came to stay at the church because we thought we would be protected here. We have nowhere else to go… The church was full of peaceful people, only peaceful people… There is nowhere safe in Gaza during this war. Bombardments everywhere, day and night. Every day, more and more civilians are killed. We pray for peace, but our hearts are broken.”

Sami Tarazi told Amnesty International that his parents, Marwan and Nahed, were killed, along with his six-month-old niece, Joelle, and his 80-year-old relative, Elaine.

One of the church leaders told Amnesty International: “We don’t know why this bombardment [was launched] against our church; nobody has provided any explanation for causing such a tragedy. This is a church, a place of peace and love and prayer… There is no safety anywhere in Gaza at present.”

On 20 October, the Israeli military posted a video of drone footage on social media, reviewed and archived by Amnesty International, showing the moment of the air strike on a building within the church compound. Several media outlets then quoted an Israeli military statement indicating that “IDF fighter jets struck the command and control center belonging to a Hamas terrorist involved in the launching of rockets and mortars toward Israel”, acknowledging that “a wall of a church in the area was damaged” as a result of the strike, and assuring that “the incident is under review”.

However, the Israeli military video showing the strike has since been deleted, and no information has been provided by the Israeli military or authorities to substantiate the claim that the destroyed church building was a Hamas “command and control center”, nor any further information about the purported review of the strike. 

Amnesty International’s Crisis Evidence Lab examined, verified and geolocated videos and images posted on social media of the immediate aftermath of the strike, and analyzed satellite images of the location before and after the strike – all confirming the destruction of one building and partial destruction of another in the church compound.

Amnesty International’s weapons expert also examined the military’s video and other images, and concluded that a large air-delivered munition directly struck the building where those killed and injured were sheltering. 

Church officials had publicly stated that hundreds of civilians were sheltering there prior to the strike, so their presence would therefore have been known to the Israeli military. The Israeli military’s decision to go ahead with a strike on a known church compound and site for displaced civilians was reckless and therefore amounts to a war crime, even if there was a belief that there was a military objective nearby.

I will live with that guilt for the rest of my life’

On 20 October at around 2pm local time, 28 civilians – including 12 children – were killed by an Israeli strike, which destroyed the al-Aydi family home and severely damaged two neighbouring houses in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp, in the central Gaza Strip, within the area where the Israeli military had ordered residents of northern Gaza to move to.

Rami al-Aydi, his wife Ranin, and their three children – Ghina, 10, Maya, eight, and Iyad, six – were killed. Zeina Abu Shehada and her two children, Amir al-Aydi, four, and Rakan al-Aydi, three, were also killed, along with Zeina’s two sisters and mother.

Hani al-Aydi, who survived the strike, told Amnesty International: “We were sitting at home, it was full of people, of children, of relatives. Suddenly, without any warning, everything collapsed on our head. All my brothers died, my nephews, my nieces… My mother died, my sisters died, our home is gone… There is nothing here, and now we are left with nothing and are displaced. I don’t know how much worse things will get. Could it get any worse?”

Hazem Abu Shehada’s wife and three daughters were among the victims. They had moved from the nearby al-Maghazi refugee camp looking for safety. He told Amnesty International: “I will live with that guilt for the rest of my life. It was I who suggested they move there temporarily. I wish I did not do that, I wish I could turn the clock back. I’d rather we all died together than losing my family.”

The strike also caused severe damage and the near-total destruction of the neighbouring houses of the al-Ashram and Abu Zarqa families. Six people were killed at the Abu Zarqa home, including four children: sisters Sondos, 12, and Areej, 11; and their cousins Yara, 10, and Khamis Abu Tahoun, 12.

Amnesty International’s investigation found that all of those present in the al-Aydi house that was hit directly and in the two nearby homes were civilians. Two members of the al-Aydi family had permits to work in Israel, which requires rigorous security checks by Israeli authorities, for those obtaining the permit and their extended family.

Satellite imagery of the site confirms destruction – consistent with an air strike – between 20 October at 11:19 UTC and 21 October at 08:22 UTC. The area and many of the structures appear to have sustained significant damage.

International humanitarian law

Parties to an armed conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and civilian objects on the one hand and fighters and military objectives on the other. Direct attacks on civilians and civilian objects are prohibited, as are indiscriminate attacks.

When attacking a military objective, Israel is obligated to take all feasible precautions to avoid, and in any event to minimize, death and injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects. Such precautions include doing all that is possible to verify that a target is a military objective; choosing means and methods of attack that minimize civilian harm; assessing whether an attack would be disproportionate; giving effective advance warning where feasible; and canceling an attack should it become apparent that it would be unlawful. 

Amnesty International did not find any indication that there were any military objectives at the site of the two strikes or that the people in the buildings were military targets, raising concerns that these strikes were direct attacks on civilians or on civilian objects.

But even if there had been a legitimate military objective in the vicinity of any of the buildings that were hit, these strikes failed to distinguish between military objectives and civilian objects. The evidence collected by Amnesty International also indicates that the Israeli military failed to take feasible precautions to minimize damage to civilians and civilian property, including by not providing any warning – at minimum to anyone living in the locations that were hit – before launching the attacks.

Indiscriminate strikes that kill or injure civilians constitute war crimes. A longstanding pattern of reckless attacks that strike civilian objects, which Amnesty International has documented throughout Israel’s ongoing attacks, as well as during the 2008-92014, and 2021 conflicts, may amount to directing attacks against civilians and civilian objects, also a war crime.

The extremely high population density in Gaza entails additional challenges for all the parties involved in the conflict. Hamas and other armed groups are required under international humanitarian law to take feasible precautions to protect civilians from the effects of attacks. This includes, to the extent feasible, avoiding locating military objectives within or near densely populated areas.

However, even if armed groups fail to fulfil their obligations, Israel remains bound by international humanitarian law, including prohibitions against indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks.


Amnesty International is calling for an immediate ceasefire by all parties to prevent further loss of civilian lives and to ensure access to aid for people in Gaza amidst an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.

Amnesty International documented how Hamas and other armed groups launched indiscriminate rockets into Israel on 07 October 2023, and sent fighters who committed war crimes, such as deliberate mass killings of civilians and hostage taking. According to Israeli authorities, at least 239 people, including 33 children, remain hostages of Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza.

The organization has also documented damning evidence of war crimes by Israeli forces in their Gaza offensive, including other indiscriminate attacks, that have resulted in mass civilian casualties, wiped out entire families, and destroyed residential neighbourhoods.



”Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 18,600 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 50,600 injured since Israel responded with a punishing bombing campaign and ground incursion to a deadly attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas militants that killed 1,200 people and saw another 240 taken hostage. ”





15 DECEMBER 2023’s%20Health%20Ministry%20says%20more,difficult%20to%20track%20the%20dead.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 18,600 have been killed, but record keeping is getting harder

WARNING: This story contains disturbing images of death and violence.

Gaza’s Health Ministry says more than 18,600 Palestinians have been killed and nearly 50,600 injured since Israel responded with a punishing bombing campaign and ground incursion to a deadly attack on Oct. 7 by Hamas militants that killed 1,200 people and saw another 240 taken hostage. 

The mounting death toll and deteriorating conditions for civilians inside Gaza are in part what prompted 153 members of the United Nations — including Canada — to vote this week in favour of demanding an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza.

With much of the territory’s infrastructure destroyed or damaged, communications networks disrupted and many of the health workers charged with maintaining death statistics killed, missing or displaced along with the majority of Gaza’s 2.3 million people, it’s getting increasingly more difficult to keep track of civilian deaths.

CBC News and wire agencies have been reporting on the challenges around death tolls throughout the war. Here, we revisit how the situation on the ground has changed since we last reported on this issue.

How have death tolls been tallied so far?

In the first six weeks of Israel’s military offensive, hospital morgues in Gaza sent figures to the Health Ministry’s main collection centre at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

There, officials used spreadsheets to track names, ages and ID card numbers of the dead before transmitting that information to the Palestinian Health Ministry in Ramallah, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

“Every person entering our hospital is recorded,” Atef Al-Kahlout, director of Gaza’s Indonesian Hospital, told The Associated Press last month.

But of the four officials who ran the Al-Shifa data centre, one has since died in an airstrike that hit the hospital in November and the other three went missing when Israeli forces seized control of the premises, Omar Hussein Ali, director of the Ramallah ministry’s emergency operations centre, told Reuters.

The once-daily casualty updates by the Gaza Health Ministry have become irregular, in part because of frequent disruptions to the communications network.

Hamit Dardagan, who ran the Iraq Body Count project, which compiled civilian death statistics in the 2003 U.S-led invasion of Iraq and is attempting to track deaths in Gaza, told Reuters that the kind of casualty recording required to understand what’s going on in Gaza is getting harder to do.

“Information infrastructure, the health systems that existed, are being systematically destroyed,” he said.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai Al-Kaila said last week Gaza’s health services were in a “disastrous” state, with over 250 staff killed and at least 30 arrested by Israeli forces.

How comprehensive is the data?

In addition to the challenges around record keeping, there are also practical impediments to accounting for all the dead.

“Our monitoring suggests that the numbers provided by the Ministry of Health may be under-reporting, as they do not include fatalities who did not reach hospitals or may be lost under the rubble,” Jeremy Laurence, spokesperson for the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, told CBC News. 

An Oct. 26 report by the Palestinian Authority (PA), which governs parts of the West Bank, said at least 1,000 bodies could not be recovered or brought to morgues, citing families that were interviewed by its staff.

This can’t be verified, because most of the Gaza civil defence force’s digging equipment has been destroyed in Israeli airstrikes, Al-Kaila said last week.

The PA report, which included names, ages and ID numbers of 7,028 Palestinians it recorded as dead from airstrikes, was released after U.S. President Joe Biden said he had “no confidence” in Gaza’s casualty figures.

Are Gaza’s statistics credible?

UN agencies, the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Palestinian Red Crescent Society have all used the Health Ministry numbers in the past.

“The five, six cycles of conflict in the Gaza Strip, these figures were considered as credible, and no one ever really challenged these figures,” Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East, told reporters on Oct. 27.

Furthermore, the UN’s previous counts have largely been consistent with the Gaza Health Ministry’s counts, with minor discrepancies. For example, during the 2021 war, the ministry reported that 260 Palestinians were killed while the UN said 256 were killed.

Pre-war Gaza had robust population statistics — from a 2017 census and more recent UN surveys — and well-functioning health information systems, better than in most Middle East countries, public health experts told Reuters.

Oona Campbell, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said Palestinian health authorities have longstanding credibility with their methods of maintaining baseline statistics and tracking deaths in general, not just during times of war. 

Campbell and two other academics analysed the data from the PA report for a Lancet medical journal paper and concluded there was no obvious reason to doubt its validity.

Despite Biden’s comments in this conflict, the U.S. government’s annual human rights assessments from the region have frequently cited the Gaza ministry — as recently as 2022

After Canada voted in favour of a UN resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, Canada’s Ambassador to the UN Bob Rae said ‘we have to try’ for a two-state solution. ‘The situation on the ground is changing. It’s getting worse. We have to respond to that in a humanitarian way,’ Rae told Power & Politics.

Israel’s own accounts of Palestinian casualties have sometimes come close to the Gaza ministry’s tally. For example, Israel’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said 2,125 Palestinians were killed in the 2014 war — slightly lower than the ministry’s tally of 2,310 and the UN’s total of 2,251.

And last week, Reuters reported, Israeli authorities told journalists that death toll figures provided by Palestinian authorities at that time were “more or less right.”

What’s missing from the data?

That doesn’t mean the Health Ministry’s findings haven’t been scrutinized. Following the Oct. 17 explosion at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital, the Health Ministry at one point reported that as many as 500 people had been killed by the blast, but Western intelligence agencies concluded the toll was considerably lower. 

The source of the blast was also disputed, with Israel and outside groups saying it was likely caused by a misfiring of a rocket launched from inside Gaza and not, as the ministry initially said, by an Israeli airstrike.

A UN spokesperson told CBC News the international body has not been able to verify all the information published by the Health Ministry during current hostilities due to the “intensity of the Israeli offensive.” Nevertheless, it considers the figures as “a reasonably accurate reflection of the situation to date.”

“Information from the ministry is used in our casualty reporting process, in part because the ministry collects data directly from hospitals and morgues,” they said. “We seek to corroborate it to the extent possible, and use it, along with other sources, for corroboration.”

Figuring out how many of those killed are combatants or civilians, however, is more challenging. Palestinian authorities do not break down the count.

Without detailing how that estimate was reached, a senior Israeli official told journalists last Monday that around a third of those killed in Gaza so far were enemy combatants — meaning the majority of Gazans killed have been civilians.

The PA Ministry has reported that close to 70 per cent of those killed were women and children but has not given a breakdown by age since its Oct. 26 report.

Rights groups and researchers say the high civilian toll arises from the heavy weapons used, including so-called bunker buster bombs that Israel claims are used to destroy Hamas’s tunnel network; and strikes on residential districts, where Israel alleges Hamas has hidden bases, rocket launch pads and weaponry.

Doesn’t Hamas run the Health Ministry?

Hamas does exert some control over the Health Ministry as Gaza’s ruling authority, but it’s different than the political and security agencies that Hamas runs.

For one, the PA, which controlled Gaza prior to it being taken over by Hamas in 2007, still retains power over health and education services in the territory. As well, the current ministry is a mix of recent Hamas hires and older civil servants affiliated with the Fatah party, officials told The Associated Press.

Hamas tightly controls access to information and runs the government media office that offers details on Israeli airstrikes, but Health Ministry employees insist Hamas doesn’t dictate casualty figures.

“Hamas is one of the factions. Some of us are aligned with Fatah; some are independent,” Ahmed Al-Kahlout, director of Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, told The Associated Press. “More than anything, we are medical professionals.”

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