Sunday, March 3, 2024

ICJ ruling remains ‘on paper’: Glimpses from past week of Israel’s genocidal war

As one week passed after the International Court of Justice issued its ruling in the genocide case, Israel continues its inhumane war on Gaza without any pause or resent.

ICJ, in its verdict pronounced on 26 January 2024, recognised the gravity of the ruthless crimes committed by Israeli forces against Palestinians, which accounted for a clear-cut case of genocide.

Observing so, within the purview of its jurisdiction, the international court directed Israel to refrain from committing genocidal acts.

It also asked to prevent and punish public incitement to genocide, and ensure aid and services reach Palestinians.

It does not surprise any sensible human that Israel violates a legally binding order with total impunity.

A day after the ICJ ruling came out, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said that “Israel will act according to what is required for our security”. 

The statement bore a clear indication that the decision of Israel was to proceed with its unhinged mode of operation.

A brief report released by Bisan Center for Research and Development along with The Palestinian Institute of Public Diplomacy has documented the genocidal crimes of Israel over the past week.

Since the ICJ ruling, the Israeli army has massacred around 936 Palestinians including more than 500 children and wounded 1,650 others.

In a horrific incident, a family of six members was massacred. Layan Hamadeh, a 15-year-old girl called the  Palestinian Red Crescent Society seeking help after an Israeli tank besieged and targeted the family in their car. 

“They are shooting at us, 

the tank is next to us.”

These were Layan’s final words. 

Layan, her three siblings and parents were killed, while Hind, her 5-year-old cousin remained trapped inside the car surrounded by her family’s deceased bodies.

It has been six days, Hind’s fate still remains unknown.

In North Gaza, a mass grave was found, where at least 30 handcuffed and blindfolded Palestinian dead bodies were found.

It is doubted that the Israeli army is carrying out execution of prisoners, and the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has demanded an investigation.

Palestinians in Gaza released from Israeli prisons shared disturbing accounts of torture, beatings, starvation, humiliation and abuse.

There is no access to clean drinking water and food in almost all northern governorates of Gaza. The condition of other areas are also pathetic.

Even after the ICJ’s injunction that humanitarian aid must not be prevented from reaching Gaza, less supplies have entered last week as compared to the daily average before 26 January. 

While around 156 trucks entered daily on average between 19-25 January, only 64 have entered daily since 27 January.

During the ICJ hearing, Israel accused UNRWA (The United Nations Relief and Works Agency) employees of supporting the October 7 operation of Hamas. 

Israeli Foreign Minister Katz has earlier demanded that UNRWA should be replaced as soon as the fighting in Gaza comes to an end.

Following the allegation, 16 states have withdrawn their donations to the agency. 

It is assumed that if the defunding of UNRWA continues, the relief activities will die down by the end of February.

Moreover, a group of Israeli settlers militantly seek to end the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza.

Last week, some of them attempted to block humanitarian aid trucks entering Gaza at Karem Abu Salem crossing.

On 29 January, Israel ordered several neighborhoods in Gaza City to evacuate 

towards the south. 

Those forcibly evacuated include around 88,000 already displaced Palestinians.

In Khan Younis, thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes.

Many were subjected to firing, interrogation, detention, torture and other dehumanising measures.

Thousands who fled Khan Younis have arrived at Rafah, where people are sleeping on the street and in makeshift tent camps flooded with sewage water under extreme cold weather and rainy conditions.

Doctors report that around 95 percent of staff have fled to Rafah, as Israeli forces tend to “bomb anything 

in front of them”. 

Out of the 2.3 million total population, 1.9 million are now sheltered in the border city of Rafah and adjacent localities.

It is the same place Israeli Defence Minister Gallant insisted that his forces would attack next. If the forces target Rafah, that will end as one of the worst massacres since the current genocidal war began on October 7, 2023.

Meanwhile, Israel has intensified its attacks on hospitals including the Nasser Medical Complex and Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis. 

Attacks resulting in electrical failures lead to the collapse of medical services. 

Apart from the injured, a large number of Palestinians with several health conditions lack adequate care and medicinal support.

Over 1,100 kidney patients suffer as they are unable to access kidney dialysis services, and till now dozens have already died.

According to the report, 225,000 people with high blood pressure, 45,000 living with cardiovascular disease and 71,000 diabetes patients are facing acute shortages in medication, lack of medical treatment and malnutrition.

The siege on Al-Amal Hospital run by the Palestinian Red Crescent Society went on throughout the week.

Occupation forces stormed the hospital and threatened the staff, patients and displaced refugees to evacuate at gunpoint.

Two Paramedics were reportedly killed near the hospital during the raid.

The courtyards of these hospitals serve as mass graves where dozens of killed Palestinians are buried. 

Amid all these harrowing scenes, the Israeli soldiers, politicians, religious leaders and settlers from other backgrounds continue to make open calls for genocide.

Rabi Dov Lior, spiritual leader of the Otzma Yehudit party, urged Israelis to break Sabbath and prevent aid from entering the Gaza Strip.

At the Jerusalem International Convention Center, a conference titled “ Settlements Bring Security” was organised by Nachala 

(an Israeli group advocating for the expansion of Jewish Settlements.

11 ministers and 15 members of Knesset attended the conference which called for annexing Gaza by any means.

 Daniella Weiss, Director of “Nachala” told NBC news that “After October 7, history 

changed, It’s the end of the presence of Arabs in Gaza . It’s the end. Instead of them, there will be many, many Jews that will return to settlements, that will build new settlements.”

According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 27,238 Palestinians have been killed, and 66,452 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7. 

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