Gaza: Israel’s Jabalia attacks a ‘war crimes’, says UN experts

By Nadine Osman

London, (The Muslim News): On Thursday, UN experts called the Israeli airstrike on a Gaza refugee camp a “brazen violation of international law” and a “war crime.”

“The Israeli airstrike on a residential complex in the Jabalia refugee camp is a brazen violation of international law and a war crime,” the experts said in a statement.

“Attacking a camp sheltering civilians, including women and children, is a complete breach of the rules of proportionality and distinction between combatants and civilians,” they added.

Gaza’s Health Ministry said 50 people were killed and 150 wounded. But a nearby hospital said it received 400 casualties, including 120 dead, taking the death count in Gaza to 9,227 Palestinians, including 3,826 children, and wounding 32,000 others.

Tuesday’s air strike in Jabalia caused a huge explosion that destroyed several residential buildings in the centre of the refugee camp, where before the war 116,000 people were living in an area of just 1.4 sq km (0.5 sq miles).

Urging for immediate action, the experts said: “Time is running out to prevent genocide and humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.”

“We remain convinced that the Palestinian people are at grave risk of genocide,” they said.

UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths denounced the Jabalia strike after a two-day visit to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

“This is just the latest atrocity to befall the people of Gaza, where the fighting has entered an even more terrifying phase with increasingly dreadful humanitarian consequences,” Griffiths said in a statement.

He said, “The world seems unable, or unwilling, to act”, adding, “This cannot go on. We need a step change.”

Griffiths said, “We need the warring parties to agree to pauses in the fighting” so that desperately needed aid can get into the Palestinian territory of 2.3 million people.

Meanwhile, Pakistan called Israeli atrocities in Gaza ‘war crimes’ and reiterated its call for an “end to the carnage” in Gaza.

“Pakistan has concerns about Israeli atrocities that are taking place currently in Gaza, and we believe these atrocities amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mumtaz Zahra Baloch told Anadolu during a weekly news briefing in the capital, Islamabad.

When informed that Turkey and Journalists Without Borders are preparing to prosecute Israel as a war criminal in the International Criminal Court, she said: “As far as the International Criminal Court is concerned, Pakistan is not party to the Rome Statute of the ICC, and “We are not a member of the ICC.”

However, she urged the UN Security Council (UNSC) to “act and fulfil its responsibility of upholding peace.”

“It (UNSC) must call for lifting the siege, protecting civilians, and facilitating humanitarian corridors for the provision of uninterrupted relief supplies for the beleaguered people of Gaza,” the spokesman said.

She added that Pakistan remains “deeply” concerned about the dire situation in “occupied Palestine.”

“Israel’s relentless and indiscriminate bombing campaign, its inhumane siege of Gaza, and deliberate strikes against civilian targets, including refugee camps, hospitals, and apartment buildings, have created an unacceptable humanitarian situation,” Baloch maintained.

“These war crimes are being perpetrated by the Israeli occupation forces with full impunity as the international community continues to repeatedly fail the people of Palestine,” she went on to say.

Noting that last week’s UN General Assembly resolution reflects the “growing international consensus” on the situation of Palestine, she called on the international community to play its part in bringing an end to the “atrocities in occupied Palestine.”

The escalation comes as Israel expanded its air and ground operations in the Gaza Strip following a cross-border attack by Hamas on Israeli border towns on October 7.

The Israeli army said it had carried out more than 12,000 airstrikes against thousands of military targets in Gaza since October 7.

UN experts: Pedro Arrojo Agudo, Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation; Francesca Albanese, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967; Reem Alsalem, Special Rapporteur on Violence against women and girls; Ms. Paula Gaviria Betancur, Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons; .Michael Fakhri, Special Rapporteur on the right to food; Tlaleng Mofokeng, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health; Balakrishnan Rajagopal, Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing; Ms. Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the right to education; Ms Ashwini K.P. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance

[Photo: Injured children injured by Israeli air attacks on Maghazi Refugee Camp in Deir Al-Balah, Gaza, treated at the Al Aqsa Hospital on 3 11 23. Photojournalist: Ashraf Amra/AA]

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