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Watchdog Submits Evidence of Israeli Executions of Gaza Civilians to UN, ICC

Updated: Dec 27, 2023

Euro-Med Monitor documented nine separate cases in which Israeli troops executed Palestinians—including numerous women and children—during the ongoing invasion of Gaza.

By Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams

A prominent European human rights group on Monday submitted a report to the International Criminal Court and United Nations special rapporteurs documenting "dozens of cases of field executions carried out by the Israeli army in the Gaza Strip."

Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor, a Geneva-based nonprofit, requested the ICC and U.N. immediately investigate "the widespread killing operations carried out by Israeli forces targeting Palestinian civilians, especially the field executions and physical liquidations in the Gaza Strip."

In addition to ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan, Euro-Med Monitor sent copies of its preliminary findings to Maurice Tydball Benz, the U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial or arbitrary executions; Francesca Albanese, the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967; and Navanethem Pillay, head of the Investigative Committee on the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

"Nearly 10 days after the Israeli army began its ground attack in the Gaza Strip on October 27, the Israeli army carried out dozens of executions and direct physical liquidations against civilians as part of its all-out military campaign that started on October 7 in retaliation for the armed attack that Palestinian factions carried out in Israeli settlements surrounding the Gaza Strip," Euro-Med Monitor said in a statement.

The group's report lists nine separate instances in which it says Israel Defense Forces (IDF) troops executed Palestinian civilians in Gaza. Victims include multiple elderly couples shot and left to bleed to death after being forced from their homes in Gaza City last week; a mentally ill man shot in his home in the Jabalia refugee camp; six members of the al-Khaldi family shot dead during an Israeli raid on their home; and nine forcibly displaced civilians including women and children who were massacred while seeking shelter in the Shadia Abu Ghazala School near Jabalia on December 13.

"The Israeli soldiers came in and opened fire," one unidentified witness said of the school attack. "They took all men, then entered classrooms and opened fire on a woman and all the children with her," including "newborn children."

"The Israeli soldiers executed those innocent families point-blank," she added.

In the case of the al-Khaldi family, surviving relative Fahed al-Khaldi told Middle East Eye that after an Israeli airstrike on a neighboring home killed several people and wounded Fatima al-Khaldi, his pregnant sister-in-law, IDF ground troops "lobbed two grenades into the house" where about 30 people were sheltering "without regard for women, children, or the elderly."

"They then opened fire directly at people and in an indiscriminate manner, without differentiating between young and old," he said.

Five people were killed instantly. Al-Khaldi said Israeli troops ordered the survivors out of the home, where they were stripped of their clothes.

"The soldiers then returned to the room and executed all the injured," he said. Fatima al-Khaldi was shot and left to bleed to death.

Last week, Euro-Med Monitor reported that more than 1,000 Palestinian elders have been killed by Israeli forces in Gaza, including dozens of people over the age of 60 who were executed.

"These incidents included soldiers shooting elderly people immediately after ordering them to evacuate their homes, and in some cases, executing them just moments after their release from hours or days of arbitrary detention," the group said.

Euro-Med Monitor said Monday that:

More than 28,000 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the Israeli genocide campaign in the Gaza Strip, a number that includes those who remain trapped under the rubble of destroyed buildings and are now presumed dead. Women and children make up 70% of the recorded victims. Thus, Palestinian deaths constitute the highest rate of civilian casualties worldwide in the 21st century.

The Gaza Health Ministry said Tuesday that the Palestinian death toll from 81 days of near-relentless Israeli attacks was approaching 21,000, with nearly 55,000 others wounded and thousands more missing. More than 1.9 million of the besieged enclave's 2.3 million people have also been forcibly displaced and face increased risk of starvation, hypothermia, and disease.

The submission of Euro-Med Monitor's report came nearly a week after the group Democracy for the Arab World Now published a list of 40 Israeli military commanders it called "prime suspects" for ICC war crimes investigations.

Topping the list is Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, who on October 9 ordered a complete siege on Gaza City, cutting off the water, fuel, power, and humanitarian aid to millions of Palestinians.

Like numerous other Israeli leaders, Gallant attempted to justify Israel's actions with what one commentator called "blatantly genocidal" language calling Palestinians "human animals."

Brett Wilkins is a staff writer for Common Dreams.

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