On Wednesday, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a report alleging that Israeli forces carried out a mass execution of civilians in northern Gaza Tuesday, separating 11 men from their families and summarily shooting them.
This report and a similar allegation by the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor imply that Israel has moved from murdering civilians through bombing to mass executions.
In its report, the OHCHR in the Occupied Palestinian Territories reports that it “has received disturbing information alleging that Israel Defense Forces (IDF) summarily killed at least 11 unarmed Palestinian men in front of their family members in Al Remal neighbourhood, Gaza City, which raises alarm about the possible commission of a war crime.”
The UN wrote, “On 19 December 2023, between 2000 and 2300 hours, IDF reportedly surrounded and raided Al Awda building, also known as the ‘Annan building’, in Al Remal neighborhood, Gaza City, where three related families were sheltering in addition to Annan family.”
The UN added, “While in control of the building and the civilians sheltering there, the IDF allegedly separated the men from the women and children, and then shot and killed at least 11 of the men, mostly aged in their late 20’s and early 30’s, in front of their family members.” The UN continued, “The IDF then allegedly ordered the women and children into a room, and either shot at them or threw a grenade into the room, reportedly seriously injuring some of them, including an infant and a child. OHCHR has confirmed the killings at Al Awda building.”
The UN statement corresponds to a report published earlier by Euro-Med, which states, “Israeli army forces have carried out field executions against civilians during raids on Palestinian homes in the Gaza Strip, according to shocking testimonies received by the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor.”
It continued, “According to preliminary information received by Euro-Med Monitor, 13 members of the Annan family and their displaced in-laws, the Al-Ashi and Al-Sharafa families, were killed by Israeli gunfire, while other members of the families were seriously wounded and are currently in critical condition.”
A witness told the Euro-Med monitor, “Thirteen persons were shot dead and several more were critically injured. The Israeli soldiers later threw shells at the women, who were being held in one of the rooms.” Euro-Med Monitor also recorded a rise in field executions following reports of attacks on Israeli military vehicles by Palestinian factions. This suggests that the crimes being reported are part of Israel’s unlawful retaliatory policy against Palestinian civilians, which is in violation of international humanitarian law.
The reports of mass summary executions come amid increasingly open demands for the genocide and ethnic cleansing of the population of Gaza by Israeli officials and US politicians. In a radio interview Sunday, David Azoulai, head of Israel’s regional Metula Council, called for displacing the population to Lebanon and said that Gaza should be made to look like “Auschwitz.” He said, “Tell everyone in Gaza to go to the beaches. Navy ships should load the terrorists onto the shores of Lebanon. The entire Gaza Strip should be emptied and levelled flat, just like in Auschwitz.”
In a TV interview republished by Middle East Monitor, Miri Golan, Israel’s Women’s Advancement Minister, said, “I don’t care about Gaza … for all I care, they can go out and swim in the sea.” She added, “I want to see dead bodies of terrorists around Gaza.” In another widely shared video, Daniella Weiss, the former mayor of an Israeli settlement in the West Bank and a leader of the Israeli settler movement, said in a TV interview that Israel’s goal is to make “Gaza free of Arabs” to prepare “the establishment of Jewish settlements in all of the Gaza Strip.”
This genocidal language is now being embraced in the United States. Speaking at the “Amerifest” fascist conference in the US, Michelle Bachmann, the dean of the Christian fundamentalist Regent University, declared, “It’s time that Gaza ends.” She concluded, “The 2 million people who live there, they are clever assassins. They need to be removed from that land, that land needs to be turned into a national park.”
As of December 19, according to the Ministry of Health, 19,667 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, some 70 percent of whom are women and children. Approximately 7,000 more are still missing, most buried under rubble, bringing the death toll to over 25,000. On Wednesday, Israel ordered residents in areas throughout southern Gaza to evacuate, in a move that will only lead to a surge of the number of people trapped in the southern city of Rafah.
On Wednesday, Palestinian journalist Bisan Owda recorded footage of airstrikes near the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah where she is sheltering. “You are telling us to go to the south, you tell us to evacuate Khan Yunis,” she said. Now the people concentrated in the southernmost tip of Gaza are being relentlessly bombed.
According to United Nations figures, 1.9 million people in Gaza, or 85 percent of the population, are estimated to be internally displaced. According to Gaza’s Government Media office, Israel has attacked more than 200 health facilities and over 102 ambulances. And 126 government offices and 90 schools and universities were completely destroyed, with 283 more being further damaged.
Amid these relentless atrocities, the United States continues to fund, arm and logistically support the genocide.
In an extraordinary exchange on Wednesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken was asked to comment on “much of the world blaming the US and Israel and seeing it as America’s war.” To this, Blinken complained, “I hear virtually no one saying, demanding of Hamas, that it stop hiding behind civilians, that it lay down its arms, that it surrender.” He concluded, “How can it be that there are no demands made of the aggressor, and only demands made of the victim?”
The answer to this question is that the vast majority of the world’s population correctly sees the United States and Israel as the aggressors, and the population of Gaza, which is being bombed, starved and massacred, as the victims of imperialist violence.
Disclaimer: United Nations reports Israeli forces are carrying out mass summary executions in Gaza by Andre Damon - Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not necessarily reflect Latheefarook.com point-of-view