One Month after the ICJ Order, Israel Continues its 142 Day-Long Genocide on Gaza

Date: 26 February 2024

On 26 January 2024, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) determined the plausibility that Israel is carrying out genocide against Palestinians in Gaza, and ordered Israel to:

  1. prevent the commission of genocidal acts
  2. prevent and punish public incitement to genocide
  3. ensure aid and services reach Palestinians
  4. submit a report to the ICJ within one month of the order on measures taken to give effect of the above.

In the month since the ICJ ruling, Israel has continued its genocidal military campaign on Gaza with intense bombardment and attacks from air, land, and sea, resulting in the killing of 3,524 Palestinians and the injury of 5,266 others,[1] and ongoing mass displacement and destruction. Israeli officials have further continued to show their intent to commit genocide, including with plans to conduct a ground invasion into Rafah, where 1.5 million Palestinians are displaced. The delivery of aid has declined since the Court ruling, as Israel escalated its delegitimization campaign against UNRWA. Meanwhile, Israel continues to deliberately attack hospitals, pushing the health sector out of service, while using starvation as a weapon of war.

This brief outlines key violations of the ICJ provisional measures over the past month.

Ongoing Genocidal Acts – Killings

  • Since the ICJ’s ruling one month ago, Israel killed around 3,524 Palestinians, and wounded 5,266 others,[2] bringing the total number of killings since 7 October 2023 to around 29,692, including at least 12,500 children, and the injuries to 69,879.

Below are some of the most horrific killing incidents from the past month, based on preliminary reports:

  • On 17 February, Israeli warplanes and warships carried dozens of airstrikes, targeting at least 15 homes, two mosques, and agricultural lands in Rafah. The attack resulted in the killing of 83 Palestinians, including 27 children, amongst them displaced Palestinians who were sleeping in their tents, and 125 others were injured.[3]
  • An audio recording by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) documents the moments an Israeli tank massacred a family in their car. A two-hour distress call from six-year-old Hind to PRCS captured her terrified with the bodies of her uncle, aunt and four cousins beside her. Hind went missing for 12 days and her body was found alongside two PRCS members in their ambulance “on their approved mission” to rescue her.
  • On 13 February, a handcuffed Palestinian detainee, Jamal Al-Deen Mohammed Abu Al-Ola, dressed in white PPE was sent by Israeli forces to the besieged Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis to deliver a message to those at the hospital to evacuate. As he was walking outside the hospital, still inside the gates, he was killed by an Israeli soldier in front of his mother.[4] The Palestinian Ministry of Health reported that Israeli snipers killed another three Palestinians at the Hospital on the same day.
  • Two human rights defenders were killed along with their families by Israeli airstrikes. On 20 February, an Israeli airstrike killed Nour Abu Al-Nour, lawyer at the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), alongside seven of her family members including her two-year-old daughter, in her family’s home in Rafah. On 22 February, Dana Yaghi, also a lawyer at the Women’s Rights Unit at PCHR, was killed along with at least 40 others, the majority of whom are from her family, in her family’s house in Deir Al- Balah. Both houses were targeted on top of the residents’ heads without any prior warning.
  • Israel has continued its systematic targeting of journalists to suppress the truth and silence its witnesses. The Committee to Protect Journalists reported that in the first 10 weeks of its genocide on Gaza, Israel killed more journalists than any other army or entity has in any single year. Since the Court ruling, Israeli forces have killed twelve journalists, four of them on the same day, increasing the number of Palestinian journalists killed since 7 October to 132. According to the International Federation of Journalists, almost one in ten Gaza-based journalists have been killed by the Israeli forces.
  • A mass grave was found in the northern Gaza Strip, where at least 30 Palestinian bodies were found dead, handcuffed and blindfolded. The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs called for an investigation into accusations that Israeli forces executed prisoners “in the most horrific forms.”
  • The bodies of around 100 Palestinians have been recovered after Israeli forces withdrew from the Tal al-Hawa and Remal neighborhoods in Gaza City.

Ongoing Genocidal Acts – Causing Serious Bodily or Mental Harm

  • On 19 February, UN experts called out cases of violence, severe beating, torture, degrading treatment, including sexual violence, and reported cases of rape and threats of rape by Israeli forces against Palestinian women and girls in Gaza.
  • Israeli soldiers have continued to film themselves as they torture and subject Palestinian detainees to degrading and inhuman treatment. A video shows an Israeli soldier coercing blindfolded detainees into pledging themselves as slaves. Israeli soldier Yosi Gamzoo published a video, which he later deleted, showing him interrogating a Palestinian detainee, handcuffed and stripped down to his underwear, and sitting on a chair, with signs of torture on his body and a wound in his thigh. The same soldier posted another video, showing hundreds of Palestinian detainees in Gaza’s Yarmouk stadium. Most of them were stripped down to their underwear, with some blindfolded and kneeling in rows, under the watch of Israeli soldiers. Three blindfolded women are also shown in the video, kneeling behind a football goal.
  • Over the past month, Palestinians in Gaza released from Israeli detention have shared harrowing accounts of torture, beatings, starvation, humiliation and abuse by Israeli soldiers. PCHR has been able to obtain tens of shocking testimonies from released detainees from Gaza providing insight into the torture and inhumane treatment that they have been subjected to by the Israeli forces. Among the documented cases were a journalist, a human rights defender, a paramedic, a worker and a woman. It should be noted that as of the date publishing this brief, the fate, conditions, and whereabouts and wellbeing of hundreds of Palestinian detainees remain unknown as Israel continues to disclose any information or allow lawyers or families to visit them.

Ongoing Genocidal Acts – Forcible Transfer and Inflicting Conditions of Life to Bring about Physical Destruction:

  • Over the past month, Israel has intensified its attacks on the health sector in Gaza, including hospitals and medical teams. Between 7 October and 12 February, there were 378 attacks on health care across Gaza, affecting 98 health facilities and 98 ambulances. As of 22 February, there are no fully functional hospitals in Gaza, with 12 of the 36 hospitals only partially functional.
  • Israel has imposed a siege on the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis for over a month. This has included Israeli forces firing at and killing people in the hospital’s vicinity and in the hospital’s yard. On 9 February, Israeli snipers killed at least 21 Palestinians near the vicinity of the besieged Hospital, with medical staff among those targeted. On the same day, a nurse was shot by an Israeli sniper while inside the operating room. On 12 February, Israeli forces killed seven Palestinians and injured 14 in the courtyard of the hospital. Israeli forces have issued warnings to evacuate everyone from the hospital since 13 February. On 13 February, footage showed thousands sheltering inside the hospital, forced to evacuate. On 15 February, Israeli military shelled the hospital’s orthopedic department, snipers surrounding the hospital opened fire at displaced people, while Israeli forces stormed the hospital, ordering everyone inside to head to Rafah. Footage shows smoke and chaos in the hospital’s corridors where gunshots can be heard. Israeli forces further targeted fleeing people on the passage it designated as safe, injuring many. Moreover, Israeli forces arrested 70 medical and administrative personnel. On 18 February, the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared that the Nasser hospital is not functional anymore. As of 23 February, around 140 patients, their families and healthcare workers remained in the hospital, as hundreds of patients and staff had been relocated to a building in the hospital. The hospital has no electricity, sufficient food and water, has sewage water flooding, medical waste accumulating, and the decomposing bodies of eight ICU patients who died for lack of oxygen. It has been reported that Israel’s attack on the hospital ended on 22 February.[5]
  • Al Amal Hospital in Khan Younis, run by the PRCS, continues to be besieged and under Israeli attack for over a month. On 30 January, Israel raided the hospital demanding staff and displaced people taking refuge there to evacuate at gunpoint. Israeli forces also killed two PRCS staff members near the hospital. The besieged hospital has been pushed out of service. The PRCS reported the displacement of around 8,000 internally displaced persons from the hospital on 5 February because of the continued bombardment around the hospital. In a ten-hour raid on the hospital on 9 February, Israeli forces damaged the hospital’s property, humiliated and beat and interrogated the staff, before arresting eight PRCS team members from the hospital, as well as four patients and five patients’ companions. On 17 February, PRCS published images showing signs of torture of two doctors detained the week before. As of 21 February, seven PRCS staff members continue to be detained by Israeli forces. PRCS continues to report ongoing artillery shelling of the hospital leading to major damage to its facilities. On 22 February, PRCS reported that its VHF system, which is the core system for communication with all PRCS field teams, was disabled as a result of Israeli shelling in the vicinity of Al Amal Hospital. The hospital faces a lack of fuel reserves to generate electricity for high-risk patients and a near exhaustion of food supplies.
  • As of 9 February, Al Shifaa Hospital in Gaza city had again reverted to only minimal functionality, following days of intense Israeli attacks in its vicinity. Dr Mohammad Abu Silmiyeh, the Director of Al Shifaa Hospital was subjected to torture in his detention. He was beaten, kept naked for prolonged periods of time, subjected to degrading and dehumanizing treatment and both of his hands were broken.[6] Silmiyeh’s fate and whereabouts remain unknown.
  • On 26 January, Israel ordered Khan Younis residents to evacuate to the Al Mawasi area. Again, on 29 January, Israel ordered several neighborhoods in Gaza City to evacuate towards the south. This area included around 88,000 displaced Palestinains who are being forcibly displaced again. On 20 February, Israel ordered residents of two specific areas of Gaza city to evacuate to the Al Mawasi area in Khan Younis.
  • Since the ICJ ruling, Israeli officials have been preparing for a ground invasion into Rafah. There are now around 5 million Palestinians in Rafah, most of whom have been internally displaced since 7 October, “crammed amid insecurity and acute shortages of shelter, food, clean water, and medical care”. Despite international condemnations including by states, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court and another request to the ICJ by South Africa, over the anticipated ground offensive in Rafah, Israel has vowed to go ahead with its ground offensive. In an overnight bombardment on 12 February, Israeli strikes killed 67 Palestinians and wounded dozens in Rafah. Intensified airstrikes on Rafah have forced the displacement of people toward Deir al Balah.
  • On 4 February, OCHA reported that 2.2 million people in Gaza are at imminent risk of famine. Of those, 378,000 people are enduring an extreme lack of food, starvation and exhaustion of coping capacities and 939,000 people are at emergency levels. On 12 February, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN said: “Every day, more and more people are on the brink of famine-like conditions…There are unprecedented levels of acute food insecurity, hunger, and near-famine-like conditions in Gaza”. In a 19 February footage, thousands of Palestinians in Gaza City are seen running to get food assistance on the back of trucks as Israeli forces open fire on them. On 22 February, Save the Children reported that families are forced to “forage for scraps or food left by rats and eating leaves out of desperation to survive,” amid rapidly declining aid supplies.
  • The catastrophic levels of famine are intensifying across Gaza, with rising risk of hunger-induced deaths, especially in northern Gaza. On 11 February, Anera highlighted that “in the tragic circumstances of starvation in Gaza, there’s a compounding issue: many who perish from starvation-related symptoms aren’t accurately documented. Their deaths often get attributed to other physical causes, masking the true toll of starvation.”
  • On 13 February, UNRWA reported outbreaks of hepatitis A, and alarmingly high rates of diarrhea in Rafah, which can be deadly if there is not enough clean water. WHO reported that between 16 October and 13 February 2024, there have been 312,693 reported cases of acute respiratory infections, 222,620 cases of acute watery diarrhea, 74,712 cases of scabies and lice, 49,052 cases of skin rashes, 6,625 cases of chickenpox and 8,829 cases of acute jaundice.
  • No access to clean drinking water in the northern governorates.

Ongoing Genocidal Acts – Imposing measures intended to prevent births

  • In November, the UN reported that 50,000 pregnant women in Gaza risk safe baby delivery, maternal deaths, miscarriages, stillbirths and premature births as a result of malnutrition, lack of access to healthcare and basic services and ongoing displacement. The situation has only worsened since then with the direct attack on Gaza’s health system and the use of starvation as a weapon of war. On 16 February, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women said: “When mothers have to bury at least 7,700 children, and 5,500 women don’t know if they will be able to deliver their children safely within next month, very [human rights] basic principles are challenged.”
  • On 16 February, the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) highlighted that 500,000 cases of communicable disease have been reported across Gaza, emphasizing the particular impact on women. The UN agency said: “women are reportedly miscarrying at a higher rate than before the war, and in many cases, Cesarean sections, amputations and other surgeries are being performed with partial anesthesia due to a lack of supplies. Everyone in Gaza is hungry, including 50,000 pregnant women, with malnutrition making them more susceptible to disease and less able to recover.” UNFPA warned: “If the bombs don’t kill pregnant women, if disease, hunger and dehydration don’t catch up with them, simply giving birth could.”
  • On 19 February UNICEF reported “a steep rise in malnutrition among children and pregnant and breastfeeding women in the Gaza Strip” especially in the north, adding that 95% of pregnant and breastfeeding women face severe food poverty. The agency added: “the Gaza Strip is poised to witness an explosion in preventable child deaths which would compound the already unbearable level of child deaths in Gaza. If the conflict doesn’t end now, children’s nutrition will continue to plummet, leading to preventable deaths or health issues which will affect the children of Gaza for the rest of their lives and have potential intergenerational consequences.”

Disrupting Humanitarian Aid

  • Israel has hindered access to humanitarian workers and delivery of aid into Gaza.
  • On 12 February, the WHO stated that humanitarian aid provided so far to Gaza is “a drop in the ocean of need which continues to grow every day”. UN Secretary-General Guterres said he is worried about deteriorating conditions faced by aid delivery workers in Gaza, where convoys have sometimes come under fire from Israeli forces.
  • Less aid has gone daily into Gaza as compared to the average daily trucks entering Gaza before 26 January. Before 7 October, the average number of trucks that entered Gaza each day was around 500. For the weeks between 12-25 January, 156 trucks entered daily on average. For the weeks between 26 January and 8 February, 134 trucks entered Gaza daily on average. Aid delivery has continued to decline for the weeks between 9-22 February to 55 daily trucks on average.
  • The denial of aid delivery to northern Gaza is particularly alarming. According to OCHA, between 1 January and 15 February, less than 20% of aid missions to the north of Wadi Gaza were facilitated by the Israeli authorities and 51% were denied. UNRWA reported that the last time it was able to deliver food aid to northern Gaza was on 23 January.
  • On 20 February, the World Food Program said they are pausing the delivery of assistance to Northern Gaza “until safe conditions are in place for our staff and the people we are trying to reach”.
  • Right after the ICJ ordered Israel to ensure that basic services and humanitarian aid reach Palestinians, Israel alleged that UNRWA employees had been involved in the October 7 attack. Following this, 18 states have suspended their donations to the agency. The Israeli Housing and Construction Minister Goldknopf instructed the Israel Land Authority to immediately cancel all lease agreements with UNRWA and evict it from its main headquarters in Jerusalem. On 11 February, UNRWA chief said the agency is facing growing administrative hurdles from Israel, with a shipment amounting to a month’s supply of food blocked.
  • During the past month, Israelis have protested to block humanitarian aid trucks entering Gaza at Karem Abu Salem crossing.
  • Israel’s targeting of civilian police is hampering aid delivery.
  • Israel has continued its targeting of humanitarian aid trucks. On 5 February, Israeli forces fired on a UN convoy carrying vital food supplies in Central Gaza before ultimately blocking trucks from progressing to the northern part of the territory, despite the UN and Israel agreeing on the convoy’s route. As a result, much of the convoy’s contents, mainly wheat flour, were destroyed.
  • Incidents of the targeting of Palestinians as they wait for humanitarian aid convoys continue to be reported in Gaza city. On 19 February, five Palestinians were killed by Israeli quadcopters while they were gathering for a possible delivery of humanitarian aid at Al Kuwaiti roundabout. On 18 February, at least one Palestinian was killed and others injured when a group that was waiting for relief aid at Al-Nabulsi roundabout was shot at.

Public Incitement to Genocide

  • No charges were pressed against any public official for public incitement to genocide.
  • On 28 January, 11 Israeli ministers and 15 members of the Knesset attended a conference in Jerusalem, titled “Settlements Bring Security” calling for re-building Jewish-only settlements in Gaza and the displacement of Palestinians. Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, declared: “God willing, we will settle and we will be victorious.” National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir told the audience that it was “time to return home to Gush Katif” — the name of the illegal Israeli settlement bloc built in Gaza and dismantled in 2005. Communications Minister Shlomo Karhi called for building settlements in Gaza and “encouraging voluntary emigration.”
  • Commenting on the ground invasion in Rafah, Prime Minister Netanyahu said on 11 February: “We’re going to do it. We’re going to get the remaining Hamas terrorist battalions in Rafah, which is the last bastion, but we’re going to do it…We’ve so far succeeded and we are going to succeed again. Those who say that under no circumstances should we enter Rafah are basically saying lose the war.”
  • Meanwhile, Israel’s Foreign Minister Katz, arguing that Israel respects international law said: “Calls to limit Israel’s defense only strengthen Hamas. Rest assured, Israel is resolute in its mission to dismantle Hamas.”
  • Israeli Minister of Finance Smotrich said “American pressure or fear of harming civilians should not deter us from occupying Rafah and destroying Hamas.”
  • Smotrich further said he has decided to block the transfer of food assistance to Gaza.
  • On 13 February, the Chief of Staff of the Israeli military Herzi Halevi said his forces have carried out “very high military achievements” in in Gaza but there is “a long way to go…In the past decades, there has not been an army that maneuvered in an area that is urban and dense…IDF soldiers are dealing with this with great success and the military achievements are extraordinary.”
  • On 12 February, during a cabinet meeting, Ben-Gvir demanded the military shoot Palestinian women and children in Gaza.
  • During a Knesset debate on 19 February, May Golan, Israel’s Minister for the Advancement of Women, expressed pride in the “ruins” of besieged Gaza and said: “We are not ashamed to say that we want to see Israeli soldiers, the holy heroes of ours, catching Sinwar and his terrorists by their ears and dragging them all across the Gaza Strip on their way to the dungeons of the Prison Authority.. Or in the best case scenario to a coffin. I am personally proud of the ruins of Gaza, and that every baby, even 80 years from now, will tell their grandchildren what the Jews did…Not a dove, and not an olive branch, only a sword to cut off Sinwar’s head.”

***

 

This brief has been prepared by:

  1. The Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD)
  2. Bisan Center for Research and Development
  3. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
  4. Al Mezan Center for Human Rights
  5. The Women’s Center for Legal Aid and Counselling (WCLAC)
  6. The Palestinian Initiative for the Promotion of Global Dialogue and Democracy – MIFTAH
  7. Al-Haq, Law in the Service of Man
  8. Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
  9. The Palestinian BDS National Committee

For related inquiries, please reach out to us at: info@thepipd.com; media@bisan.org; basel.alsourani@pchrgaza.org

[1] According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health between 26 January and 25 February 2024.

[2] Ibid.

[3] According to the monitoring of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR).

[4] Ibid.

[5] Testimonies from doctors at the hospital since 13 February can be assessed in this Google drive: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1JfjU8mH3YOz-v5wvw3ziM6nwMCzaPN0M.

[6] Testimony by Dr Bilal Azzam on behalf of Dr Mohammad Abu Silmiyeh, at the International conference to rebuild the Health sector in Gaza, 7 February 2024, Jordan.