Two Months after the ICJ Order, the International Community Still Fails to Stop Israel’s 171 Day-Long Genocide on Gaza

Date: 26 March 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.

On 6 March, South Africa filed “an urgent request” asking the Court for additional provisional measures, stating that it is “compelled to return to the Court in light of the “extreme urgency of the situation” particularly widespread starvation brought about by the continuing egregious breaches of the Genocide Convention by Israel and its “ongoing manifest violations of the provisional measures indicated by this Court on 26 January 2024”.

This brief outlines key violations of the ICJ provisional measures from 26 February to 25 March. For last month’s brief (26 January to 25 February), please refer to this link.

Summary 

In the two months since the ICJ ruling, Israel has continued its genocide on Gaza with intense bombardment and attacks from air, land, and sea, resulting in the killing of 6,250 Palestinians, including 2,500 children, and the injury of 15,200 others,[1] while also causing ongoing displacement and extensive 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, while Israel has committed killings and massacres against Palestinians as they awaited for humanitarian aid. Concurrently, Israel has continued its deliberate attacks and siege on hospitals to push the health sector out of service. The past month, the fifth since the ongoing genocide and siege, has witnessed many Palestinians dying because of malnutrition and dehydration, with 30% of Gaza’s population facing famine.[2]

Ongoing Genocidal Acts – Killings

  • Since the ICJ’s ruling two months ago, Israel killed around 6,250 Palestinians, including 2,500 children, and wounded 15,200 others, bringing the total number of killings since 7 October 2023 to around 32,333, including at least 14,000 children, and the injuries to 79,694.

Below are some of the most horrific killing incidents from the past month:

  • On 29 February, Israeli forces opened fire on thousands of Palestinians seeking food from aid trucks on Al-Rashid Street south of Gaza City, killing more than 118 Palestinians and injuring 760 others, in what has been called the Flour Massacre.
  • Since 18 March, AlShifa Hospital has been under a brutal siege and a massive military attack. Preliminary reports indicate that at least 200 Palestinians have been killed, many of whom were extrajudicially executed. The Israeli army said its “Precise Operation at Shifa Hospital” resulted in the killing of 180 Palestinians and the arrest of over 800 On 21 March, the World Health Organisation stated that access to the hospital is impossible. Survivors from the hospital siege and its vicinity have been sharing horrific testimonies indicating that the Israeli military conducted executions and killings against Palestinians, including some being run over by tank treads. Footage of Palestinians fleeing the vicinity of AlShifa shows a half body of a Palestinian with a cast on one of his legs. One survivor said Israeli forces detained him and another eight Palestinians at AlShifa for around three hours, before they shot and killed all the group including his father, brother, and a 67-year old man. Another witness said he saw Israeli forces taking around 10 Palestinians into the hospital’s morgue area, before he heard heavy gunfire, and the Israeli forces leaving without any Palestinian. Another Palestinian, who was besieged in the hospital for four days, described seeing bodies piled up outside the hospital’s entrance.
  • Footage obtained by Al Jazeera shows an Israeli drone tracking four unarmed Palestinians as they walk among rubble and a bulldozed road to check on their homes in Khan Younis. The drone then proceeds with executing the four in a series of strikes
  • Israel has continued its systematic targeting of journalists to suppress the truth and silence its witness Since the Court ruling, Israeli forces have killed 16 journalists, increasing the number of Palestinian journalists killed since 7 October to 136.

Ongoing Genocidal Acts – Causing Serious Bodily or Mental Harm

  • Two reports from March document harrowing torture testimonies of released Palestinians from Israeli detention of how they were abused by dogs, severely beaten by soldiers, subjected to electric shocks, forced to strip, held in humiliating and degrading conditions, denied food and water, and deprived of sleep. Some were also subjected to sexual abuse, threats of rape, and blackmail attempts. On 7 March, Haaretz reported that at least 27 detainees from Gaza had died in Israeli military facilities since 7 October.
  • Another internal UN report describes widespread abuse of Palestinian detainees in Israeli detention centres, including allegations of widespread sexual assault. Women detainees reported being groped while blindfolded, and some male detainees said they were beaten in the genitals.
  • Israeli forces have implemented a systematic policy of stripping since the genocide. A video shows patients from AlShifa hospital evacuating while being forced to strip. Another video captures two children who were forced to strip by the Israeli army. One of them said that they hid from the army and managed to run away and that he saw three men shot by the Israeli army, with one with his head shuttered.
  • Israeli soldiers have continued to film themselves as they destruct Gaza, and torture and subject Palestinian detainees to degrading and inhuman treatment. A French-Israeli soldier shared a video of himself on social media showing a group of Palestinian detainees from Gaza in a truck all blindfolded, and handcuffed, with some partially stripped. While Israeli soldiers were pushing one blindfolded and handcuffed Palestinian off the truck, the French soldier said: “I’ll show you his back, you’re going to laugh. They tortured him to make him talk.”
  • At least 5,000 injured Palestinians since the genocide have acquired disabilities and are suffering from a lack of accessible shelters, insufficient medical services, and neglect of their needs, leading to mental health issues.
  • Children in Gaza, who make up roughly half of the population, are among those worst affected by the ongoing genocide. On 12 March, Save the Children reported that “violence, displacement, starvation and disease on top of nearly 17 years of a blockade have caused relentless mental harm to children,” manifested by “fear, anxiety, disordered eating, bedwetting, hyper-vigilance and sleep problems as well as behavioural changes such as an alternation in attachment style with parents, regression and aggression.”

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 March, there were 410 attacks on health care across Gaza, resulting in the killing of 685 Palestinians and the injury of 902 others, while affecting 99 health facilities and 104 ambulances. As of 22 February, there are no fully functional hospitals in Gaza, with 12 of the 36 hospitals only partially functional. Hospitals and health centres that remain functional suffer severe shortages of fuel, medical equipment, medications, food and water, and health personnel, particularly in northern Gaza.
  • Besieging and targeting hospitals has been a systemic Israeli practice, endangering the lives of patients, medical staff, and internally displaced persons sheltering at besieged hospitals. In our last month’s brief, we detailed how the Israeli army imposed a one-month siege on both Nasser and Al Amal hospitals in Khan Younis, turning them into war zones. On 18 March, Israeli forces raided and besieged AlShifa Hospital, in Gaza city, ordering internally displaced persons at and near the facility to evacuate to Al Mawasi area in southern Gaza. The hospital and its vicinity housed about 30,000 patients, medical workers and displaced civilians. Many of whom have been displaced once again by the raid. Jamila Al Hisi, who was besieged for six days alongside 65 families in a building in the vicinity of the hospital said the Hospital Complex is like a war zone that cannot be described, with executions, kidnapping of men, burning of homes and buildings, physiological war and deprivation of food and water, and medical treatment. A survivor reported that the Israeli army raided her home in the vicinity of the hospital and killed the men, while forcing her and her three children outside. We recall that Israel’s raid on the AlShifa Hospital in November 2023 had left it partially functional, and it has only recently restored minimal health services. Describing conditions at AlShifa Hospital as “utterly inhumane,” the World Health Organization (WHO), stated that some 50 health workers and 143 patients have been kept in one building “with extremely limited food, water and only one nonfunctional toilet.” Gaza’s Government Media Office stated that 13 patients died as a result of Israel’s siege which cut off electricity supplies. Israeli authorities further denied a proposed WHO evacuation of about 103 patients in need of urgent medicines and supplies.
  • The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) Famine Review Committee (FRC) has concluded that the entire Gaza population faces high levels of acute food insecurity, with half of the population projected to be at risk of famine between March and July 2024. For North Gaza and Gaza Governorates, famine is imminent and will become manifest during the period of mid-March to end of May 2024. In these governorates, the famine threshold for household acute food insecurity has been exceeded since December 2023 and the trend in acute malnutrition data indicates that it is highly likely that the famine threshold for acute malnutrition has also already been exceeded. The FRC expects the upward trend in non-trauma mortality to accelerate and for all famine thresholds to be passed imminently. It is worth noting that non-trauma mortality has been difficult to document in the Gaza and North of Gaza Governorates due to the destruction inflicted by Israeli forces on the healthcare system. This destruction has rendered most hospitals non-operational in these areas (As of 25 March, only four hospitals remain partially functional in these governorates). Even in cases of partial functionality, Gaza’s health care system’s ability to detect disease outbreaks, respond to mass casualty incidents, and record health outcomes has been hindered to a minimum.
  • On 27 February, the MoH reported the death of two infants in Kamal Adwan Hospital in northern Gaza, as a result of dehydration and malnutrition. Since then, this reality has caused the death of 27 Palestinians, including 23 children in Northern Gaza. MoH noted that the figure only reflects hospitalized cases. UNICEF reported that acute malnutrition among children has doubled in February compared with January in the north of Gaza Strip. The agency warned that there is a high risk that malnutrition rates will “continue to increase across the Gaza Strip, costing more lives,” despite being “man-made, predictable and entirely preventable”.
  • Since the ICJ ruling, Israeli officials have been preparing for a ground invasion into Rafah. There are now around 5 million Palestinians, including 600,000 children, in Rafah, most of whom have been internally displaced since 7 October. Trapped in an overcrowded space, displaced Palestinians in Rafah are facing ongoing bombings, as well as starvation and disease. For example, on 2 March, 11 Palestinians were killed and some 50 others were injured, when tents and people gathered in front of Al Emirati field hospital were hit. Among those killed was a nurse and a member of the field hospital’s ambulance crew.
  • On 22 March, the Palestinian Water Authority reported that the average per capita water consumption in the Gaza Strip has dropped from 84 litres per day prior to 7 October to a mere 3-15 litres per day. The minimum amount of water for survival is estimated at about 15 leters/per capita/per day. Furthermore, only 4% of the Gaza population has access to safe and clean water.
  • On 5 March, the Palestinian Environment Quality Authority stated that Gaza is witnessing a public health and environmental disaster characterized by groundwater and soil contamination, the accumulation of large volumes of solid waste, and the daily flow of some 130 million litres of untreated sewage to the Mediterranean Sea.

Disrupting Humanitarian Aid

  • Less aid has gone daily into Gaza as compared to the average daily trucks entering Gaza before 26 January. According to UNRWA, trucks entering Gaza in February, reduced by nearly 50% compared to January 2024. Before 7 October, the average number of trucks that entered Gaza each day was around 500. For the weeks between 5-25 January, 152 trucks entered daily on average. For the weeks between 26 January and 29 February, 103 trucks entered Gaza daily on average. Between 1 and 14 March, 164 trucks entered Gaza daily, while 148 trucks entered daily between 15 and 22 March.
  • The denial of aid delivery to northern Gaza is particularly alarming. Only 25% of planned missions to areas north of Wadi Gaza were facilitated in Between 1 and 22 March, around 50% of humanitarian aid missions to northern Gaza were facilitated by the Israeli authorities.
  • 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. UNRWA has been prevented from delivering humanitarian assistance to northern Gaza since late January. On 24 March, UNRWA said that Israel had definitively barred it from making aid deliveries in northern Gaza. This development was described as “outrageous,” with Israel deliberately obstructing “lifesaving assistance during a man-made famine”.
  • On 22 March, OHCHR stressed the series of attacks since early February on aid warehouses as well as police officers and other actors tasked with securing the delivery of aid supplies.
  • Israeli forces have not only prevented aid from entering Gaza, attacked aid warehouses and convoys, and those securing and delivering aid, but have also targeted and killed Palestinaisn as they await humanitarian assistance. From mid-January to the end of February, OHCHR documented at least 14 incidents involving shooting and shelling of people gathered to receive life saving aid at two entrances of Gaza city with a majority of these incidents resulting in casualties. This pattern of violence was evident during the Flour Massacre on 29 February, when Israeli forces fatally shot over 118 Palestinians who were seeking food from aid trucks on Al-Rashid Street south of Gaza City. Such targeting and killings have continued. At least 15 similar incidents were reported between 1 and 23 March, during which at least 82 Palestinians have been killed.

No Prevention of Public Incitement to Genocide

  • No charges were pressed against any public official for public incitement to genocide.

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This brief has been prepared by the Palestine Institute for Public Diplomacy (PIPD) and Bisan Center for Research and Development.

[1] According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health between 26 January and 25 March 2024. (This is 19% of the total confirmed Palestinians killed since 7 October in Gaza).

[2] The Famine Review Committee concluded that two of the three criterias for declaring famine have been met. The third criteria, “the likelihood of having surpassed Under-Five Death Rate thresholds (4/10,000/day for children) is higher but impossible to ascertain.” This is due largely to the systematic targeting of the healthcare system which made it impossible to ascertain the number of Palestinians killed not due to direct military attacks. Families in the north of Wadi Gaza are reported to be burying loved ones in gardens, in the streets and in empty plots of land. However, testimonies confirm that children are dying from malnutrition.