100 Days of Ongoing Genocide in Gaza Amid the International Community`s Failure to Protect Palestinians
Today, 14 January 2024, Israel’s genocidal military campaign against Gaza enters its hundredth day. Over this period, Al Mezan, Al-Haq, and the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) have monitored and exposed the plethora of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and acts constituting genocide committed by the Israeli authorities and military across the occupied Palestinian territory, with its epicenter in Gaza. A hundred days later, the international community still falls short of fulfilling its duty to protect the Palestinian people.
The Israeli military is killing an average of 250 Palestinians per day in Gaza, a higher daily death rate than any other twenty-first-century armed conflict. In 100 days, Israeli attacks have killed one out of every 100 Palestinians in Gaza and injured—often with life-altering wounds—at least two Palestinians in every 100. As we write, thousands of Palestinians remain buried under rubble, whether dead or alive, some enduring this situation for days or even weeks. Hundreds of bodies are in a state of decay, deprived of the right to a dignified burial, as Israel continues to deny medical and rescue teams access to areas where its troops and soldiers are deployed.
According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, between 7 October 2023 and 12 January 2024, Israel’s genocidal military campaign in Gaza killed 23,843 Palestinians and wounded 60,317 more. According to the Government Media Office in Gaza, among those killed are approximately 10,400 children, 7,100 women, 337 medical personnel, 45 civil defense personnel, and 117 journalists. Our teams on the ground emphasize that the actual number of fatalities is considerably higher than the figure announced by the Ministry of Health, as a substantial number of individuals remain trapped under the rubble.
This chilling death and injury toll occurs amidst a deliberately imposed humanitarian crisis by the Israeli authorities upon the 2.3 million Palestinian residents of Gaza. Ninety percent of Palestinians have been displaced from their homes, with many experiencing displacement on multiple occasions, notwithstanding that there is not a single place in Gaza that can be called safe. Israel employs starvation as a method of warfare: 2.3 million residents of Gaza, including our staff, face significant daily challenges in accessing food and water. Reports of deaths from hunger, particularly among children, newborns and infants, are beginning to surface. The situation is particularly catastrophic in northern Gaza, where the presence of Israeli soldiers and troops on the ground has made the delivery of humanitarian aid to hundreds of thousands of civilians who are still located there virtually impossible.
Due to the ongoing genocide in Gaza, every facet of life there has faced utter destruction. The local healthcare system has crumbled as Israel has declared an "unrelenting war" on the health system in Gaza, rendering it incapable of delivering essential care to the injured, sick individuals, and everyday patients. Educational pursuits have been severely disrupted, with Israeli attacks causing complete destruction to 95 schools and universities, and partial damage to 295 others, as reported by the Government Media Office in Gaza. Israeli airstrikes destroyed 145 mosques, while another 243 were partially damaged. Three churches have been destroyed by Israeli attacks, along with numerous archaeological and historical sites, as well as significant cultural landmarks, contributing to the erasure of Palestinian history and life throughout Gaza.
Simultaneously with the genocide in Gaza, Israel escalated attacks against Palestinians all across historic Palestine. In the occupied West Bank, between 7 October 2023 and 12 January 2024, the Israeli military and settlers killed 336 Palestinians, including 84 children. Over the same period of time, Israel started a campaign of mass arrest: since 7 October, at least 5875 Palestinians have been detained, as further punitive measures have been imposed on them and the existing 5,200 Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including administrative detainees. Palestinians in Israeli custody and detention are subjected to torture, ill-treatment, inhumane or degrading treatment, and enforced disappearances. The Israel Prison Service announced the ‘death’ of at least seven Palestinian detainees and prisoners. Palestinians holding Israeli citizenship have also experienced various forms of persecution, including arbitrary arrests, threats of citizenship revocation, and a severe crackdown on freedom of speech.
Al Mezan, Al-Haq, and PCHR reiterate that the Palestinian people in Gaza are facing an ongoing genocide. Israel`s actions in Gaza—encompassing killings, causing severe bodily or mental harm, deliberately imposing conditions of life aimed at physical destruction, and imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group—constitute genocidal acts under the 1948 Genocide Convention. These acts are committed with the intent to destroy, either wholly or in part, the Palestinian population in Gaza. This intent is substantiated by statements from official Israeli sources and individuals expressing the clear intention to carry out such destruction.
The recent address from the Israeli Prime Minister, delivered last night, underscores the lack of any inclination on Israel`s part to cease its genocidal military campaign in Gaza. The remarks made during this speech also underline Israel`s refusal to implement a ceasefire in Gaza, in violation of the United Nations General Assembly Resolution A/ES-10/L.27 adopted on 10 December 2023, highlighting the urgency for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to promptly issue provisional measures.
To this end, we urge the ICJ to swiftly issue provisional measures instructing Israel to cease military operations, refrain from genocidal acts in Gaza, and facilitate the entry of aid and fact-finding teams for accountability purposes, as requested by South Africa. We additionally call on all State Parties to the Genocide Convention to express their endorsements and formally support the legal proceedings initiated by South Africa at the ICJ.
We reiterate our plea to the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Ms. Alice Wairimu Nderitu, to officially acknowledge and publicly affirm that Israel`s actions in the Gaza Strip amount to genocide. Additionally, we urge her to condemn the genocidal rhetoric emanating from Israeli officials and emphasize the inherent dangers that such rhetoric poses to the international community.
Under international law, States must not recognize illegal situations as legitimate and must refrain from assisting in maintaining the illegal situation. States must also impose a two-way arms embargo on Israel and stop the provision and transit of military equipment that may foreseeably be used in the commission of international crimes.
Responsibility at the State level should be accompanied by individual criminal accountability. We strongly reiterate our calls on the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to promptly issue arrest warrants for Israeli political, security and military officials—especially governmental officials and high-ranking military personel—believed to be responsible for perpetrating, ordering, planning, and instigating international crimes, including genocide, committed over the past 100 days as well as since 13 June 2014.
Israel’s international crimes against the Palestinian people must cease immediately and permanently. To this end, the international community must not only hold Israel and the Israeli authorities accountable, but address the root causes by dismantling Israel’s settler-colonial and apartheid regime, and ensuring that all discriminatory and inhumane laws, policies and practices against the Palestinian people are abolished once and for all. The international community must also urge Israel, the Occupying Power, to immediately and unconditionally withdraw from the occupied Palestinian territory, lift the closure and blockade of Gaza, and enable the Palestinian people to fully exercise their inalienable right to self-determination, including their right to return.
Photo: Scene of continuing destruction in Gaza Strip. Source: Al Haq.