As the Israeli genocidal war continues, it is estimated that approximately 1 million Palestinians in Gaza have become internally displaced persons.
While there have been numerous calls to establish humanitarian corridors, there is little if any humanitarian aid entering Gaza.
No neutralized zones (areas free from war or bombings) have been established by third parties as dictated by Article 15 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GC4). And, Israel continues to target hospitals, churches, schools and mosques – places that Palestinians in Gaza have been converging in the hopes that they may be safe.
On 13 October 2023, Israel ordered the ‘evacuation’ of 1.1 million people, without ensuring it fulfills its obligations during times of war. According to the ICRC commentary on Article 49 of GC4, while Israel can call for an evacuation, it must 1) be for the safety and benefit of the people and 2) cannot be forced. Meaning, that if Palestinian chose to remain, they continue to be protected persons and may not be exposed to continued airstrikes or other military actions.
For the evacuations to be not a reoccurrence of the 1948 Nakba, for the safety of the civilians, and in accordance with Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the occupying power must ensure that:
- Protected persons (Palestinians) are to remain within the occupied territory;
- The evacuation is temporary and Palestinians must be returned to their habitual residences as soon as hostilities cease.
- Proper accommodations are provided that are clean, safe and meet their basic needs (water, food, medicine, health care);
- Families are not separated.
Now, a full week after the evacuation order, with no apparent prospects of a cease fire or the establishment of neutralized zones, and no measures taken by Israel to implement its obligations under international humanitarian law (IHL), the genocide of Palestinians in Gaza accelerates. In practice, Israel has been using the evacuation and warning orders as an excuse and justification to target civilians.
Considering the above, BADIL calls on the international community to fulfill its obligations under IHL by:
- Establish neutralized zones that Israel will refrain from bombing;
- Call for an immediate cease fire in order to ensure humanitarian agencies, especially UNRWA are able to function and receive the aid required.
Impose sanctions on Israel and call on states to implement 2-way arms embargos until Israel’s compliance with international law.