Israeli restrictions on aid demonstrate genocidal intent: Human rights mission

Ahram Online , Sunday 18 Feb 2024

A joint Egyptian-Palestinian human rights mission reported on Saturday that its findings indicate Israel's criminal intent to commit genocide, citing restrictions on life-saving aid entering the Gaza Strip.

A picture taken from a position in southern Israel on February 16, 2024 shows smoke billowing following Israeli bombardment on the Gaza Strip. AP


​The mission inspected the Rafah Border Crossing and the relief operations centre of the Egyptian Red Crescent Society (ERCS) in Arish, documenting Israeli restrictions on humanitarian aid convoys entering the strip.

The mission reported over 1,000 aid trucks stalled at the Rafah crossing, awaiting Israeli permission to enter Gaza. Each truck takes about 15 days to cross, significantly exceeding the usual five-day duration, due to Israeli restrictions.

“This raises the cost of the truck to more than double the value of the aid. This also doubles the percentage of the Egyptian contribution in preparing, re-equipping, transporting, and delivering aid to about 70 percent of the value of each truck entering the strip,” noted the statement.

The team also reported whole aid trucks were turned back after being inspected at the Israeli checkpoints under the pretext that they included “prohibited goods.”

These included oxygen tubes, medical refrigerators, tents with the ability to generate energy, and items that contained iron or wooden components.

The team also documented an ERCS-affiliated warehouse extending over an area of 1,000 square meters in Arish that contained aid rejected by Israel.

This aid, the statement said, is being repackaged after Israel damaged the packaging during its “arbitrary inspection meant to damage the aid.”

“The restrictions imposed on the flow of life-saving aid to the afflicted in the Gaza Strip … constitute one of the most grave crimes of the sweeping Israeli aggression against protected civilians in the Strip and confirms the intent of the criminal occupation to commit the crime of genocide,” read the statement.

In late January, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN’s top court, ordered Israel to prevent genocide against Palestinians in Gaza in a case filed by South Africa which accused the occupation forces of violating international laws on genocide.

Prohibited weapons

​The mission also took testimonies from Palestinians injured in the war and received or are still receiving treatment at Egyptian hospitals in North Sinai.

The mission stated that 65 percent of the victims were women and children not engaged in fighting, with up to 85 percent suffering various degrees of skin loss.

“Some 85 percent of the injuries suffer from the decomposition of various layers of skin (skin loss), a matter that suggests that the Israeli occupation forces are using prohibited weapons in the ongoing aggression,” read the statement.

The mission did not specify which prohibited weapons they alleged Israel used. 

A large portion of the injured are patients with chronic illnesses and therefore require urgent assistance amid the collapse of Palestinian health facilities, which were a main target of Israeli forces.

Additionally, the statement noted that 65 percent of those receiving treatment in North Sinai hospitals had at least one limb amputated, due to injuries sustained by Israeli fire, while 80 percent of the victims were injured after being displaced from their homes to what Israeli forces termed "safe areas" or during passage through "safe corridors."

According to the testimonies gathered, the mission said 40 percent of the cases were injured inside UN-operated sanctuary centres – of which Israel had been notified.

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