A briefing on Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip – Occupied Palestinian Territory.

Date: 15 Nov 2019

Ms. Fatou Bensouda

Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court – The Hague

Subject: A briefing on Israeli crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip – Occupied Palestinian Territory.

The International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) highly appreciates your concern and the ICC’s keenness to narrow the space of impunity. Once again, we are pleased to convey to you the aspirations and hopes of Palestinian victims towards your current work in the framework of the preliminary examination as a step to deter the Israeli criminals, and a step towards enabling these victims of their right to an effective legal and judicial remedy, to increase the faith of Palestinian victims of international law, especially international humanitarian and criminal law.

With reference to the above subject, allow us to share with you documented information about the Israeli crimes committed over the past two days, from Tuesday dawn -12 November 2019-  until 09:00 am on Thursday -14 November 2019-, where the Israeli Occupation Forces carried out a large-scale military operation, started with an extrajudicial assassination of the activist: Bahaa Salim Hassan Abu Al-Atta (42 years) and his wife Asmaa Mohammed Hassan Abu Al-Atta (39 years) by striking his house with a missile, which also injured seven Palestinian civilians: Salim Bahaa Abu al-Atta (19 years), Mohammed Bahaa Abu al-Atta (18 years), Fatima al-Zahra Bahaa Abu al-Atta (13 years), Lian Bahaa Abu al-Ata (11 years), Hanan Shehde Helles (26 years), and Shirin Fouad Helles (21 years).

After that, the Israeli occupation forces carried out intensive airstrikes and artillery shelling in the Gaza Strip, killing 32 Palestinian civilians, most of whom were civilians, including 3 women and 6 children, and injuring 111 others, including 46 children and 20 women, in addition to a total and partial destruction of 52 civilian structures and facilities, and an extensive damage to thousands of acres of agricultural land.

During the current aggression, the Israeli occupation forces have deliberately carried out a systematic plan to target and kill Palestinian civilians, where the Israeli occupation forces committed cold-blooded killings of Palestinian civilians, as follows:

  • The first crime took place at Thursday dawn on 14/11/2019, killing 6 civilians of the same family, namely: the child Moaz Mohammed Salem al-Sawarka (07 years); Muhannad Rasmi Salem al-Sawarka (12 years); Mariam Salem Nasser al-Sawarka (45 years); Rasmi Salem Odeh al-Sawarka (45 years); and Yusri Mohammed Ouda al-Sawarka (39 years), due to direct targeting of their house in Deir al-Balah city.
  • The second crime was on Wednesday morning, 13/11/2019, in which three Palestinian brothers were killed, namely: the child Ibrahim Ayman Fathi Abdel Aal (17 years), the child Ismail Ayman Fathi Abdel Aal (16 years) and their brother Ahmed Ayman Fathi Abdel Aal (23 years old) due to the direct targeting of a carpentry owned by their father.
  • The third crime occurred on Wednesday morning, 13/11/2019, killing Raafat Suleiman Mohammed Ayyad (54 years), his son Amir Raafat Suleiman Mohammed Ayyad (7 years) and his other son Islam Raafat Suleiman Mohammed Ayyad (24 years), due to the direct targeting of a motorcycle the father was riding next to his house in the Zeitoun neighborhood in Gaza City.

In the course of attacking civilians in the Gaza Strip, Israeli occupation forces have imposed a comprehensive closure of land border crossings, prevented the entry of essential goods and materials into the Gaza Strip, including medicines and food, and imposed restrictions on the work of fishermen in the Gaza Strip, contrary to the obligations of the Fourth Geneva Convention related to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War imposed on the Occupation state as an Occupying Power, to facilitate the passage of food and medicine consignments to the civilian population of the Occupied Territories in all circumstances.

On the basis of the above facts, the International Commission to Support Palestinians’ Rights (ICSPR) has the honor to put this information in your hands, and declares its readiness to respond to further inquiries, and to provide you with the necessary documented evidence of the crimes committed by the Israeli occupation forces, and in this regard, ICSPR invites you to consider the above information, and to ensure that it is included in the course of your initial examination, and consider it an additional factor to urge you to work diligently to complete your preliminary examination with a just decision to open a criminal investigation into the Israeli crimes allegedly committed in the Palestinian case.

Once again, especially in light of the continued failure of the international community to force the Israeli occupation forces to stop its ongoing military operation in the Gaza Strip, your office and the International Criminal Court are the last resort for Palestinian victims and their families who wish to obtain their right to an effective judicial and legal remedy, and who are looking for a role for the ICC in narrowing the space of impunity.

Disrupting or delaying the work of the principle of international accountability means encouraging the Israeli occupation forces to commit more crimes described in the Statute of the Court and the four Geneva Conventions, in particular the Fourth Convention of 1949 and the First Additional Protocol of 1977.

Best Regards,