Extermination, expulsion ‘identifiable strategies’ of Israel’s war in Gaza

A human rights group calls on the United Kingdom to stop arming Israel as its campaign in the strip continues.

Displaced Palestinians sheltering in a school flee Rafah after Israeli forces launched a ground and air operation in the eastern part of the southern Gaza city [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]

London, United Kingdom – Mass extermination and mass expulsion are “identifiable strategies” of Israel’s military campaign in the Gaza Strip, a human rights group warns, as it calls on the United Kingdom to impose an arms embargo.

Restless Beings, which is based in the UK, decried Israel’s “policies of colonialist occupation” on Monday in a report that has won support from Afzal Khan, a member of the UK Parliament with the opposition Labour Party.

“Rather than meeting the stated intention of extracting hostages and dismantling Hamas, the most obvious findings in this report highlight destruction of places of refuge and accessibility of those who are displaced,” the seven authors of the study wrote, having reviewed the Israeli army’s actions in Gaza from early October until early February.

“In all of the 753 cases of civilian infrastructure attacks recorded in the report, civilian loss of life and the destruction of civilian society is clearly evidenced,” the report found.


The Israeli assault began on October 7, the day Hamas attacked southern Israel.

During the Palestinian group’s attacks, 1,139 people were killed and more than 200 were taken captive. Some hostages have since been released, others have died and dozens are still being held.

More than 35,000 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children.

Much of the Strip has been reduced to rubble, and the majority of Palestinians have been displaced, many of them multiple times.

Boys watch smoke billowing during Israeli strikes east of Rafah
Boys watch smoke billowing up from eastern Rafah during Israeli strikes [AFP]

Across 146 days monitored in the report, hospitals in Gaza were attacked on “65 percent” of those days, it found.

“The attacks on hospitals were systematic, moving north to south to render all health facilities non-operational by the middle of February, 2024. Roads around hospitals were attacked first to prevent patients from seeking medical assistance or evacuating,” it said.

“Just under half of Gaza’s hospitals and health facilities have been attacked multiple times by [the] Israeli army, either by air, sea, or ground attacks.”

Israel has long blockaded Gaza and imposed a total siege on October 9.

At the time, Yoav Gallant, Israel’s minister of defence, said: “I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel. Everything is closed.”

In a comment that was widely condemned, he added: “We are fighting human animals, and we are acting accordingly.”

A looming ‘death sentence’

Gaza’s Ministry of Health warned on Monday that without an influx of fuel deliveries, the few hospitals that are still operating could collapse within hours.

Junaid Sultan, a vascular surgeon who volunteered in the southern area of Rafah, told Al Jazeera that hospitals would run out of electricity and water without the deliveries.

“[If] that fuel does not come in, that will be a death sentence to not only hundreds, but thousands of patients,” Sultan said.

Restless Beings found that much of Gaza’s population is also at risk of “starvation, forced displacement to a third country and of further attacks” as it blamed international governments for not recognising “the Israeli strategy” in Gaza.

It found that the patterns of Israel’s military operation indicate that it has breached the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which classify attacks on civilian infrastructure as a “war crime”.

Source: Al Jazeera