The war in Gaza escalates. Civilian and aid worker casualties on the rise. Words "Crimes Against Humanity" coming up.

Gaza bombing

Today Israel dropped bombs and leaflets on Gaza, pounding suspected rocket sites and tunnels used by Hamas militants and warning of a wider offensive despite frantic diplomacy to end the bloodshed. It is clear this conflict is nowhere near to the end (Full)

Rejecting Friday's UN Security Council resolution that called for an immediate and durable cease-fire, Israel and Hamas continued to fight. Israeli jets and troops attacked Hamas targets in Gaza, and Palestinian militants fired about 30 rockets into southern Israel. (Full)

Meanwhile, the international community is building up criticism on Israel's indiscriminate targeting of civilians and aid workers:

  • ICRC (the International Committee of the Red Cross) stated Israel has violated its obligations under international humanitarian law by refusing to assist civilians wounded in its attacks on the Gaza Strip. In the Zaytun neighborhood of Gaza City, ICRC workers found four small children next to their dead mothers in one of the houses. They were too weak to stand up on their own. One man was also found alive, too weak to stand up. ICRC stated "The Israeli military must have been aware of the situation but did not assist the wounded." (Full)
  • On December 30, several Israeli gunboats intercepted a ship with aid supplies, the SS Dignity, in international waters. The ship carried international medical aid workers and three tonnes of medical supplies. One Israeli gunboat is believed to have rammed the boat on the port bow side, heavily damaging her. (Full)
  • On Friday night, an Israeli drone missile hit a car from the Norwegian People's Aid (NPA), an international NGO. NPA stated the car was clearly marked with the NPA logo, and that it was impossible not to recognize that this was a humanitarian vehicle. The Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated the incident as a clear violation of international law. (Full)
  • Earlier this week, an ambulance belonging to an Oxfam partner organisation was hit by an Israeli shell, killing one aidworker, and injuring two others. (Full)
  • A CARE aidworker was killed on January 6th in an aerial bombing. Mohammed Ibrahim Samouni, a father of six, was killed and his son was critically injured. (Full)
  • Also last week, an Israeli tank shelled a clearly marked UN school, leaving 43 Palestinians civilian dead and almost 150 injured. 1,600 people were taking shelter in the school, according to the UN, who confirmed there were only civilians in the school, which was clearly marked with a UN flag and its GPS location was duely reported to the Israeli authorities. (Full)
  • Human Rights Watch accused Israel of using white-phosphorus munitions during its offensive in the Gaza Strip and warned of the risk to Palestinian civilians who live near the fighting. The use of white-phosphorus in densely populated areas of Gaza violates international humanitarian law (Full)
  • On Thursday a aidworker was killed after a UN relief agency convoy came under fire from Israeli forces. The attack took place as the lorries travelled to the Erez border crossing to pick up supplies. The incident happened during an Israel approved three hour seize fire aimed at allowing humanitarian aid to move into Gaza. This eventually caused UNRWA, the main UN agency providing aid to the Palestinians, to suspend all food aid. (Full)
  • Israeli forces shelled a house in which they had moved around 110 Palestinians into 24 hours earlier. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called it "one of the gravest incidents" since the beginning of the offensive. 30 people were killed. (Full)
  • Similar incidents were singled out by Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She called for independent investigations into possible war crimes committed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip. "I am concerned with violations of international law. Incidents such as this must be investigated because they display elements of what could constitute war crimes," Pillay told the press. (Full)
  • As many as 257 children have been killed and 1,080 wounded (a third of the total casualties since Dec. 27) according to U.N. figures released on Thursday. (Full)
The UN humanitarian situation report on Gaza of Jan 9th summarizes the numbers: 800 dead, 3,300 injured and over 21,000 people displaced within Gaza.

Picture courtesy Mohammed Salem (ABCNews)


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