International law expert says Israeli Air Strikes on Gaza raise War Crimes Concerns

Speaking Friday, Professor William Schabas, who has been described as ‘the world expert on the law of genocide and international law’, said that the Israeli Air Raids on Gaza which today enter their 4th day:

‘Raised issues of war crimes and violations of the statutes of the International Criminal Court’

Professor William Schabas, who was elected as President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars and is currently a Professor of International law at Middlesex University in the UK, made the comments on Al Jazeera TV, on the fourth day of Israeli air strikes on the Gaza enclave. While the Israeli military has boasted that it has successfully killed 5 senior members of the Islamic Jihad, in what it describes as targeted assaults, dozens of innocent civilians have been killed and over 100 injured in what Professor Schabas describes as:

‘A familiar pattern…these are political attacks’

 ‘…a familiar pattern as in previous conflicts – the number (of civilian deaths) are just way too high compared to the military objectives and the number of military casualties…These are political attacks and in effect the civilians are being made to pay the price. They are being punished by Israel for the acts of combatants and this is contrary to international law and raises issues of war crimes law.’

The continuing assault according to the Gaza Ministry of Health, has thus far claimed the lives of 30, mostly women and children, as missiles have targeted apartment blocks, heavily populated civilian areas and the only remaining power plant in the strip. These targets according to human rights groups seem to be aimed at a collective punishment of non-combatant civilians, despite claims from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF), that they were specifically targeting military and weapons production sites.

UN: ‘Israel must abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law’

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres released a statement condemning the civilian loss of life which has resulted from the Israeli Air Strikes on Gaza as he also condemned the indiscriminate rocket attacks of Islamic Jihad into Israel. He said the deaths of the women and children were:

“…unacceptable and must stop immediately…Israel must abide by its obligations under international humanitarian law, including the proportional use of force and taking all feasible precautions to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of military operations.”

Silence from the international community

Thus far, the silence from international community including the UK Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak and the leader of the opposition Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer, has been particularly noticeable, especially given recent public statements made by both UK leaders and senior western international leaders in respect of  crimes against humanity committed in other fields of conflict.

Patients denied access to hospitals by border closures

The suffering of the citizens of Gaza has been compounded by the closure of all border entry points by the Israeli Army. The Gaza Ministry of Health has accused Israel of being in breach of the 4th Geneva Convention. It has pledged to hold Israel accountable for deaths and injuries resulting from its failure to allow over 400 serious health cases that desperately need to be transferred to hospitals in the West Bank, including more than 143 cancer patients who are at urgent risk of death.

The current death toll over the last four days is part of a rising toll of deaths now standing at more than 100, which have beset the Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza since the beginning of 2023.

 

 

 

 

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