The massacre in Israeli tents in Rafah is a heinous war crime – ScheerPost

Palestinians search for survivors after an Israeli airstrike in the Rafah refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, on October 12, 2023 (Shutterstock)

By Seraj Assi / Common dreams

Last night, Israeli forces stormed a tent camp housing displaced people in a designated safe zone in northern Rafah, killing at least 45 Palestinians, most of them women and children, and wounding hundreds of others.

It was one of the most horrific attacks on Palestinian civilians in recent history. Media reports indicate that Israel destroyed the tent camp with seven huge American bombs, weighing 2,000 pounds each. According to eyewitnesses, the intensive bombardment, which targeted the Tal al-Sultan area of ​​Rafah, was a deliberate attack on Palestinian refugees sheltering in tents. The bombed refugee tents, marked Block 2371, had been designated by Israel as a “safe area” for civilians.

Widely circulated images show a night of unspeakable horror: bodies burned to ashes, charred and blackened beyond recognition; decapitated children, decapitated and torn apart by American bombs; parents holding their dead and burned children and screaming in horror; rescuers pull the charred remains of people from burning tents; injured victims were taken to hospital with gruesome and gruesome injuries.

In its barbaric retaliation against the International Court of Justice ruling, Israel bombed Rafah with enormous intensity and unprecedented brutality.

The massacre in the tents of Rafah is a heinous war crime carried out by Israel with unprecedented barbarity. The Palestinians call it the ‘tent holocaust’.

Citing the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS), the Palestinian news agency Wafa said the victims included women and children, many of whom “burned alivein their tents. An eyewitness who arrived at the Kuwaiti hospital in Rafah said: “Tents were melting and people’s bodies were also melting.”

A shocked doctor who witnessed the massacre said: ‘In all my years of humanitarian work I have never witnessed something so barbaric, so gruesome, so inhumane. These images will haunt me forever. And it will stain our conscience for eternity.”

The massacre at the Rafah tents comes days after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Israel to halt its military offensive there, and shortly after the International Criminal Court said it had applied for arrest warrants for Israeli leaders. In its barbaric retaliation against the International Court of Justice ruling, Israel bombed Rafah with enormous intensity and unprecedented brutality. Observers estimate that Israel has bombed the refugee town more than 100 times since the ruling – a travesty of international justice and a slap in the face of the international court. Jeremy Corbyn, the former leader of the British Labor Party, described the Israeli bombing of the Rafah camp as a “monstrous failure of humanity.”

The massacre has sparked worldwide outrage. International rights groups scrambled for words to describe the unfolding horrors in Rafah. The United Nations Palestinian Refugee Agency (UNRWA) described the images from Rafah as further evidence that Gaza is a “hell on earth.” Former UNRWA spokesperson Chris Gunness called the massacre ‘the crime of crimes’.

Doctors Without Borders said it was “shocked” by the attack, which “shows once again that nowhere is safe.” Humanitarian group ActionAid says it is “outraged and deeply saddened” by the “inhumane, barbaric” attack on the Rafah camp: “Our partners’ images of burned bodies are a scar on the face of humanity and the world community, which so far has failed to protect the people of Gaza.” The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to housing called for action against Israel, writing: “Attacking women and children as they cower in their shelters in Rafah is a monstrous atrocity. We need coordinated global action to stop Israel’s actions now.”

Western leaders, meanwhile, have offered their usual bromides. EU foreign policy chief Josef Borrell said he was “shocked by news from Rafah of Israeli attacks killing dozens of displaced people, including small children,” while French President Emanuel Macron said he was “outraged by the Israeli attacks have killed many displaced people in Rafah.” Yet it is not immediately clear whether this “outrage” would lead to European sanctions against Israel.

Rafah is home to 1.4 million displaced Palestinians, most of whom are women and children seeking shelter in makeshift tents. The attack on the tent camp in Tal al-Sultan came shortly after Israeli forces bombed shelters housing displaced Palestinians in Gaza, including Jabalia, Nuseirat and Gaza City, killing at least 160 Palestinians. To date, Israel’s genocidal war against Gaza has claimed more than 35,000 victims, including more than 15,000 children. It has displaced nearly two million Palestinians, mainly to Rafah, which has been mercilessly bombed by Israel.

In a blatant violation of international norms and humanitarian laws, Israel continues to operate in Gaza with complete impunity, enjoying Western complicity, and encouraged by unconditional US military and diplomatic support. Amid global outrage and condemnation, Israeli leaders continue to call for the total destruction of Gaza, with thousands of Israelis now taking to Telegram groups to celebrate IDF atrocities with images of burned Palestinian children.

For more than eight months, Palestinians in Gaza have been sharing live videos of their daily executions, pleading with the world to stop the carnage. But the Western political class has remained silent, issuing only platitudes about human rights and international law while refusing to rein in Israel’s riotous barbarism, let alone impose sanctions on a genocidal state that is brazenly seeking revenge responds to the ruling of the International Court of Justice by even killing people. more Palestinians.

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Seraj Assi

Seraj Assi is a Palestinian writer living in Washington DC

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