As part of its genocide in Gaza, Israel escalates its targeting of schools housing displaced people

Dec 6, 2023

Israel’s escalation of its attacks on UNRWA-run schools housing displaced persons in different areas of the Gaza Strip was strongly condemned by Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor in a statement released on Wednesday.

The Euro-Med Monitor team has monitored intense Israeli air and artillery attacks on at least five UNRWA-run schools over the past 24 hours. These attacks have caused hundreds of casualties, and are a grave violation of the legal immunity that should be enjoyed by UN facilities.

The attacks last night and this morning targeted the UNRWA-run Palestine School in the northern Gaza Strip’s Jabalia camp; Al-Falah School in the Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, located in the south of Gaza City; the Salah Al-Din School in the Al-Ramali neighbourhood, located in the north of Gaza; and another school in the Bani Suhaila area in Khan Younes.

Dozens of additional displaced people were killed and injured yesterday, on Tuesday 5 December, as a result of Israeli attacks targeting the Ma’an School in Khan Yunis. Yesterday also saw another school being collaterally damaged as a result of artillery shelling—causing the killing of at least four displaced people and the wounding of 20 others.

The hundreds of thousands of displaced Palestinians who are seeking a safe haven from Israel’s attacks are packed into every single UNRWA school in the Strip, Euro-Med Monitor reported.

According to preliminary figures provided by the rights group, 1.9 million of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are internally displaced, with 1.2 million people living in 156 UNRWA-run facilities across the Gaza Strip.

Since Israel started its genocide in the Strip on 7 October, UNRWA has recorded more than 120 attacks on its facilities, including direct attacks on more than 30 UNRWA-run facilities. Several of these schools, which provide refuge to displaced individuals, have been attacked more than once, including Al-Fakhoura School in the Jabalia camp.

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Al-Fakhoura School was subjected to an Israeli air strike on 19 November, leaving hundreds dead or wounded, some of whom were sleeping at the time of the attack. The same school was subjected to intense artillery shelling on 4 November, causing dozens of casualties.

The Tal al-Zaatar School in the northern Gaza Strip was also subjected to several Israeli attacks, the most severe of which was on 18 November and led to the death of more than 50 people and the injury of dozens others.

Like all UN facilities, UNRWA buildings display the UN flag on their roofs, and the relevant Israeli authorities are periodically notified of the coordinates of all schools and centres that have been converted into emergency shelters for civilians.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor stressed that Israel must fulfill all its obligations in accordance with international humanitarian law. The Geneva-based rights organisation demanded that Israel immediately stop its targeting of civilians and UN facilities, and respect the basic principle of the inviolability and immunity of such international facilities under the rules of war.

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