One year after the Israeli military assault on the Gaza Strip that left 2,219 Palestinians killed - most of them are civilians - Al Mezan Center for Human Rights and photographer Anne Paq tell the stories and bring to light the faces of the families who remain deeply affected. Some of these families were entirely wiped out and most lost multiple members in attacks on their houses, without warning, as they were inside them.
Direct attacks on protected persons or objects, such as families in their homes, are considered serious violations of international humanitarian law as they fail to observe the inviolable principles of distinction and proportionality. In all of the cases documented, the Israeli forces failed to provide effective warnings for civilians. As determined by the UN Commission of Inquiry, the "timing of the attacks increased the likelihood that many people, often entire families, would be at home," which suggests that "there are strong indications that these attacks could be disproportionate, and therefore amount to a war crime".
Al Mezan is located in Gaza and worked every day during the 51-day Israeli offensive. Anne Paq was present in Gaza during part of the military campaign. They both witnessed the impact of aerial and shelling attacks on families in their houses. After having documented these attacks, Anne Paq returned to Gaza and worked on this project with Al Mezan. She conducted field visits and found the survivors of some families she had met during the summer just after they suffered the deadly attacks, and then she extended her visual documentation to many other families throughout the Gaza Strip.
Around 50 families were visited and documented making this work one of the most extensive visual projects on the families who were wiped out - totally or in part - in the summer of 2014.
This project aims to pay tribute to the innocent victims. The aim is also to call for justice for the families and for those who carried out unlawful armed attacks to be held to account.
This webpage contains a map with GPS locations for every family home and a number of photos of those killed and of the survivors, the ruins of the houses, and other relevant images. They are presented in the form of a slideshow for every family with captions, including quotes of the survivors, summaries of the context of the attacks, and the names of the victims.
'Obliterated Families' can be accessed online at http://mezan.org/en/posts/52/Obliterated+Families