On the two year anniversary of Israel’s 2014 attacks on Gaza, the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (LPHR) & Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) have highlighted the lack of credible investigation into and accountability for unlawful attacks on healthcare infrastructure and personnel during the hostilities.
Launching an update to their 2015 report ‘No More Impunity: Gaza’s Health Sector Under Attack’, the organisations have returned to the six cases featured in the report to document how a lack of progress has impacted the lives of victims and survivors.
Among these cases is the attack on the Mebarrat Falasteen Centre for People with Disabilities, which was struck by the Israeli military on 12 July 2014. Two disabled women were killed, and three disabled residents and a care support worker were severely injured in the attack. Their case was submitted to the Israeli Military Advocate General (MAG), but the case was closed without investigation, with the MAG alleging that all precautions were taken and the site was a legitimate military target. “I think the army may be trying to avoid responsibility in our case” said Ms Jamila Ilwa, the Centre’s Director. “In case of another attack we have added a safety shelter into the new plans.”
Gaza’s only rehabilitation hospital, Al Wafa, which was completely destroyed in the 2014 attacks, also still lies in ruins two years later. “We do not expect to get anything from our legal case, but I hope that someone will hear the voices of the weak, the elderly, and people with disabilities” said Dr Basman Alashi, Executive Director of the hospital. “Local groups, international organisations, individuals and families heard the call but when it comes to governments, the ICC or the international community, I have lost hope. How could the world sit and watch what was happening to Al Wafa?”
International law dictates that where applicable laws appear to have been violated in military attacks, the attacks must be investigated promptly, impartially, and in a credible and effective manner. Moreover, civilians who suffer injury or damage due to unlawful attacks must have access to appropriate reparations.
Al Mezan, LPHR and MAP are jointly calling on the international community to ensure these victims have access to justice through the establishment of a UN and other international mechanisms to monitor and assess the effectiveness of steps taken to ensure accountability in accordance with international law standards.