Israel siege and evacuation order of Gaza potentially amounts to international crime: UN  News
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Israel siege and evacuation order of Gaza potentially amounts to international crime: UN 

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated on Tuesday that Israel’s siege of Gaza, combined with a recently-issued evacuation order, could potentially amount to the international crime of the forcible transfer of civilians. This comes as the death toll from the ongoing war between Israel and Hamas reaches 4,200 people.

International law requires that any evacuation undertaken by an occupying power for reasons of civilian safety or military necessity must properly accommodate evacuees with “satisfactory conditions of hygiene, health, safety and nutrition.” In this case, the occupying power is Israel. The UN stated that there appears to be no effort by Israel to ensure that these rights are guaranteed to the 1.1 million civilians in Gaza who were ordered to evacuate. The UN stressed their concern for the wellbeing of these citizens in the coming days as Israel continues its military campaign.

The UN OHCHR also highlighted that numerous facilities have been hit in Gaza, causing major concerns of accessibility to medical care, shelter, sanitation, food, water, among other necessary supplies. The UN stated, “Urgent immediate, unimpeded humanitarian access needs to be ensured.”

The UN OHCHR also pointed to fatalities from the war thus far, including “at least 11 Palestinian journalists, 28 medical staff and 14 UN colleagues.” Other international organizations have also raised international law concerns amidst these fatalities, especially in regards to the journalist death toll. The UN acknowledged on October 10—just three days after Hamas launched the first attack into Israel—that there is evidence of war crimes committed by both Israel and Hamas. 

Earlier this week the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) restated evacuation orders calling for civilians to evacuate Northern Gaza ahead of planned Israeli military operations in the area. The World Health Organization (WHO) condemned the evacuation orders, citing concern over hospital capacity in Southern Gaza, which faced strain amid an influx of civilians from the North.

The UN OHCHR’s Tuesday statement echoed the UN’s call earlier this week for a humanitarian pause to help aid delivery and “prevent further suffering and death” of the Gaza civilian population. Similarly the UN also called for Palestinians armed groups—such as Hamas—to “immediately and unconditionally” release an estimated 199 Israeli civilian hostages and to halt all projectiles against Israel.