London, 13th October 2023- ICJP is gravely concerned by Israel’s order to 1.1 million people to immediately leave their homes in northern Gaza and move south. This order, made without any guarantee of return, amounts to the war crime of mass forcible transfer, and may also amount to a crime against humanity, as it is part of a widespread and systematic attack against the civilian population of Gaza.
There has never been a clearer sign that Israel is on the verge of committing mass atrocity crimes in Gaza. This must be prevented at all costs.
Israel’s ultimatum is causing great panic and fear among the people of Gaza, who have been under continuous aerial bombardment and a total siege since Sunday. The situation is already catastrophic – people in Gaza have no food, electricity or water, which directly impacts and restricts hospitals from being able to function properly. Palestinians in North Gaza are faced with the choice of leaving their homes or being killed.
Moreover, the UN has stated that mass relocation of 1.1 million people in less than 24 hours is impossible, not least due to the constant barrage of fire and the destruction of roads and could have devastating consequences.
More than two thirds of the Gazan population are refugees who are now being displaced once again under horrifying circumstances.
The UK, the US the European Union, and other nations who have influence over the Israeli political leadership must immediately use all diplomatic and political means at their disposal to call for:
1. An immediate ceasefire
2. Israel to immediately lift the siege over Gaza
3. Israel to immediately rescind the order for 1.1 million Palestinians to leave their homes.
4. Israel to immediately provide access for food, water, fuel and other necessities to the people of Gaza.
There is still time for the international community to use its influence to reign in the Israeli regime from carrying out further war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza. In February 2022, the international community did everything it could do to prevent a humanitarian disaster in Ukraine and a similar attitude must be applied here.
The UK government and other Western nations have strong diplomatic links with Israel, and therefore great influence. It must use this influence now to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. Politicians should not encourage and support Israel’s assault on Gaza, which could constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity. Instead, the government must act quickly, and in compliance with a rules-based accountability system which is applied equally to Palestinians and Israelis.
Speaking on Good Morning Scotland earlier today, ICJP Director Tayab Ali spoke about the order, saying:
“One million people are being told to leave or die from what is effectively an open-air prison camp. There has never been a clearer sign that not only is Israel prepared to commit war crimes, its about to commit a crime against humanity.”
Notes to Editors:
- The International Centre of Justice for Palestinians is an independent organisation of lawyers, politicians and academics who support the rights of Palestinians and aim to protect their rights through the law.
- For more information, or to arrange an interview with a spokesperson please contact: Jonathan Purcell, Public Affairs and Communications Officer, at [email protected]