Geneva – The Israeli army’s targeting of thousands of displaced people in the area of Al-Mawasi, west of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip—which was previously designated as a safe zone—constitutes a perpetuation of its ongoing genocide in the Strip, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a statement issued on Tuesday. The rights group said this targeting serves as further evidence of Israel’s attempt to implement its forced displacement plan and give the people of Gaza the impression that there is nowhere safe for them to live.Israel had increased the scope of its military assault on Khan Yunis as of Saturday evening, 21 January, said Euro-Med Monitor. Israeli forces in the vicinity conducted numerous intense air raids described as “fire belts” to accompany its ground incursion, which has extended all the way to the west of the Khan Yunis refugee camp. Additionally, the Israeli military besieged shelter centres housing 10s of thousands of displaced people in the western part of Khan Yunis as well as in the area of Al-Mawasi, said Euro-Med Monitor.

The Euro-Med Monitor team documented the Israeli bombing of five shelter centres. The most notable of these are Al-Aqsa University, where five civilians, including two women and two children, were killed; University College, where one civilian was killed; Khalidiya School, where one girl was killed; and Al-Mawasi School, where several displaced people perished while thousands were trapped inside a United Nations industrial building. Many thousands of people in the region were forced to flee after being targeted by the Israeli forces during their evacuation, Euro-Med Monitor reported, with some heading towards Rafah and others towards Deir al-Balah.

Israeli tanks and boats fired dozens of artillery shells at the area of Al-Mawasi specifically, which was housing 10s of thousands of displaced people; this targeting led to a number of deaths and injuries. At least 70 civilians, including women and children, were killed as a result of Israel’s bombing of displaced people in the area as well as in the general vicinity of western Khan Yunis, according to Euro-Med Monitor. Some of them were transferred to Khan Yunis’ Nasser Hospital, while others were moved to Abu Youssef Al-Najjar Hospital in Rafah and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir Al-Balah.

A woman told Euro-Med: “A shell fire fell on us, which led to a fire outbreak inside the tent,” said a woman who requested anonymity due to safety concerns. She told Euro-Med Monitor that her daughter had been next to her. “She was burned, along with my husband; we started running from the tent. I suffered from hand injuries and a finger fracture. I ran out with my daughter, who was also burned. I am in shock…I want to see my husband and my daughter.”

The Euro-Med Monitor team also received testimonies of Israeli field executions of three Palestinian men who were raising white flags while trying to reach their home. The men had been attempting to evacuate 50 family members who were trapped inside a house west of the Khan Yunis camp.

The Geneva-based organisation also pointed out that a new mass grave has been established inside the courtyard of Nasser Hospital to bury 40 dead bodies, as transferring them to an actual cemetery is impossible due to the heavy deployment of Israeli tanks.

Al-Mawasi, a small agricultural area on the coasts of Khan Yunis and Rafah, is home to hundreds of thousands of displaced people living in tents. The Israeli army initially directed residents to the area on 13 October 2023, claiming that it was a safe place. This claim was repeated in subsequent displacement orders dropped by Israeli aircraft on 2 November 2023 and 3 December 2023, stated Euro-Med Monitor.

As part of its ongoing attacks on Gazan hospitals, the Israeli army stormed Al-Khair Hospital, west of the Khan Yunis camp, and detained all of its medical staff, while imposing a complete siege on both the Nasser and Al-Amal hospitals.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) has confirmed that artillery shelling by Israeli army forces has targeted its Khan Yunis headquarters, injuring internally displaced people who sought shelter in the building. The PRCS had earlier confirmed that Israeli tanks had moved into the vicinity of Al-Amal Hospital and that it completely lost contact with its crews in Khan Yunis due to Israel’s ongoing ground operation.

Euro-Med Monitor stressed that Israel’s deliberate military attacks against shelter centres for the displaced explicitly violate the law, especially international humanitarian law. These centres have been identified as safe places, and it is Israel’s responsibility to ensure they remain safe. The methods of carrying out these attacks violate the principle of discrimination and do not take into account the standards of proportionality and military necessity, given the high number of victims—the majority of whom are civilians, including women and children. In line with international humanitarian law and criminal law, these attacks amount to grave violations and war crimes, said the rights organisation.

As reported by Euro-Med Monitor, Israel is determined to carry out forcible transfers of civilians from the Gaza Strip outside the bounds of the law. More dangerously, the silence of many in the international community gives Israel permission to designate people who refuse to comply with the evacuation order as “terrorists”, bomb houses and other city structures at random, and conduct field raids to drive them from their homes and land.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor emphasised that the deliberate targeting of civilians is forbidden by the rules of war, and that forcing civilians to flee their homes is a serious violation that equates to a war crime and a crime against humanity.

Euro-Med Monitor called on the International Court of Justice to stop Israel’s genocide against the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip and to shield them from further grave and irreversible harm.

Israel’s targeting of thousands of displaced Gazans in Khan Yunis is further evidence of its genocide (