Gaza Valley ‘safe corridor’ a killing trap! – Horrifying testimonies of tanks firing on fleeing families

Displaced Palestinians in Rafah have to move in the sights of an Israeli tank

THE ISRAELI regime has turned a supposedly safe corridor through which the people of Gaza can travel south into a trap to kill displaced Palestinians, a Geneva-based human rights organisation says.

In a report on Sunday, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said it has documented the killing of Palestinian civilians by Israeli forces at the Wadi Gaza (Gaza Valley) checkpoint after they were forced to flee from Gaza City to the al-Mawasi area in the south of the territory.
‘Israeli forces also targeted civilians waiting for aid trucks near the checkpoint.
‘Israeli forces killed at least 30 Palestinians on Sunday evening as they waited for aid trucks near the al-Nabulsi roundabout on al-Rasheed Street southwest of Gaza City,’ the rights body said.
Euro-Med observers have documented horrifying testimonies about Israeli tanks firing artillery shells and bullets at more than 300 civilians, most of them women, children and the elderly, last Thursday, as they tried to flee from Gaza City to the south of the Gaza Valley.
‘Despite the fact that they were carrying white flags, obeying Israeli army orders, and walking on army-designated streets, they were specifically targeted.’
Euro-Med added: ‘This wave of forced displacement occurred at the same time that hundreds of civilians were assembling to await aid trucks.
‘Many were taken aback when Israeli tanks emerged and opened fire on the civilians, killing 28 people and wounding about 80 more.’
The rights organisation has strongly condemned ‘unlawful killings and extrajudicial executions of Palestinian civilians’ by Israeli forces, saying they amount to grave violations of international humanitarian law.
Euro-Med also noted that massacres of displaced people of Gaza are war crimes and crimes against humanity, ‘as well as crimes that fall under the purview of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.’
The rights organisation concluded its report by calling ‘for the formation of an independent international investigation committee specialising in Israel’s ongoing military attack on the Gaza Strip … and opening the necessary investigations into all crimes and violations committed against Palestinians … including the deliberate killing and extrajudicial execution of civilians.’

  • Famine is stalking Gaza as aid agencies struggle to deliver food to the north of the enclave, the head of the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) has warned.

Humanitarian aid has not reached people in northern Gaza for more than a month, Philippe Lazzarini said on Sunday.
‘The last time UNRWA was able to deliver food aid to northern Gaza was on January 23,’ he wrote on social media.
Aid agencies say that Israel has been delaying deliveries.
Tel Aviv denies that charge as it prepares to report to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the measures it has taken to avert suffering in the besieged enclave.
However, Lazzarini said calls to allow food distribution in Gaza amid the ongoing hostilities between Israel and Hamas have been denied or ‘have fallen on deaf ears’.
Warning against ‘looming famine’, the UN official said the situation is becoming a ‘man-made disaster’.
At least 500,000 people are facing famine while nearly the entire population of Gaza, 2.3 million people, is experiencing acute food shortage, figures from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) show.
On Sunday, it was reported that a two-month-old Palestinian boy died of starvation.
Israel – which controls Gaza’s border crossings – has opened just one entry point into the enclave since the start of the war and imposed ‘endless checking procedures’ for trucks to pass through, UN agencies say.
Right-wing Israeli protesters have also blocked aid convoys at the Karem Abu Salem entry point – known as Kerem Shalom by Israelis – into southern Gaza, saying the Palestinian people should not be given aid.
Since February 9th, the average number of trucks that entered Gaza daily was about 55, compared with 500 that used to enter before the start of the conflict, according to OCHA.
The agency reports that the flow has sharply reduced further in recent days.
Palestinian police officers have stopped providing escorts after at least eight of them were killed in Israeli attacks in southern Rafah, according to UNRWA and UN officials.
This has prompted others to leave their posts, paving the way for a breakdown in civilian order.
Last week, the World Food Programme (WFP) announced the suspension of aid deliveries to northern Gaza after crowds of hungry people stripped goods and beat a driver.
Convoys also faced gunfire, with verified video on social media showing Palestinians fleeing to take cover amid the sound of gunshots and clouds of fumes from smoke bombs. Palestinian children are also seen desperately scooping up spilled flour from the ground.
The lack of Israeli assistance is further complicating deliveries, UN agencies say.
According to OCHA, the majority of aid missions between January 1st and February 15 for northern Gaza – 39 out of 77 – were denied by Israel and less than 20 per cent were facilitated by Israeli authorities.
On Monday, Israel was due to report to the ICJ what it has done to open the way to increased deliveries of humanitarian aid – one of the measures Israel was ordered to comply with by the UN’s top court last month to prevent genocide in Gaza.
But Human Rights Watch said on Monday that Israel was not adhering to the court’s order, citing a 30 per cent drop in the average number of aid trucks entering Gaza daily over the weeks since.
‘The Israeli government has simply ignored the court’s ruling, and in some ways even intensified its repression, including further blocking lifesaving aid,’ said Omar Shakir, the agency’s Israel and Palestine director.
Meanwhile, UN chief Antonio Guterres warned that a full-scale Israeli military operation in the southern city of Rafah would ‘put the final nail in the coffin’ of aid programmes in Gaza.
Lebanese security officials say Israel has targeted eastern Lebanon for the first time since the war on Gaza began in October last year.
At least two people were killed on Monday after Israeli military planes carried out three air strikes on the outskirts of Buday village near Baalbek, a Hezbollah stronghold in the Bekaa Valley about 100km (62 miles) from the Israel-Lebanon border.
The attacks targeted a convoy of trucks, with the Israeli military claiming it struck ‘Hezbollah terror targets deep inside Lebanon’.
The Israeli army said its jets targeted sites used by Hezbollah for its aerial defence system, adding that the strike was ‘in response to the launch of a surface-to-air missile’ that downed an Israeli drone earlier on Monday in southern Lebanon, where most Israeli attacks have happened so far.
A Hezbollah official said the Israeli strikes hit a warehouse, killing two people. The warehouse is part of Hezbollah’s Sajjad Project that sells food products to people in its stronghold at prices lower than the market.
A video posted by Lebanese media outlets showed a plume of smoke rising from the vicinity of the Aadous Plain in Buday, west of the city of Baalbek.
Two separate videos showed a destroyed area with a burned-out and overturned truck and a damaged SUV lying next to a road, as well as a huge pile of rubble from what seems to be a building.
The air strikes came hours after Hezbollah said its fighters shot down an Israeli drone over its stronghold in a province in southern Lebanon.
Another missile fired by Hezbollah towards the drone was intercepted by Israel and landed near a synagogue in a town close to Nazareth in northern Israel. There were no injuries or damage.
The strike on Baalbek, because of its location deep inside Lebanon, is the most significant since the strike in early January on Beirut that killed top Hamas official Saleh al-Arouri.
Later on Monday, Hezbollah said it fired a volley of rockets at an Israeli military base in retaliation.
‘In response to the Zionist aggression near the city of Baalbek,’ Hezbollah fighters targeted the base in the occupied Golan Heights ‘with 60 Katyusha rockets’, the group said in a statement.
The Israeli military confirmed that dozens of rockets were launched from Lebanon towards Israel on Monday afternoon.
Hezbollah says it will only stop its attacks on Israel after a ceasefire is reached in Gaza.