Geneva - Israel has dropped more than 25,000 tons of explosives on the Gaza Strip since the start of its large-scale war on 7 October, equivalent to two nuclear bombs, Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor said in a press release issued today.
According to the Geneva-based human rights organisation, the Israeli army has admitted to bombing over 12,000 targets in the Gaza Strip, with a record tally of bombs exceeding 10 kilograms of explosives per individual. Euro-Med Monitor highlighted that the weight of the nuclear bombs dropped by the United States on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan at the end of World War II in August 1945 was estimated at about 15,000 tons of explosives.
Due to technological developments affecting the potency of bombs, the explosives dropped on Gaza may be twice as powerful as a nuclear bomb. This means that the destructive power of the explosives dropped on Gaza exceeds that of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Euro-Med Monitor said, noting that the area of the Japanese city is 900 square kilometres, while the area of Gaza does not exceed 360 square kilometres.
The rights group’s statement underlined that Israel uses bombs with huge destructive power, some of which range from 150 to 1,000 kilograms, and cited a recent statement by Israeli War Minister Yoav Gallant that declared that more than 10,000 bombs have been dropped on Gaza City alone.
Israel’s use of internationally banned weapons in its attacks on the Gaza Strip has been documented, said Euro-Med Monitor, especially the use of cluster and phosphorus bombs, which are waxy toxic substances that react quickly to oxygen and cause severe second- and third-degree burns.
The Euro-Med Monitor team has also documented cases of injuries among Gazans due to Israeli air strikes that are similar to those caused by the aforementioned cluster bombs. These small, high-explosive bombs cause penetrating shrapnel wounds and explosions inside the body, leaving victims with severe burns that lead to skin melting off and sometimes to death. Fragments from these bombs cause unusual swelling and poisoning of the body, plus internal injuries from transparent fragments that do not appear on x-rays.
Israel’s use of highly explosive bombs in densely populated areas poses the single greatest threat to civilians in modern armed conflicts, said Euro-Med Monitor, and explains the complete leveling of residential neighbourhoods in Gaza and the overall severity of the widespread devastation there.
The rights organisation further stressed that Israel’s destructive and arbitrary attacks are in violation of international humanitarian law, which stipulates that the protection of civilians is obligatory in all cases and under any circumstances, and that killing civilians is considered a war crime in both international and non-international armed conflicts and may amount to a crime against humanity.
The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 and the 1949 Geneva Convention both regulates fundamental human rights in times of war to prevent lethal health effects from weapons that are prohibited by international law—some of which because they have the potential to cause “genocide”.
“The attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited,” according to Article 25 of the Hague Regulations relating to the laws and customs of land warfare prohibits.
Meanwhile, Article 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that “Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.” Violations of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention are considered to be grave breaches of the Law of Armed Conflict, and therefore to be war crimes.
Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor called for the formation of an independent international committee to investigate the volume of explosives and internationally prohibited weapons being used by Israel against civilians in the Gaza Strip. The rights organisation also called on the international community to hold all those responsible for these inhumane attacks accountable, and to take any necessary measures to guarantee justice for the Palestinian victims.