Israel Accused of Abusing Laws of War to Justify Attacks on Gaza Hospitals

Israel Accused of Abusing Laws of War to Justify Attacks on Gaza Hospitals

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Israel's abuse of the laws of war to legitimize attacks on hospitals in Gaza is drawing scrutiny, according to Neve Gordon, a professor of international law at Queen Mary University in the UK.

Gordon contends that Israel is attempting to justify its assaults on medical facilities by claiming they serve as Hamas infrastructure.

"Israel is attacking the hospitals and trying to justify its attacks," Gordon stated in an interview with Al Jazeera. "So what it is doing is using different clauses in the laws of war which allow warring parties to attack hospitals if they are used outside their humanitarian mission. The law itself is not a great protection for these hospitals," he added.

"On the one hand, it tells us that hospitals must be protected by warring parties, but on the other hand, it immediately adds a number of exceptions that allow warring parties to attack the hospitals. Israel is using these exceptions on its social media to claim that Hamas is using the hospitals and ambulances."

In a separate development, Israeli military spokesman Daniel Hagari asserted that "signs indicating hostages were held" had been found in a basement room within al-Rantisi Hospital in north Gaza. This claim was made in a video shot by Israeli forces in the children’s hospital, where Hagari pointed to various items as evidence, including women's clothing, a rope on the leg of a chair, and an "improvised" toilet.

Hagari also referenced what he called a "guardian list" on the wall, where he claimed fighters signed into shifts to watch the captives. However, the paper lacks actual names, containing only days of the week and dates. It only contained a reference to 'Al-Aqsa Storm, the name of Hamas’s October 7 operation.

The allegations against hospitals in Gaza come at a time when tens of thousands of people displaced from their homes have sought refuge in these medical facilities after Israeli attacks. The accusations by Israeli forces are vehemently rejected by health workers and Hamas officials.

In response to a video posted by Israel’s military claiming to show a fighter firing a rocket-propelled grenade launcher from al-Quds Martyrs Hospital in Gaza City, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) denounced the claims. PRCS deemed them a "blatant attempt to incite further targeting and besieging of the hospital, constituting a clear violation of international humanitarian law."

The PRCS highlighted the perilous situation, reporting Israeli tanks stationed "in front of and shielded by the hospital, endangering the lives of medical teams and patients." The organization emphasized that "there are no armed individuals inside the hospital, and no shots have been fired from within. Everyone within the hospital are patients, their families, and the medical staff."

More than 11,200 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since October 7. However, the number of Palestinians casualties have not been updated since Friday after communications with hospitals were severed due to the Israeli attacks.

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