Geneva – Dozens of cases in which civilian women in the Gaza Strip were targeted during Israel’s 50-Day “Operation Protective Edge” are documented in a new report issued today by the nonprofit Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor. Titled “Crushing Flowers,” the report revealed that 489 females were killed by Israeli forces – 23 percent of the total number of victims. Likewise, 3,537 females (31.5 percent of the number of wounded) were injured during the 8 July-26 August assault.
“It is clear from the evidence we collected, including numerous eyewitness accounts, that no effective method was used by Israeli troops to avoid civilian casualties, including women and girls, and that excessive force was rampant,” said Ramy Abdu, chair of Euro-Med Monitor. “Meanwhile, many women are now dealing with the trauma of losing large numbers of their families.”
The 30-page report also documented 100 cases of pregnant women directly affected by the attack, with Israel failing to provide protection or safe corridors for hospital transport – in blatant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
In addition, about 23,184 internally displaced people, including 11,314 females, are currently staying at United Nations-run schools and other government schools that are serving as shelters for those whose houses were destroyed or severely damaged.
“Women have endured cruel and inhumane life conditions in shelters that lack the minimum necessities of life. Many women are suffering from depression and stress as a result of living in schools that do not afford them even rudimentary privacy,” said Abdu.
The attacks described in the report violate the Geneva Conventions (including Article 76 of the Additional Protocol, which states that “women shall be the object of special respect “) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women,” charged Ihsan Adel, Euro-Mid legal adviser.
Euro-Med Monitor called for a serious and credible investigation into the incidents and urged Israeli authorities to respect the rules of international law, especially those concerning the protection of women during armed conflict, and to bring to justice those responsible for human rights violations.