Bombed out building with 2 people standing on second floor

A selection of incidents relevant to U.S. law and policy that relate to arms transfers, international law, and civilian protection

Last updated on May 7, 2024

Since October, 2023, Israel has waged unprecedented aerial and ground attacks on Gaza after Hamas-led attacks on Israel. At least 34,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed at a historic pace and most of the Gaza population has been displaced. These attacks may amount to a genocide, according to a preliminary ruling by the International Court of Justice, a U.S. federal court, as well as dozens of U.N. experts and legal scholars. Israel's attacks in Gaza have been accompanied by a surge of Israeli violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, clashes between the Israeli military and militant groups in Lebanon, and Israeli aerial strikes in Syria.

Israeli violations of Palestinian human rights did not start in October 2023. They are daily, numerous, and impossible to put on one list. Groups tracking them include the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, B'Tselem, and Looking the Occupation in the Eye. Palestinian militant groups also violate international law, but they are not actively supported by the United States government. The list below represents a selection of high-profile incidents and sources that are specifically relevant to various provisions of U.S. law and policy that relate to arms transfers, international law, and civilian protection. This list is limited to events that have occurred between October 2023 and April 2024.

Each of these incidents should factor into the U.S. government’s assessment of proposed arms transfers to Israel under policies like the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, which prohibits arms transfers if it is “more likely than not” that the arms transfer will aggravate the risk of serious rights abuses; Civilian Harm Incident Response Guidance, which tracks reports of civilian harm by partner governments and applies appropriate steps to address concerns; and National Security Memorandum-20 (NSM-20), which requires governments receiving U.S.-funded weapons to provide assurances it will abide by international humanitarian law and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid. Some incidents may trigger restrictions in U.S. law such as the Leahy Law, Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act, and Section 502B of the Foreign Assistance Act.

This resource was developed as a collaboration between members of the Arms Sales Accountability Project. Contributors include American Friends Service Committee, Center for Civilians in Conflict, Institute for Middle East Understanding, and Middle East Democracy Center. Similar resources, more limited in scope and focusing solely on NSM-20, were published by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Oxfam, and the Independent Task Force on the Application of National Security Memorandum-20 to Israel.

See here for more information about the companies involved in these and other incidents.

Specific Incidents

In reverse chronological order.

When: 4/23/2024
Where: al-Nasser and al-Shifa Hospitals 
What: According to Palestinian authorities, hundreds of corpses were discovered in mass graves at two hospitals in Gaza following Israeli military operations there. Some bodies reportedly have indications of abuse. The United Nations and prominent human rights organizations have called for an independent investigation of the mass graves.

When: 4/1/2024
Where: Near Deir al-Balah, central Gaza Strip
What: An Israeli airstrike hit three vehicles of World Central Kitchen, killing seven aid workers who were managing food distributions for the humanitarian organization. According to The New York Times, the cars were clearly marked with the World Central Kitchen logo and, according to CNN, damage to the vehicles is “consistent with precision guided munitions.” The munitions used in the attack were likely Spike missiles, manufactured by Israeli weapons company Rafael and fired from an Hermes 450 drone, made by Elbit Systems.

When: 3/18-4/1/2024
Where: Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza City, Northern Gaza Strip
What: Over two weeks, the Israeli military conducted its second massive attack of Gaza’s largest hospital, destroying what was left of it after the first major attack (see below on November 11-24). According to the Financial Times, quoting Gaza’s health ministry, some 30,000 people, including patients and displaced persons, were “besieged” inside the hospital, and it was “impossible to rescue anyone due to the intensity of the fire and targeting of anyone approaching the windows.” The World Health Organization similarly reported that the attack made it impossible to reach the hospital and evacuate patients and medical staff. The organization’s director general was quoted in The Washington Post, saying: “We repeat once again: hospitals are not battlegrounds. They must be protected in line with international humanitarian law.”
On March 24, Doctors Without Borders (quoted in the New York Times), reported that fierce fighting continued around the hospital, “endangering patients, medical staff and people trapped inside with very few supplies.”
After the Israeli military withdrew from the hospital on April 1, the World Health Organization reported that at least 20 patients have died in the attack “due to the lack of access to care and limited movement authorized for health personnel.” However, “hundreds of bodies have been recovered from areas around the hospital” in the following couple of weeks, as reported by CNN.

When: 3/31/2024
Where: Al-Aqsa Hospital, Deir al-Balah, Central Gaza Strip
What: An Israeli airstrike in the courtyard of the Al-Aqsa Hospital, the last functioning hospital in central Gaza, injured 17 people, including seven journalists, and killed four members of the Islamic Jihad militant group. According to the BBC, following the attack, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, called “for protection of patients, health personnel and humanitarian missions,” stating that, “The ongoing attacks and militarisation of hospitals must stop. International humanitarian law must be respected.”
Source: Israel Gaza: Journalists injured in al-Aqsa hospital air strike (BBC, 3/31/2024)

When: 3/28/2024
Where: Near Nabulsi Roundabout, Southwest of Gaza City, Gaza Strip
What: A video published by Al Jazeera shows Israeli soldiers shooting dead two unarmed Palestinian men as they were trying to return to their homes in the north of the Strip. At least one of the men was seen “repeatedly wav[ing] what appeared to be white fabric, in a sign of surrender and to show that there was no threat.” The soldiers subsequently used a military bulldozer, likely made by Caterpillar, to drag and bury the men’s bodies in sand and garbage.
Source: Israeli soldiers shoot and kill two unarmed Palestinian men in Gaza: Video (Al Jazeera, 3/28/2024)

When: 3/27/2024
Where: Habbarieh, South Lebanon
What: An Israeli strike on an emergency and relief center killed seven volunteers. According to Human Rights, this was “an unlawful attack on civilians that failed to take all necessary precautions” and “should be investigated as an apparent war crime.” Human RIghts Watch identified the weapons used as an 500-pound bomb (MPR500) made in Israel by Elbit Systems, outfitted with a Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) guidance kit made in the U.S. by Boeing.
Source: Israel: US Arms Used in Strike that Killed Lebanon Aid Workers (Human Rights Watch, 5/7/2024)

On March 14, 2024, Israel submitted assurances to the U.S. government that Israel will "use U.S. weapons according to international law and allow U.S.-supported humanitarian aid into Gaza." Israel was required to submit these assurances by 3/24 to comply with National Security Memorandum-20.

When: 3/8/2024 
Where: Deir al-Balah, Central Gaza Strip
What: An Israeli airstrike killed 30 to 50 people, including Mousa Shawwa, the logistics coordinator for humanitarian organization Anera, and his 10-year-old son. According to Anera, he “had just returned from distributing humanitarian aid” and “was still wearing his Anera jacket” when the attack happened. Furthermore, “the coordinates of his shelter had been provided for the purpose of protecting him on several occasions, including just days before the attack.”
Source: US NGO worker killed in Israeli Airstrike (Anera, 3/9/2024)

When: 2/29/2024
Where: Salah al-Din Street, Al-Zaytoun Neighborhood, Southern Gaza Strip
What: According to Euro-Med, Israeli soldiers used a tracked vehicle to “deliberately” run over a Palestinian man “after he was arrested” and “subjected to harsh interrogation.” Euro-Med further reported that “the victim’s mutilated body and the surrounding area bear obvious signs that a military bulldozer or tank was present. It appears that the victim was purposefully stripped of his clothes, as he was seen wearing only his underpants at the time of his death.”
According to Euro-Med, this and similar attacks amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Source: Israeli tanks have deliberately run over dozens of Palestinian civilians alive (Euro-Med, 3/4/2024)

When: 2/20/2024
Where: Al-Mawasi, Khan Younis, Gaza Strip
What: Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) condemned in the strongest possible terms the killing of two MSF staff family members during an Israeli offensive on Al-Mawasi, Khan Younis, Gaza, Palestine. Six other people were injured in the attack. According to MSF, late on the evening of 20 February, Israeli forces conducted a military operation in Al-Mawasi, located on Gaza’s coastline, during which an Israeli tank fired on a house sheltering MSF colleagues and their families. The attack killed the daughter-in-law and wife of one of their colleagues, and injured six people, five of whom were women or children. Bullets were also fired at the clearly marked MSF building, hitting the front gate, the building’s exterior, and the interior of the ground floor.
Source: MSF strongly condemns Israeli attack on MSF shelter in Al-Mawasi which kills two and injures six (MSF, 2/21/2024)

When: 2/20/2024
Where: Khan Younis Beach, Southern Gaza Strip
What: According to Euro-Med, an Israeli battle tank ran over a tent, while a Palestinian family was sheltering inside. The family survived.
According to Euro-Med, this and similar attacks amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Source: Israeli tanks have deliberately run over dozens of Palestinian civilians alive (Euro-Med, 3/4/2024)

When: 1/29/2024
Where: Tal al-Hawa, Gaza City, Southern Gaza Strip
What: An Al Jazeera investigation shows three Israeli tanks surrounding the family car of six-year-old Hind Rajab after the Israeli military killed five of her family members. As Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) rescue workers attempted to rescue Hind, the Israeli military targeted their ambulance, killing two paramedics, Youssef Zeno and Ahmad Al-Madhoun. A fragment of a U.S.-made M830A1 shell was found at the scene of the PRCS ambulance.
According to Euro-Med, this was a “serious and complex crime that included multiple grave violations and war crimes,” including “the planned unlawful killing of unarmed civilians in a civilian car in broad daylight,” “the refusal to give urgent medical assistance to injured people when they discovered that a wounded child was still alive,” and “the intentional unlawful killing of PRCS paramedics on a humanitarian assistance mission, despite their use of the Red Crescent emblem, which is protected by international humanitarian law.”

When: 1/24/2024
Where: Khan Younis, Southern Gaza Strip
What: The Israeli military fired tank rounds at the UNRWA Khan Younis Training Centre, killing at least 13 Palestinians and injuring 56. At least 800 displaced people were sheltering at the building at the time of the attack, according to UNRWA. The shelter had been “impacted directly and indirectly by military activity twenty-two times since 7 October 2023.” UNRWA stated that, “Civilian casualties and daily attacks on civilian infrastructure indicate recurring failures by parties to the conflict to uphold the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law: distinction, proportionality, and precaution. Of note, UNRWA shares the location of its shelters directly with Israeli authorities and we had received assurances that people inside them would be safe.”

When: 1/23/2024
Where: Khan Younis, Southern Gaza Strip
What: According to Euro-Med, “an Israeli tank ran over members of the Ghannam family while they were sleeping in a shelter caravan in the Taiba Towers area of Khan Younis. As a result, a man and his eldest daughter were killed, and his remaining three children and wife were injured. Amina, his 13-year-old daughter, confirmed that her father and older sister were killed when an Israeli tank unexpectedly and repeatedly ran over the caravan, where the family had been sleeping.”
According to Euro-Med, this and similar attacks amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Source: Israeli tanks have deliberately run over dozens of Palestinian civilians alive (Euro-Med, 3/4/2024)

When: 1/11/2024
Where: Al-Rasheed Street, near Gaza City coast, Northern Gaza Strip
What: According to Middle East Eye, several witnesses reported that Israeli small drones “opened fire on hundreds of people” who had gathered at Al-Rasheed Street, waiting for the arrival of aid trucks. According to witnesses, “more than 40 people were immediately killed and dozens others were injured in the incident.”
Source: War on Gaza: Israeli quadcopters, the hi-tech weapon menacing Palestinian civilians (Middle East Eye, 1/24/2024)

When: 1/9/2024
Where: Khan Younis, Southern Gaza Strip
What: Doctors Without Borders / Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported a strike on an MSF shelter in Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip, which resulted in the death of the five-year-old daughter of a staff member. There were more than 100 MSF staff and their family members seeking safety there at the time of the incident. “Prior to the incident, MSF notified Israeli forces that the shelter near Gaza European Hospital was housing MSF staff and their families. Furthermore, no evacuation orders were issued before the strike,” MSF reported. While MSF was not able to confirm the origin of the shell, it appears to be similar to those used by Israeli tanks. MSF has contacted Israeli authorities for further explanation.” 
Source: Gaza: MSF condemns strike killing staff member’s five-year-old daughter (MSF, 1/9/2024)

When: 1/7/2024
Where: Outside Khan Younis, Southern Gaza Strip
What: A targeted missile hit a car with four Palestinian journalists, killing two and seriously injuring the other two.
According to the Washington Post, despite the Israeli military’s statement that the journalists were posing a threat to its troops, video footage shows “no Israeli soldiers, aircraft or other military equipment, (...) raising critical questions about why the journalists were targeted. Fellow reporters said they were unaware of troop movements in the area.”
“The Post found no indications that either man was operating as anything other than a journalist that day. Both passed through Israeli checkpoints on their way to the south early in the war; Dahdouh had recently been approved to leave Gaza, a rare privilege unlikely to have been granted to a known militant.”
Source: Drone footage raises questions about Israeli justification for deadly strike on Gaza journalists (Washington Post, 3/19/2024)

When: 12/17/2023
Where: Nasser Hospital, Khan Younis, Southern Gaza Strip
What: An artillery shell hit the Mubarak Children’s Hospital, which is part of the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, killing 12-year-old Palestinian girl, Dunia Abu Mohsen, who was recovering from losing her leg in an earlier Israeli airstrike that killed her parents and two siblings. The shell, which hit her in the head and did not explode, injured five other Palestinian civilians who were in the same room. According to Defense for Children International Palestine, this shell was fired from an Israeli tank, and “Deploying explosive weapons in densely-populated civilian areas constitutes indiscriminate attacks and carrying out direct attacks against civilians or civilian objects amounts to war crimes.”

When: 12/15/2023
Where: Farhana School, Khan Younis, Southern Gaza Strip
What: An Israeli attack killed Al Jazeera cameraman Samer Abudaqa and injured his colleague Wael Dahdouh while they were reporting. According to Al Jazeera, the Israeli military “prevented ambulances and rescue workers from reaching [Abudaqa], denying the much-needed emergency treatment” and leaving him to bleed for over five hours. A spokesperson for the Committee to Protect Journalists was quoted by Al Jazeera saying: “It’s essential to remember that journalists under international humanitarian law are civilians, and the obligation on all parties involved in the war is to protect them, and what we’re seeing, is that journalists are being killed.”
Source: Al Jazeera journalist Samer Abudaqa killed in Israeli attack in Gaza (Al Jazeera, 12/15/2023)

When: 12/15/2023
Where: Khan Younis, Southern Gaza Strip
What: According to Al Jazeera, Israeli drones “fired missiles at a school where civilians sought refuge, resulting in indiscriminate casualties.”
Source: Al Jazeera journalist Samer Abudaqa killed in Israeli attack in Gaza (Al Jazeera, 12/15/2023)

When: 12/12/2023
Where: Sibat Neighborhood, Jenin, Northern West Bank
What: An Israeli drone attack killed four Palestinians—Rafiq al-Dabbous, Mahmoud Abu Srour, Bakr Siddiq Zakarneh, and Thaer Abu al-Tin—and wounded at least five others during a military raid on Jenin. According to Middle East Eye, witnesses said the men were not armed. The Israeli military stopped an ambulance that tried to reach the scene and delayed it by more than 10 minutes, according to Middle East Eye.
Source: Israel-Palestine war: Drone strike kills four men during raid on Jenin (Middle East Eye, 12/12/2023)

When: 12/7-16/2023
Where: Kamal Adwan Hospital, Beit Lahia, Northern Gaza Strip
What: In a 10-day-long attack, the Israeli military bombed, raided, and eventually destroyed the Kamal Adwan Hospital. According to Euro-Med, on Dec. 7, “Israeli tanks approached the hospital, and Israeli army snipers (...) began shooting at anyone moving in the area.” On Dec. 11, the hospital’s maternity ward was “directly bombed,” resulting in the killing of two women and their two children. The military arrested “more than 70 health personnel out of the hospital,” including the hospital’s director, Dr. Ahmed Al-Kahlot. Later, according to Euro-Med, Israeli soldiers used tanks and bulldozers to run over and crush displaced people sheltering inside of tents in the Hospital’s courtyard. U.N. OCHA similarly reported that “an Israeli military bulldozer flattened the tents of a number of internally displaced persons outside the hospital, killing and wounding an unconfirmed number of people.” CNN reported that the Israeli military “desecrated the bodies of dead patients with bulldozers, let a military dog maul a man in a wheelchair, and shot multiple doctors” as part of the attack.

When: 12/8/2023
Where: Gaza City, Northern Gaza Strip
What: An Israeli airstrike killed eight civilians, including Prof. Refaat al-Areer, his brother Salah, his child Mohammed, his sister Asmaa, three of her children - Alaa, Yahia, and Mohammed - and a neighbor. According to Euro-Med, the airstrike “was apparently deliberate,” as it “surgically targeted the apartment on the second floor where Rafaat was in a 3-storey building, and not the entire building; indicating the apartment was the target and not possible collateral damage.” Euro-Med added that the attack “came after weeks of death threats that Refaat received online and by phone from Israeli accounts.”

When: 12/8/2023
Where: Far’a Refugee Camp, Nablus, Northern West Bank
What: According to Haaretz, Israeli soldiers in a David armored vehicle shot 25-year-old Palestinian Rami Al-Gandab. Al-Gandab was lying on the ground wounded, posing no threat, when soldiers shot him; he died the next day. According to Haaretz, “military police opened an investigation into suspicion of illegal shooting.”
Source: Soldiers were recorded shooting a wounded Palestinian who was lying on the floor, who died the next day from his wounds (Haaretz, 12/12/2023)

When: 12/7/2023
Where: Beit Lahia, Northern Gaza Strip
What: Video footage posted by Israeli soldiers on social media shows the Israeli military rounding up dozens of Palestinian men, and transporting them blindfolded, bound, and only in their underwear, into Israel on military tactical vehicles made in the U.S. by Oshkosh. According to The Guardian, being publicly humiliated for hours in this way is potentially a violation of international humanitarian law. While Israeli media claimed these individuals were all members of Hamas, the Israeli military later admitted that the vast majority were civilians.

When: 11/29/2023
Where: Jenin Refugee Camp, Northern West Bank
What: According to The Guardian, an Israeli military raid killed at least four people, including two children: eight-year-old Adam Samer al-Ghoul and 15-year-old Basil Suleiman Abu al-Wafa. As part of the raid, the military reportedly used bulldozers to knock out electricity and destroy civilian infrastructure, including houses, cars, and roads.
Source: Eight-year-old boy among four reported dead in Israeli raid on Jenin (The Guardian, 11/29/2023)

When: 11/20/2023
Where: Gaza City, Northern Gaza Strip
What: According to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), an Israeli military bulldozer crashed into five “clearly marked” emergency vehicles at their clinic. An Israeli tank then opened fire, destroying the vehicles and damaging the clinic, according Al Jazeera.

When: 11/20/2023
Where: Indonesian Hospital, Northern Gaza Strip
What: Israeli tanks surrounded the hospital and fired artillery into its complex, killing at least 12 Palestinians. According to Al Jazeera, about 700 people, including medical staff and injured people, were sheltering inside the hospital at the time of the attack. Indonesia’s Foreign Minister, Retno Marsudi, condemned Israel’s actions as “a clear violation of international humanitarian laws.”

When: 11/15/2023
Where: Multiple locations, Northern Gaza Strip
What: According to Euro-Med, the Israeli military carried out “300 white phosphorus strikes on a packed residential square in the northern Gaza town of Beit Lahia in under 40 minutes.” Earlier that day, reports of multiple white phosphorus shells were reported in crowded areas of Sheikh Radwan Neighborhood in Gaza City, Al-Shati Refugee Camp, and Jabalia Neighborhood and Refugee Camp. According to Euro-Med, this use of “internationally prohibited weapons” is “a flagrant violation of international humanitarian law and the rules of war.”
Source: Israel carries out more than a thousand white phosphorus strikes in Gaza (Euro-Med, 11/16/2023)

When: 11/14/2023
Where: Tulkarm Refugee Camp, Northern West Bank
What: Video footage posted on social media by the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PCRS) shows two David armored vehicles, which are made in the U.S., blocking an ambulance. The PCRS reported that “a wounded person inside was detained.”
During the same military raid, a video showed a Caterpillar bulldozer demolishing a monument dedicated to former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat. “No immediate reason is given for the razing” of the monument, according to The Times of Israel, as there was no military necessity for that action. According to Al Jazeera, “the deliberate destruction of cultural heritage during conflict can constitute a war crime.”

When: 11/13/2023
Where: Al-Shifa Hospital, Gaza City, Northern Gaza Strip
What: Over thirteen days, the Israeli military attacked and raided the largest hospital in the Gaza Strip. The Associated Press reported that in the beginning of the attack, on Nov. 11, the hospital was sheltering “some 1,500 patients, along with 1,500 medical workers and some 15,000 displaced people.” According to Reuters, 32 patients, including three newborn babies, were killed within the first three days of the attack.
While Israel claimed the hospital was a legitimate military target, a Washington Post investigation concluded that “the evidence presented by the Israeli government falls short of showing that Hamas had been using the hospital as a command and control center.” “That raises critical questions (...) about whether the civilian harm caused by Israel’s military operations against the hospital (...) were proportionate to the assessed threat,” the Post added.

When: 10/31/2023
Where: South of Nuseirat Refugee Camp, Central Gaza Strip
What: An airstrike on the Engineers’ Building, a six-story residential apartment building sheltering hundreds of people, killed at least 106 civilians, including 54 children.
Human Rights Watch “found no evidence of a military target in the vicinity of the building at the time of the Israeli attack, making the strike unlawfully indiscriminate under the laws of war.”
Human Rights Watch “found no evidence of remnants at the scene that might have helped identify the weapon. However, the blast damage and the resulting demolition of the building is consistent with the explosive payload of large air-delivered munitions.”

When: 10/31/2024
Where: Jabalia Refugee Camp, Northern Gaza Strip
What: According to The Guardian, at least 195 Palestinians, mostly women and children, were killed in two rounds of airstrikes. The Guardian “identified at least five craters in the densely populated refugee camp, which weapons experts said were left by the use of multiple JDAMs – joint direct attack munitions – in the airstrike.” The Guardian quoted a former U.N. weapons inspector, who said: "The munition is almost certainly JDAM, either a GBU 31 (Warhead Mark 84) general purpose bomb or possibly a GBU 56 (Warhead BLU 109) bunker buster. Both about 2,000lb [900kg]."

When: 10/22/2023
Where: Deir al-Balah, Central Gaza Strip
What: An Israeli airstrike on three homes belonging to the Mu’eileq family killed 19 people, including 12 children and 6 women. According to Amnesty International, the Israeli military used U.S.-made Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits in the “deadly, unlawful airstrike.” Recovered fragments from the weapons were marked with codes associated with Boeing, the manufacturer of JDAMs, and the bomb used likely weighed 2,000 pounds. Amnesty “did not find any indication that there were any military objectives” for the strike “or that people in the building “were legitimate military targets.” The organization has called for this incident to be investigated as a war crime.

When: 10/19/2023
Where: St. Porphyrius Church, Gaza City, Northern Gaza Strip
What: An Israeli air strike destroyed part of the compound comprising the ancient church, where hundreds of people were sheltering. According to Amnesty International, the strike killed 18 civilians and injured at least 12 others.

When: 10/15-16/2023
Where: Dhayra and Aita al-Chaab, Southern Lebanon
What: According to Amnesty International, the Israeli military fired white phosphorus artillery rounds over Dhayra, a Southern Lebanese village bordering Israel. An emergency doctor at the Lebanese Italian Hospital reportedly treated nine people from the area who had inhaled white phosphorus. Civilian infrastructure, including cars and areas of land, were “burnt down.” According to Amnesty International, “This attack on Dhayra, which injured civilians and damaged civilian objects, was indiscriminate and therefore unlawful. It must be investigated as a war crime,” according to Amnesty International.
The day before, video footage reviewed and verified by Amnesty International shows that the Israeli military “very likely” used white phosphorus rounds to also bomb the Lebanese border town of Aita al-Chaab.
Source: Lebanon: Evidence of Israel’s unlawful use of white phosphorus in southern Lebanon as cross-border hostilities escalate (Amnesty International, 10/31/2023)

When: 10/13/2023
Where: Alma al-Chaab, South Lebanon
What: The Israeli military fired 120mm tank rounds at a group of seven journalists in South Lebanon, killing Reuters journalist Issam Abdallah and injuring six others in what Amnesty International says was “likely a direct attack on civilians that must be investigated as a war crime.” Amnesty International “did not find any indication that there were any fighters or military objectives at the site of the strikes.” The 120mm tank rounds used were most likely M339 projectiles, manufactured by Elbit Systems company IMI Systems, according to Amnesty International.

When: 10/11/2023
Where: Gaza City, Northern Gaza Strip
What: Israel fired 155mm white phosphorus artillery shells at “densely populated civilian areas in Gaza many of which may be considered unlawful indiscriminate attacks,” according to Amnesty International. Amnesty reported that “several pieces of video evidence suggest the use of 155mm white phosphorus artillery shells.”
Human Rights Watch similarly identified “that the munitions used in the strike were airburst 155mm white phosphorus artillery projectiles.” According to Human Rights Watch, “Israel’s use of white phosphorus in military operations in Gaza and Lebanon puts civilians at risk of serious and long-term injuries.”

When: 10/10-16/2023
Where: Southern Lebanon
What: According to Human Rights Watch, the Israeli military used 155mm white phosphorus artillery projectiles along the Israel-Lebanon border. Amnesty International similarly reported that video evidence “almost certainly” indicates the use of white phosphorus.
According to Amnesty International, white phosphorus “must never be fired at, or in close proximity to, a populated civilian area or civilian infrastructure, due to the high likelihood that the fires and smoke it causes spread.”

When: 10/10/2023
Where: Deir al-Balah, Central Gaza Strip
What: An Israeli airstrike on the al-Najjar family home killed 24 people. According to Amnesty International, the Israeli military used U.S.-made Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) kits in this “deadly, unlawful airstrike.” Recovered fragments from the weapons were marked with codes associated with Boeing, the manufacturer of JDAMs, and the bomb used likely weighed at least 1,000 pounds. Amnesty International “did not find any indication that there were any military objectives” at the site of the strike “or that people in the building “were legitimate military targets,” raising concerns that the strike was a direct attack on civilians or civilian objects or an indiscriminate attack. The organization has called for this incident to be investigated as a war crime. 
Source: Israel/OPT: US-made munitions killed 43 civilians in two documented Israeli air strikes in Gaza – new investigation (Amnesty International, 12/5/2023)

Restrictions on Humanitarian Aid

Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act prohibits arms transfers to any government that “prohibits or restricts, directly or indirectly, the delivery of U.S. humanitarian assistance.” National Security Memorandum-20 further requires that Israel fully cooperate with, facilitate, and not restrict the delivery of U.S. humanitarian aid or U.S.-supported international efforts to provide humanitarian aid into Gaza. The following selected resources should inform the U.S. government as it assesses whether Israeli assurances are credible and whether continued arms transfers to Israel violate Section 620I of the Foreign Assistance Act.

Where: 3/6/2024
Where: Gaza Strip
What: Almost 40% of U.N.-coordinated aid missions were denied or impeded by Israel last month, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said. In February, 86 of the 222 missions — 39% of them — in areas that needed coordination were denied or impeded by Israel, according to OCHA.
Source: About 40% of UN-coordinated aid missions in Gaza denied or impeded by Israel last month, agency says (CNN, 3/6/2024)

Where: 3/5/2024
Where: Wadi Gaza Checkpoint, Gaza Strip
What: A 14-truck food convoy – the first by World Food Program (WFP) since it paused deliveries to the north on 20 February – was turned back by the Israeli military after a three-hour wait at the Wadi Gaza checkpoint.
Source: WFP food deliveries to northern Gaza face further setbacks (WFP, 3/5/2024)

When: 2/29/2024
Where: Nabulsi Roundabout, Gaza City, Northern Gaza Strip
What: The Israeli military fired upon a crowd of people waiting for a delivery of food aid. The attack killed more than 100 Palestinians and injured hundreds more and has been called “The Flour Massacre.”

When: 2/22/2024
Where: Northern Gaza Strip
What: Between 1 and 15 February, UNOCHA reported that only two out of 21 planned fuel missions by humanitarian partners to the north of Wadi Gaza were facilitated by the Israeli authorities. During this period, all 16 planned fuel or assessment missions to water and wastewater pumping stations in the north were denied access.
Source: Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #124 (UNOCHA, 2/22/2024)

When: 2/16/2024
Where: Gaza Strip
What: Between 1 January and 12 February, UNOCHA reported that 51% of missions planned by humanitarian partners to deliver aid and undertake assessments to areas to the north of Wadi Gaza were denied access by the Israeli authorities. During the same period, 25% of missions planned to areas assessed as necessitating coordination to the south of Wadi Gaza were denied by the Israeli authorities.
Source: Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #120 (UNOCHA, 2/16/2024)

When: 2/9/2024
Where: Ashdod, Israel
What: The U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) reported that a convoy of food donated by Turkey had been sitting for weeks in the Israeli port city of Ashdod. According to the Associated Press, the agency said that the Israeli contractor they work with received a call from Israeli customs authorities ordering them not to process any UNRWA goods. “That stoppage means 1,049 shipping containers of rice, flour, chickpeas, sugar and cooking oil — enough to feed 1.1 million people for one month — are stuck, even as an estimated 25% of families in Gaza face catastrophic hunger.” AP reported.

When: 2/6/2024
Where: Nasser Hospital, Southern Gaza Strip
What: UNOCHA reported that convoys to Nasser Hospital were denied access five times in a row. “Fuel shortages in hospitals forced them to cease most operations and could lead to preventable deaths,” reported UNOCHA.
Source: Humanitarian Access Snapshot - Gaza Strip | End-January 2024 (UNOCHA, 2/6/2024)

When: 2/5/2024
Where: Al Rashid Road, Gaza City
What: The United Nations reported that an Israeli naval vessel fired on a U.N.-coordinated food envoy at an Israeli holding point, resulting in a temporary halt of coordinated aid missions to north Gaza.
Source: Humanitarian Access Snapshot – Gaza Strip | End-February 2024 – UN OCHA (United Nations, 3/6/2024)

When: 1/25/2024
Where: Gaza Strip
What: As of January 25, UNOCHA reported that none of the 22 requests by the United Nations to the Israeli military to open checkpoints early to access areas north of Wadi Gaza were facilitated. UNOCHA also reported that between 1 and 25 January, 51 missions to deliver humanitarian aid were planned for the north of Wadi Gaza; however, only eight were facilitated by the Israeli military while 29 were denied access. During the same period, UNOCHA reported that 25% of missions (22) to the Deir al Balah governorate of Gaza were denied access
Source: Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #105 (UNOCHA, 1/29/2024)

When: 1/24-2/10/2024
Where: Kerem Shalom Border Crossing, Gaza Strip
What: Protesters at the border crossing with the Gaza Strip prevented the entry of most of the dozens of trucks that arrived at the terminal carrying humanitarian aid from Egypt. Only nine out of the 60 trucks that arrived at the Kerem Shalom border crossing made it through, according to Hebrew media reported by Times of Israel; the remaining 51 returned to Egypt after a six-hour wait at the crossing during which protesters from the Tsav 9 and Combatants’ Mothers groups physically blocked the trucks. 

When: 1/15/2024
Where: Gaza Strip
What: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) noted that humanitarian missions had reported two instances where convoy members were being detained by Israeli forces, and two instances of attacks on convoys. UNOCHA also reported that since January 1, all eight humanitarian missions to resupply water and wastewater facilities with fuel had been denied by Israeli authorities. “All Import restrictions, as well as complex and unpredictable clearance procedures of critical items considered by Israel as dual-use items, such as generators, pumps, pipes, and others, are preventing a scale up of WASH [Water, hygiene, and sanitation] response,” reported UNOCHA.
Source: Hostilities in the Gaza Strip and Israel | Flash Update #93 (UNOCHA, 1/15/2024)

When: 12/1/2023
Where: Gaza Strip
What: The Israeli government coordination office in the territories (COGAT) said that it had halted aid entry after the ceasefire collapsed. 

When: 10/18/2023
Where: Gaza Strip
What: Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, “we will not allow humanitarian assistance in the form of food and medicines from our territory to the Gaza Strip.”
Source: Statement by PM Netanyahu (Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 10/18/2023)

Systemic Violations

Other trends in Israeli military conduct since October 7, 2023

Kill Zones and Indiscriminate Attacks

Numerous reports have documented air strikes by Israel’s military, which President Biden has called, “indiscriminate bombing.” Haaretz has described areas within the Gaza Strip in which Israeli forces created “kill zones,” indiscriminately targeting anyone who enters. Haaretz further reported, “The orders are still to shoot anyone approaching forces in a combat zone.” And Amnesty International has argued that “Israeli forces have demonstrated – yet again – a chilling indifference to the catastrophic toll on civilians of their ongoing relentless bombardment of the occupied Gaza Strip.”

Buffer Zone and Controlled Demolitions

Since November, 2023, Israel has been systematically destroying civilian buildings and other property inside the Gaza Strip, creating a half-a-mile-wide “buffer zone.” These activities rely heavily on Caterpillar bulldozers and other heavy equipment.
According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Destructions carried out to create a ‘buffer zone’ for general security purposes do not appear consistent with the narrow ‘military operations’ exception set out in international humanitarian law (...) Further, extensive destruction of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly, amounts to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention and a war crime.”
Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has stated that the “demolitions carried out by Israel” for the creation of a “security zone” are “unlawful and constitute a war crime: they are a preventive measure intended to thwart a future threat, and demolition for such purposes is absolutely prohibited.”

AI-Powered Targeting

Israel has been using a combination of artificial intelligence (AI) systems called The Gospel, Lavender, and “Where’s Daddy?” to ingest large amounts of data and target Palestinians in Gaza en masse. U.S.-firm Palantir has provided Israel with AI tools that according to The Nation contribute to this targeting. In the first few weeks after Oct. 7, the military “almost completely relied on Lavender,” which identified some 37,000 Gazans as members of Palestinian armed groups and therefore as targets for bombing.
According to +972, the Israeli military knows “that the system makes what are regarded as “errors” in approximately 10% of cases, and is known to occasionally mark individuals who have merely a loose connection to militant groups, or no connection at all.”
According to +972, the military “systematically attacked the targeted individuals while they were in their homes — usually at night while their whole families were present — rather than during the course of military activity.” In addition, “when it came to targeting alleged junior militants marked by Lavender, the army preferred to only use unguided missiles (...) which can destroy entire buildings on top of their occupants and cause significant casualties.”
The military reportedly allowed killing 15-20 civilians alongside each suspected junior militant, “regardless of their rank, military importance, and age, and with no specific case-by-case examination to weigh the military advantage of assassinating them against the expected harm to civilians.”
According to +972 Magazine, “there was sometimes a substantial gap between the moment that tracking systems like Where’s Daddy? alerted an officer that a target had entered their house, and the bombing itself — leading to the killing of whole families even without hitting the army’s target. “It happened to me many times that we attacked a house, but the person wasn’t even home,” one source said. “The result is that you killed a family for no reason.”

Indiscriminate 155mm Artillery

The Israeli military has been extensively using its M109 self-propelled howitzer guns to fire 155mm artillery rounds into heavily populated areas in the Gaza Strip. According to The Jerusalem Post, the artillery brigade of the Israeli military's Southern Command fired 10,000 shells into Gaza by Nov. 25 alone. Most of Israel's arsenal of 155mm shells is U.S.-made.
As Oxfam warned in October, “Israel’s use of this munition in past conflicts demonstrates that its use would be virtually assured to be indiscriminate, unlawful, and devastating to civilians in Gaza.”
According to Haaretz, the large volume of 155mm rounds fired required some units of the Israeli military to use “unpredictable and irregular” munitions, including “munitions dating back to the 1950s, which were in poor condition,” as well as rounds that were marked as “for training only.”
According to Haaretz, the use of these munitions “significantly raised the risk of misfires and missed targets.” It significantly increased “the risk that someone will get confused, and the shooting will end in catastrophe.”

Torture and Ill-Treatment

While Israel has been credibly accused of using torture for many years, there have been numerous reports of abuses specifically among detainees taken from inside Gaza since Oct. 2023. According to +972 Magazine, “Israeli soldiers subjected Palestinian detainees to electric shocks, burned their skin with lighters, spat in their mouths, and deprived them of sleep, food, and access to bathrooms until they defecated on themselves. Many were tied to a fence for hours, handcuffed, and blindfolded for most of the day. Some testified to having been beaten all over their bodies and having cigarettes extinguished on their necks or backs. Several people are known to have died as a result of being held in these conditions.”

Attacking Hospitals and Other Protected Spaces

The Israeli military’s attacks destroyed or damaged more than half of the buildings in the Gaza Strip. Numerous reports have documented that critical infrastructure with special protections in times of war, such as hospitals, have regularly been targeted by Israeli forces significantly impacting the health sector and its ability to provide medical care to Palestinians injured or needing medical assistance, including the delivery of newborn children. 

Starvation as a Weapon of War

Leading humanitarian and human rights organizations have warned that the Israel government, through deliberate actions, are using starvation as a weapon of war. Several weeks after the war began, Oxfam noted, “just two percent of food that would have been delivered has entered Gaza since the total siege - which tightened the existing blockade - was imposed on 9 October.” And in December, Human Rights Watch declared Israel’s action to deprive Palestinians in Gaza of food and water a war crime under international humanitarian law.

Desecrating Cemeteries

According to Euro-Med, the Israeli military has “targeted the majority of cemeteries in the Gaza Strip, including Al-Falujah cemetery in the northern Gaza Strip, Ali bin Marwan, Sheikh Radwan, Al-Shuhada, and Sheikh Shaaban cemeteries, in addition to St. Porphyrius Church cemetery in Gaza City and Al-Shuhada cemetery in the northern town of Beit Lahia,” “leaving widespread destruction, vandalising some graves, and stealing dead bodies” in “flagrant violation of the principles of international humanitarian law and the rules of war in relation to the protection of cemeteries during armed conflicts.”
A CNN investigation confirmed that the Israeli military “has desecrated at least 16 cemeteries in its ground offensive in Gaza.”