The Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor estimates that more than 13,000 Palestinians are missing under the rubble, buried in mass graves or forcibly disappeared in Israeli prisons and detention centers, where some are even presumed murdered. The bodies of these victims have not been exhumed, their identities have not been established, their remains have not been repatriated nor have their families been informed.

The destruction of infrastructure and homes throughout the Gaza Strip is almost total in some of the main cities and the occupation of the Israeli Army prevented the removal of rubble. This made it impossible to recover bodies of people killed by the bombings of family homes and residential buildings, and who today are among the thousands of missing people.

Euro-Med’s estimate is based on initial reports of missing people and the real number is likely to be higher. Given the continued military attacks and siege by the Israeli government, as well as the illegal practices of its army that have forced the rapid evacuation of thousands of Palestinian families, separating their members and forcing them to move to different areas. That is, cutting off communication between them and preventing them from knowing their situation. In the same way, various reports and images show the mass arrest of Palestinian men, whether children, adults or the elderly, every time the Israeli Army entered a city, forcibly disappearing some of them.

Euro-Med Monitor field teams, along with civil defense teams and rescue teams, recently used their limited resources to recover the bodies of 422 Palestinians from Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Medical Complex, as well as from Khan Yunis , which is located in the south of the Gaza Strip, after the Israeli army withdrew from these areas in recent days.

Most of the recovered bodies had decomposed significantly due to the long period of time between their deaths and their recovery, and some had clearly been mutilated by dogs and cats after Israeli forces prevented the recovery of the bodies for the past few months. . This violates the right of the victims and their families to a dignified burial, in accordance with their religious customs, which require that the dead be buried separately in cemeteries with visible markings so that they can always be identified.

To search for bodies under thousands of tons of rubble destroyed by Israeli bombing, civil defense teams use hand hammers, simple excavators and old-fashioned devices. As a consequence, they work long hours with little results from their efforts, even more so considering the lack of fuel and electricity, which makes their work even less efficient.

The Euro-Med report notes that missing people in Gaza fall into four categories:

1. The dead who have perished under the rubble of houses or buildings in which they were found, in the streets, in agricultural lands, in areas where Israeli forces were sighted; those who were killed by Israeli forces and buried; or those who perished near the border fence dividing the north and east of the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces set up execution zones and killed anyone who tried to approach them.

2. Dead buried in individual or collective graves. The condition of these graves varies between known people buried by their relatives, and unknown people buried by health authorities or residents of the area.

3. Those whose whereabouts remain unknown after their disappearance, whether as a result of Israeli raids or after their arrest. They are victims of Israel’s policy of forced disappearances, which targets Palestinian prisoners and detainees in the Gaza Strip. There is information indicating that many of these victims were subjected to arbitrary executions and torture, which ultimately led to their deaths without their identities being revealed.

4. Bodies that the Israeli army exhumed from mass graves in hospitals and surrounding areas. The Israeli military is believed to still be holding dozens of these bodies in custody, although dozens of them have also been returned.

Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor previously documented that more than 120 random mass graves were established in Gaza Strip governorates to bury those killed in military attacks, due to difficulty in accessing main and regular cemeteries and ongoing operations Israeli military.

Thousands of Palestinians remain missing, which constitutes another crime against their families, who suffer terrible psychological abuse. This type of suffering and pain is especially experienced by the families of those who were detained and taken prisoner by the Israeli army; They are left in a state of perpetual fear and anxiety, not knowing what will become of their loved ones, where they are being held, how they are being treated, or when they will be allowed to return. This is part of Israel’s crime of genocide against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip, which will have a significant negative impact on thousands of Palestinian families in the region, causing them great psychological damage.

The Euro-Med statement ends with a series of demands to stop this situation, among which is a call to the international community to act quickly and forcefully to defend Palestinian civilians against the genocide that Israel has been committing in the Strip. during the last six months. It also urges the International Committee of the Red Cross to assume its responsibilities and verify the conditions of detention of Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons. The Red Cross must also take public stances and issue statements whenever Israel prevents it from carrying out its mandated tasks, including visiting Palestinian prisoners and detainees. Finally, he points out that the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions; the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture; and the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances should promptly and thoroughly investigate all serious crimes committed by the Israeli military against Palestinian prisoners and detainees, including extrajudicial executions and killings, torture, inhuman treatment and forced killings, and present reports on these crimes to all relevant parties in preparation for the work of investigative committees and international tribunals to consider, investigate and prosecute cases related to this genocide.


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