Press Releases

Witness: Israeli Occupation Forces Exploit Palestinian Bodies in Gaza, A Disturbing Display of Atrocities

The Israeli occupation has released a video depicting an Israeli vehicle running deliberately over a civilian Palestinian body who died while attempting to flee to southern Gaza. Eyewitnesses said that he was crossing Salahuddin main road–an ostensibly secure route for southern evacuation–only to be fatally shot and run over by a military vehicle for symbolic purposes.

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness) strongly condemns this heinous act, alongside other blatant violations such as symbolizing by dead bodies, as reported by various organizations and media outlets. It is noteworthy that more than 11,000 lives have been lost and 28,000 wounded in the Israeli attack against Gaza.

Recent actions underscore that Israeli occupation violations are not confined to living people. In fact, (Witness) reveals a consistent pattern of mistreatment of dead Palestinian bodies, a historical injustice perpetuated by the occupation since its establishment. Not only are the bodies subjected to abuse, but they are also withheld, denying families the right to dignified burial. As of mid-year, the Israeli occupation has retained over 370 bodies.

In light of the aforementioned, (Witness) affirms that the Israeli occupation's violations against Palestinian bodies are not sporadic incidents but integral to a systematic oppression of Palestinians, particularly civilians.

Monitoring the acts of the Israeli occupation throughout decades and in the current aggression against Gaza Strip verifies direct targeting of civilians in a flagrant violation of international laws and agreements. It is crucial to highlight that the appalling actions carried out by the occupation forces in Gaza against this Palestinian youth constitute a blatant breach of international laws. Urgent action by the international community is imperative to address such violations.

These acts violate international norms emphasizing the dignified and respectful treatment of dead bodies, prohibiting their mutilation and humiliation. Civilians must not endure torture, abuse, or humiliation, in addition to the strict prohibition of directing military operations against them or any property.

Referring to the basic principles of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, Article 8(2)(a)(i) explicitly classifies the willful killing of civilians in international armed conflicts as a war crime. The right to life for all is safeguarded by Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, while Article 5 explicitly prohibits subjecting any individual to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment.

In this statement, the Palestinian Association of Human Rights (Witness) urges the international community to open an independent inquiry into this incident and other atrocities, holding those responsible accountable. We also call for measures to prevent the recurrence of such appalling violations in the future, emphasizing the imperative of upholding the fundamental human rights of the Palestinian people. This requires active intervention and sustained pressure on the Israeli occupation to cease the ongoing massacres in Gaza.

The Palestinian Association for Human Rights (Witness)

November 13, 2023