From EuroMed Monitor
Israeli strike survivor calls on Human Rights Council to punish Israel for ‘exterminating his family’
Geneva – A survivor of the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in May 2021 called on the international community at a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council to end Israel’s impunity and bring justice to the victims.
Zainab Shukri Al-Qolaq, whose home was bombed by Israeli warplanes and who lay in rubble for 12 hours before being rescued, said the airstrike killed 22 family members, including her mother and three siblings.
She asked the Human Rights Council for an update on the investigation by the investigative committee set up after the Israeli attack, as hundreds of victims are awaiting justice for those guilty of serious violations of their respect.
Speaking on behalf of Euro-Med Monitor, during the general debate on agenda item 7 of the 49th session of the Human Rights Council, Al-Qolaq said: “I know that nothing can compensate for the loss of my family. But my mother, sister, brother and family will not rest in peace until the perpetrators of these crimes are punished.”
“I would like to know what progress has been made by the commission of inquiry you set up after the Israeli attack. Was she able to identify those responsible for the murder of my family? Are real measures being taken to avoid similar tragedies?”
Al-Qolaq expressed his fear of losing other family members, saying: “I am now 22 years old and have lost 22 loved ones. Will the international community allow me to lose more before my next birthday, or will it do me justice until then?
On May 16, 2021, Israeli warplanes bombed the apartment building where al-Qolaq and his family lived on Al-Wehda Street west of Gaza City. The building was completely destroyed; 42 civilians were killed, including 16 women and 10 children. Fifty other people were injured.
Following the Israeli attack on the Gaza Strip in May 2021, Euro-Med Monitor published a number of reports including: Inevitable Hell, Left in ruins and A war older .
Based on field research, victim interviews and analysis, these reports describe the consequences for civilians when they are targeted – particularly the psychological impact on vulnerable individuals such as women and children. The reports also assess the damage done to the Gaza Strip’s economic sector and infrastructure.
The reports also provide an analysis of the attack and its implications from a legal perspective, confirming that this type of Israeli aggression constitutes war crimes and crimes against humanity. The international community should quickly deploy tools to hold Israel accountable for its intolerable human rights abuses.
Al-Qolaq recently joined the Euro-Med Monitor training program which aims to train young people living in conflict zones in humanitarian and human rights activities. The program teaches them to use their skills and communication systems to create human rights advocacy mechanisms.
My name is Zainab. I am a Palestinian from the Gaza Strip. And miraculously I am still alive to speak to you today after Israeli forces shelled my home during the Israeli attack on Gaza in May 2021. I was badly injured and lay under rubble for 12 hours before they pulled me out.
When I woke up I found that I had lost 22 family members. It was a terrible shock. Death has become my life. The bombardment killed my mother Amal, my sister Hannah, my brothers Ahmed and Taher, my cousins and many other family members I cannot name. I feel my heart burst in my chest just thinking about her.
All the houses in our neighborhood were razed to the ground, although there were not a single gunman among us and no military action had been carried out from our area. We were all there, defenseless, anxiously watching the noise of the bombings that brought death.
I know my loss is too great to repay, but my mother, my sister, my brothers, my family will not rest in peace until the guilty are punished.
Mr President, I would like to know how the commission of inquiry you set up after the Israeli attack has progressed. Was she able to identify those responsible for the destruction of my family? Are measures being taken to avoid similar tragedies?
I am 22 now and have lost 22 loved ones. Will the international community have taken concrete steps to bring me justice when my next birthday is celebrated? Or will I have lost other loved ones as well?
1. Inevitable Hell : A hell from which there is no escape – Left in ruins : Reduced to ashes – A war older : One war later
March 25, 2022 – EurodMed Monitor – Translation: Chronicle of Palestine – Dominique Muselet