Israel Condemned for ‘Unambiguous War Crime’ After Destroying Gaza Apartment Tower

Israel’s military faced war crime accusations Tuesday after carrying out an airstrike that completely destroyed a high-rise apartment building in densely populated Gaza City, prompting a massive barrage of retaliatory rocket fire as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to further escalate violence that has already left over 30 people – almost all of them Palestinians – dead.

Israeli media and a United Nations official report residents of the 13-story apartment building in the Al-Rimal neighborhood of western Gaza City were repeatedly warned – including by telephone and a “roof-knocking” airstrike – of the impending attack, which occurred around 8:30 pm local time.

Video of the Israeli strike shows multiple explosions followed by the tower’s collapse. International observers promptly noted that the deliberate destruction of homes when not “imperatively demanded by the necessities of war” is a war crime.

Dozens of Palestinian families were left without homes following the attack. It was not immediately clear if the building was completely evacuated, or if there were any casualties from the strike.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) officials said the building – which contained 80 apartments – housed an office used by senior political officials of Hamas, the democratically elected leaders of Gaza.

“We expect that this powerful attack on the high-rise building, which shook all of Gaza, will lead to extensive shooting toward Israel,” an IDF spokesperson correctly predicted.

Within 15 minutes of the tower’s destruction, the armed resistance wing of Islamic Jihad announced it would retaliate with rockets aimed at Tel Aviv. Hamas said it fired more than 130 rockets into Israel in response to the Gaza tower attack. Indiscriminate rocket attacks against civilian areas are also considered war crimes under international law.

Social media news feeds soon filled with videos of the U.S.-Israeli Iron Dome missile defense system intercepting a hail of incoming rockets. However, not all of the inbound projectiles were destroyed, with IDF officials blaming some of the rocket strikes in Ashkelon on a temporarily malfunctioning Iron Dome battery.

Brett Wilkins is is staff writer for Common Dreams. Based in San Francisco, his work covers issues of social justice, human rights and war and peace. This originally appeared at CommonDreams and is reprinted with the author’s permission.

3 thoughts on “Israel Condemned for ‘Unambiguous War Crime’ After Destroying Gaza Apartment Tower”

  1. Obviously we have no control whatsoever of whatever heinous act Israel chooses. But we can at least try not to be helpful in a genocide by immediately stopping all money, weapons or any other supply contributions from our taxes, as well as the tax benefits given those who contribute to Israeli settlements. I am not holding my breath.
    By the way, I remember all the calls asking “prominent Muslims” to condemn the 9/11 attacks, but I see no corresponding calls to Israelis and those holding dual Israeli citizenship. Why is that?

  2. Excluding the loss of life factor there was no difference to toppling the high rise to 9/11. In fact the destruction looked the same. The same charges of terrorism must be levelled against Israel.

    1. Infantile. When armed people use unarmed people as shields, then civilians suffer. War is not a joke, both sides have the capacity to make their enemies lives miserable, nobody wins.

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