CNN reported yesterday, based on satellite imagery, social media footage and witness accounts, that 16 Palestinian cemeteries have been desecrated by Israel’s military. Most of this has come from military units using graveyards as outposts. Gravestones have been destroyed and grounds disturbed. In some cases, bodies have been disinterred and left. One of the elements of South Africa’s case at the ICJ is that of the IDF’s desecration of Palestinian cemeteries.
An IDF spokesperson told CNN that they could not account for the destruction of the 16 cemeteries CNN provided coordinates for, but said the military sometimes has ‘no other choice’ but to target cemeteries it claimed Hamas uses for military purposes. “We have a serious obligation to the respect of the dead and there is no policy to create military posts out of graveyards.”
CNN states that evidence of Israeli destruction includes the use of bulldozers to level the ground. In central Gaza, a CNN news crew was carried in an IDF armored personnel carrier directly through the New Bureij cemetery in Al-Bureij, a Palestinian refugee camp. In northern Gaza, CNN also specified IDF operations from Dec. 10 in flattening part of a cemetery in Gaza City’s Shejaiya neighborhood. Two other cemeteries in the area had signs of the heavy treadmarks of armored vehicles that had driven over graves. And in southern Gaza, the Bani Suheila cemetery, east of Khan Younis, was shown in satellite imagery to have been bulldozed in the last 2-4 weeks.