Israeli army tanks and vehicles deploy along the border with the Gaza Strip in southern Israel on October 13, 2023. Thousands of people, both Israeli and Palestinians have died since October 7, 2023, after Palestinian Hamas militants entered Israel in a surprise attack leading Israel to declare war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip enclave on October 8. LEHTIKUVA / AFP


In a startling move, the Israeli military has issued a demand for 1.2 million civilians in northern Gaza to relocate to the south within a mere 24 hours, without any assurance of safety or the right to return. This ultimatum, criticized widely, has been condemned as a potential war crime by Jan Egeland, the Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council.

Egeland strongly stated that this act would constitute a war crime of forcible transfer, a violation of international law.

The indiscriminate collective punishment of civilians, including children, women, and the elderly, for the actions of a few armed individuals is deemed illegal under international regulations. Reports from within Gaza highlight the dire situation faced by residents in the northern regions, where safe relocation remains an impossible feat due to continuous attacks.

The intentional or indiscriminate use of force leading to the loss of civilian lives is a grave war crime. Concerns are raised that Israel might categorize those unable to flee northern Gaza as participants in hostilities, making them targets. This situation has led to an urgent call for action from influential nations.

The United States, the UK, the European Union, and other Western and Arab nations, who hold sway over Israeli political and military decisions, are being urged to demand the immediate rescindment of this illegal relocation order. International pressure is mounting to reverse this ultimatum and ensure the safety and rights of the civilian population in Gaza.


WorldCon 75, Scott Lynch; photo by Jana Blomqvist


WorldCon 75, Robin Hobb; photo by Jana Blomqvist


Based on an interview by Alisa Nirman on 3.10.2016