War on Gaza: As more bodies found, UN’s official ‘horrified’ by mass graves reports

Gaza Mass grave
Mass grave discovered at Gaza hospital occupied by Israeli forces

UN human rights chief calls for independent and transparent inquiry after Palestinian authorities uncover hundreds of bodies at Asser Medical Complex and al-Shifa Hospital.

The Horrors of Gaza: A Brutal Assault on Humanity

Each day brings fresh horrors from Gaza, a stark reminder of the depravity of war and humanity’s darkest impulses. As the rubble settles, we are confronted with evidence so grim, so abhorrent, that it casts a long, indelible stain on history’s conscience. Are we bearing witness to war crimes of the most unconscionable scale? Or will this too be another episode of denial, obfuscation and historical revisionism regarding the true savagery inflicted upon the beleaguered people of Gaza?

The voice of the United Nations human rights chief, Volker Turk, rings out in visceral anguish – “horrified” by the obliteration of Nasser Medical Complex and al-Shifa Hospital, havens under international protections now rendered killing fields. His words carry the grave weight of reports detailing mass graves brimming with hundreds of souls around these once-sanctuaries of mercy.

Volker Turk
United Nations human rights chief, Volker Turk

Turk’s call for independent, transparent investigations echoes through the acrid air, mingling with the cries of grief from mothers desperately scouring the remains for any shred of evidence that might be their lost child. Imagine their anguish – passing eyes and hands over the decomposed, searching for a shirt, a shoe, any mundane artefact now rendered precious by its power to provide identification amid this Pacific of human wreckage.

The tales emerging from Khan Younis tear at the fabric of our shared humanity. For three indiscriminate months, Israel laid siege – a bullying behemoth swatting aside the cries of 10,000 civilians who had sought refuge in Nasser hospital’s embrace. The “backbone” of medical aid in southern Gaza was turned into an abattoir as Israeli forces repeatedly raided, shuttering services, detaining staff, and unleashing a renewed exodus of the tormented.

Now, in the wake of this Dantean campaign, the earth itself has purged forth the grisly truth – hundreds of broken Palestinians uncovered, their shallow graves exposed like weeping wounds. With each excavation, the stench of death chokes the air in putrid accusation. Bodies aplenty – some decapitated, organs removed, children and elders cruelly unified in death’s icy democracy.

The relentless stream of corpses – discovered under trees, in wards, hands bound execution-style – screams of “serious violations” in the muted words of the UN. But how can such depravity, such calculated cruelty against the most vulnerable, ever be properly conveyed, properly atoned for?

While the Gaza government announces over 34,000 Palestinians killed, including over 14,500 children who never knew life’s tender graces, the Israeli military has the audacity to dismiss it all as “baseless.” They cynically claim efforts to locate hostages, a farcical pretence in the face of such systemic massacre. How many more lies must be heaped upon this crime against humanity?

The horrors extend far beyond Khan Younis. On April 1st, Israeli forces withdrew from Gaza City’s al-Shifa hospital after a two-week siege, claiming to have killed 200 “terrorists” inside and levelled the facility which the World Health Organization described as “now an empty shell.” However, the devastation didn’t end there.

Numerous shallow graves were discovered just outside the hospital buildings, ghastly mounds with limbs visibly protruding – a sickening testament to the depravity inflicted upon even the most vulnerable patients and staff. The acting hospital director reported patients being held in abysmal conditions during the siege, with at least 20 dying from lack of care and medical access.

While the IDF cynically claims it avoided harming patients, the evidence screams otherwise. The UN human rights office cited reports of 30 bodies initially found buried in two graves near al-Shifa, 12 already identified. A staggering 381 additional bodies were then recovered from the vicinity by Gaza’s civil defence forces, not including any remains on the hospital grounds itself.

Gaza genocide

The atrocities extend to the very boundaries of human decency. In the bombed ruins of Rafah, Israeli strikes killed a premature infant by first snuffing the life from her mother’s womb – an act the UN human rights chief condemned as “beyond warfare.” As over 1.5 million displaced Gazans took shelter in Rafah’s confines, Turk again warned that a ground assault there would bring further unconscionable violations of international laws.

In the face of such damning evidence, the IDF’s propagandistic claims of “dismantling Hamas” and “mitigating civilian harm” ring horrifically hollow. With each uncovered grave, each whisper of fresh atrocities, the truth sediments into an immutable, irrefutable indictment against the forces that have turned Gaza into an apocalyptic charnel house. Accountability can no longer be avoided – the civilized world must demand justice and recompense for these crimes against humanity.

Al-Haq, the Palestinian rights group, rightly decries the need for a comprehensive, unimpeded investigation to exhume the full, gruesome truth. No more obfuscation, no more empty condemnations – only full accountability and justice can begin to salve these weeping wounds upon the human soul.

Each atrocity fades into the next in this ceaseless hell of Gaza. Even as Turk laments the depraved vision of a premature child torn from her dying mother’s womb, he is forced to condemn fresh settler violence in the West Bank enabled by the occupying forces. When will this unending cycle of institutionalized savagery break? When will the world’s outrage finally overcome the insidious forces perpetuating this human calamity?

If we do not demand accountability now, amid such clearcut evidence of unspeakable crimes, then the next generation will rightly indict us all for our unconscionable silence in the face of evil. The graves have been uncovered – it is up to us to ensure the truth does not too become another fatality interred in Gaza’s bloodsoaked sands.

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