Israeli general who blew up Gaza university would've got green light if he asked: Army Radio

Israeli general who blew up Gaza university would've got green light if he asked: Army Radio
A university in Gaza was demolished earlier this year by an Israeli troop, who had reportedly carried out the operation without first asking for permission.
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The Israeli army has destroyed much of Gaza's public institutions, including universities and hospitals [Getty]

An Israeli commander who blew up a university in Gaza earlier this year has been censured by the military as he reportedly did not obtain permission to demolish the building.

The commander, Brig. Gen. Barak Hiram, was formally censured for destroying Al-Israa University in January without "the necessary authorisation," the Times of Israel (TOI) newspaper cited the Israeli army as saying on Monday.

The army accuses Hamas of having used the building as a command centre, something the Palestinian group denies.

Hiram claimed he felt the university posed a risk to him and his troops as Hamas had allegedly built a network of tunnels under the building and feared a possible ambush, TOI reported.

But the commander did not obtain permission from the head of the Israeli army’s Southern Command to carry out the attack.

Head of the Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Yaron Finkelman, told Hiram that he would have approved demolishing the university building if Hiram had just asked for permission, reported Israeli Army Radio and cited by TOI.

It is likely that no other measures were taken against the soldier.

Al-Israa was the last standing university in Gaza before its destruction.

Israel has destroyed dozens of universities, hospitals, government buildings, and other important sites in the Gaza Strip since unleashing its relentless bombardment of the enclave on October 7.

More than 31,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the unprecedented air and ground offensive, as famine looms over the enclave.

Only some aid has trickled into the besieged territory, as rights groups accuse Israel of deliberately blocking desperately needed humanitarian assistance from reaching starving civilians.

Several Israeli human rights groups on Monday slammed their government for not abiding by a January court ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

In an open letter, a dozen prominent rights organisations said Israel was legally obliged to abide by the ICJ ruling but had not done so.

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"The ICJ order is a legal obligation to end the humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza. It must be abided by, not only to ease the urgent suffering of civilians but for the sake of humanity as a whole," the letter says.

In January, the top world court ordered Israel to refrain from any acts that could fall under the Genocide Convention and to ensure its troops commit no genocidal acts against Palestinians, after South Africa accused Israel of state-led genocide in Gaza.

Israel and its Western allies described the allegation as baseless, and a final ruling in the ICJ case in The Hague could take years.

The US has announced it could send aid via a sea route into Gaza, but building a pier could take up to two months as the enclave has no port infrastructure.