The Israeli military granted CNN a three-hour tour inside the Gaza Strip to view the destruction of Palestinian cemeteries. The outlet explained that the evidence presented by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) did not confirm Tel Aviv’s claims about tunnels under the graveyard. Across Gaza, Israel has damaged over a dozen cemeteries.
An IDF general gave CNN’s Jeremy Diamond a guided tour of the Bani Suheila cemetery. Israel claimed it needed to dig up the bodies buried at the graveyard because a Hamas tunnel ran under it. However, the IDF was not able to show CNN evidence supporting that claim.
Diamond explained the evidence presented by the IDF actually suggested that there was no tunnel beneath the cemetery. The IDF invited Diamond into Gaza after he reported that the Israeli military operations in Gaza had damaged 16 Gazan cemeteries. Palestinian officials report that 2,000 graves in the Strip have been damaged or destroyed by the Israeli military.
Janina Dill, co-director at Oxford University’s Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, told CNN that the desecration of burial sites could be evidence of genocide. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruled last week it was plausible that Israel was committing a genocide against Palestinians.
Throughout the Israeli war on Gaza, Tel Aviv has attempted to justify destroying civilian infrastructure by claiming below the buildings, Hamas has dug tunnels. Similar to the Bani Suheila cemetery, the IDF has been unable to produce conclusive evidence that the tunnel networks existed.
Still, Washington has not condemned the destruction of hospitals, cemeteries, and universities. The White House has even repeated Israel’s unproven claims regarding the tunnels. President Joe Biden backed the assertion that the Shifa Hospital was above a Hamas headquarters. Additionally, State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller suggested the IDF conducted a controlled demolition of Israa University in Gaza because a tunnel was under the building.