Israel targets information technology experts as part of its genocide in Gaza

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Palestinian Territory – The Israeli army has systematically targeted dozens of programmers, information technology experts, and workers in computer engineering, in addition to destroying the headquarters of their companies, as part of the ongoing crime of genocide in the Gaza Strip since 7 October 2023.


Since the beginning of its large-scale attack on Gaza, the Israeli army has killed hundreds of people with intellects and expertise in the blockaded enclave, especially those proficient in information technology, programming, and computer engineering, as well as other elites in the local community such as doctors, academics, and others.


Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor compiled a list of technology specialists, including those with expertise in programming and artificial intelligence, who have been directly killed by the ongoing Israeli attacks.


Among those is the well-known programming engineer Haitham Muhammad Al-Nabahin, who was esteemed as one of the Gaza Strip’s most accomplished computer engineering specialists. He, along with his wife, Eng. Nasma Zuhair Sadiq, was killed in an Israeli air strike on a residential home in the Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip on 14 March.


A relative of Nabahin told Euro-Med that he and his family had fled to a house in Rafah in the far south of the Gaza Strip. However, Nabahin’s two children, Layan and Muhammad were killed, and his wife was wounded in an Israeli attack that forced them to flee once more, this time to a house in the Bureij camp, where the Israeli army killed them approximately two weeks later.


According to his relative, Nabahin had paid a hefty price to have his and his wife’s names included in the coordination lists for individuals seeking to leave the Gaza Strip through the Rafah Border with Egypt in order to treat his wife abroad, before they were both killed in the Israeli attack. 


Tariq Thabet, a graduate of the American Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program, was also killed on 31 October 2023 in an Israeli air strike that also claimed the lives of his wife, children, parents, and other family members. Thabet was the director of the UCAS Technology Incubator Programs at the the University College in the Gaza Strip.


Baraa Abdullah al-Saqqa, the founder of DITS and a software engineer specialising in website and smartphone application programming (senior and lead developer), was also killed in a similar Israeli air strike on 21 November 2023. He held positions with numerous industry-specific businesses, such as (CTO) company. Additionally, he was active in providing programming courses and specialised workshops.


 


In addition to being a student in a master’s programme in computer engineering with a focus on artificial intelligence, Saqqa was regarded as one of the leading young programmers in Gaza. He was recognised for his efforts in training numerous new employees in the technical fields and was awardednumerous certificates and awards. Saqqa was killed in an Israeli air strike on his family home in Gaza City, along with his pregnant wife and his in-laws.


The list also includes Muhammad al-Athal, who was killed on 26 October 2023, Hamza al-Shami on 2 November 2023, Obaida Khater on 20 December 2023, Anas al-Sheikh on 9 December 2023, and Abdel Rahman Hamada on 15 March, in addition to another group of young programmers, including Rami al-Sousi, Abdel Hamid Al-Fayoumi, Bilal Zaqout, Ahmed Nidal Qaddoura, engineer Muhammad Hassouna, and others.


As part of the widespread destruction inflicted on the technological sector and the depletion of its related infrastructure, Euro-Med Monitor documented that the Israeli army launched direct and devastating attacks that targeted the headquarters of startups specialising in information technology and partnership companies in the Gaza Strip. 


The technology sector in the Gaza Strip was severely damaged, with the headquarters of communication companies and other infrastructure being destroyed. Many technical workers were also killed, severely disrupting efforts to continue working and innovating in this vital sector, which is seen as the backbone of all other economic sectors as well as the digital transformation.


About 65 businesses engaged in a variety of technological fields, including software, technical equipment, consulting, technical training, communications, and other subfields, operated in the Gaza Strip prior to the ongoing Israeli military attacks. These businesses employed thousands of young people and recent graduates.


Based on Euro-Med Monitor’s preliminary estimates, programming and IT company headquarters have been almost completely destroyed, while six business incubators in the Strip were damaged, and all technology centers, including those affiliated with Gaza Strip universities, were closed.


The Israeli crimes of targeting and killing Palestinian competencies and elites, as well as the widespread and intentional destruction of businesses and infrastructure, will not only undermine the scientific, educational, and economic system of the Gaza Strip but also impede the development of Palestinian society in general and deprive its vital sectors of highly qualified individuals who will be difficult to replace. These crimes will incite fear and coercion among those who remain, forcing them to emigrate.


These crimes appear to be part of Israel’s public policies aimed at making the Gaza Strip uninhabitable by destroying fundamental life structures and eliminating talent. This will certainly lead to a paralysed society incapable of quickly recovering from the disastrous fallout from Israel’s serious crimes committed during that period.


Killing civilians, planning attacks against civilian targets, and causing extensive property damage while ignoring international humanitarian law are all considered war crimes and grave violations under the Geneva Conventions and the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

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