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Urgent Petition to the Supreme Court on Rafah

Urgent Petition to the Supreme Court on Rafah

[for immediate release- 11:30, 20 May 2004]

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel
HaMoked - Center for the Defense of the Individual B'Tselem

Urgent petition to the Supreme Court against the Israel Defense Forces (IDF):

Allow the evacuation of the injured from Rafah, the unobstructed passage of ambulances and medical equipment, renewal of the supply of basic services, opening an immediate investigation into the shooting of demonstrators, and issuing an order preventing any such shooting in the future. Also, the petition demands that a medical team from Physicians for Human Rights-Israel be allowed to enter the region.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), together with Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, HaMoked - Center for the Defense of the Individual and B'Tselem submitted an urgent petition this morning to the Supreme Court against the IDF Commander of the Gaza Strip, which contained a series of humanitarian demands on behalf of the residents of Rafah.

The petitioning organizations demand that the IDF: allow the unconditional evacuation of the injured from Rafah, even if there is no advanced coordination; allow the unobstructed passage of ambulances and medical equipment between Rafah and the hospitals located outside the city; prevent injury or threat to medical teams and citizens evacuating the injured or corpses; renew the supply of electricity, water, food and medical supplies to the residents of the village of Tel a-Sultan, that has been subject to total closure for more than three days; and allow access to the medical team assembled by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel.

The petition also asks the court to order the IDF to open an immediate investigation into the shelling of a crowd of citizens yesterday, even if armed individuals were among them. The petition was submitted by ACRI Attorneys Sonia Boulos and Fatmeh Al-A'jou.

The petitioning organizations make clear in the petition that as an occupying power and as the authority in charge of the occupied territories, the State of Israel is obligated to ensure the well being and safety of the residents of the territories, to protect the civilian population from the potential consequences of armed conflict, and to allow the evacuation of the injured and their access to medical treatment. These obligations are absolute and protected by International human rights law and cannot be denied under any circumstances, even in a situation of conflict.

For further details please contact: Yoav Loeff, ACRI spokesman, at: 02-6521218 / +972-53-410631 / Beeper: 36477, Hadas Ziv, Director: Occupied Territories Project, PHR-Israel at: +972-54-6623232 Shabtai Gold, Public Outreach, from PHR-Israel at: +972-54-4860630.

Hamoked's website: B'Tselem's website: ACRI's website: PHR's website:

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