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Israel Must Immediately Halt Its Siege on Gaza

The National Lawyers Guild Strongly Condemns Israel's Crimes Against Humanity and Demands Israel Immediately Halt Its Siege on Gaza and End Its Efforts at Toppling the Democratically Elected Palestinian Legislative Council

The National Lawyers Guild calls upon the international community to join us in our strong condemnation and call for sanctions against Israel for its on-going occupation and crimes against humanity meted-out against the Palestinians. Israel has recently intensified its relentless saturation bombing against the Palestinian civilian population. On June 27, 2006, Israeli F-16's directly targeted Palestinian civilians by bombing and destroying three vital bridges, ministerial buildings, universities, scarce water supplies, and electricity stations. As a direct consequence, over two-thirds of the Palestinian population in Gaza have been and continue to be denied access to water and electricity.

Magnifying the deadly impact of Israel's actions is the fact that well before Israel's recent military incursion, Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank were already facing a lethal humanitarian crisis stemming from extensive shortages of food, medicine, clean drinking water, and lack of access to public utilities— Israel's admitted "starvation diet" campaign.

A single snapshot of Israel's ruthless bombardment reveals Palestinians trapped in Gaza—the most densely populated region on Earth—suffered through one of the most ferocious days of bombing, on June 29, 2006, when Israel's Occupation Forces (IOF) launched over 400 artillery shells throughout the northern and southern Gaza Strip. Further intensifying Israel 's willful

and ever-increasing violations of international law, Israel has drastically increased its kidnapping of Palestinian leaders, "arresting" more than 64 elected Palestinian Legislative Council members, city mayors, cabinet ministers, and lawmakers.

Currently, the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian disaster faced by Palestinians continues uninterrupted while Israeli tanks and armed forces have now returned to Gaza under the cover of sustained bombing raids by Israeli F-16 jets and relentless shelling by Israeli artillery.

Accordingly, the National Lawyers Guild:

1) Demands Israel immediately cease all military attacks and lift the economic embargo imposed on Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

2) Demands Israel immediately and unconditionally releases the recently kidnapped Palestinian parliamentary officials as well as all Palestinian Arab political prisoners and detainees.

3) Urges the international community to pressure Israel, the United States, and Europe to lift the deadly economic embargo unjustly imposed against the Palestinian people following the democratic election of a new Palestinian Legislative Council.

4) Strongly condemns Israel's use of brutal psychological warfare on the over 1.4 million

Palestinians living in the Israeli occupied Gaza Strip to weaken and destroy the democratically elected Palestinian Legislative Council.

5) Strongly condemns Israel's actions designed to achieve its threat that it "will not allow the

Palestinian government to survive."

6) Calls upon the international community to join in our strong condemnation of Israel's belligerent crimes against humanity and gross violations of international law, including Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention prohibiting collective punishment and Article 48 forbidding military actions against civilian populations and infrastructure.

7) Emphasizes the international community must continue to insist Israel immediately implement other international laws including U.N. Resolution 194.

8) Stresses while condemnation of Israel's most recent crimes against humanity is critical, the

international community must weave together, and not isolate, the snapshots of Israel's gross violations of international law.

9) Further stresses the full-picture revealed by weaving together Israel's unbroken pattern of crimes against humanity plainly uncovers the following reality: for nearly six decades Israel has been engaged in well-planned, systematic, and continuous campaign intended to destroy the Palestinian people, culture, civil society and the infrastructure of life itself (see In the Name of Security: Israel and the Destruction of Palestinian Culture & Civil Society, Preliminary Report of The National Lawyers Guild's Emergency Delegation to the West Bank May 16-24, 2002)

10) Calls upon the international community to expose the myth that Israel has "disengaged" from Gaza despite Israel's continued control of Gaza's airspace, sea space, land borders, public services (including water, sewage, electricity, and telecommunication networks).

11) Calls upon the international community to send immediate aid to Palestinians, including food, water, and medicine.

12) Urges the international community to step-up its efforts to boycott, sanction, and divest from Israel.

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