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PHR-Israel’s Activities Regarding Gaza Situation

PHR-Israel’s Activities Regarding the Situation in the Gaza Strip

Summary of Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s activities over the last two weeks, in light of the humanitarian situation and the military activity in the Gaza Strip. Also, a statement regarding the captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

1. Legal Advocacy to Open Rafah Crossing: Some 1,000 Palestinians are currently concentrated at Rafah Crossing. These people are returning from Egypt and are trapped on the Egyptian side because Israel closed the crossing. After Physicians for Human Rights-Israel filed an exhaustion of proceedings the State Attorney announced that the patients who are located at the crossing will be able to enter, apparently today. Seemingly, the crossing will open today or tomorrow and all the residents of the strip will be able to return to their homes.

2. Legal Advocacy to Open Erez Checkpoint: The Checkpoint is completely closed since 30 June 2006 until today. Following intervention by Physicians for Human Rights-Israel four patients with serious ailments were able to enter Israel for treatment. PHR-Israel filed an exhaustion of proceedings demanding that the state find a general solution for those Palestinian patients in need of treatment not available in the Gaza Strip.

3. Petition against Sonic Booms: For an extended period the Israeli Air Force has been conducting sonic booms over the Gaza Strip causing windows to shatter and fear and anxiety amongst the civilian population, especially amongst the children. PHR-Israel claims that the weapon is illegal as it is collective and untargeted punishment whose aim is to spread fear amongst the civilian population. The petition was filed six months ago, along with a request for a temporary injunction to stop the booms immediately until the High Court gives its decision on the principle issue. The High Court rejected the request for the temporary order, and it has yet to issue a verdict on the principle issue, due to the state’s many demands for extensions. On Monday, 3 July, another request was filed for a temporary order, and the state was given until today to file its answer. It has yet to do so. A link to the press release on the petition: http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=357&catid=55&pcat=-1&lang=ENG

4. Joint press release regarding the soldier Gilad Shalit: Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, together with Israel human rights organizations and colleagues from the Gaza Strip published a statement calling to treat the captive soldier in accordance with international law, especially the Geneva Conventions- to avoid harming him and to care for his health. To read the joint statement: http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=350&catid=41&pcat=-1&lang=ENG

5. Demand from the Minister of Defense, Amir Peretz, to assume responsibility for the treatment of patients harmed as a result of military activity (e.g. assassinations): Due to Physicians for Human Rights-Israel’s demand and intense media advocacy, the Minister of Defense assumed responsibility for funding the entire medical treatment of the young girl Maria Aman who was badly injured from a missile fired by an Israeli unmanned plane in the Gaza Strip. As a result of the missile attack, three members of her family were killed: her brother, mother and her grandmother. Currently, PHR-Israel is working to have the Minister of Defense assume a similar responsibility for two additional infants, hospitalized with head wounds and in serious condition at Ichilov and Hadassah Ein Karem hospitals. For the article from Haaretz on Maria Aman: http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=359&catid=56&pcat=45&lang=ENG

6. On 28 June 2006, PHR-Israel and ACRI sent a letter demanding to avoid harm to the civilian infrastructure and the civilian population in the Gaza Strip during the current military operation. For the letter: http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=352&catid=41&pcat=41&lang=ENG

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