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GAZA: No safety, no escape

GAZA: No safety, no escape

July 31, 2014

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and its partner organisations condemn the continuing hostilities in the occupied Gaza Strip. The AHRC calls upon the Government of Israel as well as Hamas and other armed groups operating out of the occupied Gaza Strip to immediately cease hostilities.

The right to life and property of all civilians in Israel and the occupied Gaza Strip must be respected and protected at all times. There is no justification for Israel to indiscriminately bomb and destroy houses, hospitals, and schools in the occupied Gaza Strip. It is reported that more than 1,100 Palestinian civilians have been killed so far, including an estimated 190 children and 110 women. It is reported that three Israeli civilians and 53 soldiers have been killed and an estimated 43 others injured from an estimated 3,210 rockets and other improvised projectiles fired from the occupied Gaza Strip into Israel.
International law mandates that belligerents, at all costs, avoid civilian areas and facilities. Unfortunately, reports reveal that Israel, as well as Hamas and other armed groups operating out of occupied Gaza Strip, have not respected this responsibility.

Reports from the occupied Gaza Strip strongly suggest that despite the technological advantage Israel has over the Palestinians, the Israel armed forces, including its air force and navy, have targeted civilians, which includes Palestinian children playing at the beach and on rooftops. Equally grave is the blind firing of projectiles into civilian areas by Hamas and its counterparts. Such acts must be interpreted as intentional violations of international humanitarian law, for which both Israel and Hamas need to be investigated for war crimes.

Israel's war strategy is reflected in the rate and targets of bombing so far. Civilian facilities like schools, parks, mosques, houses, and even telecommunication and power supply facilities have been attacked. Given the rate of damage, including human casualties reported, the only conclusion one may draw is that Israel is aiming to destroying everything that the Palestinians have in occupied Gaza Strip. This is collective punishment. It is crude, must be condemned and must stop.

The international community must take all measures to bring an immediate end to the conflict. Providing emergency medical assistance to the sick and wounded must be a priority. It must be recognised that the occupied Gaza Strip does not have medical facilities that the Israelis can afford within Israel.
The AHRC endorses the statement made by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, wherein the High Commissioner has called for immediate cessation of hostilities.

The AHRC also endorses the High Commissioner's position that "he current conflict and destruction comes at a time when Gaza is still recovering from repeated escalations of hostilities with Israel. The crippling effects of the Israeli blockade and other measures linked to the Israeli occupation of Gaza suppress the ability of the people to go about their daily lives and prevent them from rebuilding their lives and communities after repeated military operations."


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