Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Palestinian & Israeli human rights groups: Siege of Gaza violates international law

From Ynet:
Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations issued a joint statement Tuesday, demanding that Israel lift all the restrictions imposed on the transfer of fuel into the Gaza Strip.

According to the statement, these restrictions "severely and unprecedentedly harm the health and welfare of the Strip's residents," while "seriously violating international law."

In the statement, the groups expressed their "deep concern and harsh protest in light of the systematic harm caused to vital civil systems in the Gaza Strip, which are facing a complete collapse due to the limitation of the amounts of fuel Israel has been allowing the residents and institutions in the Gaza Strip to purchase for six months now.

"The fuel shortage in the Gaza Strip, which is under Israeli occupation and which Israel is responsible for by proxy of occupation laws, harms the electricity production in the Strip, as well as the activity of hospitals, private and public transportation, the water pumps and sewerages. "The shortage damages the social and economic basic needs of the 1.5 million residents of Gaza," the statement said.

The rights organizations also mentioned the harm caused to Israeli civilians, calling on "militant groups in Gaza to refrain from attacking civilians, including in the crossings through which fuel, food and other goods are transferred into the Gaza Strip."

The statement was issued by Al-Haq, Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, Al Dameer Association for Human Rights – Gaza, Gaza Community Mental Health Programme, Gisha - Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Hamoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Yesh Din: Volunteers for Human Rights.

Read the entire statement here >