Independent Commission for Human Rights
In the first two days of the Israeli military ground operation that began on 3 January 2009 accompanied by Israeli air raids and navy shelling on the Gaza Strip, over 125 Palestinians have been killed and more than 550 wounded, most of them women and children. In response to the war crimes and crimes against humanity being committed by the Israeli occupying forces, the Independent Commission for Human Rights (ICHR) sends this urgent call to the international community, national human rights organisations, and civil society institutions to take immediate action to put an end to the brutal Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip.
Since the Israeli aggression commenced, the death toll among Gaza’s population has reached 530, with more than 2,500 people wounded, a number which is likely to increase should the Israeli brutal attack against the Palestinian people continue. Furthermore, these ongoing attacks are systematically destroying civilian infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, bridges, roads, as well as other civilian properties belonging to the Palestinian people and its authorities, which are duly protected under International Humanitarian Law.
The Israeli occupying forces are in grave breach of International Humanitarian Law and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War, and are also perpetrating war crimes and crimes against humanity. Therefore ICHR urges all High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions to fulfil their due legal obligation by prosecuting and bringing commanders of the Israeli army and perpetrators of these crimes before International Criminal Courts.
Through this Urgent Appeal, ICHR beseeches and calls upon the conscience of all free people in the world to act immediately and efficiently to terminate this ruthless Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip by pressuring officials and decision makers in their countries, so that they compel the Israeli occupying power to cease committing massacres against civilians under unjustified pretexts that do not comply with any law or humanitarian justification.
Thereupon, ICHR demands that:
- The High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions fulfil their obligation under Common Article 1 to take urgent and concrete action to ensure that Israel abides by its legal responsibilities to protect the civilian population in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
- The international community adopt clear and decisive positions so as to denounce the brutal Israeli attacks as well as take expedient measures to immediately stop the ongoing cruel offensive, lift the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and open all its crossing points.
- The Palestinian National Authority bear its responsibilities and officially request that the Arab Republic of Egypt open the Rafah Crossing in order to transport humanitarian aid and medial supplies, as well as work with the international community to compel Israel to open all crossing points to the Gaza Strip.
- Religious sites, hospitals, and private houses be protected against any Israeli hostilities through a call from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and international organisations working in the Gaza Strip to pressure the Israeli occupying power to end its offensive aggression against the Palestinian people of the Gaza Strip.
ICHR also appeals to various national human rights organisations and civil society institutions all over the world to pressure their respective governments to urgently intervene and stop the ceaseless Israeli attacks without any undue delay, as well as prosecute war criminals, including commanders and troops of the Israeli occupation army.
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