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Palestinian Civil Society Calls on International Allies to Hold Israel Accountable

Posted: March 5, 2015
Category: Statements and Positions Papers




28 July 2014


Palestinian Civil Society Calls on International Allies to Hold Israel Accountable


for its Violations in Gaza


Palestinian civil society organizations are shocked at the irresponsible public reactions of


major international aid agencies working in the oPt toward Israel’s latest military assault


on Gaza.


In recent weeks, numerous international bodies and organizations have come out in


condemnation of the senseless loss of Palestinian lives in Gaza that has now surpassed


900 casualties. In doing so, however, many of these entities have insisted on


condemning “both sides” and calling for an unconditional ceasefire and return to


negotiations:


In a joint statement published by the Association of International Development


Agencies (AIDA) on July 14, 34 major international organizations argued,


“Military actions by all parties must stop,” explaining that, “military operations


have failed to bring peace and security for people in Gaza and in Israel.”


The appeal continued on to say that, “With civilians in Gaza killed by Israeli


airstrikes and homes, schools, and water facilities damaged and destroyed and


as rockets continue to be fired from Gaza towards Israel, we now call again for a


ceasefire.”


In a separate release on July 22, Christian Aid echoed similar remarks,


explaining that the INGO “is explicit in its concern for the security of Israeli and


Palestinians alike and publicly condemns the escalating violence by all sides.”


On July 24, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon likewise issued a statement


in response to news of a UN school in Gaza coming under fire, stating that he


condemned Hamas rocket fire and called on Israel to exercise particular care.”


UNICEF issued a comparable announcement the following day, adding simply


that “much more needs to be done to protect innocent children” without any


reference to the Israeli rocket fire that hit the school.


The language in each of these positions reinforces the misconception that the current


happenings in Gaza constitute a war being fought by two sides of equal capacity and


legitimacy. In reality, Israel is executing a military campaign aimed at amassing as many


Palestinian deaths as possible. Armed resistance from within the Gaza strip, however, is


lead in struggle against an illegal blockade and broader occupation of Palestinian land.


Moreover, citing the consequences endured in Gaza in the same breath as those


sustained in Israel once again perpetuates the erroneous notion that the two areas are


facing conditions of relative likeness.


As supposed allies in the effort to bring about an end to the Israeli occupation and


defend international law, we expect our partner INGOs and supporting UN bodies to do


everything within their capacities to hold Israel accountable for its rights violations. This


includes public recognition of the imbalance of power – politically, economically and


militarily – that Israel wields.


We therefore reject any statements that seek to portray Israel and Palestine as two


equal sides and call on all condemnations of the current situation to recognize the


following:


- Israel is executing a military assault on Gaza and explicitly targeting civilian


populations in hospitals and designated safe zones. This assault is merely one


component of the state’s systemic occupation of Palestinian land that has been


continuous since 1948.


- As an area under military occupation, Palestinians have the legal right to defend


themselves – including through armed struggle – in accordance with United


Nations General Assembly Resolution A/RES/33/24 of 29 November 1978.


- Israel’s claim of “self-defense” is in contradiction of international humanitarian


law, which does not identify such a pretext as a legitimate justification of force by


an occupying power in the midst of ongoing armed conflict.


- The united Palestinian leadership has presented clear conditions, in accordance


with international law, to which it will agree to a 10-year ceasefire with Israel.


These terms include an end to the suffocating blockade on Gaza since 2006, the


release of hundreds of political prisoners illegally detained by Israel since June


12th 2014, the right to fishing in Gaza waters for up to 12 miles, access to and


utilization of the buffer zones, free movement of goods in and out of Gaza and


the opening of the Rafah border with Egypt. This proposal, which merely


promotes the provision of basic human rights, has been effectively ignored by the


international community and elicited zero response from Israel.


Aid agencies and UN bodies play a critical role in pressuring Israel to adhere to its


international obligations as well as in shaping public perceptions of the Palestinian


struggle. As members of Palestinian civil society, we therefore call on all relevant groups


to fulfill their stated purposes for being present in the oPt: That is, to accurately


represent conditions on the ground and work in harmony with their Palestinian partners


to protect their fundamental human rights. Aid alone is not sufficient to achieve this aim


and ought not to be used merely to respond to the damages caused by Israel’s crimes.


Rather, we call on all of our allies to utilize their resources instead to address the root


cause of this violence and advocate for an end to the Israeli occupation.


The Coalition for Jerusalem


Jerusalem, 28th July 2014


The Coalition for Jerusalem is a league of religious dignitaries,


political factions, civil society organizations, and individuals


based in Occupied Jerusalem. It is a non violent, direct action


group formed in 2004 to oppose Israeli Government arbitrary


measures to alter the Status of Jerusalem in violation of


International Legitimacy and Human Rights Conventions, and to


reaffirm that East Jerusalem is the Capital of the future


Palestinian State.







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