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Home arrow Blog arrow September 2007 arrow September 24, 2007

September 24, 2007
WAWA Blog  September 24, 2007
Legally and Morally: Israel is Responsible...




PRESS RELEASE

By LUISA MORGANTINI
Vice President of the European Parliament

Gaza: One and a Half Million People Collectively Punished
September 21st, 2007

Gaza is a strip of land of less than 400 square kilometres in which 1.5 million people live as prisoners due to the closure and the consequential economic isolation imposed unilaterally and illegally by the Israeli authorities.  Gaza is a cage from which very few manage to escape or enter:  hundreds of sick people in need of treatment abroad are forced to wait, and more than 600 students with scholarships in these last days of total closure are trapped here, losing out on their future.

 Israel's declaration of Gaza as an "enemy entity" adds a new formula to the already indefinite muddle of international legality.  Instead, to cut off electricity and fuel is an additional violation of international law, a collective punishment.

Together with a delegation from the European Parliament and accompanied by UNRWA,  the UN agency for the assistance to the Palestinian refugees, we managed to enter Gaza before Yom Kippur, a holiday for Israelis but a lockdown for Palestinians since the Israeli army has imposed a three day long closure.

Gaza is nearly a ghost town: few people in the street, few cars, many houses destroyed by Israeli raids, hospitals without resources, infrastructure condemned to being abandoned due to lack of funds and basic materials.  The factories located in the Karni industrial area are closed with their warehouses containing hundreds of tons of materials, furniture ready to be exported to Israel or Jordan and clothes to be sold for the summer season, now over.  This amounts to losses of millions and millions of dollars while there are desperate families that don't even have a chance to buy bread.  It's Ramadan, but the few open shops in Gaza have not displayed the dough for kataief, the traditional Ramadan sweet, as would usually happen here and as is happening in the West Bank.

The launching of Qassam rockets by Palestinian extremist groups on Sderot are to be condemned, but the embargo imposed by the Israeli government needs to cease immediately. This policy is barbed wire across the road to peace.  This is what is being asked by the UN and the EU, voices which Israel cannot pretend to ignore.   Too many times, its violation of international humanitarian laws, in the West Bank as well as in Gaza, have remained tolerated and unpunished.  To begin with, the lack of respect for UN resolutions, the construction of the Wall, declared illegal four years ago by the International Criminal Court at the Hague, and the systematic and legalized theft of Palestinian's land. As the population is kept prisoner in Gaza, the same is true in the West Bank, where Palestinians are divided from Palestinians when not by the Wall, by more than 600 checkpoints and soldiers throughout the Territories.

However, the voices of alarm need to develop into concrete action to avoid not only the loss of human lives, dignity and freedom for the Palestinian population, but also the extermination of international law.

As members of the European Parliament, we have demanded the EU to take a clear position against the embargo adopted by the Israeli authorities in Gaza and that Israel remove checkpoints and roadblocks so that Palestinians, as well as their goods, have freedom of movement and their daily life not be this Inferno. This needs to happen now, it cannot wait until the conference organized by the US in November, to which the different parties of the conflicts in the area should participate, to bring about a definitive solution in accordance with UN resolutions.

 

For further information please contact Luisa Morgantini 00972 547271742 or 0039 348 39 21 465





According to Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention: "No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed [and that] collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited."

 The Fourth Geneva Convention requires that all occupied people are to have their needs met by the occupying forces. International law affirms that occupation is to be temporary and maintain the status quo; 40 years and a wall which is built on Palestinian land is a blatant disregard of human rights and international law.

 Israel's contention that Israel is no longer bound by the laws of occupation since it redeployed its forces to the perimeter of the Gaza Strip in 2005 is a fallacy.  Israel has always maintained complete control of the Gaza Strip's land, air space and sea borders.

Israel is legally and morally bound by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to ensure the welfare of the Palestinian population in the OPT.

Democracy cannot be won through the barrel of a gun and security and peace will not ever be realized where ever equal human rights are denied and international law is defied.

-e





UN rights chief concerned over Israel's Gaza clampdown

http://afp.google.com/article/ALeqM5gFMY3edM0krrH7NVxFmyNmK8zOpw



GENEVA (AFP) — The UN's human rights chief has expressed her "grave concern" at Israel's decision to declare the Gaza Strip a "hostile territory," and its threats to cut off fuel and electricity supplies.

In a statement issued late on Thursday, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour warned that "the implementation of such measures would impose an unbearable burden on the civilian population of Gaza."

She reiterated condemnation of "indiscriminate" rocket attacks launched from Gaza, but called on Israel to show restraint and abide by its responsibilities under international humanitarian law.

Israel's Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said on Wednesday that the Jewish state needed to answer what she termed daily "terror attacks" on its soil from Gaza.

The Gaza Strip, home to some 1.5 million people, has been ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement since a bloody power struggle with its secular Fatah rivals in June.

Hamas blasted the move as "collective punishment" while the UN Secretary General urged Israel to reconsider.

Cutting supplies "would be contrary to Israel's obligations towards the civilian population under international humanitarian and human rights law," Ban Ki-moon warned.

Medics in Gaza warned that any move by Israel to complete its blockade of the territory was likely to lead to civilian deaths.




"From Moses to Jeremiah and Isaiah, the Prophets taught...that the Jewish claim on the land of Israel was totally contingent on the moral and spiritual life of the Jews who lived there, and that the land would, as the Torah tells us, 'vomit you out' if people did not live according to the highest moral vision of Torah. Over and over again, the Torah repeated its most frequently stated mitzvah [command]: "When you enter your land, do not oppress the stranger; the other, the one who is an outsider of your society, the powerless one and then not only 'you shall love your neighbor as yourself' but also 'you shall love the other.'" -Rabbi Lerner, TIKKUN Magazine, page 35, Sept./Oct. 2007

 
   
 
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The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith

People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.

If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
Succeed anyway.

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
Do good anyway.

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
Be honest and frank anyway.

The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
Think big anyway.

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
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What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
Build anyway.

People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
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Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
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