‘End the violence in occupied Palestinian territories’, Amnesty International says amid Israel airstrikes on Gaza

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Photo: Twitter/ Quds News Network

US must urge Israel to address root causes and stop the cycle of impunity

While the world watches the armed hostilities in Israel and the ‘Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT)’ escalate, it’s past time that the world presses Israel to address the root causes of violations and injustice, Human rights watchdog Amnesty International said on Wednesday.

The violence is escalating to similar patterns reminiscent of the horrific hostilities from 2008, 2012 and 2014. Civilians bear the brunt of this suffering, with massive death and destruction in Gaza. Israel has a deplorable record of unlawful killing and injuring of thousands of civilians, displacing tens of thousands and destroying homes, businesses and infrastructure. These violations include war crimes and crimes against humanity. Palestinian armed groups have also committed some violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, with impunity, it said in a statement.

Palestinians’ experience of systemic discrimination, dispossession and displacement is at the root of the ongoing violations we see today.  In Gaza, Israel is collectively punishing 2 million Palestinians, who have been living under an illegal blockade for the past 14 years. Israel has the power and the legal obligation to lift the blockade and let people in Gaza enjoy their rights, end forced evictions and house demolitions, stop illegal settlements, and protect civilians.

Right now Palestinians everywhere, including in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah are asking the world to pressure Israel to halt the forced evictions in their neighbourhood and end the ongoing forced displacement of Palestinians.

The international community, especially Israel’s close allies like the USA, have a responsibility to pressure Israel to end and redress its systematic violations against Palestinians.

We must increase international pressure to make this happen! Without addressing root causes the cycle will continue, the statement said urging the US to join people around the world in calling for an end to the cycles of violations and injustice.

Pertinently, the violence in Gaza has intensified in the past eight days and is showing no signs of abating. The death toll in Gaza has crossed 200 including 61 children and 36 women while 10 people have died in Israel.

More than 52,000 Palestinians have been displaced by Israeli airstrikes that have destroyed or badly damaged nearly 450 buildings in the Gaza Strip, the UN aid agency said on Tuesday.

In a separate statement on the conflict, rights group Amnesty International said Israel airstrikes on residential buildings might amount to war crimes. Israel says it hits only legitimate military targets and that it does all it can to avoid civilian casualties. About 47,000 of the displaced people have sought shelter in 58 UN run schools in Gaza, Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Geneva, announced.

Laerke said 132 buildings had been destroyed and 316 had been severely damaged, including six hospitals and nine primary healthcare centres as well as desalination plant, affecting access to drinking water for about 250,000 people.


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