Urgent calls to end Operation Protective Edge


Statement from JfJFP Executive committee

June 09, 2014

We, the Executive Committee of Jews for Justice for Palestinians, utterly condemn the horrific revenge killing of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, a young Palestinian, just as we utterly condemn the murder of the three young Israelis, the murders of nine Palestinians by the Israeli forces in the search for the culprits and the dreadful assault by Israeli soldiers on Abu Khedeir’s cousin.

The Occupation of Palestinian Territories by Israel has subjected the Palestinians to gross violence since 1967. Over the last 18 months the army has killed seven Palestinian children and assaulted over 1500 with live ammunition and rubber bullets. Night-time arrests and the severe maltreatment of children as young as twelve continue. Over 27,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished and this programme continues. The expansion of settlements is exponential, and attacks by settlers on Palestinian children on their way to school is routine. The blockade of Gaza is an illegal collective punishment

As Israel visits yet another onslaught on Gaza it again kills innocent civilians, creates a dangerous escalation and violates fundamental ethical principles, including Jewish principles. In the strongest terms, we urgently call on all Jews to call on the Israeli Government to stop Operation Protective Edge and to agree a just peace with the Palestinian unity government.”

Letter from ACRI

June 09, 2014

Dear Friends,

We are confronted by one of the most difficult periods that Israeli society has experienced in many years.

ACRI is working during this time to minimize the harm to human rights and expand the struggle against the racism and incitement that has raged in recent days. The abduction and murder of Gilad, Naftali and Eyal touched us all deeply. But no less despairing has been the response to this tragedy – unconcealed calls for revenge, demonstration calling for death to Arabs and the Israeli left, and of course the shocking retaliatory murder of the 16 year old Palestinian – Mohammed Abu Khdeir.

ACRI has a strong presence on the ground in Jerusalem where we are monitoring instances of incitement and violence and providing information to the relevant authorities and the media. In addition we have been mobilizing our supporters to demonstrations in public squares that call for an end to racism and the cycle of violence. We are closely following the protests taking place around the country where we are ensuring that the right to protest is not infringed upon.

We are extremely concerned by the missile attacks targeting Israeli cities and the military campaign taking place in the Gaza Strip. We are hopeful that the cycle of violence will soon come to an end and that civilians will no longer be placed in the crosshairs.

It is clear that the current tension does not exist in a vacuum. Alongside the complex security situation, Israeli society has undergone a significant shift in recent years where it has become increasingly radical, nationalistic and antagonistic to ‘the other’. Individuals are not viewed as people entitled to equal rights, but on the basis of their ethnicity, gender or class. This trend is equally as dangerous for the future of Israeli society as the external security threat.

We believe that change is possible, but we are aware that it will not take place overnight. Real change requires transformation at the most basic levels of society – from the political echelon through to the government bureaucracy, the courts, the media and the education system – all in order to reinforce the basic notions of equality, human rights and democracy. Despite the erosion of these values, Israel has a strong democratic foundation that is committed to human rights. It is these central values that need to be strengthened.

Difficult days lie before us. We know that change occurs slowly and yet we are committed to seeing an Israel devoid of racism and violence. You can help us remain the voice of restraint and respect for human rights in Israel by making a donation or becoming a member of ACRI.

Please share this message with your friends and family, and we invite you to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive regular updates.

With warm regards,

Sharon Abraham-Weiss
Executive Director
Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Protect civilians from the impact of hostilities

July 08, 2014

Shortly after midnight today, 8 July 2014, the Israeli military launched Operation Protective Edge in the Gaza Strip. According to media reports, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu instructed the defense establishment “to conduct a continuous, long and forceful operation in Gaza. We have to be prepared to go all the way, and even a ground offensive is currently on the table.” The media further reported that the military was preparing to call up reservists.

Since last night, the military has continuously bombed various parts of the Gaza Strip. According to the IDF Spokesperson, by the afternoon, the military has attacked some 100 targets, including the homes of senior Hamas activists, launching infrastructure, tunnels used for mounting attacks, and training bases.

The media also reported that by this afternoon (8 July), armed Palestinian organizations in the Gaza Strip had fired some 50 rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel.

B’Tselem’s initial investigation found that since the operation began, approximately 10 people were killed in several attacks throughout the Gaza Strip. Of these, to the best of B’Tselem’s knowledge at this point, seven persons – most of them minors – were killed when the home of alleged Hamas activist ‘Odeh al-Kaware’ah was bombed. Another 25 persons were reportedly injured in the incident, some of them severely so. The initial investigation indicates that as the homes of other Hamas activists had been bombed (as the IDF Spokesperson reported this morning), many area residents gathered around al-Kaware’ah’s home to prevent its bombing. It is unclear as yet whether the house was still surrounded by people at the time of the bombing. According to Israeli daily Ha’aretz, defense establishment officials stated that the bombed family home was the target of the aerial attack. B’Tselem is currently investigating the circumstances of the attack and whether the military was aware of civilian presence close by.

This morning, the IDF Spokesperson stated that the military had deliberately bombed four homes of persons defined as senior Hamas activists, without mentioning whether the homes were legitimate military objectives, such as, for example, ammunition storages. International humanitarian law permits attacks only against targets that effectively assist military efforts, when attacking them can gain a military advantage. The homes of Hamas activists are not, in themselves, legitimate targets, especially when family members reside in them. Defining them as targets is neither reasonable nor legal and permits harm to civilians who are supposed to be protected by international law.

B’Tselem reiterates its demand that all parties to the hostilities take all possible measures to prevent harm to civilians. The rules of war obligate all parties to a conflict to do their utmost to defend the civilian population. Deliberate targeting of civilians is expressly prohibited.

Joint Statement: Human Rights Organizations Call on the International Community to Immediately Act to Stop the Israeli Offensive and Protect Palestinian Civilians

PCHR, Al-Dameer Association for Human Rights, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights

09 /10 July 2014

Israeli occupation forces have continued to escalate their offensive against Palestinian civilians and their property.  Israeli forces had launched daily attacks in the form of indiscriminate airstrikes aimed to terrify Palestinian civilians before officially declaring launching a military offensive codenamed “Operation Protective Edge.”  Since the initiation of this offensive, Israel has unbridled its war machines bombing and destroying civilian facilities using excessive force.  As a result, 36 Palestinians have been killed and more than 350 others have been wounded, most of them are woman children.

Israeli forces have perpetrated human rights violations reminding of the atrocities they committed during “Operation Cast Lead” (2008-2009) and “Operation Pillar of Defense” (2012).  For instance, Israeli warplanes bombarded a house belonging to the Kaware’ family in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis, destroying it, killing 7 civilians, including 5 children, and wounding 28 others who were around and on the roof of the house.

In another crime, on Tuesday evening, 08 July 014, Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at a house belonging to Mohammed Ahmed Hamad in Hamad Street in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanoun. As a result, 6 members of the family, including 3 women, were killed.

Based on the field conditions, the undersigned human rights organizations believe that intimidating and terrifying Palestinian civilians and causing losses of lives and property have been a clear objective of the ongoing military attacks, which have been launched by warplanes, battleships and field artilleries.  The escalation of bombardment overnight under the ongoing electricity outages terrifies children and limits people’s ability to move and provide assistance to the victims.

The human rights organizations strongly condemn the escalating Israeli offensive, and stress that the international community’s neglect of their legal obligations towards the civilian population, including ignoring the Advisory Opinion issued ten years ago by the International Court of Justice concerning the Wall in the West Bank and the report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Gaza Conflict (the Goldstone Report), has enhanced impunity in committing grave breaches of the international law, which encourages Israeli forces to commit more crimes against the Palestinian civilian population.

The signatories of this statement stress that the attacks launched by Israeli forces amount to the level of war crimes, especially as they systematically target civilians and their property, and deliberately bombard houses and public and private property.  Therefore, the signatories call upon the international community to immediately and effectively act to fulfill their legal and moral obligations towards the Palestinian civilian population through stopping the Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip, providing protection for civilians and activating mechanism of accountability and prosecution of those who order or commit war crimes against Palestinian civilians and their property in the Gaza Strip.  They further call upon President Mahmoud Abbas to immediately ratify the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court in order to prosecute suspected Israeli war criminals and ensure they do not enjoy impunity.

Seven children killed in Israeli airstrikes over Gaza

Defence for Children International – Palestine
July 09, 2014

Ramallah —Israel launched a major military offensive on the Gaza Strip Tuesday that killed at least seven Palestinian children and wounded dozens more in air and sea strikes.

Israeli forces killed six children when a missile struck the home of alleged Hamas activist Odeh Ahmad Mohammad Kaware in the southern Gaza city of Khan Younis. The five families that reside in the building evacuated immediately after an Israeli aerial drone fired a warning missile. A number of neighbors, however, gathered on the roof in an effort to prevent the bombing. Shortly after 3 p.m., an Israeli airstrike leveled the building, and killed seven people, including five children, on the spot and injured 28 others.

Hussein Yousef Hussein Karawe, 13, Basem Salem Hussein Karawe, 10, Mohammad Ali Faraj Karawe, 12, Abdullah Hamed Karawe, 6, and Kasem Jaber Adwan Karawe, 12, died immediately, according to evidence collected by Defense for Children International-Palestine. Seraj Abed al-Aal, 8, succumbed to his injuries later that evening.

DCI-Palestine confirmed one other Palestinian teenager died in strikes across Gaza. An Israeli attack killed Ahmad Nael Mahdi, 15, from Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, and wounded two of his friends, one of which remains in critical condition.

DCI-Palestine is confirming reports of at least three other children killed in the strikes on Tuesday.

“The death and injury to children caused by Israel’s military offensive on Gaza demonstrates serious and extensive disregard of fundamental principles of international law,” said Rifat Kassis, executive director of DCI-Palestine. “Israeli forces must not carry out indiscriminate airstrikes in densely populated areas that fail to distinguish between military targets, civilians and civilian objects.”

Since the beginning of Israel’s ongoing military offensive on Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, Israeli forces have launched at least 146 strikes on Gaza. The strikes have killed at least 25 Palestinians and injured more than 100 others, according to news reports.

International humanitarian law prohibits indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks and requires that all parties to an armed conflict distinguish between military targets, civilians and civilian objects. Israel as the occupying power in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including the Gaza Strip, is required to protect the Palestinian civilian population from violence.

While Israel relies on the principle of self defense to justify military offensives on Gaza, Israeli forces are bound to customary international law rules of proportionality and necessity.

Hamas’ military wing claimed responsibility for firing around 120 rockets from Gaza into southern and central Israel, with some reaching Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, according to Haaretz. Israel’s “Iron Dome” anti-missile system has reportedly intercepted at least 23 rockets. While minimal property damage has been reported, there have been no serious casualties.

The Israeli military has mobilized thousands of reserve soldiers in preparation for any further escalation, according to news reports.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since 2007 by strictly controlling and limiting the entry and exit of individuals; maintaining harsh restrictions on imports including food, construction materials, fuel and other essential items; as well as prohibiting exports. Israel continues to maintain complete control over the Gaza Strip’s borders, airspace and territorial waters.

The last major Israeli military offensive on Gaza, Operation Pillar of Defense, occurred between November 14 and 21, 2012. During those eight days more than 30 Palestinian children died in Israeli military attacks.

Previously, Israeli forces launched a three-week intensive aerial and naval bombing campaign and ground invasion in the Gaza Strip, dubbed Operation Cast Lead, on December 27, 2008. At least 353 children were killed and a further 860 injured during the military offensive.

Both Israeli military offensives were characterized by disproportionate force directed at government and civilian infrastructure, residential neighborhoods, and individual civilians. The stated objective of each operation was to end rocket attacks into Israel by Palestinian armed groups.

LPHR public statement on current military offensive on Gaza

Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
July 08, 2014

As lawyers committed to the protection and advancement of Palestinian human rights, we call upon the international community to act decisively to halt the latest resort to sustained military action in the Gaza Strip, following Israel’s announcement earlier today that they have launched a military operation codenamed Operation Protective Edge.

LPHR is hugely concerned by the report from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights of today stating that 27 Palestinian civilians, including 10 women and five children, were wounded in Israeli military air strikes against civilian objects, including homes, earlier during the early hours of this morning.

LPHR urgently calls upon the parties to military action, Israeli or Palestinian, to fulfil their binding legal obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law and ensure against the use of indiscriminate force against civilians or civilian targets.

LPHR further urgently calls upon the international community to ensure that full legal accountability is secured for any unlawful military action.

LPHR will be closely monitoring the current military offensive on Gaza and will make further public statements as and when necessary.

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