urgently appeals for a protection force to be sent to Israel
and the Occupied Territories. We demand the immediate withdrawal
of the Israeli armed forces and free access to victims. We call
on all States to declare the Occupied Territories a humanitarian
weeks, and especially these last few days, a constant stream
of alarming news has reached the FIDH from member organisations
and partners in Israel and the Occupied Territories - the Palestinian
Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment
(LAW, West Bank), the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR,
Gaza), the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI, Jerusalem),
B'Tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Adalah.
These recent events evidence an unprecedented tragedy unfolding
in Israel and the Occupied Territories. Three Israeli human
rights NGOs confirm the information: Hamoked, Physicians for
Human Rights in Israel and B'Tselem, which the FIDH hosted in
France on April 6 to 9, in collaboration with our member organisation,
the Ligue des droits de l'Homme and the French section of Amnesty
this information, on April 7 a joint press conference was held
in Jerusalem by the FIDH, Amnesty International, the International
Commission of Jurists, Human Rights Watch, Médecins sans
frontiers, the World Organisation Against Torture, the Euro-Mediterranean
Human Rights Network, Reporters Without Borders, LAW and B'Tselem.
This is the first time the main international human rights NGOs
have taken such a joint initiative at the very site of a conflict.
Their purpose in doing so was to highlight the extreme gravity
of the situation.
military operations of recent days have created an unprecedented
humanitarian crisis in the Occupied Territories. Mobilization
of humanitarian resources is tragically inadequate internationally,
and is hampered in the Occupied Territories and Israel.
CICR delegates, volunteers of the Palestinian Red Cross Croissant
and staff of Israeli, Palestinian and international humanitarian
NGOs have been prevented from reaching the wounded. The dead
cannot be evacuated, and this is bound to have damaging effects
on public health.
The FIDH observes that the humanitarian aid envisaged by States
around the world is still insufficient. The FIDH calls on governments
not to limit their reaction to humanitarian issues but to firmly
condemn the human rights violations and serious breaches of
humanitarian law and take the necessary steps to have them stopped.
Is the European Union prepared to keep rebuilding indefinitely
what the Israeli armed forces have destroyed since the Intifada
began, without condemning this destruction unanimously and while
still regarding Israel as a partner?
The FIDH considers that in view of the prevailing economic and
social situation, the Occupied Palestinian Territories are a
humanitarian disaster zone and the current situation a "complex
emergency" according to the criteria of the United Nations
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. These criteria
are: (1) extensive violence and loss of life; massive displacements
of people and widespread damage to societies and economies;
(2) the need for large-scale, multi-faceted humanitarian assistance
(3) the hindrance or prevention of humanitarian assistance by
political and military constraints (4) significant security
risks for humanitarian relief workers in some areas.
The FIDH considers that these four criteria are met, and calls
on the international community and the World Health Organisation
to declare the occupied Palestinian Territories a humanitarian
disaster zone in a situation of "complex emergency"
requiring extensive humanitarian aid. The FIDH calls on Israel
to ensure the protection of medical staff and free access to
· War crimes, crimes against humanity, massive violation
of human rights and humanitarian law
condemns the operations by the Israeli army in the Occupied
Palestinian Territories, which have caused the death of an as
yet unknown number of people. These acts officially aim at dismantling
terrorist networks. But most of them have no military target
and strike the civilian population first and foremost. They
are serious breaches of international humanitarian law and in
particular of the 4th Geneva Convention concerning the protection
of civilians in times of war. They breach international agreements
on the protection of human rights, particularly the UN Convention
against Torture. More generally, they are contrary to the most
basic human rights such as the right not to be subjected to
humiliating and degrading treatment, the right to physical integrity
and the right not to be condemned without "previous judgment
pronounced by a regularly constituted court affording all the
judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by
civilized peoples. " (Article 3 common to the Geneva Conventions).
denounces with equal force the suicide attacks perpetrated by
Palestinians. Such acts are absolutely and unconditionally forbidden,
politically inefficient and ethically condemnable. The legitimate
resistance of the Palestinian people again Israeli occupation
cannot in any case authorise violence against civilians, spreading
horror and terror.
condemns the death sentences imposed by the Palestinian Authority's
State Security Court on 6 April on six Palestinians suspected
of collaborating with Israel. One of these sentences, concerning
an under age, has been commuted to a life prison sentence. The
FIDH calls on President Arafat not to ratify the sentences of
6 April, which are in violation of the right to an equitable
trial and against which the condemned have no right of appeal.
conflict has long since overstepped the limits set by humanitarian
law, in the last few weeks the Israeli authorities seem to have
pushed the limits to such extremes that it is impossible to
tell what degree of horror will be reached in the future.
Human rights and humanitarian law violations by the Israeli
forces include in particular:
- Summary and arbitrary executions and targeted assassinations.
- Massive arbitrary arrests of Palestinians. Some are transferred
to detention centres without their families being informed.
Those who are released are usually left in a no man's land,
far from their domicile, which they cannot reach because of
the severe restrictions of movement within the territories.
- Inhuman conditions of detention, including torture.
- Absence of legal guarantees enabling the detainees to exercise
their right of appeal, and impossibility for the detainees to
contact their lawyers.
- Systematic destruction of the Palestinian infrastructure.
- Massive violations of the freedom of movement. Each town and
each village is entirely isolated, like the "bantustans"
in South Africa under apartheid. The sealing off of the Palestinian
territories from the outside world is thus accompanied by an
internal "sealing off".
- The prolonged closure of the Occupied Territories gives rise
to many violations of economic and social rights. In particular
the right to health is denied by actions aimed directly at preventing
access to care, for instance by preventing hospitals from getting
supplies, and by attacking ambulances.
are amplified by the systematic and general imposition of a
curfew, which is not justified by "imperious military reasons"
under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
again expresses its support of, and solidarity with, the Israelis
and the Palestinians who each day come out against the blind
violence and who work for a fair peace.
calls on the Israeli authorities to put an immediate stop to
the violations of human rights and humanitarian law committed
by the army, to initiate investigations into such violations
and to call those responsible to justice, and to withdraw immediately
for the territories occupied in 1967.
calls on each State to "seek out the persons accused of
having committed or having ordered to commit one or the other
of the serious violations", and to "determine adequate
penal sanctions" against any person having committed or
ordered to commit any serious violation of the Convention, in
accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention, thereby bringing
into effect the universal jurisdiction specified in Article
146 of the Convention.
condemns the "anti-Semite" acts committed in several
countries. The FIDH is particularly shocked by the announcement
of the "accident" that happened on 11 April close
to the Ghriba synagogue in Djerba (Tunisia), one of the main
and oldest holy places of African Judaism, and which in all
likelihood is of criminal origin. The FIDH calls on the national
authorities of the countries concerned to take all possible
steps in order to guarantee freedom of worship and to afford
protection of the population against such acts.
is more and more taking place "in camera", as the
Israeli authorities systematically prevent access to information
other than military propaganda.
in which the Israeli army's operations have been carried out
remain closed off, so that it is at present impossible to make
a precise assessment of the scope of the resulting Human Rights
and humanitarian law violations. Journalists do not have access
to the combat zones, no more than Human Rights defenders, medical
personnel, Government or United Nations representatives.
that access to information is systematically denied by the Israeli
authorities gives the FIDH reason to fear that the Israeli authorities
seek to dissimulate war crimes and crimes against humanity.
These fears are founded on numerous testimonies gathered by
the Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations. For
instance, following operations in the Jenin refugee camp, FIDH
has received information, through its member organisation in
the West Bank, LAW, to the effect that, according to eye witnesses,
the Israeli forces would be digging large pits inside the camp,
where a number, as yet unknown - several hundred according to
some estimates - of persons died during the last few days. Eyewitnesses
have apparently seen Israeli soldiers put bodies into the pits.
Several testimonies also describe the summary execution of Palestinian
fighters who had just given themselves up after the military
operation carried out in the Jenin camp.
requests the Israeli authorities to guarantee journalists and
human rights defenders access to information.
Demand that Israel should respect its international obligations:
an appeal to the 15 Member States of the European Union
salutes the unprecedented position adopted on 10 April by the
European Parliament, in a resolution calling on all Member States
of the European Union to suspend the Association Agreement with
Israel. Article 2 of the Agreement establishes that the relations
between the EU and Israel are based on respect for Human Rights
and the democratic principles that must guide their national
and international policies.
considers that under the Agreement Israel benefits from trading
facilities in complete violation of international law. It wonders
what degree of violation is required on the part of a State
for economic sanctions to be at last imposed under the human
rights provisions (Article 2).
calls on the Member States of the European Union to follow the
recommendations of the European Parliament, and to suspend the
Association Agreement with Israel, and impose on Israel and
the Palestinian authority an arms embargo.
Reiterates its call for a fair and immediate peace in the Middle
East. The FIDH is convinced that peace will be unattainable
without the end of the Israeli occupation, and without the security
of Israel and the Israelis being guaranteed. Peace requires
compliance with the United Nations resolutions, the immediate
withdrawal of the Israeli forces from the territories occupied
in 1967, the dismantling of the settlements, the establishment
of a Palestinian State alongside the State of Israel, respecting
the legitimate rights and aspirations of both peoples.
· Calls on States to decide to dispatch on site an international
protection force, mandated to prevent the continuation of the
violations and to ensure the implementation of the appropriate
Security Council resolutions, without which peace cannot be
restored in the region. The sending of such a force comes under
the obligation for the States party to the Fourth Geneva Convention
"to take the necessary steps to bring to a halt acts that
are contrary to the provisions of the Convention".
· Asserts its support for the mission by Mary Robinson,
Felipe Gonzalez Marquez and Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, mandated
by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights during its
present session, and calls on the Israeli authorities to co-operate
closely with the mission.