The UN Security Council must call for an international interposition force in Gaza

Press release
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Open letter to

H.E Sir Mark Lyall Grant; Ambassador, Permanent Representative to the UN; President of the UN Security Council; Excellencies Ambassadors, members of the UN Security Council; H. E Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations

New-York, Paris, August 3, 2014

Re : Israel/OPT- Operation “Protective Edge” - Call for an international interposition force


FIDH (the International Federation for Human Rights) conveys to you its horror over the extensive destruction and terrible loss of human lives resulting from Operation “Protective Edge” conducted by the Israeli Defense Forces in the Gaza Strip. We call upon you to intervene at the Security Council without further delay to put an end to the grave breaches of international humanitarian law and large scale human rights violations that are being perpetrated.

FIDH condemns the rocket firing by Palestinian armed groups against civilian populated areas inside Israel. Yet,of the military offensive conducted by the Government of Israel, the Occupying Power of the Palestinian Territory, has resulted in flagrant and massive violations of international humanitarian law. The operations of the Israeli Army constitute war crimes, and given the massive and systematic character of the killing of civilian populations, including children, the destruction of hospitals and schools, as well as entire areas in the North and the South of the Gaza Strip, further investigation may conclude that these actions amount to crimes against humanity.

The current operation is a repeat, in a worse version, of similar operations carried out over the past 5 years, and given the severity of current situation, the international community of states can no longer remain silent.

The ground incursion into Gaza by the Israeli forces has greatly increased civilian casualties. Today, the Palestinian Ministry of Health announced that 1,830 Palestinian people have been killed and more than 9,300 injured, many of whom were civilians, and of which an unprecedented number were children. On August 3, 2014, with the third bombing of a UNRWA school in less than two weeks, another 10 civilians were killed. This is an illustration of the double punishment imposed on hundreds of thousands of civilians who had to leave their homes located in the large areas confiscated by the Israeli army to become internally displaced persons often seeking refuge and failing to find protection even in UN facilities.

The artillery operation is also increasing the need for the civilian population to have access to food, water and urgent medical assistance. FIDH recalls that water supplies are about to run out, and that the main power plant has been targeted by the Israeli forces, thus further reducing the already poor supply of electricity in the Gaza Strip. Hospitals are being destroyed in violation of international humanitarian law, as too many dead people are piling up in morgues and in civilian facilities.

The UN agencies on the ground have warned of an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in this part of the Palestinian Territory, already terribly weakened by the hermetical closure imposed by Israel since 2007.

Given the unbearable suffering of the civilian population in Gaza, and in order to prevent further escalation in civilian casualties, FIDH believes that the UN Security Council has the obligation to intervene under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, as well as in accordance with the « Responsibility to Protect » doctrine and in virtue of Resolution 1674/2006 on the Protection of Civilians in Armed Conflicts.

Furthermore, FIDH recalls that the provisions of Resolution 1860/2009 still need to be implemented, as do the recommendations of the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict led by Mr. Goldstone that raised serious allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza and by Palestinian armed groups in Israel in December 2008 and January 2009.

FIDH believes that in order to ensure accountability for these acts, and considering the unwillingness or inability of both parties to properly conduct genuine criminal investigations and open prosecutions when appropriate, the situation should have been referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC), which would have put and end to the cycle of impunity and may have prevented a repetition of crimes in 2012 and again in 2014.

FIDH therefore calls upon the British Presidency of the UN Security Council to facilitate the urgent adoption by the Security Council of a resolution which, inter alia,

  • Urges the Government of Israel, the Occupying Power, to respect international humanitarian and human rights law, and consequently to immediately put an end to Operation “Protective Edge;”
  • Urges all parties to immediately end the deliberate targeting of civilian objects, the indiscriminate attacks against civilians, and abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law;
  • Urges all parties to declare an immediate and unconditional cease-fire;
  • Requests the deployment of an international interposition force with the mandate to put an end to the worsening of the humanitarian crisis by ensuring the supplying of food, water, medicine, fuel and electricity to the Palestinian population, and to ensure the effective protection of the civilian population in Gaza;
  • Supports the International Commission of Inquiry to be appointed by the UN Human Rights Council according to Resolution S-21/1 of July 23, 2014, and urges the Governments of Israel and Palestine to fully cooperate and facilitate access of the Commission of Inquiry to enable it to carry out its mandate
  • Urges Israel to lift the siege on the Gaza Strip and take measures to ensure the territorial contiguity of the OPT, rather than seeking to isolate Gaza
  • Urges the Governments of Israel and Palestine to conduct prompt investigations into allegations of grave human rights violations ;
  • Refers the situation in Gaza to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, in accordance with article 13 of the ICC Statute.

Thank you for your attention and prompt reaction,

Sincerely yours,

Karim Lahidji

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