When the worst fears become reality

Press release

UN Security Council must revisit and step up its mobilisation

FIDH calls upon the Council to revisit urgently its policy on the occupied Palestinian territories, following the escalation of the already dramatic situation of the palestinian civilian population and deploy urgently an multinational protection force.

Since 9 June, the internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah killed at least 110 people and wounded hundreds including people not engaged in armed hostilities in the Gaza strip. According to humanitarian organizations, a large degree of uncertainty with regard to real numbers of the dead remains and Palestinian medical sources are speaking of numbers probably much higher.

The Palestinian civilian population which dolefully celebrates the 40th anniversary of the occupation, remains doubly victim and hostage of the chaos and of the ongoing occupation. Despite the implementation of the Israeli disengagement plan in 2005, the ongoing occupation leaves no part of Palestinian daily life untouched by hardship. The Palestinian population is now also victim of its own leaders.

The internal fighting between Hamas and Fatah which increasingly worsened over the past weeks, has reached an unprecedented level of violence. Militants of both sides took positions in civilian populated areas and number of houses and public buildings have been burnt. Moreover, battles have been engaged around hospitals limiting or paralysing their activities. Hospitals are increasingly operating without water, electricity or blood units. Attacks on hospitals, ambulances and health services have been reported over the past week.

In its report released in October 2006, FIDH warned that the attitude of the international community and Israel towards the Palestinian authority was creating the necessary conditions for the emergence of a “failed state”- an impotent state in whichextremist groups and violence might prosper. The last days events dramatically confirm this prediction.

FIDH recalls that deliberate harming of civilians constitute grave, flagrant and massive breaches of the 1949 Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilian persons which also provides special protection to medical personnel and hospitals. The crimes perpetrated by the parties during the armed clashes should be duly investigated and all those who are involved in them should be brought to justice whatever their affiliations are, and in accordance with international standards.

Alongside its affiliate member in Gaza, the Palestinian Center for human Rights (PCHR), FIDH calls upon Hamas which now effectively controls the Gaza strip to cease fighting, to respect international humanitarian law and human rights and accordingly fulfill its obligations to guarantee the protection of the Palestinian civilian population.

FIDH calls upon the international community to send an international force granted 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 protection of the Palestinian civilian population.

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