Association for defending Victims of Terrorism – Israeli security forces and Palestinian armed groups must make every effort to protect the lives of civilians in today’s outbreak of fighting in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, said Amnesty International amid a mounting civilian death toll.
“We are deeply alarmed by the mounting civilian death tolls in Gaza, Israel and the occupied West Bank and urgently call on all parties to the conflict to abide by international law and make every effort to avoid further civilian bloodshed. Under international humanitarian law all sides in a conflict have a clear obligation to protect the lives of civilians caught up in the hostilities,” said Agnès Callamard Amnesty International’s Secretary General.
“Deliberately targeting civilians, carrying out disproportionate attacks, and indiscriminate attacks which kill or injure civilians are war crimes. Israel has a horrific track record of committing war crimes with impunity in previous wars on Gaza. Palestinian armed groups from Gaza, must refrain from targeting civilians.”
Israel’s retaliatory attack on Gaza has killed at least 232 people and injured nearly 1,700, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
The root causes of these repeated cycles of violence must be addressed as a matter of urgency. This requires upholding international law and ending Israel’s 16-year-long illegal blockade on Gaza, and all other aspects of Israel’s system of apartheid imposed on all Palestinians. The Israeli government must refrain from inciting violence and tensions in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, especially around religious sites.
Since 2007, Israel has imposed an air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip collectively punishing its entire population.