the causes of illegal occupation
CNCD – PRESS RELEASE | Octobre 9 2023
PALESTINE/ISRAEL: PRIORITY TO A CEASEFIRE, PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS AND RESPECT FOR INTERNATIONAL LAW
On October 7, Hamas launched an unprecedented attack on southern Israel, committing numerous war crimes against Israeli civilians. In response, Israel launched a large-scale military operation in the Gaza Strip. The human toll is rising by the hour. Several hundred deaths, including many civilian victims, have already been deplored in Israel and Gaza. The organisations that have signed this press release unequivocally condemn the war crimes committed against both Israeli and Palestinian civilians. They call on Belgium and the EU to prioritise the conclusion of an immediate ceasefire, the protection of civilians and respect for international law. They also recall that only solutions to the structural causes of this violence can put a definitive end to it.
At dawn on Saturday October 7, Hamas launched an unprecedentedly violent attack on southern Israel. Commandos from the armed wing of Hamas entered Israel, killing and wounding many Israeli civilians and taking others hostage. In response, Israel launched a military operation on Saturday against Hamas positions in the Gaza Strip. The indiscriminate Israeli bombardment has already resulted in the deaths of many Palestinian civilians.
Faced with the escalating violence, Belgium and the EU must adhere to international law. The murder, kidnapping, and hostage-taking of civilians constitute war crimes, as do indiscriminate bombings. Violations of international humanitarian law are unacceptable, regardless of the perpetrators. Moreover, the international community, by consistently failing to compel all parties to respect international law and by allowing violations to go unpunished, bears significant responsibility for the dire situation we face today.
It is also essential to consider the context in which this escalation is occurring. For over sixteen years, Israel has enforced a blockade on the Gaza Strip, subjecting more than 2 million Palestinian men and women to collective punishment. They are also regularly exposed to indiscriminate Israeli bombardments from which they have no means to escape. Due to these severe restrictions on the movement of people and goods, 97% of the available water in Gaza is unfit for consumption, the unemployment rate stands at 47%, and 80% of the population relies on international aid. This blockade is one element of the protracted occupation and apartheid regime that Israel is imposing upon the entire Palestinian population.
Our organizations unequivocally condemn the Hamas attacks on Israeli civilians, which constitute war crimes and must be condemned as such. They condemn with equal force the indiscriminate strikes by the army against the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza. All political and diplomatic channels must be activated to put an end to these acts of violence. An extraordinary meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council has been convened by the EU High Representative, Josep Borrell, on Tuesday, October 10th. Our organizations urge Belgium and the European Union to prioritize, in the short term, the immediate ceasefire, the protection of civilian populations, whether Palestinian or Israeli, and the adherence to international law.
They condemn the European Commission’s decision to suspend aid to Palestinians, as it will only weaken the Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, collectively punishing the entire Palestinian population at a time when they need this assistance the most. They also call on Belgium and the European Union to take swift action to end the recurrent cycles of violence in the region by addressing their structural causes, including the prolonged occupation of Palestinian territory and the numerous violations of international law stemming from it.
Signatories : Association Belgo-Palestinienne ; Belgian Academics and Artists for Palestine ; Broederlijk Delen ; CNCD-11.11.11 ; Entraide et Fraternité ; Intal ; La Centrale Générale-FGTB ; Mouvement Ouvrier Chrétien ; Palestina Solidariteit ; Pax Christi Vlaanderen ; Solsoc ; Soutien Belge Overseas ; Union des Progressistes Juifs de Belgique ; Viva Salud ; Vrede ; 11.11.11 (Vlaanderen).