Source: Al Jazeera

More than 128 days after the attacks on Oct. 7th and despite the provisions laid out by the International Court of Justice’s judgment on Jan. 26th 2024 to prevent acts of genocide, we are still witnessing terrifying scenes from Gaza that only reiterate the imperativeness of this call. A human catastrophe is currently unfolding as we write this position document, with Israel preparing to militarily invade Rafah, the designated “safe zone” for Palestinian civilians (where more than 1 million people are displaced), after carpet bombing and terrorizing its population.

We urge the Belgian government and the European Union to promptly and decisively work towards re-establishing international law, as outlined by the Geneva Conventions and their Additional Protocols and the provisions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to prevent the risk of genocide in Gaza. Additionally, we call for diplomatic support to facilitate an urgent ceasefire, a cause consistently advocated by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. This is not only a matter of humanity; it is even more imperative to restore law-based international order, particularly in light of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s declaration that no one will impede Israel from achieving ‘total victory’ over Hamas in Gaza (‘not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil, and no one else’) (1).

During the last 76 years Israel has repeatedly denied the fulfillment of human rights for the Palestinians as enshrined in the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and their legitimate right for self-determination according to Art. 1, Part I of the UN General Assembly 1966 resolution on international Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Nevertheless, we will focus our current analysis on more recent consequences of the human rights violations in Gaza committed by the Israeli Occupation Forces to urge for a ceasefire:

– The daily fatality rate in Gaza is higher than any other major conflict in the 21st century, with an average of 250 Gazans being killed every day (in Syria 96,5 deaths per day; in Sudan 51,6; in Iraq 50,8; in Ukraine 43,9; in Afghanistan 23,8; in Yemen 15,8) (2). According to the MoH in Gaza, at least 26,422 Palestinians have been killed and 65,087 Palestinians have been injured since the 7th of October (3). 70% of the victims are said to be women and children (WHO) (4) including two mothers per hour killed since Oct. 7th (UN Women) (5).

– Given that the casualties among Palestinian children amount to at least 10.000 (6) (and thousands more under the rubbles are presumably dead), we can calculate that 1) a Palestinian child is killed every 15 minutes in Gaza and 2) Israel’s carpet bombing of Gaza (7) has led to the disappearance of more than 625 school classes since Oct.7.

– On Feb. 7th, 2024 the entire population of the Gaza Strip (about 2.2 million people) will be classified in IPC Phase 3 (crisis or worse) (8) facing high levels of famine. Of these, at least 50% of the population is in Emergency (IPC Phase 4) and more than 500.000 people are facing catastrophic conditions (IPC Phase 5), experiencing “extreme lack of food, starvation and exhaustion of coping capacities” (9). These desperate conditions are due to sustained bombardments, ongoing clashes on the ground, and the besiegement of the population. This situation highlights how Israel is using the starvation of civilians as a method of warfare in Gaza, which accounts for a war crime (HRW) (10).

– As of Jan. 24th, 2024 the Internally Displaced People (IDPs) in Gaza amount to 1,700.000 (75% of the total population), at least 306 IDPs sheltering in UNRWA facilities have been killed and 1302 injured since Oct. 7th and many of them have been internally displaced several times in search of safety (UNRWA) (11). It is estimated that about 73,000 housing units across the Gaza Strip have been either destroyed or rendered uninhabitable and more than 290,000 housing units have been damaged, resulting in over 650,000 people who will have no home to return to (12).

–  A public health catastrophe is unfolding in Gaza with several injured and violently dead people, overcrowding, major disruption of the health system, damage to water and sanitation infrastructure, and the obstruction of ambulances (WHO) (13). As of Jan. 14 , 2024, only 6 ambulances were operational in the entire Gaza Strip according to the Gaza MoH (14). As of Jan. 25th, 2024, only 14 out of 36 hospitals are “partially functional”(15) and Al Kheir Hospital in Khan Younis, which was previously designated as “minimally functioning” and one of the only 3 hospitals in the Gaza Strip providing maternity services, is no longer operational with patients having to flee the facility surrounded by Israeli tanks (16). Médecins Sans Frontières has declared that the surgical capacity of the Nasser Hospital, the largest remaining health facility in the Strip, “is almost non-existent” and “the handful of medical staff remaining in the hospital must contend with very low supplies that are insufficient to handle large influxes of wounded people” (MSF) (17). The frequent cuts of electricity also lead to the acute shortage of medical equipment supplies at health facilities (WHO) (18). MSF medical coordinator in Palestine, Guillemette Thomas, stated that people’s lives are at risk because of the lack of medical care (19).

– Israeli military forces have increasingly denied access of humanitarian aid delivery to Gaza in mid-January 2024, heavily compromising the capacity of humanitarian actors to deliver emergency assistance to the population. Between October and December 2023, 35 out of 43 planned missions were facilitated. However, since the beginning of January 2024, only 7 out of 29 planned missions have been carried out (either fully or partially), resulting in 95% of denial of missions involving fuel, medicines, water reservoirs, and health facilities in the North of Gaza (OCHA) (20). None of the 22 requests by the UN to the Israeli military to open checkpoints early to access areas north of Wadi Gaza (in January) were facilitated and 12 incidents of attacks against, and access constraints on, Emergency Medical Teams (EMTs) were recorded between 7 November 2023 and 24 January 2024 (21).

This evidence supports our analysis that the Israeli military forces and the Israeli government are deliberately obstructing humanitarian aid access to a massacred population forcibly confined in a territory of 360 km2, amounting to repeated violations of international humanitarian law.

We therefore urge you to review your support to Israel and take the following steps:

  1. Call for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire.
  2. Support the respect of international law and the Convention on Genocide as envisioned by the International Court of Justice’s judgment in all international arenas, including at the UN and within the Council of the European Union by leveraging the Belgian Presidency of the Council of EU, to avoid further weakening of international rule of law and being associated to complicity in genocide.
  3. Support the unconditional and immediate access of humanitarian aid missions into the entire Gaza Strip.
  4. Continue to support the UNRWA in Gaza to carry out the delivery of humanitarian aid to the population and recommend other states to do the same.
  5. Work with other EU member states to pave the way for a diplomatic agreement between Israel and the resistance groups in Gaza and the West Bank to stop all hostilities, free all the hostages and prisoners still held in captivity, dismantle the Israeli military occupation in Gaza and the West Bank and lift the siege of the Gaza Strip.
  6. Support the ban of trade with the illegal settlements in occupied territories, the establishment of legal and economic sanctions to Israeli officials keeping on dehumanizing Palestinians as well as to Israeli settlers in the West Bank and advocate for Israel’s exclusion from all international competitions (Eurovision Song Contest, les Jeux Olympiques, 2024 UEFA European Football Championship etc.) until the apartheid state is dismantled – as previously done with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  7. Support the suspension of the EU-Israel Association Agreement until the apartheid state has been dismantled and Israel has fully complied with international law.
  8. Impose a military embargo on Israel.
  9. Recognize the State of Palestine and support the solution in respect of the right of Palestinians to self-determination and international law as the basis for negotiations in all international arenas.

Signatories: Soutien Belge Overseas; BA4P/BACBI


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(7) Ibid.

(8) The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) is an innovative multi-partner initiative for improving food security and nutrition analysis and decision-making. By using the IPC classification and analytical approach, Governments, UN Agencies, NGOs, civil society and other relevant actors, work together to determine the severity and magnitude of acute and chronic food insecurity, and acute malnutrition situations in a country, according to internationally-recognised scientific standards.




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(15) Partial functionality’ indicates that a hospital is accessible by people in need of health care; it can admit some new patients and can undertake some level of surgery (Reliefweb).




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