Rights groups warn of serious repercussions of tightening Gaza siege

Palestinian and Israeli civil and human rights organizations condemned the Israeli occupation’s tightening of the siege on the Gaza Strip, preventing it from entering basic materials, including building materials and fuel, and reducing the fishing area, and warned of serious humanitarian repercussions that would result from that, and demanded that it stop and lift The continued siege on the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli "Bimkom, B'Tselem, Gisha, Maslak, Association for Civil Rights, the Center for the Defense of the Individual, Zim, Adalah, Ir Amim, and Yesh Din" said that the Israeli security minister’s decision yesterday, Thursday, to prevent fuel entry into the Gaza Strip, after Israel reduced work The "Karam Abu Salem" crossing for goods on Tuesday, and on Wednesday reduced the fishing area, is an ongoing collective punishment aimed at harming more than two million residents of the besieged strip.

The aforementioned human rights organizations added in a message to the government and the Israeli mini cabinet that "the deliberate damage to the difficult humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and its already fragile economy due to the closure imposed by Israel for years takes a more dangerous turn in light of the global crisis to confront and limit the spread of the Corona epidemic." Pointing out that "the launch of incendiary balloons could endanger residential communities, but it does not justify harming civilians by actions beyond their control."

The human rights organizations stressed that the Israeli response is illogical, contradicts international and Israeli law, and does not serve Israeli security needs. And that stopping the regular supply of essential products is an action prohibited under international law. It is a violation of Israel's obligation to ensure the safety and security of the residents of the Gaza Strip and to provide the means for a normal daily life.

The organizations signatories to the letter and the international appeal demanded that Israel immediately stop the illegal punitive measures and the deliberate violation of the human rights of the residents of the Gaza Strip.

The NGO Network indicated the deteriorating economic, humanitarian and social conditions in the Gaza Strip, and the unprecedented high rates of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity, in light of the Corona pandemic and the continuation and tightening of the blockade, warning of serious repercussions for the occupation's decisions, which aim to deepen the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.

These decisions and measures of the occupation were considered "a flagrant violation of all international charters and treaties, foremost of which is the Fourth Geneva Convention," and called on the international community to intervene immediately and urgently to press for the complete lifting of the Israeli blockade, enabling citizens to move freely, and opening the only commercial crossing into the Gaza Strip. "Karam Abu Salem, "and to allow the supply of all the needs of the residents of the Strip, and to freely export goods and products of the Gaza Strip.

For its part, Al-Dameer Foundation for Human Rights warned of the effects resulting from the increasing difficulty of the humanitarian situation, which leads to a deterioration in the living standards of citizens in the Gaza Strip in light of the tightening of the siege.

The Foundation said in a press release Thursday, "The decision to close the Kerem Shalom crossing, and to reduce the fishing area, comes within the framework of the illegal blockade policy and the inhuman collective punishment policy imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on the Gaza Strip since September 2007."

She emphasized that humanitarian aid is one of the most important rights of the civilian population guaranteed by international humanitarian law and international human rights law in accordance with the Fourth Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians.

And it considered that the decision to close the Kerem Shalom crossing and reduce the fishing area violates all international conventions and norms, which divert humanitarian and medical aid in times of war from any military conflicts.

She indicated that the Gaza Strip is legally described as a territory that is subject to the Israeli military occupation, so the rules of international humanitarian law find their way to be implemented and applied, and that the civilian population in war-occupied territories receives the international protection stipulated in international humanitarian law.

She explained that the occupation, as an occupying power, is responsible and obligated to provide humanitarian services to the residents of the Gaza Strip, and that the existing government is legally and morally responsible for providing the sending of medicines and medical supplies to the citizens of the Gaza Strip.

The organization said that it is looking with great concern to the occupation authorities taking decisions and measures to tighten the siege on the Gaza Strip, which threaten of catastrophic repercussions and deteriorating living conditions due to the tightening of the siege on citizens.

And it called on the international community to put pressure on "Israel" in order to force it to abide by its duties, and to allow the entry of all humanitarian and basic needs into the Gaza Strip, especially the medical devices and equipment necessary for the medical examination of the Corona virus.

It called on the High Contracting Parties and the relevant United Nations bodies to put pressure on the occupation authorities to abide by their legal duty towards the citizens of Gaza and assume their responsibility as the occupying power of the Strip.


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