Sp. Rapporteur on occupied territories ‘horrified’ at Israeli action in Gaza – Press release
SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR ON OCCUPIED TERRITORIES “HORRIFIED” AT ISRAELI ACTION IN GAZA
The Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967, John Dugard, today made the following statement :
"The Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967 wishes to add his voice to those who have expressed their horror and concern about Israeli military action in Gaza and in particular in Rafah. Conservative estimates show that 2,200 persons have lost their homes following the demolition of 191 homes in Gaza since the beginning of May. Over 30 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds injured. The refugees of Rafah are once more having to seek refuge in temporary structures. These actions constitute a violation of international humanitarian law and constitute war crimes under Article 147 of the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949 (Fourth Geneva Convention). They also amount to collective punishment which violates both humanitarian law and international human rights law. It is impossible to accept the Israeli argument that these actions are justified by military necessity. On the contrary, in the language of Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, they are "carried out unlawfully and wantonly".
In the first instance, the Special Rapporteur calls upon the Government of Israel to desist from such activity and to observe its international obligations. The Special Rapporteur also calls on the Security Council to take appropriate action to stop the violence, if necessary by the imposition of mandatory arms embargo on Israel of the kind that was imposed on South Africa in 1977. The Special Rapporteur reminds Members of the Security Council in general and the Permanent Members of the Security Council in particular of their obligations to take action to restore international peace and security in the region. The Special Rapporteur sees no reason why an arms embargo should not be an appropriate measure. The Special Rapporteur is aware of the tendency of some Member States to use the veto in all action affecting Israel. In this respect, they repeat the behaviour of Permanent Members in respect of South Africa before 1977. The Special Rapporteur urgently calls on all Member States of the Security Council to behave responsibly, in accordance with their international obligations, and not to allow domestic political considerations to undermine their international obligations".
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