It was announced that European Union (EU) High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy would be visiting Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) for two days starting on Sunday, 2 March 2008.
Al Mezan Center for Human Rights welcomes Mr.
Javier Solana's visit, as the human rights conditions in OPT at this time are lowest ever.
Al Mezan believes that the EU can play a constructive role in the efforts toward ensuring respect for human rights and international law in the OPT, and especially in the Gaza Strip.
Al Mezan has been closely monitoring the situation in Gaza since Wednesday 27 February 2008.
The military operations by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have killed 107 Palestinians, the majority of whom were civilians, during the past five days.
This includes 27 children and six women.
Dozens of homes were destroyed as a result of the IOF's bombardment of urban areas.
Most of the civilian casualties were killed while inside their homes.
The situation was exacerbated by the blockade and other collective punishment measures imposed on Gaza by the IOF.
These conducts represent violations of international humanitarian law (IHL) and the EU's relevant guidelines and policy documents.
Security concerns, including the firing of rockets from Gaza, cannot justify Israel's violation of its current international obligations by targeting civilians.
Al Mezan Center calls on the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy to exert pressure on Israel, the occupying power, to observe its clear obligations vis-à-vis the civilian population of the OPT by removing the blockade and respecting the principles of IHL and human rights.
Al Mezan calls for a more effective role by the international community, including the EU, to act upon its moral and legal obligations and take effective actions to stop the IOF's grave breaches of IHL and provide protection and assistance to civilians.
The international community is called on to address the root causes of the human rights violations in the OPT, particularly the occupation and the political violence accompanied with it that breaches international law.
Civilians have been caught in a reality of occupation and oppression for over four decades now, mostly because of the failure of the international community to enforce international law.
We wish to remind that once the current attacks stop, the fulfillment of human rights for OPT's civilian population will still require much action on the part of the international community.