Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General Dear Mr.
Secretary-General, In the context of Israel’s ongoing military attack against the occupied Gaza Strip, you recently stated in your address to the distinguished members of the UN Security Council that '[o]nce again, civilians are paying the price for the continuation of conflict.
' The Palestinian Human Rights Organisations Council (PHROC), a coalition of twelve Palestinian human rights organisations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), is gravely concerned about Israel’s ongoing indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against Palestinian civilians and civilian objects in the Gaza Strip.
It must be noted that the population of the Gaza Strip has been living under an Israeli imposed closure for the past seven years, constituting a form of collective punishment.
As a result, 70 per cent of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip are dependent on humanitarian assistance and have been hindered to recover from damage and destruction caused during previous Israeli offensives, including ‘Operation Cast Lead’ and ‘Operation Pillar of Defense’.
‘Operation Protective Edge’ erupted in the context of an already on-going armed conflict and belligerent occupation.
As such, Israel cannot rely on the self-defence argument within the meaning of Article 51 of the UN Charter.
Hence, Israel must act in accordance with the laws regulating the conduct of hostilities and occupation.
Furthermore, considered against the backdrop of Israel’s wide scale punitive military campaign across the West Bank following the disappearance, and eventually the regretful death, of three Israeli settlers, the recent hostilities in the Gaza Strip indicate that a larger political agenda fuels Israel’s actions.