Today, Monday, 27 December 2010, marks the second anniversary of the Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip (code-named “Operation Cast Lead” (OCL)).
During this 22-day military operation, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) killed hundreds of Palestinians, destroyed and razed tens of thousands of residential houses, public facilities, and agricultural infrastructure.
Since then, Israel has marinated the siege of Gaza and continued to carry out military attacks in a way that violate international law.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights calls for an immediate lifting of the siege and ensuring that violators of international law be held accountable for their conduct.
So far, the United Nations’ efforts towards ensuring domestic investigations and remedies have failed to bring justice to victims.
Al Mezan therefore calls on the international community to secure accountability and justice through international mechanisms.
OCL was unprecedented in its scope and brutality.
The IOF attacked civilians and civilian objects, in flagrant violation of international law that tantamount to war crimes, and may have constituted crimes against humanity as described by the UN Fact-Finding Mission.
During OCL, Al Mezan followed the developments and documented the way hostilities were conducted.
Evidence showed that the IOF violated international law.
According to Al Mezan’s database, during the OCL the IOF killed 1410 persons in Gaza, including 355 children and 111 women.
The IOF killed 272 police members and 907 other civilians.
The IOF also destroyed at least 11,149 houses; of which 2645 were totally demolished.
At least, another 30,000 residences were slightly damaged.
The IOF razed 6,652 donums (one donum equals 1,000 square meters) of agricultural land.
The IOF also destroyed 614 public facilities, 643 vehicles, 210 industrial facilities, and 1405 commercial stores.
Two years after this aggression, tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza continue to live a life of displacement.
The international community has failed to lift the siege, itself a violation of international law and assume its legal obligation to ensure respect of international law or hold those who violated it flagrantly accountable for their acts.
States and international organizations; including the ICRC and UN have prescribed the Israeli siege as representing intolerable collective punishment.
Al Mezan questions internal community’s failure to take effective measures to bring the siege to a halt, to end the prevalent impunity for human rights violators, and ensure justice for the victims of violations, which represent essential steps towards ending the occupation.
Al Mezan calls on the international community to promptly take effective measures to: · Lift the unlawful and immoral siege imposed on the Gaza Strip by securing free passage of people and commodities, including the construction materials needed for the reconstruction of Gaza without any further delay.
· Ensure the protection of civilians and their property and dignity in the face of the continuing Israeli attacks on occupied Palestinian territory (oPt); · Enforce international mechanism of accountability for violators, and redress for the victims of violations of international law.
· Accelerate the efforts to end the occupation and secure Palestinians’ right to self-determination in accordance with international law.