Marking the second anniversary of the Israeli military offensive against the Gaza Strip (commonly known as Operation Cast Lead (OCL)), between December 27, 2008 - January 18, 2009, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights issued a brief report entitled “On-going Displacement: Gaza’s Displaced Two Years after the War”.
The report describes the large-scaled demolition of residences during OCL, which left over 21,000 people permanently displaced, adding to tens of thousands of persons who had been displaced before and after this offensive.
The Israeli siege on the Gaza Strip and, especially, the restrictions on the entry of construction materials, have kept the families who lost their residences displaced and vulnerable two years after the end of the offensive.
The report attempts to sheds some light on the life conditions of these families.
The report provides a brief analysis with regard to home demolitions in international law.
The manner the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) destroyed homes and civilian infrastructure in Gaza clearly violate the provisions of international Humanitarian Law (IHL), but also contravene several human rights treaties to which Israel is party including the International Covenant on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Not only these demolitions, but also the Israeli ban of the entry of construction materials into the Gaza Strip to allow for rebuilding the destroyed homes, violate international law.
The report describes the assistance that has been provided for the families whose residences were destroyed or damaged during OCL.
While assistance was effectively provided and helped families whose residences were damaged, the vast majority of the families whose residences were destroyed continue to be displaced.
A survey by Al Mezan on a random sample from the Centre’s ‘home demolitions’ database showed that aid was not effective in ending displacement mainly because the Israeli siege prevented UN agencies and people from rebuilding their homes.
The report presents three case studies for families whose residences were demolished by the IOF during OCL.
Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights called on international community to: - Ensure the protection of civilians and their property and dignity in the face of the continuing Israeli attacks on occupied Palestinian territory.
- Ensure quicker, more effective delivery of humanitarian aid to bring the displacement crisis in Gaza to a final end without further delay.
- Double the diplomatic efforts to ensure a full lifting of the illegal Israeli blockade of Gaza; including by ensuring the free passage of construction materials.
- Support the efforts to ensure that those who were involved in violations of international law are held accountable for their actions.
Steps must be taken in, among other bodies, the Human Rights Council, General Assembly and Security Council.