Al-Haq’s Appeal to Palestinian Political Parties and Armed Factions

The nature and type of the current concentration of Israeli armed forces along the borders of the Gaza Strip appear to indicate that the Israeli army had made preparations and developed a prior plan to carry out a large-scale military attack on Gaza. The Israeli military operation is not simply a reaction to current events. The Israeli attack will have a grave impact on the life and property of the Palestinian civilian population. Already, the existing blockade of the Gaza Strip has been intensified, leading to increased civilian suffering and more difficult living conditions. The Israeli army has also launched indiscriminate attacks targeting public property, water, electrical, and transport infrastructure, and other vital services.

Affirming once again that Israel is illegally occupying the Palestinian Territories, and emphasizing Palestinians’ right to resist and confront the occupation as a means of attaining self-determination, in accordance with international resolutions, Al-Haq demands that all members of Palestinian resistance movements act according to the principles of international humanitarian law, which regulate the rights and duties of belligerent parties, in particular:

  • Absolutely avoid targeting civilians; military operations must be limited to military targets;
  • Respect the right to life of all prisoners, not take reprisals against them, and refrain from torturing or subjecting prisoners to inhuman or degrading treatment;
  • Refrain from enlisting children or employing them in military operations;
  • Care for the enemy’s wounded and ill personnel, not take reprisals against them, and respect their right to life;
  • Respect medical personnel accompanying enemy forces, refrain from targeting them, and treat them humanely; and
  • Refrain from attacking journalists.

    Al-Haq also wishes to remind Palestinian resistance movements that they may not resort to reciprocity as a legal justification for violating the rules and provisions of international humanitarian law. In no circumstances is it permissible to use the Israeli occupying forces’ actions or war crimes against Palestinian civilians as a pretext for Palestinians to likewise violate international law.

    The risk of armed confrontation between the Palestinian resistance and Israeli occupying forces throughout the Gaza Strip has prompted Al-Haq to issue this appeal in order to ensure that armed Palestinian activists take into account the rules of international law. In order to rely on international law to give legitimacy to their resistance and struggle for self-determination, the Palestinian resistance movements must respect their obligations under international law, which regulates the conduct of combatants during war.

    Related Links:

  • Al-Haq
  • Israeli invades Gaza (27 June 2006),
  • BY TOPIC: Human Rights