Israel’s continuing rampage of destruction in the Rafah area of the Gaza Strip not only violates Geneva conventions, it is a war crime. It is now well past time for the imposition of economic and other sanctions against Israel.
So far this month, more than 2,000 Palestinians, most of them refugees, have been made homeless, some for a second time in the past two years and more house demolitions have been promised by the Israeli authorities. Almost 20,000 Palestinians in Gaza have been made homeless in the last three years by Israeli housing demolitions.
Governments and human rights organizations throughout the world have been pointing out Israel’s illegal actions. The U.S. State department says in a report released on 18 May that Israel has carried out policies of demolitions, strict curfews and closures that directly punished innocent civilians.
The international development committee of the British House of Commons earlier this year called on the British Government to urge the European Union to impose trade sanctions on Israel by suspending the favorable conditions Israel enjoys in its trade with the EU.
This call was echoed was a group of 275 European politicians, 210 European NGOs this month for an end to Israel’s favorable trading terms with the EU.
Amnesty International has pointed out that the right to housing is a basic right enshrined in a number of human rights laws, including Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights treaties to which Israel is a signatory.
Under the slogan “Israel Boycotts International Law and Human Rights—We Boycott Israel!”, 18 Palestinian civil society organizations, among them BADIL, called in 2002 for sanctions against Israel. It is time to renew the call in response to the damage Israel is causing to the health conditions, economic prospects and human rights of the Palestinian people in the occupied territories of West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The following provides a history of housing demolitions in Palestine from the British Mandate period up to 2004 under the Israeli occupation:
demolitions occurred under Ariel Sharon then IDF Commander of the Southern Front.