PNGO statement of condemnation of Israeli attack on north Gaza and a call on the international community for intervention

Palestinian refugees from the Al-Shoka village living at a temporary refugee camp in a United Nations school near Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip July 8, 2006. (MaanImages/Hatem Omar)

The Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network (PNGO) calls upon the United Nations, and the international community, to intervene and stop the Israeli Occupation forces’ attacks on the Palestinian people, which have been concentrated in the northern Gaza Strip since the night of 5 July 2006. The serious escalation of Israeli attacks against Palestinian citizens and property utilizing heavy arms, including tanks and air forces, caused outrageous impacts of civilian life and property. During the first 48 hours of the attack, 35 Palestinians were killed, including children, and at least 150 injured. Palestinian houses were destroyed, and hundreds of dunams of agricultural land were levelled by the Israeli occupation forces.

It should be noted here that the Israeli occupation forces’ attacks have been concentrated on the north Gaza towns of Jabaliya, Beit Lahia and Beit Hanoun, where thousands of Palestinian citizens are suffering due to the tight closures imposed by Israeli forces on the area, the lack of food and water, and the continuous electricity cut-off.

Israeli jet fighters targeted and destroyed the power transformers at the Nuseirat power station, severely disrupting electricity supplies and, as a direct consequence, other vital services such as water to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s public water supply is pumped by electricity and well water is purified through machinery run by electricity. Otherwise, the brackish water must at least be boiled before it can be consumed, but this requires electricity or gas, and people will soon have neither.

Additionally, Israeli occupation forces continue to impose closure and siege on the Gaza Strip. The Rafah International Crossing Point has been completely closed since June 25, 2006, leaving thousands of Palestinian travelers stuck on the Egyptian side of the border. Among these travelers are women, children, elderly and ill persons returning after medical treatment in Egypt. They are enduring inadequate living and health conditions while waiting to enter Gaza.

The PNGO, a coordinating body for more than 100 NGOs, strongly condemns the criminal actions committed by the Israeli Occupation forces against the Palestinian people. Israel continues to ignore all international treaties, international human rights and humanitarian law.

PNGO calls upon the international community to stop its silence and act immediately to protect civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), PNGO believes that condemnation of the Israeli violations is not sufficient, and demands effective pressure on Israel to ensure respect for international law and treaties, including the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Times of War.

PNGO also calls on the international community and human rights organizations to intensify their actions to stop the Israeli attack on Palestinian civilians, especially children, and their property.

PNGO especially calls upon the international community to take immediate action to bring the Israeli perpetrators to international justice and call for an end of the ongoing occupation.

PNGO welcome the United Nations Human Rights Council, in its first-ever special session in Geneva on June 6th, decision to send a fact-finding mission to occupied Palestinian territories.

The Palestinian NGO Network is a civil and democratic body, which seeks to support, consolidate and strengthen the Palestinian civil society on the basis of the principles of democracy, social justice and sustainable development. It strives for the attainment of the legitimate national rights of the Palestinian people. It is a Palestinian NGO umbrella organization comprising 92 member organizations working in different developmental fields. PNGO was established in September 1993, after the signing of the Oslo Accords, with the objective of enhancing coordination, consultation and cooperation among the different sectors of civil society. Since then PNGO has become an important component of Palestinian society and serves as an essential coordination mechanism for the NGO sector at the local, regional and international level.

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