In reaction to the latest house demolitions in Gaza, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has addressed an urgent request to the Israeli authorities urging them to put an end immediately to house demolitions, which have become a systematic policy.
The FIDH has also called upon the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of European Union’s member States to condemn this policy and to take negative measures under the Association Agreement that links them to Israel.
This Agreement provides that the relationship between the EU and Israel is to be based on respect for human rights. FIDH recalled that Israel is responsible for gross and systematic human rights violations, which has been documented and denounced by several independent international mechanisms.
In particular the United Nations Committee Against Torture recently noted with great concern that “Israeli policies on house demolitions may in certain circumstances, amount to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment”, in breach of the International Convention Against Torture.
In addition, the FIDH has asked the Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing of the UN Commission on Human Rights to raise this situation with the Israelian authorities and report about it to the forthcoming session of the Commission on Human Rights, starting March 18th.
The FIDH had been alerted by its member organisations, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Gaza (PCHR) and B’Tselem, Jerusalem (The Israeli Information Center in the Occupied Territories) about the Israeli systematic policy of house demolition since the beginning of Al-Aqsa Intifada as a form of collective punishment against Palestinian civilians. Recent months witnessed an unprecedented escalation in the policy of house demolition. Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, has been repeatedly subjected to these violent and dramatic house demolitions. According to PCHR figures, since the beginning of the Intifada, in the Gaza strip alone 405 homes have been entirely demolished.
On January 10 and 12 alone, 211 houses in Rafah have been entirely destroyed, rendered uninhabitable, or having sustained serious damage by the Israeli military. These latest house demolitions left more than 1700 Palestinian civilians homeless.
The FIDH condemns the destruction of civilian houses as a serious violation of international human rights and humanitarian law, in particular the IV Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 12 August 1949.
Federation International des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), 17, passage de la Main d’Or, 75011, Paris, France, CCP Paris: 76 76 Z, Tel. (33-1) 43 55 25 18 / Fax. (33-1) 43 55 18 80, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, web: www.fidh.org