Amnesty International has again condemned Israel atrocities in Gaza, calling it one of the saddest episode in human kind modern history. In Europe, the Swedish Parliament was applying pressure for Israel to lift blockade on a flotilla of nine multi-national ships to Gaza, one of which carries a group of Malaysian journalists and volunteers.
In Washington, Obama was silence over the Amnesty reports. The US, in demanding Tel Aviv regime to halt attacks on Gaza and other Palestinian territories, is being seen by the international community as 'toying around' with its peace plan. Israelis are still getting US 'soft permitting' in building new settlement on the Palestinian land.
Unveiling its annual 2009 report on the global state of human rights at a press briefing in Berlin, Amnesty's head of Germany branch Monika Lueke said there are daily human rights violations, and the Israeli seige of Gaza is an example of breaching human rights (here). Todate, some 1.5 million Gaza-based Palestinians have been cut off from vital food supplies and 8,000 North Gazans have no access to water.
Also, at least 27 Palestinians died last year because they could not receive on time medical treatment. Referring to the 2008/9 Gaza war, Lueke stressed that Israeli military attacks against UN institutions, schools and hospitals constituted a violation of humanitarian laws of war.
The Israeli government’s siege of the Gaza Strip stretches back to 2005, and it has been rigorously enforced since the Israeli military offensive of late 2008 and early 2009, which left more than 1,400 people dead and 14,000 homes damaged or destroyed. Israel argues its military offensive and tightening of the siege are a response to Palestinian rocket fire, ordered by a Hamas government whose legitimacy it does not recognize.
However, as leading watchdogs such as Human Rights Watch have repeatedly documented, the Israeli military response has been overwhelmingly disproportionate.
The ongoing siege does nothing to target Palestinian militants but instead violates international norms by holding all responsible for the actions of a few. A report published by Amnesty International, Oxfam, Save the Children, and CARE stated that, The humanitarian crisis in Gaza, according to them, is a direct result of ongoing collective punishment of ordinary men, women and children and is illegal under international law.
As a result of the siege, civilians in Gaza, including children and other innocent bystanders who are caught in the middle of this conflict, do not have clean water to drink because authorities cannot rebuild water treatment plants destroyed by the Israeli attacks. Air strikes that damaged basic civilian infrastructure, coupled with curtailed imports, have left many in Gaza without the food and medicine needed to lead healthy lives.
I wish our journalists and volunteers on one of the ships find a safe passage in and out of Gaza.