As lawyers committed to the protection and advancement of Palestinian human rights, we call upon the international community to act immediately and decisively to halt the latest resort to sustained military action in the Gaza Strip, following Israel’s announcement yesterday that they have launched a military operation codenamed Operation Guardian of the Walls.
LPHR is extremely concerned by today’s report from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights stating that since yesterday evening, 10 May 2021, 26 Palestinians, including nine children and one woman, have been killed, and a further 75 Palestinians including 22 children and seven women, have been injured, during airstrikes by Israel’s military forces in the Gaza Strip.
The extent of Palestinian casualties is acutely disturbing, resembling the first day of Israel’s military codenamed Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014, which lasted 51 days and resulted in the killing of 2219 Palestinians in Gaza, including 556 children and 299 women.
LPHR is also deeply concerned by reporting that two Israeli women have died, and dozens of Israelis injured, by rocket attacks launched from Palestinian armed groups into southern Israel.
LPHR strongly endorses today’s statement of UN Humanitarian Coordinator, Lynn Hastings, in which she states: “All parties have obligations under international humanitarian law; the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality in the use of force must be adhered to. Airstrikes in densely populated areas risk violating these principles. Rockets are indiscriminate by nature and as such violate international law.”
LPHR urges the UK government and wider international community to immediately take the following urgent actions for the paramount purpose of protecting civilians:
- Take all necessary diplomatic measures to achieve the urgent cessation of the use of force;
- Insist that the parties to military action, Israeli or Palestinian, fulfil their binding legal obligations under international humanitarian law and international human rights law;
- Call for genuine investigations and full legal accountability into each military attack against a civilian or civilian object; and
- Take positive steps (unilaterally and together with other governments) to convene a special session of the Human Rights Council and an urgent meeting of the signatories to the Fourth Geneva Convention.