The Palestinian Human Rights
Organizations Council is deeply concerned about the continued deterioration of
living condition of the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip as a result of
Israel’s denial and negligence of its legal obligations towards civilians and
its continuation of imposing collective punishment on the Gaza Strip for more
than 7 years. 

 

The council strongly condemns the
ongoing closure imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip and its serious impacts on
all life aspects of Palestinian civilians. 
The council also renews its call upon the international community to
intervene immediately to lift the closure, open all border crossings to
facilitate the movement of Palestinians from and to the Gaza Strip, and ensure
the freedom of trade.  Thus, the council calls
upon Egypt to open the Rafah Crossing, which has been closed for a month, to
alleviate the suffering of Palestinians due to the Israeli practices and
violations of the international humanitarian law and human rights law against
the Gaza Strip population.

 

Israel has tightened its closure
of the Gaza Strip border crossings, including Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing for 7
years.  As a result, 1.8 Palestinians have
been denied their right to freedom of movement to and from the Gaza Strip.  Moreover, this policy has deteriorated the
conditions of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of patients who
need advanced medical treatment which is not available in the Gaza Strip, persons
who work in other countries, Palestinian families living in other countries and
university students who study abroad, have not been able to travel abroad.

 

The Palestinian Human Rights
Organizations Council reiterates that the Gaza Strip is still under the Israeli
tightened closure, which is considered a form of collective punishment, and
impacts severely on all life aspects of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza
Strip.  The council further emphasized
that the Gaza Strip is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and reminds
Israel as an occupying power of its obligation towards the population of the
occupied territory according the international law.  This includes taking all the necessary
measures to facilitate the movement of people and goods.  Thus, Israeli forces must end the illegal closure
immediately.  The international community
must also pressurize the Israeli authorities to open Beit Hanoun “Erez”
crossing, the sole outlet between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including
Occupied Jerusalem. This would enable the Gaza Strip civilians to move freely
between the Palestinian cities and the outside world.

 

The Palestinian Human Rights
Organizations Council, which signed this appeal, takes into consideration the
situation in Egypt, but is concerned over the deterioration of humanitarian
conditions in the Gaza Strip.  Based on
the strong ties between Egyptians and Palestinians and the historical role
played by Egypt in supporting the Palestinian cause and particularly the Gaza
Strip, the council further:

 

1. Calls upon Egypt Authorities to open the Rafah crossing, which
has been closed for a month, and stop the deterioration of the conditions of
the Gaza Strip population due to the total closure imposed on the Gaza Strip;

2. To take the necessary measures to ensure opening the crossing
normally before the movement of the Palestinian civilians from and to the Gaza
Strip and put an end to their suffering;

3. Calls upon the international community to pressurize the Israeli
authorities to stop the policy of collective punishment against the population
of the Gaza Strip and immediately open all border crossings to put an end to
the serious deterioration of the humanitarian conditions of the civilian
population; and

4.  Calls upon the Israeli authorities to comply
with international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention,
including finding a prompt solution to ensure the freedom of movement of
Palestinian civilians through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing regularly and safely,
and to establish a clear system ensuring the freedom of movement of the
population of the Gaza Strip and safe passage and flow of the population’s
needs through commercial crossings.