- Published on Friday, 16 November 2012 14:37
Ireland-Palestine Solidarity Campaign(IPSC)said in a press release issued on Friday 16th November, that the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has warned of a deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip in light of Israel's military escalation, and it has called upon the international community to urgently convene a Special Session of the Human Rights Council in order to address the situation.
Israeli airstrikes continue today despite the presence of Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil in Gaza. We have received reports from Al Haq, a human rights organisation with special consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, that a civilian male and a 4-year-old boy have been killed by an Israeli airstrike this morning, bringing the death toll for Palestinians to 19, including 6 children and one pregnant woman, while 3 Israelis have also died. Over 180 people have been injured in Gaza, many critically.
Gisela Schmidt–Martin, a native of Cork, is an International Human Rights Law masters graduate from NUI Galway. She is currently living and working in Gaza with the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights. Previously she has worked with the UN on the Khmer Rouge Tribunal in Cambodia, the Permanent Mission of the Ireland to the UN in New York, Front Line Defenders, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Dublin. This morning she called for an end to the attacks on the Gaza strip saying,
"The situation is intensifying here in the Gaza Strip, with constant waves of Israeli airstrikes and fears of a ground invasion. Having visited Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, I can confirm that Palestinian civilians, including women and children, are bearing the brunt of these disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks. Israel is, once again, violating its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law. The international community must intervene to put an end to these attacks and defend the rights of the people of Gaza."
The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) supports her call and asks our government to take decisive action to pressure Israel to end its indiscriminate attack on the people of Gaza and lift its crippling siege, both of which constitute unambiguous cases of collective punishment of a defenceless civilian population – something clearly prohibited under international law. We also call for fair and unbiased reporting of the situation and are appalled at the misinformation coming from official Israeli sources and uncritically disseminated by many media outlets.
IPSC Spokesperson Freda Hughes said: "This is not a conflict of equals. We must remember that Israel is one of the best equipped military powers in the world while Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world with no army, navy or airforce. A morbid, but pertinent, fact is that more Palestinians were killed by the Israeli military in Gaza in the last two days than Israelis have been killed by projectile fire from Gaza in the past three years."
She went on to say: "The people of Gaza must not continue to be subjected to collective punishment and this is enshrined in international law. We ask the Irish government to call for an immediate end to the bombardment of Gaza and to take concrete steps to support this call. It can do so by supporting the suspension of Israel from the Euromed Agreement, which affords it special trading status; ending all Irish arms trade with Israel; taking steps to ensure that no Irish state-funded institution engages in any cultural, academic, or economic cooperation with the state of Israel or its associated institutions; and supporting the cessation of all grants to Israel made under the EU's framework programme for research until it complies fully with international law, ends the siege on Gaza and respects the human and political rights of the Palestinian people. We also encourage the Irish people to enact a full economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel until it ends its apartheid regime and respects human rights"
The IPSC is in regular contact with Gisela Schmidt–Martin and a range of legal and human rights experts. Irishman Greg Manahan has returned from Gaza this morning and is also available for interviews. Please contact us for further information.
A demonstration in solidarity with the people of Gaza will be held at The Spire in Dublin at 2pm on Saturday 17th November. There will also be demonstrations today in Limerick at 5.30 on Thomas Street, and Waterford at 6pm at Waterford Square.