MADRE Calls for Protection of Civilians as Violence Escalates in Lebanon, Israel, and Gaza
Posted on: Wednesday, July 12, 2006
July 12, 2006—New York—MADRE, an international women's human rights organization, expresses grave concern for the safety of Palestinian, Israeli, and Lebanese civilians as a "two-front war" looms in the Middle East.
On Wednesday morning, fighters from the Lebanese-based Hezbollah organization captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid into northern Israel and fired rockets and mortar bombs at Israeli towns. At least four Israeli civilians were wounded. Residents in the north have been ordered into bomb shelters. If, in fact, the soldiers were captured inside Israeli territory, Hezbollah's raid constitutes an act of aggression in clear violation of international law. Moreover, the targeting of Israeli civilians under any circumstances is a grave violation of international humanitarian law.
In response to the Hezbollah raid, Israel has attacked southern Lebanon with tanks, gunboats, and war planes. At least two civilians were killed on Wednesday. Israeli Defense Minister Amir Peretz has declared that, "Israel sees itself as being free to employ any means it deems fit, and the army has been instructed accordingly." However, MADRE emphasizes that Israel is bound by international law. Any lawful military retaliation must prioritize the safety of civilians and remain proportionate to the threat posed to Israel by Hezbollah.
Today's resurgence of hostilities across Israel's northern border may be a turning point in the Middle East, threatening a regional war that would endanger millions of civilians in Israel, Iran, Lebanon, and Syria. Israel is treating Hezbollah's attack as an "act of war" by Lebanon, where Hezbollah's political wing holds seats in Parliament. Meanwhile, Syria and Iran, both backers of Hezbollah, have effectively condoned the group's raid into Israel. On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the US National Security Council said the US holds Syria and Iran "responsible for this attack and for the ensuing violence." The Bush Administration has already targeted both countries as likely candidates for "regime change."
Despite fears of an expanding conflict, the epicenter of crisis in the Middle East remains the Gaza Strip, where Israeli policy has created a looming humanitarian disaster. The fate of Gaza's 1.4 million people must not be eclipsed, even as the widening conflict demands the world's attention. On Wednesday alone, 23 people were killed by the Israeli military in Gaza, among them seven children and their mother. Even more widespread than the threat of direct Israeli military strikes are dire shortages of water, food, medicine, and electricity caused by Israel's ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said that Israel's objective is to "apply pressure" to the civilian population of Gaza in response to Hamas' capture of an Israeli soldier in June and its recent rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. Olmert's tactic is a form of collective punishment that violates the Hague Convention as well as the Fourth Geneva Convention and constitutes a war crime.
MADRE emphasizes that no party to the conflict—whether the State of Israel or the armed wings of Hezbollah and Hamas—has the right to attack civilians. MADRE calls for the protection of all civilians in Palestine, Israel, and Lebanon.
Yifat Susskind, MADRE’s Communications Director, was born and raised in Israel. Before joining MADRE, she was active in the Israeli women's peace movement for several years and directed a project at a joint Israeli-Palestinian human rights organization in Jerusalem. Her critical analysis of US foreign policy and women's human rights in the Middle East and other parts of the world has appeared in online and print publications such as TomPaine.com, Foreign Policy in Focus, the Middle East Research & Information Project (MERIP), and The W Effect: Bush's War on Women, published by the Feminist Press in 2004. She has also been featured as a commentator on CNN, National Public Radio, and BBC Radio. Ms. Susskind is the author of a book on women’s human rights and US foreign policy, forthcoming.
Archives"Press Room" Home May 2013 April 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 November 2012 October 2012 September 2012 August 2012 July 2012 June 2012 May 2012 April 2012 March 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 November 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 July 2011 June 2011 May 2011 April 2011 March 2011 February 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 October 2010 September 2010 August 2010 July 2010 June 2010 May 2010 April 2010 March 2010 February 2010 January 2010 December 2009 November 2009 October 2009 September 2009 August 2009 July 2009 June 2009 May 2009 April 2009 March 2009 February 2009 January 2009 December 2008 November 2008 October 2008 September 2008 August 2008 July 2008 June 2008 May 2008 April 2008 March 2008 February 2008 January 2008 December 2007 November 2007 October 2007 September 2007 August 2007 June 2007 May 2007 April 2007 March 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 November 2006 October 2006 September 2006 July 2006 June 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 November 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 April 2005 March 2005 November 2004 October 2004 April 2004 March 2004 January 2004 December 2003 October 2003 September 2003 June 2003 April 2003 January 2003 September 2002 June 2002 January 2002 November 2001 October 2001 September 2001 August 2001 January 2001
Kaitlyn Soligan, Media Coordinator
PHONE: +1 212 627 0444
MADRE Makes News
Stoking Fire: Addressing the Specific Needs of Female Syrian Refugees (RH Reality Check, May 17, 2013)
An Open Letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Guatemala (Common Dreams, May 15, 2013)
Mothers Fight Back (RH Reality Check, May 9, 2013)
How Not to End the War in Syria (Common Dreams, May 9, 2013)
Conditions in Jordan Syrian refugee camp are worse for women (Women's News Network, April 19, 2013)