Israeli Airstrikes Increase Cycle of Violence
Posted on: Tuesday, December 30, 2008
MADRE condemns the latest Israeli airstrikes in Gaza and the on-going Hamas rocket-fire into Israel. MADRE calls for a halt to all violence against civilians. Both the Hamas rocket attacks and the Israeli airstrikes violate international law and further undermine prospects for a negotiated solution to the conflict.
Israeli airstrikes in Gaza, begun on December 27, have caused widespread damage and loss of life. The death toll has risen above 370 people, a number likely to increase as airstrikes continue and more bodies are uncovered in the rubble. The number of people injured is estimated to be some 1,500, and hospitals already weakened by the months-long Israeli blockade of supplies have quickly become overwhelmed by the wounded.
MADRE denounces these airstrikes, which are effectively funded with US tax dollars, as a blatant violation of international humanitarian law. The population of Gaza has already long been targeted by Israeli policies of collective punishment and denied access to food, water, electricity, medicines and other essential needs. The siege that preceded the airstrikes is itself a violation of international humanitarian law.
Israeli airstrikes have hit non-military targets, such as a university, a television station and a mosque. Continued attacks will undoubtedly increase the spiral of violence and civilian bloodshed in Gaza and in Israel. Furthermore, such military actions do not render Israeli people any safer and only compound this tragedy. This is the message of thousands of Israeli demonstrators and petitioners opposing the attacks on Gaza.
We recognize that Israel and, in fact, all states have an obligation to protect their population from armed attacks, such as the rockets being launched by Hamas from the Gaza Strip. Like all people living under military occupation, Palestinians have an internationally recognized right to resist that occupation. However, neither party has the right to target civilians. A just solution to this conflict will not be reached through increased attacks, but only through negotiation.