Oban Concern for Palestine and CJPME – Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East:
We welcome a ceasefire loosening the blockade of Gaza
Montreal, August 27, 2014 / Oban, 28 August 2014
Like our friends in Canada, Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), and similar organisations, Oban Concern for Palestine welcome the announcement of a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel which began yesterday. It was brokered by Egypt and Qatar. According to various news sources, the deal includes an immediate easing of Israel’s blockage of crossings into Gaza. The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza will also be opened. Under the deal, aid and reconstruction materials will be allowed into Gaza and Palestinians will be allowed to fish up to six nautical miles offshore, up from three. Discussions on the creation of a seaport and airport will take place in a month, when indirect talks between Israel and Palestinians will resume.
We hope that the ceasefire will hold. However, we remind our governments and MPs that Israel’s blockade of Gaza violated international law, which prohibits collective punishment, particularly of the civilian population. Thus, loosening the blockade is hardly a major concession on Israel’s part.
Since the latest round of violence erupted in Gaza on 8 July 2014, at least 2,138 people, 75 percent of them civilians (according to the UN), including over 490 children, have been killed by Israeli military. On the Israeli side, 64 soldiers and 4 civilians have been killed.
The high death toll among Palestinian civilians was the direct and predictable result of the Israeli government’s decision to use disproportionate force and to make virtually no distinction between civilians and fighters during its aerial bombardments and land invasion of a very small area, leaving too few safe places for people to take shelter.
We urge MPs and MSPs of all stripes to press Israel to permanently halt its violations of international law and end the military occupation of the Palestinian territories, including Gaza, controlled by Israel since 1967. We call on all our MPs and MSPs to support investigation into alleged war crimes committed by all parties to the recent conflict whether by a UN inquiry, or by the International Criminal Court. We continue to urge the UK, US and other governments to heed calls by amnesty international and others to stop the supply of all arms to Israel. We must not facilitate war crimes.
Please sign the amnesty international petition here: https://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions/gaza-israel-stop-arms