End Collective Punishment of the Palestinian People



LONDON (28 June): WE THE UNDERSIGNED non-governmental and civil society organizations strongly condemn Israel's illegal attacks and siege of the Gaza Strip. These ongoing military operations are nothing less than the collective punishment of an entire civilian population. As such they blatantly contravene Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which prohibits "collective penalties" and all likewise measures of intimidation.

During the period May 20-June 21, 2006 Israel's Occupation Forces killed 30 Palestinians, including 7 children, in the Gaza Strip. Among them were 7 members of the Ghalia family who were decimated in an Israeli gunboat attack on a Gaza beach. All the others were killed by helicopter missile and artillery fire.

We view the frantic international efforts to secure the release of a single Israeli soldier captured in combat in the Occupied Territories as utter hypocrisy and disgraceful double standards. There are at least 9,800 Palestinians currently being held by the Occupation Forces in Israeli prisons. Of that number, Israel is holding 126 Palestinian women and 450 minors. The Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem has confirmed that 85 percent of Palestinian detainees have been tortured during interrogation.

We the undersigned call for an immediate end to the degrading and inhuman treatment of Palestinian prisoners. We demand their immediate release and an end to the extrajudicial killings of civilians.

We urge the British government to honor its treaty obligation to respect and "ensure respect" for the Fourth Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

Signed:

The Palestinian Return Center The Muslim Association of Britain Friends of Al-Aqsa Palestinian Forum in Britain British Muslim Initiative Islamic Human Rights Commission Palestine Solidarity Campaign Arab Media Watch National Black Students' Alliance

June 28, 2006, Palestine Return Center www.prc.org.uk



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