It may be a new year, but the bloodshed in Gaza this past week is a clear reminder that there’s no time to wait to protect human rights in 2009.
Since December 27, these horrific attacks on Gaza have caused over 400 Palestinian deaths and 2000 injuries. Rocket fire by armed Palestinian groups, including Hamas, has taken the lives of 4 Israelis and caused several dozen injuries. Amnesty International condemns the violence on both sides and calls on both parties to abide by international law and policies.
The U.S. government cannot continue a lop-sided blame on Hamas for the crisis. Ask Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to urgently express deep concern about Israel’s disproportional response and its policies which have brought the Gaza Strip to the brink of humanitarian disaster.
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL USA
December 31, 2008
Possible Israeli Ground Incursion into Gaza Risks Increase
in Civilian Casualties, Warns Amnesty International
Human Rights Organization Reiterates Call to Grant
Humanitarian Workers Immediate Access to Gaza
(Washington) — Amnesty International expressed great concern today that a ground incursion into Gaza by Israeli forces could greatly increase civilian casualties.
“Israeli forces must bear in mind that there are no ‘safe’ places in Gaza for civilians to seek shelter. They know how densely populated the Jabalia Refugee Camp is and that the homes there are flimsy structures with asbestos roofs not able to withstand the effect of strikes. Strikes are virtually sure to kill and injure civilians,” said Amnesty International.
“The Israeli army must always choose means and methods of attack that are least likely to harm civilians. Amnesty International urges all parties not to target civilians and not to carry out indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks that put civilian lives in danger.”
As the number of casualties continues to mount, civilians in Gaza are in increasingly dire need of food, medical and other emergency assistance, Amnesty International said today.