Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council calls for opening of Rafah Crossing
10 March 2014
Appeal to Open Rafah Crossing
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council is deeply concerned about the continued deterioration of living condition of the Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip as a result of Israel’s denial and negligence of its legal obligations towards civilians and its continuation of imposing collective punishment on the Gaza Strip for more than 7 years.
The council strongly condemns the ongoing closure imposed by Israel on the Gaza Strip and its serious impacts on all life aspects of Palestinian civilians. The council also renews its call upon the international community to intervene immediately to lift the closure, open all border crossings to facilitate the movement of Palestinians from and to the Gaza Strip, and ensure the freedom of trade. Thus, the council calls upon Egypt to open the Rafah Crossing, which has been closed for a month, to alleviate the suffering of Palestinians due to the Israeli practices and violations of the international humanitarian law and human rights law against the Gaza Strip population.
Israel has tightened its closure of the Gaza Strip border crossings, including Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing for 7 years. As a result, 1.8 Palestinians have been denied their right to freedom of movement to and from the Gaza Strip. Moreover, this policy has deteriorated the conditions of thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of patients who need advanced medical treatment which is not available in the Gaza Strip, persons who work in other countries, Palestinian families living in other countries and university students who study abroad, have not been able to travel abroad.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council reiterates that the Gaza Strip is still under the Israeli tightened closure, which is considered a form of collective punishment, and impacts severely on all life aspects of Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip. The council further emphasized that the Gaza Strip is part of the occupied Palestinian territory and reminds Israel as an occupying power of its obligation towards the population of the occupied territory according the international law. This includes taking all the necessary measures to facilitate the movement of people and goods. Thus, Israeli forces must end the illegal closure immediately. The international community must also pressurize the Israeli authorities to open Beit Hanoun “Erez” crossing, the sole outlet between the Gaza Strip and West Bank, including Occupied Jerusalem. This would enable the Gaza Strip civilians to move freely between the Palestinian cities and the outside world.
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council, which signed this appeal, takes into consideration the situation in Egypt, but is concerned over the deterioration of humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip. Based on the strong ties between Egyptians and Palestinians and the historical role played by Egypt in supporting the Palestinian cause and particularly the Gaza Strip, the council further:
1. Calls upon Egypt Authorities to open the Rafah crossing, which has been closed for a month, and stop the deterioration of the conditions of the Gaza Strip population due to the total closure imposed on the Gaza Strip;
2. To take the necessary measures to ensure opening the crossing normally before the movement of the Palestinian civilians from and to the Gaza Strip and put an end to their suffering;
3. Calls upon the international community to pressurize the Israeli authorities to stop the policy of collective punishment against the population of the Gaza Strip and immediately open all border crossings to put an end to the serious deterioration of the humanitarian conditions of the civilian population; and
4. Calls upon the Israeli authorities to comply with international humanitarian law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention, including finding a prompt solution to ensure the freedom of movement of Palestinian civilians through Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing regularly and safely, and to establish a clear system ensuring the freedom of movement of the population of the Gaza Strip and safe passage and flow of the population’s needs through commercial crossings.
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