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Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the joint Declaration, issued by prominent legal expert

Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomes the joint Declaration, issued by prominent legal expert

31 July 2014 in 2014

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the State of Palestine welcomes the joint declaration, issued by prominent legal experts from countries around the world regarding the wanton killing and destruction committed against our people in the Gaza Strip on 27 July 2014. The experts denounced the grave violations and disrespect of the most basic principles of international law and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population, committed by Israel, the occupying Power, during its ongoing aggression against the Gaza Strip. They further reminded of the legal assessment that indiscriminate attacks against civilians is not only illegal under international law but also morally intolerable.

The Ministry considers the statement a clear reflection of the spirit and letter of international law as well as the universal principles of human rights. This unequivocal statement answers to the fallacious and cynical pretexts forwarded by Israel to justify its ongoing campaign of mass murder against our people, including the false pretext of self-defense. The international legal experts also rejected Israel’s so-called warning of families ahead of bombarding their homes, adding that these warnings “appear to be a pre-fabricated excuse by Israel to portray people who remain in their homes as ‘human shields’ ”.

This declaration comes at a critical time, as the number of Palestinian casualties surpasses 1250, including around 300 children, as well as entire families who were obliterated. The experts noted that “the intentional targeting of civilians and civilian houses have been persistent features of Israel’s long-standing policy of punishing the entire population of the Gaza Strip, which, for over seven years, has been virtually imprisoned by Israeli imposed closure”. Very importantly, they also reminded the international community that the current aggression is happening in the context of a prolonged belligerent occupation that started in 1967.

These international law experts have decided to speak out in such a public and clear manner because they know that allowing for these widespread and systematic breaches of international law anywhere jeopardizes the integrity and credibility of international law everywhere. In this sense, they are trying to uphold the universal values, enshrined in international law, which Israel, the occupying Power, has systematically violated throughout the decades-long denial of rights and occupation the Palestinian people has endured.

The international legal experts' declaration refers to the conclusions of the UN fact-finding mission on the Gaza conflict in 2009, which affirmed that “long-standing impunity has been a key factor in the perpetuation of violence in the region and in the reoccurrence of violations”. We call upon States and international institutions to uphold their legal, political and moral responsibilities, and not to be complaisant nor complicit with Israeli violations and crimes. In this sense the recommendations contained in the declaration of the international legal experts are particularly relevant. We also wish to salute all the States which have already undertaken steps to promote respect for international law and accountability.

The Ministry reminds the international community of its standing legal and moral obligation to uphold the principles of international law and heed the calls of these principled legal experts. Failing to bring an end to such violations, bring perpetrators to justice, and hold Israel accountable for its crimes would be a derogation of the international community’s responsibilities and a signal to Israel that it may continue to undermine the entire international system and international law.

Finally, the Ministry affirms that the only feasible and acceptable basis for ending this conflict is respect and commitment to international law, including Israel’s recognition of Palestine’s right to exist and acceptance of the long overdue realization of the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights, including self-determination and independence.

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