Letter Sent to UN Secretary General Concerning the Inhumane Situation in Gaza - 12/19/08

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The following letter was sent to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and others by  Susi Snyder,  Secretary General,  Women's International League for Peace and Freedom on December 19 2008

19 December 2008

To: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon  President of the Security Council H.E. Neven Jurica,  President of the General Assembly H.E. Mr. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann  and all members of the General Assembly:

Excellencies,

The conditions imposed by Israel upon the Palestinian people, particularly those under occupation, are criminal by any standard.

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) demands an end to Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territories it conquered in the 1967 war.

The situation in Gaza is desperate. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Occupied Territories has recently referred to certain acts by Israel against the Gaza population as a crime against humanity[1], and this month has been refused entry by Israel into both the occupied territories and Jerusalem to observe the current conditions of those living under occupation.  Media and NGOs report that ships bearing food and medicines to the desperate Gaza population have been prevented by Israel from reaching their destination.

Throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem the building of illegal Jewish settlements is on the rise. Israeli settlers are increasing their violent acts against Palestinian civilians and farmers. The confiscation of land continues, as does the destruction of precious ancient olive trees. There is no end of the demolition of houses and the incursions by the Israeli Occupation Forces into villages happen daily. Arrests and kidnappings are on the rise. The illegal separation Wall, condemned by the International Court of Justice, is nearing completion.

 How much longer can the international community allow Israel's military occupation to continue? How much longer can the Security Council remain inactive in the light of Israel's total refusal to implement any of the many resolutions adopted by various United Nations forums and agencies or disrespect the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice? The resolutions and the Advisory Opinion outline the steps Israel must take to end the conflict and guarantee the Palestinian People their inalienable rights.

Nearly a year ago, Karen Koning AbuZayd, commissioner-general of the UN's refugee agency, warned: "Gaza is on the threshold of becoming the first territory to be intentionally reduced to a state of abject destitution." She blamed Gaza's strangulation directly on Israel, but also cited the international community as an accomplice. Where is the responsibility to protect the Palestinian people?

 As of 18 December 2008 the United Nations Reliefs and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced that they
are "forced to suspend food distribution"[2].   The continued
bombardment and occupation by Israeli forces is keeping food from the 750,000 refugees depending on the UNRWA.  The blockade must stop, and the borders must be opened immediately to prevent the starvation and deaths of countless refugees.  We deplore the negative role of the United States and European Union in this and recognize that a change in Policy is critical in order to open Gaza and end the siege. Food and medicine should not be used as weapons against a civilian population in need, and doing so is counter to international law.

 Not one UN member state can say they do not know what Israel is doing to the Palestinians under occupation.  Even if the major media keeps relatively silent, the information is easily available.

We call on the United Nations to take immediate steps that will bring Israel into conformity with international law as befits a member state of the United Nations.

 We call for the urgent implementation of previous UN resolutions, including UNSCR 338 and UNSCR 242.

We call for an end to the Occupation.

Sincerely,

Susi Snyder
 Secretary General
 Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

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