16-Year-Gaza Blockade, Prevention of...
Through air, land and sea blockade of Gaza since 2007, Israel has collectively punished the whole population of the region, which includes women and children. This is while according to Article 24 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and the First Protocol (Articles 76 and 78), respecting women and children is necessary. The current conflict is the sixth large military operation between Israel and other armed groups in Gaza in the last sixteen years. On 9 October, Israel’s defense minister declared a “total siege” of Gaza. The escalation of the 16-year siege by Israel and continued occupation has denied Gaza’s 2.2 million population's access to food, water, fuel, utilities and medicines. Palestinians do not have any safe places in the Gaza Strip, because Israel has imposed a total siege on the small region. Rafah which is the only crossing (to the south with Egypt) and was partly open, has shut down after the damages caused by Israeli airstrikes. These blatant and extensive violations of human rights in the occupied territories take place while the international humanitarian law principles such as the Fourth Geneva Convention, deem the occupying forces responsible for provision of children’s welfare (Article 50), provision of medicines and medical services (Article 56), provision of food (Article 55) and facilitation of the supply of aid and rescue products (Article 59-62).
Refusal to allow access to crucial items such as food, water, electricity and medicines has caused a dire human crisis in Gaza. A place where its population is threatened with unavoidable hunger. The bombing of the hospitals, limitation of access to medicines and population density has caused a human catastrophe. According to UN experts, intentional starvation is a crime against humanity. Also, the intentional and systematic destruction of homes and properties, civilian infrastructures and cutting clean water supplies, urgent food and medicine supplies are prohibited according to Articles 33 and 53 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. If further aid such as fuel, medicines, food and water supplies do not reach Gaza, many people will lose their lives through hunger, thirst and shortage of medical supplies and care. This is while aid provision must be done in the best way possible according to Article 23 of the Fourth Convention and articles 69 and 71 of the First Protocol and article 18 of the Second Protocol. The international community must put pressure on Israel that protection of civilians is very important and any action which contradicts this fact must be investigated very thoroughly and perpetrators of serious violations must be threatened with war crimes and crimes against humanity accountability.