End collective punishment of Gaza’s children

An entirely man-made humanitarian crisis faces the nearly 2 million Palestinians living in Gaza, 43 percent of whom are under 15 years old. Israel’s 10-year military siege of the tiny coastal enclave and repeated Israeli military offensives have trapped Palestinians in dire conditions.

The 50-day Israeli military assault over the summer of 2014 killed 547 children, 535 as a direct result of Israeli attacks, and left an unprecedented 22,000 Palestinian homes uninhabitable.[1] Israeli blockade restrictions on building materials have slowed reconstruction efforts and around 40,000 individuals still live in temporary, substandard shelters.[2] Displaced Gazan children are exposed to nearly every kind of human rights risk, including poor water and sanitation conditions, weather-related risks, psychological distress, and in some cases, death.

Repeated Israeli bombardments have severely damaged Gaza’s sole power plant, causing frequent and lasting blackouts. In June 2017, at the request of the Palestinian Authority, Israel drastically reduced its power supply by 40 percent, plunging the population into approximately 20 hours of darkness a day. Ten years of 'chronic electricity deficit' have left Gaza's remaining hospitals operating with little power, causing reduced capacity and treatment delays.[3] 

Repeated military assaults and the decade-long Israeli blockade deny and disrupt access to food, healthcare, education, and safe spaces, amounting to collective punishment against Palestinians in Gaza, prohibited under the Fourth Geneva Convention.[4]

For children in Gaza, survival itself is a challenge. Until we hold Israeli authorities accountable and demand an end to Israel’s collective punishment against Palestinians, these children will suffer grave violations of their basic rights to life, safety, health, and childhood.

[1] DCIP, Operation Protective Edge: A War Waged On Gaza's Children (2015)

[2] Office of the Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process (UNSCO), Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (2017) http://reliefweb.int/sites/reliefweb.int/files/resources/UNSCO%20Report%20to%20AHLC%20-%201%20May%202017.pdf

[3] United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, "Gaza plunges into darkness: Severe deterioration in the energy situation" (2017) https://www.ochaopt.org/content/gaza-plunges-darkness-severe-deterioration-energy-situation

[4] Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/34/70 (April 13, 2017) http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session34/Documents/A_HRC_34_70_E.docx


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To: Ms. Fatou Bensouda, Chief Prosecutor, International Criminal Court

We, the undersigned, ask that you take urgent action against Israeli authorities to pursue justice and accountability for all forms of collective punishment waged against Palestinian civilians in Gaza, 43 percent of whom are under 15 years old. 

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