As the world continues to be left stunned by a now two week long Israeli offensive in Gaza, the situation in the troubled region continues to worsen. Reports emanating from human rights groups within Gaza put the current death toll at just under 600, with almost 4000 more injured and in urgent need of aid.
According to Raji Sourani, a human rights lawyer and director of the Palestinian Centre for Human rights, innocent Palestinian civilians continue to bear the brunt of Israel’s renewed occupation attempts. He called the crisis an atrocious “criminal offence” against the Palestinian people.
He attributed the massive amount of civilian casualties to the Israeli Defence Force’s (IDF) decision to use some of the most sophisticated weaponry at their disposal. This included artillery tanks, F-16 fighter jets, as well as numerous drone strikes throughout the Strip.
“They are bombing and bombarding from sea, land and the air, and Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world. There are 2 million people in just over 360 square kilometres,” he said.
Sourani was particularly critical of the Israeli authority’s decision to target the homes of families believed to be related to resistance movements, as well as hospitals, schools and other areas with a huge civilian population.
“Entire families have been completed razed. Like the Abu Jamah family, where 27 people in a three story building were completely wiped out. You can only find the hole at that place, even the bodies and corpses have been destroyed,” he explained.
He noted the shocking statistic that nearly 300 000 Palestinian people were now internally displaced in the region, with little to no aid.
Sourani blatantly described the Israeli government as criminals, for the gross human rights violations being committed. He said people around the world were being witness to a glaring case of crimes against humanity.
“We want rule of law, and rule of law applies to the protection of civilians at the time of war. And the eye of the storm in this case, are civilians and civilian targets,” he said.
He called for an immediate end to the “criminal siege”, urging Palestinians to stand up against Israel’s illegal occupation.
“We are defending our sons, daughters, mothers and wives. We are defending our lives and that is very legitimate. No one has any intention to be a good victim,” he said. VOC (Mubeen Banderker)