Caabu Press Release: UK has to condemn Israeli plan for forcible transfer of 1.1 million Palestinians
13 October 2023
The Israeli military has informed the UN that the entire Palestinian population in the northern part of the Gaza Strip has to move within 24 hours. This according to the UN represents 1.1 million Palestinians.
The UN has correctly stated that this is an impossible task. Gaza remains under bombardment. It is not safe to move. Many of those in northern Gaza are not fit to move, being elderly, disabled, infirm or children. This area includes a major hospital. The roads have been bombed and are often not passable. Fuel, water and food has almost run out courtesy of Israel’s 16 year blockade and the siege it imposed on 10 October.
Additionally, where also should 1.1 million Palestinians go to. The southern Gaza strip cannot handle the consequences of what is a mass forcible transfer, a war crime in international law. Moreover, 70% of the population of Gaza are already Palestine refugees. They fear with reason that once they leave they will not be allowed to return.
Giving a warning does not give Israel the right to bomb a population who remain civilian. Under the international law of armed conflict targeting civilians and civilian objects is a war crime. Telling a civilian population to leave when Israel knows full well most cannot is a chilling and terrifying threat that will traumatise the Palestinian civilian population.
The British Defence Secretary Grant Shapps has endorsed the Israeli policy. This is inexcusable. It comes on top of the failure to condemn Israel for implementing a “total siege” cutting off water, electricity, fuel and food to a captive civilian population under occupation. This risks making Britain complicit in these crimes.
International law is very clear. If one party commits a crime as Hamas did by murdering over 1200 Israeli civilians on 7 October, it never justifies a crime in response. This was why it was not lawful for Hamas to state its attack was a legitimate response to the crime of blockade, protracted occupation and collective punishment. Therefore, neither is it lawful for Israel to commit war crimes, including the targeting of civilians, private property of civilians or mass forcible transfer, in reprisal.
The British government must insist Israel rescinds this order. International law must be adhered to at all times by all parties and civilians must never be a target.
Notes to editors:
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