Gaza Under Fire Report: International Community Must Hold Israel Responsible for Its Crimes

Saeb Erekat

RAMALLAH, August 20, 2014 (WAFA) – PLO Negotiations Affairs Department issued Wednesday Gaza under Fire report: Israel’s Criminal Assault on the Occupied State of Palestine, urging the international community to hold Israel Accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian people.

The report provided a statistical overview about 46 days of the Israeli aggression against the occupied Gaza governorates over the period July 6th to August 20th as well as an interview by Voice of Palestine Radio with PLO Executive Committee Member and Head of the Negotiations Affairs Department Saeb Erekat.

“Just hours before the latest 24-hour ceasefire was due to end, Israeli occupation forces renewed their assault on Gaza, killing at least 12 Palestinians and injuring more than 109. While Israel, the occupying power, alleges that it was responding to three rockets launched from the Gaza districts (which supposedly landed in open areas and caused no deaths, injuries or damage), this launch has not been confirmed and no Palestinian resistance group has claimed responsibility,” said the PLO Executive Committee in a press release.

“Israel has used the alleged rocket fire as a pretext for continuing to target Palestinian civilians. Israeli warplanes attacked the home of the Al-Dalou family, killing at least three people, including a woman and a child. The death toll from this attack is expected to rise to six as paramedic and rescue crews continue to recover bodies trapped under the rubble. Israel also bombed the home of the Allouh family in central Gaza City, killing at least seven people, including women and children, and injuring dozens more,” it added.

According to the report, between July 6th 00:00 a.m. to August 20th 12:00 p.m., 2,028 Palestinians were killed and 10,302 Palestinians were injured.

The report also showed that 9,600 structures were demolished, 7,600 structures were partially demolished, 40,000 homes were damaged and 277 schools were also damaged; 141 government schools and 136 UNRWA-run schools.

The report also showed that 10 hospitals and 7 PHC clinics were damaged, 5 hospitals and 44 primary health clinics were closed, 16 ambulances were damaged, 83 health personnel injured, 23 health personnel died after Israeli airstrike, noting that these statistics in particular were updated until August 17th.

In terms of attacks against religious sites, the report showed that 69 mosques cannot be used, 150 have been partially damaged, ten Muslim cemeteries have been targeted, two churches and one Christian cemetery have been partially damaged.

“Over 450,000 people are displaced (almost one third of the Gaza population) –1,700,000 people (the entire population of the Gaza Strip) have been affected by the destruction of electricity, water and waste water infrastructures,” said the PLO Executive Committee in the press release and urging the international community to hold Israel responsible for its crimes.

Condemning the complicity of some states in the Israeli aggression, the PLO Executive Committee stated: “Israeli disregard to the lives of Palestinians has resulted in the killing of hundreds. Instead of learning from previous experiences, some countries gave green light to Israeli forces to bombard and invade the Gaza Strip.”

Reiterating the need for intervention by the international community to hold Israel accountable, it stated: “The international community has the legal and moral responsibility to protect the Palestinian population living under Israeli occupation and to hold Israel accountable regarding its severe violations of the international humanitarian law. Lack of accountability will continue to fuel Israeli atrocities and crimes. Lack of international action will continue to increase the list of people killed, injured and displaced.”

The report moved to show the transcription and translation of interview with PLO Executive Committee Member and head of the Negotiations Affairs Department Saeb Erekat. The interview was conducted by Jerusalem Media and Communications Center (JMCC) and broadcasted on Voice of Palestine.

Following is the interview:

Q: Let me start with the collapse of the ceasefire, 11 martyrs and tens of injuries until now, what is the Palestinian approach now to protect our people?

The Israeli government bears responsibility for the collapse of the ceasefire, as we said before, the Israeli delegation came to Cairo to blackmail not to reach ceasefire, came to keep the situation as is, they don’t want anyone to save Gaza, and so the Israeli government are the only side responsible for the collapse. As we said before, Gaza needs a joint international effort led by the Americans and the European providing aid and support to Gaza, in addition to international protection by the UN. This should be dealt with through the Security Council immediately. I think that the worse is still to come. Netanyahu is sabotaging every effort as he did always. Strategically speaking, we want an end to the occupation, so we are trying now to have an international effort through the UN to end the occupation and establish a Palestinian sovereign state; this is the only way out of this conflict. The president will meet King Abdullah today and then head to Qatar to meet with Prince ben Hamad and Meshaal, then to Cairo, we are trying to everything to prepare for the day after.

Q: Do you think that all meetings held now by the President will result in reaching a ceasefire?

No, with regards to the ceasefire we have one united Palestinian delegation. We issued a paper to the Egyptians. This is not just a war, but an act to destroy the Palestinian issue. So whatever we do, still Netanyahu is responsible. We only need to be united towards our goal, ending the occupation and establishing a Palestinian state.

Q: What was your visit to Moscow about? Was it about holding the international conference?

The visit to Moscow was about consultation with our Russian friends, but the Russians are right when they say they don’t want just a conference but something concrete with a deadline in order to have a serious conference with results.

Source: WAFA