Volume. 12234
The bitter realities of Gaza from the perspective of international law
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The crimes being committed by the Zionist regime against the defenseless and oppressed people of the Gaza Strip are a reflection of the hypocritical face of the world today.

Eternal justice comes to an end when it closes its eyes to all the crimes and inhumane actions committed by the Zionist regime.

The silence of the most powerful and most developed countries, which proclaim that human rights is the foundation of their foreign policies, is regretful. The result of this indifference has been nothing but the death and displacement of the Palestinians, who are only guilty of resisting against the Israeli occupation.

According to international law and based on Article 42 of the Hague Convention of 1907 on the law of war, Gaza is a region under occupation. Israel, as an occupier regime, must apply international humanitarian law toward the people of Gaza. In such a situation, the people under occupation also have a right to defend themselves.

It is surprising and regretful when it is said that Israel, which has waged a war against Gaza from the land, air, and sea using prohibited weapons, is defending itself.

Actually, people under occupation have the right to defend themselves.

The Gaza Strip has been under siege for many years and has been suffering from shortages of food, medicine, and medical equipment. The new situation has added pain to the misery, to the point that it is impossible to send humanitarian assistance to the Gazans, and this may lead to a humanitarian catastrophe.

Article 23 of the Fourth Geneva Convention states that every signatory government should allow and facilitate rapid and unimpeded passage of all relief consignments, such as food and medicine. The international humanitarian law guaranteeing access to water and food is also applicable during war.

Since the crossings into the Gaza Strip are blocked and food consignments cannot be sent in, about 1.7 million people are facing serious food shortages, and many citizens of the territory are unable to acquire basic necessities.

All these problems created by the Zionist regime clearly violate Article 54 of the additional protocol to the Fourth Geneva Convention and according to international law are considered international crimes.

According to international law and the Geneva Conventions, the massive destruction of non-military installations, such as water and electricity facilities, residential houses, and agricultural land, is a war crime. The long siege of Gaza is also regarded as collective punishment of a people. This is a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which says: No persons may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed.

Banning access to food and other basic necessities will affect the existence of a people over the long term. The Zionist regime’s troops are intentionally and collectively punishing Gazans, which is a gross violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Israeli siege of Gaza, the cut-off of the most basic necessities to the territory, and the savage, indiscriminate attacks on the people amount to a kind of genocide.

The clear example of crimes against humanity is the siege of Gaza by the Zionist regime, which has turned the territory into the biggest open-air prison in the world.

Unfortunately, the inaction of the UN Security Council and the self-proclaimed defenders of human rights has allowed Israel to commit savage and inhumane acts with impunity.

The international community and international organizations should fulfill their responsibility to defend the oppressed Palestinians and condemn the aggressive acts of Israel in the strongest terms and the most unequivocal and transparent manner.

The resolution on “ensuring respect to international law in the occupied Palestinian territories” issued by the UN Human Rights Council on July 23, 2014, which was adopted by 23 votes in favor, 1 against, and 17 abstentions, and the decision to establish an independent international commission of inquiry to investigate the violation of human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied territories were good moves, even though they came late. Though the moves faced opposition or indifference by some self-proclaimed standard-bearers of human rights, they at least mean that an inquest into the latest war crimes of the Zionist regime is beginning.

Thus, the UN Security Council must fulfill its duty according to the UN Charter to take serious measures to immediately halt the Israeli war crimes and to bring the war criminals to justice.

66 years have passed since Palestine was occupied by the Zionist regime, and many crimes have been committed over all that time. Various commissions of inquiry have also provided credible reports about Israel’s crimes, which have been taken into consideration by the UN and the Human Rights Council. However, the Zionist regime has paid no attention to the international calls for it to halt its unjust actions.

But the Zionist regime has also failed to achieve its goals.

This failed project has put international security in jeopardy, and the UN is expected to comprehensively resolve this issue.

The land of Quds, which is the cultural gem of humanity and is respected by all Abrahamic religions, should be turned into a land in which all its residents, Muslims, Christians, and Jews, can live together in peace and have the right to determine their own destiny by holding a referendum, with the participation of all Palestinians of every religious denomination, living both inside and outside occupied Palestine.


Kazem Gharib-Abadi is the deputy secretary general for international affairs of the High Council for Human Rights of Iran. He was also Iran's ambassador to the Netherlands and Iran’s permanent representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) from 2010 to 2014.
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