Civil Society and Human Rights Organizations in Israel Called for a Ceasefire

Over 20 civil society and human rights organizations in Israel published on Wednesday, February 7, a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and the immediate release of the hostages held there. An immediate ceasefire will prevent further loss of civilian lives and allow vital assistance to Gaza Civil society and human rights organizations. “An immediate ceasefire will prevent further loss of civilian lives and facilitate access to vital aid for Gaza to address the unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe there,” they say.

“Ceasefire Now!”, demonstration against the war in Gaza at Habima Square in Tel-Aviv, December 4, 2023 (Photo: Zo Haderech)

In more than 120 days of war in Gaza, following Hamas’s egregious attack on October 7 which killed some 1,200 Israelis and internationals, we have witnessed Israeli bombardments and siege policy causing unfathomable death and destruction in the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, some 27,000 people have been killed, over 66,000 people have been injured, and thousands more are still buried under the rubble.

“The healthcare system has been almost totally decimated by military assaults, electricity blackouts, the enormous number of medical staff killed or displaced, and shortages of medications and medical equipment. Only 14 out of 36 hospitals are partially operational and are on the verge of collapse due to extreme overload and lack of supplies. Food supply and clean drinking water are lacking throughout Gaza, with the entire population at imminent risk of famine and dehydration.

“Some 1.7 million people – about 75% of the population – have been displaced. IDP shelters are overcrowded and lack basic conditions, with extreme shortages of food, water, and other necessities. Large areas in the Strip are no longer habitable. Thousands of homes have been heavily damaged or destroyed by Israeli bombardments, while critical civil infrastructure, public buildings, cultural institutions, places of worship, and heritage sites lie in ruins.

“The shortage in supplies and the active hostilities prevent an effective humanitarian response. Some necessary humanitarian items and medical equipment are being blocked from entry by Israel. Heavy rains, cold weather, and extreme overcrowding in tent encampments and shelters, have significantly increased the incidence of illness and disease. The distribution of what little aid is entering is significantly hindered by the lack of safe access within the Strip. Nowhere in Gaza is safe for civilians.

“We thus call on all parties to reach an immediate ceasefire and we call upon Israel to allow unfettered entry and delivery of humanitarian aid and goods into and throughout Gaza, as directed to do by the International Court of Justice. Hamas must unconditionally release all people taken hostage on October 7. We call on the international community to uphold its legal obligation to restore respect for international humanitarian law and protect civilians. The international community must ensure that all those responsible for grave violations of international humanitarian and human rights law be held accountable. These steps are vital for ensuring human rights and security for Israelis and Palestinians alike.”

Among the civil society and human rights organizations who signed the statement: Akevot – Institute for Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Research, Amnesty International Israel, Bimkom – Planners for Planning Rights, Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, Combatants for Peace, Emek Shaveh, Gisha – Legal Center for Freedom of Movement, Green Olive Collective, HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual, Haqel –  In Defense of Human Rights, Ir Amim, Isha L’isha Haifa Feminist Center, Jordan Valley Activists, Looking the Occupation in the Eye, Machsom Watch, Mothers Against Violence, New Profile – The Movement to Demilitarize Israeli Society, Parents Against Child Detention, Peace Now. Physicians for Human Rights PsychoActive – Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights, Rabbis for Human Rights, Rea’cha Kamocha, Social Workers for Peace and Welfare, Standing Together, This Is Not an Ulpan, Torat Tzedek, Yesh Din, Yesh Gvul and Zazim – Community Action.