Report Forwarded by John Bowis MEP
Palestinian human rights organizations strongly condemn the recent military attacks carried out by the Israeli occupying forces in the Gaza Strip on 27 December 2008. The attacks began at approximately 11:30 am and lasted for approximately three hours. These attacks have destroyed most of the Gaza security offices including police stations, resulting in the deaths of over 200 Palestinians. More than 400 have been injured with over 120 critically.
The number of deaths resulting from these attacks indicates a willful targeting of the civilian police forces in these locations and a clear violation of the prohibition against willful killings. Willful killings are a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention under Article 147 and therefore, a War Crime. Both the time and location of these attacks also indicate a malicious intent to inflict as many casualties as possible with many of the police stations located in civilian population centres and the time of the attacks coinciding with the end of the school day resulting in the deaths of numerous children.
The ongoing siege of the Gaza Strip has left medical facilities in the Strip incapable of meeting the needs of the hundreds more who have been injured which will likely lead to an increase in the number of deaths. According to Israeli officials, these attacks are only the beginning of an open military campaign in Gaza.
The Free Gaza Movement ship, "SPIRIT OF
HUMANITY," will leave Larnaca Port at 12:00 noon, Monday, 12 January, on
an emergency mission to besieged Gaza. The ship will carry desperately needed
doctors, journalists, human rights workers, and members of several European
parliaments as well as medical supplies.
Here is the letter to the Israeli government: January 11, 2009
To: The Israeli Ministry of Defence, Fax: 972-3-697-6717
To: The Israeli Navy
To: The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Fax 972-2-5303367
From: The Free Gaza Movement
This letter serves as a formal notification to you as the Occupying
Power and belligerent force in the Gaza Strip that on Monday, January
12 we are navigating the motor vessel, Spirit of Humanity, from the
Port of Larnaca to the port of Gaza City. Our vessel will be flying
the Greek flag, and, as such, falls under the jurisdiction Greece.
We will be sailing from Cypriot waters into international waters, then
directly into the territorial waters of the Gaza Strip without
entering or nearing Israeli territorial waters. We expect to arrive
at the Gaza Port on Tuesday, January 13, 2009.
We will be carrying urgently needed medical supplies in sealed boxes,
cleared by customs at the Larnaca International Airport and the Port
of Larnaca. There will be a total of 30 passengers and crew on board,
among them members of various European Parliaments and several
physicians. Our boat and cargo will also have received security
clearance from the Port Authorities in Cyprus before we depart.
As it will be confirmed that neither we, the cargo, any of the boat's
contents, nor the boat itself constitute any threat to the security of
Israel or its armed forces, we do not expect any interference with
our voyage by Israel's authorities.
On Tuesday, December 30, an Israeli Navy vessel violently, and without
warning, attacked our motor vessel Dignity, disabling the vessel and
endangering the lives of the 16 civilians on board. This notice
serves as clear notification to you of our approach. Any attack on the
motor vessel, Spirit of Humanity, will be premeditated and any harm
inflicted on the 30 civilians on board will be considered the result
of a deliberate attack on unarmed civilians.
The Steering Committee of the Free Gaza Movement
Further details on Free Gaza website: www.freegaza.org