The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) expresses its deepest sorrow following the severe consequences of the firing of rockets on Israeli citizens, as well as of Israel’s bombings of Gaza. ACRI calls to immediately stop harming civilians. The price paid by civilians due to the use of military means (exacerbated in conflicts such as this) and other aggressive measures, such as the closure of Gaza, is unbearably high. Causing injury to life and limb of civilians, as well as their emotional well-being, dignity, and chances of living a reasonable life, is unacceptable. Living in safety – without the constant threat of an assault and while being able to move freely and to live an adequate life – is a basic human right.
ACRI stresses that all sides must abide by the laws of war, which prohibit indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks against civilians, as well as against buildings and infrastructure that are not clear military targets.
It should be emphasized that violation of the laws of war by one side does not justify or legitimize such violations by the other. Firing rockets on civilian populations in Israel, and carrying out operations from among civilian populations in Gaza by Hamas and other armed groups, are absolutely prohibited. The same is true with regard to attacks by Israel causing massive devastation to civilians in Gaza. These are all violations of the laws of war. There isn’t and there can never be any justification for attacking civilians – in Israel, in Gaza, or anywhere.
For years, the human rights of the residents of Gaza and of southern Israel have been violated. The constant shelling of Israel’s south, the ongoing closure of the Gaza Strip, and its complete isolation from the West Bank – all severely infringe upon human rights. Violations of the right to life and to bodily integrity, violations of human dignity, violations of freedom of movement – all this and more have become the daily reality of human beings in the south of Israel and in the Gaza Strip. For all human beings, whose rights are violated in this way day in and day out, year after year, this is an unbearable reality.
As a human rights organization, which ensures the protection of the human rights of every woman and man and of every child, Israeli and Palestinian alike, we are concerned by any assault on a civilian population. We reiterate our call to respect the laws of war, which prohibit any intentional or disproportionate attack on civilians.