Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Amnesty knocks EU response to Gaza war as ‘too little, too late’

Amnesty International has sharply criticized the European Council's call for a sustainable ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, saying it falls short given the dire situation faced by Palestinian civilians.

Eve Geddie, the head of Amnesty’s European Institutions Office, stressed the urgency of the matter, highlighting the staggering toll of Israel’s military campaign, which has claimed over 32,000 lives and left more than a thousand children amputees. Entire communities lie in ruins, with the healthcare system on the brink of collapse, she said, also warning of impending famine, a consequence of the prolonged conflict.

“Yesterday’s call for a ceasefire is long overdue,” Geddie said.

“What is happening in Gaza is a man-made humanitarian catastrophe, and those responsible for crimes under international law must be held accountable.”

Pointing to the need for accountability from all parties involved, Geddie criticized the European Council’s failure to attribute responsibility to Israel for its violations of international law.

She argued that this stance perpetuates a culture of impunity, exacerbating the suffering in Gaza.

Geddie further condemned certain EU member states for cutting off vital aid to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) – over allegations that a handful of the agency’s thousands of employees were involved in Hamas attacks – and in so doing worsening the humanitarian crisis. She accused these states of indirectly contributing to the violence by supplying arms and ammunition to Israel.

Calling for concrete action, Geddie urged the EU and its member states to reinstate funding for the UNRWA and cease all arms exports to Israel.

She demanded a thorough review of Israel’s compliance with human rights obligations and called for an end to “Israeli apartheid” against Palestinians and the occupation of Palestinian territories.

Israel launched its war on Gaza after an Oct. 7, 2023 cross-border incursion by Hamas. It has since killed nearly 32,000 Palestinians and pushed the territory to the brink of famine.

Israel has also imposed a crippling blockade on the Palestinian enclave, leaving its population, particularly residents of northern Gaza, on the verge of starvation.

The war has pushed 85% of Gaza’s population into internal displacement amid acute shortages of food, clean water, and medicine, while most of the enclave’s infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, according to the UN.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which in an interim ruling in January ordered Tel Aviv to stop genocidal acts and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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