With its unbridled use of disproportionate force, Israel is showing contempt for the very basis of international humanitarian law
- South Asians for Human Rights (SAHR) Chairperson Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy and Co-Chairperson Dr. Roshmi Goswami have issued the following statement over the recent hostilities between Israel and Palestine.
The South Asians for Human Rights stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people in their struggle and in their hope for freedom and a political solution in the near future. While firing rockets into civilian spaces is not justifiable, the scale of the violence and brutality taking place in the Gaza bombardment and the increasing number of deaths of children and the toll it has on the surviving children is completely unacceptable.
With its unbridled use of disproportionate force, Israel is showing contempt for the very basis of international humanitarian law. The world must speak with one voice to make it abundantly clear that this type of military action will not be tolerated. The United States, a long-time ally of Israel, has a special burden to bear and must help ensure the protection of civilians.
We also recognise that military mobilisation is only one part of the problem in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The impunity given to Israeli settlers in Palestinian areas despite flagrant violations of the law only makes life for Palestinians insecure and untenable. This impunity must be reined in and the rule of law properly established. Forced evictions either by the state or non-state actors must be condemned.
For over a decade Israel has unabashedly promoted a model of managing ethnic and religious tension through segregation, state-aided settler colonisation and military occupation. There is a belief that fear should be the basis of governing minorities and keeping them in check. This model has been exported to some parts of South Asia where militarisation, securitisation and intimidation have become part of the political norm.
A method of governance that relies on force and discrimination will eventually lead to crisis and conflict. The short-term peace will always be a tentative one containing an undercurrent of violence. There must be a concerted effort, with international support, to move toward a political resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict where Palestinians can live in equality and dignity.
SAHR agrees with leading human rights organisations who have accused Israel of attempting to permanently construct a society based on apartheid. We strongly believe that everyone around the world committed to democracy and human rights must resist this. The international community, of which we are a part, must push for a ceasefire, dialogue and discussion while ensuring accountability for the worst forms of international crimes. The children of Israel and Palestine deserve a better future.