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Israeli strikes on Rafah: Call for respect of International Law

Israeli strikes on Rafah: Call for respect of International Law

The Mojust Foundation (Mesopotamia Observatory of Justice) expresses its deepest indignation and concern over the recent Israeli strikes targeting a displaced persons camp in Rafah, in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the death of numerous civilians. This act constitutes a flagrant and severe violation of international humanitarian law.

The Israeli offensive in Rafah, located in the southern Gaza Strip, has resulted in the death of at least 45 civilians, according to the Gaza Ministry of Health. This event is part of a series of violent incidents that exacerbate regional tensions and violate the fundamental principles of international humanitarian law (1).

Mojust calls on all parties to the conflict to strictly adhere to international law. Israel’s actions seriously undermine the international legal order and its achievements, established after regional and global wars.

Insisting on these violations of international law is equivalent to committing continuous crimes and encouraging other states and armed groups to follow this trend.

In the current context, states and international bodies face the challenge of enforcing international humanitarian law. Failing to do so risks entering a phase where impunity will reign on the part of states and non-state armed groups. An escalation of reciprocal violence between the parties to the conflict can only lead to crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide.

The conflict in the region is instrumentalized in many states, whose governments pursue polarizing policies to reinforce security measures. The tension between different political groups, nations, or ethnicities, within a single state or at the regional level, is very worrying. The stakes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict far exceed the boundaries of the Middle East.

We strongly denounce Israel’s aggressive policies, particularly those directly targeting civilians in Gaza and Rafah. These attacks are contrary to international humanitarian law. In the face of criticism from human rights defenders and NGOs, accusations of anti-Semitism or denial of Jewish suffering are outdated. They further delegitimize current policies.

Call to the International Community

The recent bombings of camps sheltering civilians and refugees constitute crimes against humanity and war crimes. The recent decisions of the International Criminal Court (ICC) are very clear.

The silence of many UN member states in the face of Israel’s non-response to UN appeals encourages such massacres. This silence has global repercussions, fueling massacres in Ukraine, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and many other regions.

In the current context, if states do not respond firmly, they can no longer legitimately intervene in other conflicts by calling for respect for international law.

It is the responsibility of all states to enforce the recent decisions of the ICC. Otherwise, this Court will have no legitimacy to judge other crimes. It risks being seen as an instrument in the hands of certain states.

Position on Violence

It is imperative to condemn Israel’s attacks. The same applies to the violent actions of Hamas that violate international humanitarian law.

We call on Hamas to immediately release hostages and to strictly adhere to the rules of international humanitarian law.

Recommendations and Conclusions

We urge all parties to respect the rules established by international conventions and to avoid any declaration or action that undermines international humanitarian law and human rights.

Mojust also calls for the immediate opening of humanitarian corridors and the signing of a ceasefire. We urge all states to respect the freedoms of expression and thought and to support efforts for a just and equitable peace in the region.

Geneva, June 1, 2024

Mesopotamia Observatory of Justice

1) Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), Articles 3, 27, 32, 33: Protection of civilian persons in time of war.  Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (1998), Articles 7, 8: Crimes against humanity and war crimes. United Nations Charter, Article 2 (4): Prohibition of the use of force.

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