Updated December 31, 2008
- Following the pattern in previous conflicts, a number of NGOs immediately issued condemnations of Israel following the IDF response to increasing deadly rocket attacks from Gaza.
- Many of these statements reflect bias and double standards, which ignore or give little attention to Israeli human rights and casualties, and do not mention Hamas´ use of human shields.
- Oxfam charges that "Israeli leaders . . . commit massive and disproportionate violence against Gazan civilians in violation of international law," and repeat the standard claim of "humanitarian catastrophe if Gaza is attacked."
- Gisha and others exploit legal terminology, including terms such as "war crimes," "collective punishment," "indiscriminate attacks," and parrot the PLO "legal" opinion of 2005 , which claims that Israel still "occupies" Gaza, and is responsible for the welfare of the residents there.
- Many NGOs use the fighting in Gaza to repeat calls for boycotts and sanctions as part of the Durban strategy. Miftah and Ittijah make claims of an Israeli "massacre," invoking the successful strategy used in 2002 in Jenin.
- Many NGOs including Amnesty, PHR-I and PCHR, make unsupported factual claims, particularly on Palestinian casualty numbers.
See also Gerald M. Steinberg, "Can Israel win the ´soft power´ war in Gaza?" Gerald Steinberg, Jerusalem Post, December 28, 2008
Following Israel´s military response to Palestinian rocket attacks from Gaza, a number of human rights and humanitarian NGOs (some which receive EU and NIF funding) issued statements that completely distort the operation in order to condemn Israel. As shown in this report, which covers 26 NGOs, many denounce the air strikes as "disproportionate" and "indiscriminate" -- claims which warp the basics of international law and ignore Hamas´ report that over 180 of the approximately 200 people killed in the first wave on 27 December were not civilians. This demonization is characteristic of statements from Oxfam, Al Haq, Ittijah, PHR-I, PCHR, Miftah (an EU-funded NGO that invoked the Jenin strategy by charging Israel with committing a "massacre") ICAHD, and the Alternative Information Center (AIC).
Other NGOs, including Amnesty and B´Tselem, and to lesser degree, Oxfam, reflect at least a semblance of balance, by equating Palestinian attacks with Israel´s response, and calling for a cessation of "all violence." But this comparison erases Hamas´ deliberate targeting of civilians and Israel´s careful use of intelligence and weapons to avoid civilian casualties. As in past examples, NGO statements are generally based on unreliable, unverifiable "research," and distorted claims from international law.
These reports are similar to NGO campaigns in the 2006 Lebanon war, which involved daily condemnations of "indiscriminate attacks" and "war crimes" and influenced the course of the war. The latest statements build on previous reports that amplified Hamas´ propaganda claims, including rhetoric of "collective punishment," "humanitarian disaster" and Israel preventing Fulbright students from leaving Gaza. Human Rights Watch (HRW), which was very active in condemning Israel in 2006 and previous violence, did not issue a statement in the first three days of the Gaza operation.
As noted below, many of these NGOs are funded by European governments, the European Commission or the New Israel Fund.
Common themes in the NGO statements include:
- False or unsupported factual claims, particularly on Palestinian casualty numbers. In the past, NGOs have been key conduits of disinformation by Israel´s enemies. For example, they promoted the false allegations of a "massacre" in Jenin in 2002; in the 2006 Lebanon war, HRW played a central role in spreading the false claims of a Qana "massacre"; and in the Al Dura case.
- Military claims for which they have no expertise, and which go beyond their mandates, such as claims that Israeli targets were purely civilian (PHR-I and MAP) or did not have military value (Amnesty).
- Bias and double standards, which ignore or give little attention to Israeli human rights and casualties, and do not mention Hamas´ use of human shields,
- Exploitation of legal claims, including terms such as "war crimes," "collective punishment," "indiscriminate attacks." NGOs also continue to assert the PLO "legal" opinion circulated shortly prior to Israel’s disengagement, that Israel still occupies Gaza, and is responsible for the welfare of the residents there.
- Calls for boycotts and sanctions as part of the Durban strategy.
For further background information:
"Did Israel Use "Disproportionate Force" in Gaza?" Dore Gold, Jerusalem Viewpoints, Vol. 8, No. 16, 28 December 2008
"International Law and the fighting in Gaza," Justice Reid Weiner and Avi Bell, MESI, December 29, 2008
"Israel Defends Citizens from Hamas," The Israel Project, December 27, 2008
NGO statements (in alphabetical order):
Donors include NIF, EU, Swiss Foreign Ministry, Ford Foundation, Oxfam, EED Open Society Institute, Swedish Consulate in Israel, Christian Aid (Source: Israel´s Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations)
Poster" "Civilians are not cannon fodder. Not in Gaza. Not in Sderot" (Hebrew) - December 30, 2008
- "Since the beginning of the attack in Gaza, up to yesterday, 29.12, 16:00 there were counted, in Gaza: about 300 casualties (including: 20 children and 9 women) which were certainly verified in the hospitals, and about 700 wounded (including 130 children and 28 women), amongst over 100 are severely wounded. In Israel, 2 casualties and about 34 injured, amongst them 4 are severely to medium wounded, not including anxiety."
- Signatories: Amnesty International - Israeli branch; Bimkom; Gisha; ACRI; PCATI; Hamoked; Yesh Din; Adalah; Rabbis for human rights; PHR-I.
Press release: The Haifa Police has cancelled the arrest of the bus which was on its way to a demonstration in Haifa (Hebrew) - December 30, 2008
- "The Haifa police has arrested at Monday, 29 of December 2008, an Arab bus driver and the passengers who were with him, which deported Haifa to Tel-Aviv in order to participate in a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza. The police forces have arrived to the place where the demonstrators group have been assembled and requested the driver to drive to the police station. They claimed that the demonstration did not get an approval."
Press release: Adalah demands the release of Arab students arrested in a demonstration next to Tel-Aviv University and to open a criminal investigation against people who hurt them. (Hebrew) - December 30, 2008
- "In a letter which has been sent to the Tel-Aviv police chief, Adalah has demanded the release of 3 Arab students from Tel-Aviv University - Ahmad Ka'adan, Shadi Klib and Muhammad Jaljuli – who were arrested in a demonstration against the Israeli attack on Gaza."
Press release: Adalah represents students from the Beersheva University arrested in a demonstration against the attack on Gaza (Hebrew) - December 30, 2008
"Stop the Attack on Gaza!" December 28, 2008
- Announces Adalah´s launching of a 24 hour hotline "to report any acts of police aggression and/or arrests and detentions during demonstrations."
2) Al Haq
Donors include Ford Foundation, Christian Aid, Open Society Institute, Irish Aid, Diakonia, Canadian Representative Office
"Palestinian human rights community calls for international action," December 27, 2008 [Additional signatories: Al Mezan, Defence for Children International, PCHR, Musawa, RCHRS, PNGO]
- 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."
- Palestinian human rights organizations urge "the UN Security Council to … impos[e]… sanctions," and EU institutions and member states to "…adop[t] immediate restrictive measures and sanctions, as well as cessation of all upgrade dialogue with Israel."
Donors include Netherlands Representative Office (NRO), Norwegian Representative office(NORAD), PROJECT FUNDERS: Diakonia, Trocaire, Save the Children Sweden, The Ford Foundation
"Israeli Massacres in Gaza Continue: 284 Killed; Including 32 Children, and 755 Injured; Gaza's Service Systems Paralyzed under Severe Lack of Medicine, Food and Power" December 29, 2008
- Al Mezan chronicle many specific attacks on homes and mosques and list some of the dead or injured by name and age (the ones listed are nearly all children).
- "Many of the IOF's conducts qualify as war crimes and/or crimes against humanity. The Israeli aggression also represents a multiple violation of human rights standards."
- "It has been observed that the IOF target civilian premises directly and wantonly, while showing blatant disregard to civilian life and property. Israel's attempts to prescribe its recent actions as self-defence against Hamas and rocket launchers is distorted and misleading. When a state chooses to resort to the use of force, it is bound by rules that prevent it from the abuse of this force, for its actions must observe the basic principles of IHL and human rights, both of which absolutely prohibit the disproportionate use of force and place an obligation on it to distinguish between military and civilian targets. In pursuing political gains in Gaza, Israel must show respect for human rights."
"In a Criminal Escalation, IOF Strikes on Gaza Kill and Injure over 900 People as the Siege Continues to Debilitate Health and Other Vital Services" December 28, 2008
- "Al Mezan's initial monitoring indicates that at least 257 people have been killed in the IOF's strikes in the last 24 hours. Of those, the vast majority are non-combatants and civilians; including 20 children, 9 women and 60 civilians. The majority of the rest of the casualties are members of the civilian police who were inside their stations or undertaking training."
- "Al Mezan Center for Human Rights condemns the IOF's criminal military escalation in the Gaza Strip, which indiscriminately harms civilians and civilian property, and blatantly breaches the rules of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), qualifying as war crimes. Al Mezan particularly condemns the IOF attacks against civilian objects in which children and uninvolved civilians have been killed and maimed; despite the high technological capabilities that the IOF employs in their surveillance of the Gaza Strip."
- "A reaction to rocket attacks cannot justify the perpetration of grave breaches of IHL, i.e. war crimes and crimes against humanity."
4) Alternative Information Centre (AIC)
Donors include Irish Government, ICCO, Diakonia, Dan Church Aid, Christian Aid, Austrian Development Agency (Source: Israel´s Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations)
"Violence as Policy for Israel in the Gaza Strip" December 29, 2008
- "It is popular public resistance that can and should be employed to force governments to hold Israel accountable for the war crimes it is committing against the Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip."
"AIC Condemns Deadly Attacks on Gaza, Calls for Civil Society Mobilization, International Sanctions" December 27, 2008
- "The AIC calls on social movements throughout the world to mobilize against these Israeli war crimes and demands that the international community implement sanctions against Israel and indict Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and other Israeli political and military leadership for these blatant war crimes, committed as part of Israel´s election process."
- "Israel is exploiting the last moments of the Bush administration to implement the deadly but ineffective neoconservative policies of utilizing military force to effect political change."
"End unlawful attacks and meet Gaza's emergency needs" December 29, 2008
- "Amnesty International reiterates its call for an end to reckless and unlawful Israeli attacks against densely populated residential areas…"
- "… Israeli forces have been sending seemingly random telephone messages to many inhabitants of Gaza telling them to leave their homes because of imminent air strikes against their houses… The threatening calls seem to aim to spread fear among the civilian population, as in most cases no air strikes were carried out against the buildings. If this is the purpose, rather than to give effective warning, this practice violates international law and must end immediately."
- "The international community…must go beyond the rhetoric and exert concrete pressure on both parties to the conflict to end the abuses of international law they are committing."
"Civilians must be protected in Gaza and Israel" 28 December 2008
- Palestinian rocket attacks and Israel's response both termed "unlawful"
- Condemns killing of "police personnel who were not directly participating in the hostilities" and says "disproportionate use of force by Israel is unlawful."
- Acknowledges that "Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups, for their part, share responsibility for the escalation"
- Quotes casualty claims without any source.
6) Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Donors include Ford Foundation, Diakonia, European Commission, NIF (Source: Israel's Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations)
"ACRI: Striking civilian population in Gaza must stop" (Hebrew) December 29, 2008
- "ACRI is protesting the harsh striking of civilian population, as a cause of the aerial attack on Gaza, and demands to stop every war-like action which intends to strike civilian targets."
- "Facing the reports of harsh strikes at Palestinian civilians which are not engaged in fighting, including women and children, the declarations which are made by the security system that 'civilian population is not the target' are not enough. … The invalid attacks on civilian population in Israel can't be a justification, legal or moral, to an indiscriminate strike of innocent Palestinian civilians."
B'Tselem did not comment immediately after the Israeli operation began. They did release a relatively "balanced" statement on December 25, 2008, "Targeting civilians is forbidden," which condemned "Rocket attacks against civilians [as] a war crime… Israel is obligated to defend its civilians, but it must do so in compliance with international humanitarian law."
8) Christian Aid (CA)
Almost 75% of CA funding comes from the British and Irish public, Irish Aid, UK Department for International Development (DFID)
"Support Christian Aid partners in Gaza" December 29, 2008
- "For Christian Aid, the protection of all civilians is paramount and we welcome the calls for an immediate ceasefire from across the international community including the UK government."
- "Our Israeli partner B'Tselem has repeated its demand that all parties to the hostilities prevent the harming of civilians."
"Gaza death toll rises as humanitarian crisis deepens" December 29, 2008
- "Inside Gaza scores of civilians are among the casualties of the current Israeli bombardment. Israel has justified this latest round of intense violence on the continued firing of rockets into Israeli civilian areas from Gaza."
- "Christian Aid unequivocally condemns these attacks. However, we are particularly concerned at the disproportionate response by Israel which claims to be aiming at specific targets and not at civilians."
9) Coalition of Women for Peace
"We must stop this war!" December 28, 2008
- "Yesterday (Saturday), in just 4 hours we mobilized 1,500 people to march in the street of Tel Aviv. We reached the Ministry of Defense, where Ehud Olmert held a press-conference to justify this war. Our voices were heard loud and clear by the government, the public and the Israeli media. We all know that a ceasefire is a matter of time. BUT, each passing day will cost us people's lives, with hundreds killed and injured. We must act urgently and effectively to bring about this ceasefire as soon as possible!"
10) Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-PS)
Donors include the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Luxembourg, UNICEF, UNODC, Terre des Hommes
"Gaza under attack: Over 300 killed and 1,400 injured" December 29, 2008
- "Although official Israeli spokespersons have repeatedly stated during the course of the last two days that the airstrikes are targeting Hamas infrastructure, current estimates are that many civilians have been killed and injured. Further, there is no suggestion that the policemen that were targeted are those responsible for firing rockets into Israel."
- "Under well established principles of international law, Israel is not permitted to collectively punish the entire civilian population for the actions of a few militants. Further, it is a well established principle of international law that any military response must be proportionate. Since January 2008, around four Israeli civilians have been killed by rocket fire from Gaza, two of those deaths occurring after Israel launched its most recent attack on Saturday. It is not in question that the firing of rockets from Gaza into Israeli civilian areas is illegal. However, during the same period, approximately 700 Gazans have been killed in Israeli attacks, a ratio of 175:1."
- No mention of Hamas' use of children as human shields, or the Palestinian children killed by rockets misfired from civilian areas.
Joint statement with FIDH: "Ensuring respect of international law to prepare for peace" December 29, 2008 [see no. 9]
12) Geneva Initiative (H.L. Education)
Donors include the EU
"A stick in Gaza, Carrots in the West Bank" (Hebrew) December 30, 2008
- "The "Cast Lead" operation will not prevent the launching capability from the Gaza Strip to Israel. The security authorities think that as well. Therefore Israel should arbitrarily decide in advance when to finish it and how to define it as successful."
- "Israel is obliged to defend its citizens. There are times when the way to do this is using military force. But it must know the limits of power and not trying to use it to change the government of the Palestinians."
Donors include Irish Aid, EU, Norwegian Foreign Ministry, UK Government, Open Society Institute
"Open Gaza´s Crossings for Civilian Access" December 28, 2008
- This release stops short of calling the strikes deliberate or disproportionate, but nevertheless feeds the demonization of Israel´s response, describing the "death and destruction in the Gaza Strip."
- "Hamas must stop rocket attacks aimed at civilian targets in Israel. Israel must refrain from attacks expected to cause deliberate or disproportionate harm to civilians in densely populated Gaza."
- Gisha acknowledges that Hamas attacks deliberately target civilians, yet is a primary source for perpetuating the non-serious claim that Israel continues to occupy Gaza and continues to place full responsibility for the welfare of the Gazan population onto Israel.
14) Human Rights Watch
"Civilians Must Not Be Targets : Disregard for Civilians Underlies Current Escalation" December 30, 2008
- "Rocket attacks on Israeli towns by Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups that do not discriminate between civilians and military targets violate the laws of war, while a rising number of the hundreds of Israeli bombings in Gaza since December 27, 2008, appear to be unlawful attacks causing civilian casualties. Additionally, Israel's severe limitations on the movement of non-military goods and people into and out of Gaza, including fuel and medical supplies, constitutes collective punishment, also in violation of the laws of war."
15) International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
"Ensuring respect of international law to prepare for peace" December 29, 2008 [joint statement with EMHRN]
- "These executions constitute a grave violation of international humanitarian law according to Article 3 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, and are considered, at the very least, war crimes according to Article 8 of the Rome Statute. Because they directly targeted the civilian Palestinian population, the measures and attacks carried on and at the origin of this humanitarian crisis, constitute a collective punishment in violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention."
16) Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
Donors include formerly EU/Partnership for peace (p.27)
" Israel: end the attacks on Gaza immediately!" December 28, 2008
- " How to end rocket attacks on Israel from a besieged and starving Gaza without ending the impetus for those attacks, 41 years of increasingly oppressive Israeli Occupation without a hint that a sovereign and viable Palestinian state will ever emerge."
- "In Israel, however, the effort is to hide its preference for control over peace. Framing its attacks as a response to rockets from Gaza, exploiting an immediate trigger to effectively conceal deeper political intentions and policies, does that. It also conceals Israeli violations of the cease-fire."
Donors include CORDAID, ICCO, Christian Aid, EuroMed, EU, Open Society Institute (Source: Israel´s Registrar of Non-Profit Organizations)
December 28, 2008 Arabic Statement [translated quotes below]
- "The massacre and the aggressiveness by Israel are ´war crimes,´ ´crimes against humanity´ and an ´act of genocide,´ ´Israeli Terror.´"
- "The Follow up Committee calls the international community to a boycott and sanctions against Israel."
18) Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP)
Donors include Canada, Switzerland, and the US.
"Israeli airstrikes kill dozens of Gaza civilians" December 30, 2008
- "Israel, which has also allowed limited humanitarian supplies into the territory, is attacking Hamas-run organizations, homes of activists and security posts - all scattered in densely populated areas. Gazans say most strikes come without warning."
- Includes quotes from locals such as:"When the bombings happened (on Sunday) it was like a giant grabbed my house and shook it. If they shell any closer, we'll all die."
"Aid workers killed, MAP offices damaged" December 29, 2008
- Situation update. No commentary
"Over 270 Killed and 900 wounded in attacks on Gaza" December 28, 2008
- Information on deaths and injuries and appeal for medical aid
- No commentary.
"Gaza: where civilians become targets," Article in the Guardian by MAP´s Head of Advocacy, December 28, 2008
- "After months of collective punishment and the denial of the most mundane and most essential, it is near impossible to treat the hundreds of injured streaming in to the emergency wards."
- "Israel´s spokespersons may constantly repeat that these attacks are ´targeted,´ but targeted attacks don´t kill this many civilians. They don´t destroy and cause chaos and panic in entirely residential areas. If we accept – by silence or without questioning – that anything and everyone can be defined as "terrorist infrastructure", then we are designating all civilians in Gaza as being targets. And the targeting continues."
"Airstrikes Hit Gaza," December 27, 2008
- "The impact of the blast shook us all, especially the children who cannot stop crying….Panic is in the air."
- "Everyone is afraid, the situation reminds me of the start of the Iraqi war. Threats from Israel continue and further attacks are expected."
Donors include the EU, Ford Foundation
Victims of Israel's Latest Experiment - December 29, 2008
- "Alas, Israel knows it can get away with this latest massacre unscathed, just as it did in Lebanon in 2006. Israel has bombed UN refuges full of women and children (the Qana shelling, 1996) and killed UN observers with precision-guided weapons (Khiyam, Lebanon, 2006), yet still it goes about as a respected member of the world community. Surely no other country would ever be afforded such impunity".
"Halt the Massacre," December 27, 2008
- "The airstrikes, which are still continuing at press time, have targeted all areas of the Strip and have claimed the lives of mostly civilians including women and children."
- "MIFTAH, along with all Palestinians, calls for an immediate end to this offensive, which can only be categorized as a massacre. It also demands holding Israel accountable for its blatant shunning of international norms, decency and respect for human rights."
- "The slaughter of Palestinian civilians in Gaza must stop"
"Bombing severely reduces Oxfam’s aid programme in Gaza as humanitarian crisis looms," 28 December, 2008
- "The international community must not stand aside and allow Israeli leaders to commit massive and disproportionate violence against Gazan civilians in violation of international law. Oxfam condemns outright Hamas´ rocket attacks on Israeli civilians. However they cannot justify this overwhelming military response which is killing innocent civilians."
- "World leaders must …push the Israelis to continuously open all crossing points into Gaza," ignoring the role of Egypt in allowing access.
"Aid agencies warn of humanitarian catastrophe if Gaza is attacked," December 27, 2008 [joint Oxfam/CARE International/Diakonia statement]
- Published before Saturday´s air strikes, this statement reveals that some NGOs had decided Israel´s response was disproportionate before it was carried out: "The aid agencies condemned all attacks on civilians and called on the international community to speak out against the disproportionate use of force by any side."
21) Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR)
Donors include European Commission, Norway, Trocaire, Irish Aid, Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, NOVIB-Holland, Open Society Institute, Dan Church Aid, Christian Aid (pg.6)
"251 casualties, most of them are civilians, 20 children and 9 women. 584 wounded, among them 130 children and 28 women" [Arabic] December 28, 2008
- Claims Israel was targeting civilians in a "human holocaust"
- The English version of this press release does not use this language
- "Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have continued to wage their bloodiest and most brutal war against the Gaza Strip since its occupation in 1967, under an international and Arab conspiracy of silence"
- "According to what PCHR field workers have been able to document so far, the number of civilian victims in the first ten minutes of the offensive against the Gaza Strip is the highest since 1967, and it is higher than the number of victims in the war against Lebanon in 2006."
"On the Bloodiest Day in the History of Occupation, Hundreds of Palestinian Civilian Deaths and Casualties in an Israeli Aerial Offensive against the Gaza Strip" December 27, 2008
- "PCHR strongly condemns such series of war crimes being committed by IOF in the Gaza Strip, and… Such attacks are an indication of Israeli disregard for the lives and safety of Palestinian civilians, which can be seen in the high number of civilian victims."
22) Palestinian NGO Network (PNGO)
PNGO has received funding from the Ford Foundation
"Urgent Appeal to stop the massacre in Gaza Strip" – December 27, 2008
- "PNGO calls on the international community to take immediate measures to compel Israel to stop the collective punishment of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip and to fulfill its legal obligations under international law."
- "Further, PNGO ask the international civil society to show their solidarity to Palestinian people, holding demonstrations against Israeli air strikes and asking their government to pressure Israel to stop its crimes against Palestinian people."
"About the massacre which is being committed (in the sense of crime) against the right of the Palestinian nation" - December 27, 2008
- "The Israeli government has initiated this massacre against our people in the Gaza strip which rises up to the degree of war crimes against humanity, and in which the obligation of perusing the fulfillment of them is of the world's governments and the governments of the European countries which calls (for) human rights."
"Stop the Massacre in Gaza – Boycott Israel Now!" - December 27, 2008
- "… This latest bloodbath, although far more ruthless than all its predecessors, is not Israel's first. It culminates months of an Israeli siege of Gaza that should be widely condemned and prosecuted as an act of genocide against the 1.5 million Palestinians in the occupied coastal strip."
- "… Incarcerated behind ghetto walls and brought to the brink of starvation by the siege, they are easy targets for Israel's indiscriminate bombing."
- "To join and intensify the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel to end its impunity and to hold it accountable for its persistent violation of international law and Palestinian rights."
24) Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHR-I)
Donors include European Commission, Ford Foundation, Oxfam, Christian Aid, Diakonia.
PHR-I in an urgent call do the defense minister: open the Erez crossing to the injured from the bombing of the IDF - December 30, 2008 (Hebrew) [Letter signed by: ACRI, Amnesty Israel, B'Tselem, Gisha, PCATI, Hamoked, Bimkom, Yesh Dim, Adalah, Rabbis for Human rights, PHR-I.]
- "Israel has recently declared the Gaza strip as a closed military area. Due to Israel's control in Gaza over 40 years, and its current control on the strip, Israel – which wages an military massive attack in Gaza – is charged with full responsibility to treat the injured people from its' attack, and to allow their immediate transfer to hospitals which could treat them, this by the International law which it must obey, including international law of war, which it is obliged to obey..."
Physicians for Human Rights-Israel, Gaza Emergency Appeal: Gaza Hospitals Already Filled to Capacity; Medical Supplies on the Verge of Depletion - December 29, 2008
- "Since the beginning of attacks in Gaza three days ago, over 300 people have been reported dead, more than 1000 wounded, and many hundreds more are in need of immediate medical attention."
"Emergency Gaza Update" [joint statement with Al-Mezan(Gaza) and The Palestinian Medical Relief Society (Ramallah)]
- Ignores Egypt´s role: "The closure imposed by Israel on all Gaza crossings, including the total closure of Erez Crossing since last Friday, prevents the evacuation of patients and wounded persons and deepens the human tragedy occurring in the Gaza Strip." But later admits that Hamas is preventing people leaving via Erez.
- "Targeting of civilians and/of medical facilities is a breach of international humanitarian law. The targets chosen by the Israeli military include also clearly civilian installations."
- Reasserts standard NGO claim that Gaza is still occupied and that the residents´ welfare are Israel´s responsibility.
- "The recent violence is making a very bad situation even worse …We once again urge all concerned parties to help find a solution to the current political impasse that is adversely affecting the lives of nearly every child in Gaza, while also endangering the lives of Israeli children in areas subject to possible rocket attacks."
"World Vision repeats call to immediately stop all Gaza violence" December 29, 2008
- "We utterly condemn Hamas's rocket attacks on Israeli civilians…but we cannot justify this overwhelming military action by the Israelis which is killing and injuring many innocent civilians."
- "The number of casualties has completely overwhelmed the limited health services, which had already been starved of essential surgical supplies by the 18-month Israeli blockade against the import of goods including most humanitarian supplies."