Kassem Aina, President of Beit Atfal Al-Samoud, Suleiman Bakhti, Director of Dar Nelson Publishing House, and Dr. Kamel Mohanna, President-Founder of Amel Association International and General Coordinator of the Lebanese and Arab NGOs Networks, have submitted a memorandum addressed to the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. The Palestinian enclave is subject to systematic and repeated violations of international humanitarian law. The memorandum further requests the International Criminal Court to address these violations, the cessation of forced displacement of Gaza’s populations from the North to the South, and the establishment of humanitarian corridors.
“To His Excellency the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres, to demand a ceasefire in Gaza and the prosecution of Israeli violations.
Your Excellency, Mr. Secretary-General,
We are writing to express our deep concern and to call on you to take appropriate measures and mobilize international support for the implementation of a ceasefire, in the face of heinous violations of international and humanitarian law in Gaza and the Palestinian Territories. These violations result in thousands of victims daily, including children, women, and the elderly, while the United Nations has warned of a shortage of water, food, fuel, medical supplies, and even body bags due to the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.
This war has led to the death of 6,546 people in Gaza in less than a month, including 2,704 children, 1,584 women, and 364 elderly individuals. Moreover, over 17,000 people have been injured, and more than 200,000 homes have been destroyed or damaged. One hundred fifteen attacks have been carried out against medical facilities, with 12 hospitals and 21 health centers rendered inoperative due to bombings. Over 1,600 people remain missing under the rubble, including 750 children. Seventeen mosques, a church, and several schools have been destroyed. What would happen if this war were to continue?
Medical and humanitarian organizations operating in Gaza have warned of the severe dehydration risks faced by children in the Palestinian enclave, as the targeted health sector has collapsed. Large parts of Gaza are in ruins, and residents in the north of the enclave have been displaced. Yet, Israel continues to target civilian populations, violating all international and humanitarian laws in force, with the support of certain major powers.
The announcement from the Palestinian Ministry of Health regarding the collapse of the health system in Gaza should trigger international awareness. If nothing is done, the wounded, including children, women, and the elderly, will lose all access to care. Cancer patients will have to interrupt their treatment, including chemotherapy sessions, while those with kidney problems will be deprived of dialysis. Hundreds of malnourished children are at risk, thousands of wounded will remain with open wounds, and Gaza’s hospitals will turn into mass graves in a matter of hours. Meanwhile, Israel continues to daily threaten hospitals. Mass evacuations are also ordered while we can only lament the heinous bombing of the Arab Baptist Hospital Al Ahli, which claimed the lives of more than 700 people seeking refuge.
The apartheid system imposed on Palestinians in the West Bank, with more than 100, including children, having perished under Israeli fire in the past two weeks, and the illegal siege imposed on Gaza for 16 years, coupled with the blocking of humanitarian aid, constitute crimes against humanity that require the urgent convening of the United Nations Human Rights Council to address these violations contributing to the ignition of war and threatening the stability of the entire region.
The failure to resolve the Palestinian issue after 75 years of suffering and displacement, the continual double standard, international silence on cruel and racist practices against Palestinians, the failure to recognize the rights of the Palestinian people and support them in creating an independent state, and ending decades of occupation in accordance with all United Nations resolutions and decrees, are tragic. We urge you to ensure that the creation of a Palestinian state, the end of occupation, and the application of international law are at the core of this process.
As global humanitarian actors, we call on the United Nations to press Israel’s allies, including the United States and the United Kingdom, to take necessary measures to protect civilians in Gaza, stop all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Israel, prevent political statements legitimizing Israeli violations, and convince Israel to accept a ceasefire and humanitarian truce and lift the illegal blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Israel openly violates over 12 international agreements, decisions, and legal texts issued by the highest international bodies, signed by more than 170 countries. These include the four Geneva Conventions, particularly those concerning the targeting of innocent civilians, health facilities, humanitarian organizations, and journalists, not to mention the resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and the 2004 ICC resolution concerning the separation barrier, known as the “Hague Decision,” or numerous United Nations Security Council resolutions.
We are witnessing a catastrophe, and as humanitarian actors, we cannot remain silent. We are accountable before the laws we have endorsed, before our conscience, and before history, to diligently work to end the conflict and prevent the outbreak of a war that could escalate into a regional or global conflict. This is particularly important given the threats to our planet and the dreams we have of building a fairer and more humane world. Through you, we appeal to all parties to the conflict and different influential member states, to all heads of state, the United Nations Security Council, or any other relevant entity, to urgently agree on a humanitarian ceasefire, with the primary goal of preserving human life.
During this ceasefire, we call on all parties to:
- Facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid, including food, medical supplies, and fuel, as well as restoring electricity and internet in Gaza, and ensuring the safe passage of humanitarian and medical workers.
- Release all civilian hostages, especially children and the elderly, by all parties.
- Allow humanitarian convoys access to United Nations facilities, schools, hospitals, and health facilities in the north of Gaza, committing to protect them.
- Revoke Israel’s orders regarding the evacuation of civilians from the north of Gaza.
- Bring Israeli officials before the International Criminal Court.
- Allow the evacuation of severely ill patients to receive necessary care in neighboring countries.
- Take immediate steps to ensure the implementation of the ceasefire. This responsibility must be assumed by the United Nations Security Council, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and all influential world leaders.
A ceasefire is the only solution to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe of considerable magnitude, likely to affect many countries, and to prevent further loss of innocent lives and tragedies. The absence of action in this regard will forever leave a stain on our collective conscience.
With our thanks and appreciation,
Signed by the parties to the memorandum:
- Dar Nelson Publishing House
- Beit Atfal Al-Sumoud
- Amel Association International