Over 300 prominent activists, politicians, academic and religious figures from all around the world have come together to call on the UN to bring an immediate end to the “bloodbath” in Gaza.
Spearheaded by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), the letter accuses the UN of being “a bystander to war crimes as Israel continues its bombardment of the densely populated Palestinian territory.” To date well over 5,000 people have been killed, 70 per cent of them women and children. Child deaths alone are currently running in excess of 2,000.
The letter, addressed to the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, is signed by former Labour minister Clare Short and renowned academics Professors Jeff Halper, Richard Falk, Ilan Pappe and Avi Shlaim, as well as MEMO Director Dr Daud Abdullah.
It charges Israel with carrying out a series of war crimes. These include cutting off electricity, water and food supplies and abandoning the principles of proportionality and distinction in warfare in bombing residential centres, hospitals, ambulances, churches, mosques, schools and shopping areas.
It calls on the UN to “rise to the need of the hour” to “rein in Israel” and establish an immediate ceasefire that will allow for the delivery of humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.
“The UN was formed in the wake of World War 2 with the express purpose of upholding a rules based world order and to prevent a repeat of that conflict. That being the case how much longer is the organisation going to stand by and watch as a genocide unfolds before our very eyes,” states the letter.
It adds: “According to the UN’s own workers and officials there are no safe places in Gaza. Gaza is under total siege and constant bombardment… It is abundantly clear that in abandoning the requirement to uphold the principles of proportionality and distinction between civilians and combatants, Israel is in gross violation of international law.”
Warning that “unless Israel is stopped and held accountable for the crimes it is currently committing in Gaza and the West Bank it will continue to kill and maim with impunity and to make a mockery of international law.”