Hivos expresses our very deep concern over the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel. The latest outbreak of hostilities was triggered by efforts to forcibly displace Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.
While Hivos does not have program and operational presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the current situation could destabilize the region in areas where Hivos works with affected communities.
The forced displacement of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is the latest episode in Israel’s state-sponsored support for settlers attempting to drive Palestinian families and communities off Palestinian land. In just over a week, the disproportionate and aggressive aerial bombardment of Gaza by Israeli forces has targeted residential buildings, schools and medical centers. These attacks have forcibly displaced 52,000 Palestinians, making thousands homeless, and resulting in over 200 Palestinians killed and 1,400 wounded. Twelve people have been killed in Israel by rockets fired from Gaza, according to Israeli authorities.
In this latest round of hostilities, Palestinian citizens in Israel have also met with disproportionate use of force by the Israeli government for exercising their right to express their dismay and anger at their government’s practices in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.
Hivos condemns the suppression of free speech and the targeting of the free press sanctioned by the Israeli government. Peaceful protesters all over the world must be allowed to exercise their full rights to assemble and demonstrate freely, without fear of violence and intimidation. Local and international journalists have the right to do their job free from censorship and violence.
Hivos joins calls by Oxfam and Amnesty International for the immediate cessation of violence against civilians, the brunt of which is being borne by the Palestinian population as can be seen from the death, injury and displacement figures. We urge all parties to exercise and respect their responsibilities under international human rights and humanitarian law. And we call on the international community to work with all parties involved to put an end to the decades-long Israeli occupation of Palestinian populations, which only serves to prolong discrimination and oppression, amounting to apartheid.
Hivos’ core value is for people everywhere to be able to live a life in freedom and dignity, with respect for each other and the planet, leading to greater individual well-being and fair, vibrant societies. The Palestinian people deserve this right, as do all people in the MENA region and across the world.