July 16, 2014 – In response to Israel’s ongoing bombardement of Gaza, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:
We condemn in the strongest terms the Israeli government’s indiscriminate killing and collective punishment of civilians in the Gaza Strip and call on the Obama administration to press for an immediate cease-fire on all sides that takes into account the need to end the inhumane and unlawful seven-year closure of Gaza. The blockade has resulted in severe shortages of water, food, electricity and medical supplies, the denial of freedom of movement to the Palestinians of Gaza and near economic collapse. As of today, 158 Palestinian civilians have been killed in this latest assault, including 36 children and 29 women; over a thousand have been injured, mostly civilians. A center for people with disabilities, a mosque and a hospital have been shelled, and hundreds of homes damaged or destroyed, causing the displacement of thousands of civilians.
This aggression is possible only because of unqualified U.S. diplomatic, economic, and military support for the Israeli government’s occupation of Palestine and apartheid policies in the region. Last Friday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a resolution in support of Israel’s “right to defend its citizens and ensure the survival of the State of Israel” yet made no mention of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, the scores of Palestinian civilians killed nor Israel’s mass destruction of Gaza’s infrastructure and housing; a similar Senate resolution is scheduled for committee mark up today, Wednesday, July 16.
Meaningful pressure by the U.S. government on Israel, including withdrawal of its unconditional support, is the first step to stop further senseless loss of life. But to help break the cycle of continued occupation, repression and violence, the entire international community must also seek meaningful accountability for the serious violations of international law that have occurred.
Raji Sourani, Director of CCR ally organization the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights, wrote this week, “It is a constant cycle of illegality that has returned us to this point. Illegal attacks are used to justify illegal attacks, and on it goes. There are two constants: the continuous suffering of civilians, and total impunity for those suspected of committing war crimes.” CCR joins the call for an immediate end to this vicious cycle.
The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.