|A Non-Governmental Organization at the United Nations|
Franciscans International is Appalled by Recent Events in Gaza and Southern Israel
Jan. 8, 2009
Franciscans International is appalled by the recent events in Gaza and Southern Israel. The escalation of violence has completely disregarded the most basic principles of International Humanitarian Law leading to the present humanitarian tragedy.
FI calls the government of Israel and the Hamas leadership for an immediate cessation of all violence. We call on the government of Israel to allow full access to Gaza for humanitarian agencies and the lifting of the blockade.
The ceasefire is absolutely necessary in order to prevent the further suffering of the civilian population on both sides. This is particularly for:
• those living in southern Israel towns (Ashkelon, Ashdod, Netivot and other cities), who are victims of rocket attacks;
- those in Gaza who are victims of a disproportionate military offensive by the Israeli Defense Force.
The military operation has led to the death of well over 600 Palestinians (according to the UN a large number of them are civilians); and has damaged essential civilian infrastructure including hospitals, electricity and water. It adds further suffering to the civilian population in Gaza enduring a long blockade, which prevents the arrival of food and medicines and makes their humanitarian situation even more difficult.
Franciscans International calls upon the government of Israel and Hamas leadership to cease the hostilities.
FI also calls upon the United Nations, the European Union, the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the United States, the Russian Federation and all concerned actors, to pressure both sides for an immediate ceasefire.
While the immediate emergency calls for intense diplomacy to bring about a cessation of all violence, reciprocally, international actors must not think that they will have met their responsibilities by brokering a localised cease fire in this instance. Rather their greater responsibility is to bring about a genuine peace treaty between the Israeli and the Palestinian Nations, within a regional framework, which alone can make such a peace possible and secure.
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