Rights Groups Call for Referring Zionists Involved in Deliberate Killings of Gaza Protesters to Courts

GENEVA - Zionist leaders and soldiers involved in possible “war crimes and crimes against humanity” while disproportionately responding by excessive force to Palestinian protesters near the Gaza separation fence must be held to account, said Solidarité Suisse Guinée and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Monitor (Euro-Med) in an oral statement delivered before representatives and ambassadors of member states at the United Nations Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) 40th session on Monday.

Israel has violated the principles of international human rights law by using live and explosive bullets and poisonous gas canisters to disperse civilians, journalists and medical crews around the Gaza fence, killing 256 civilians, including 38 children, as well as causing 69 permanent disabilities, and further exacerbated the already unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Strip, the two organizations stressed.

 Pointing to the serious and unprecedented deterioration in all aspects of life in Gaza made possible by the devastating 13-year-long Israel-imposed blockade, the two organizations highlighted the negative impact on the wounded in a health sector characterized by poor infrastructure and severe shortage of medicine and equipment needed to conduct surgeries and treat critical injuries.

Drawing on the recommendations by the UN Commission of Inquiry into the latest Gaza events, which documented Israeli forces’ deliberate use of lethal force, the two organizations called on the UNHRC and Member States to proceed with the legal process of referring to the competent courts the perpetrators of such crimes and to ensure that they do not continue to enjoy impunity for the killing, maiming and injuring of victims under the Rome Statute.

Concluding their oral statement, the two organizations called on the Council and Member States to exert greater effort to immediately and unconditionally lift the Israeli blockade on the impoverished Strip.

WHO appeals for $5.3 million to respond to trauma and emergency needs in Gaza

On the other hand, in Gaza, the World Health Organization (WHO) has appealed for $5.3 million to provide life- and limb-saving interventions to massive numbers of injured patients overwhelming an already fragile health system in Gaza, according to a press statement.

The upcoming one-year anniversary of the Great March of Return on 30 March could result in further casualties and an increase in people requiring trauma care and rehabilitation services, it said.

Funding is urgently required to ensure the minimum resources are available to immediate health needs, as well as enhance the quality of trauma and emergency care in the Gaza Strip and reduce mortality and morbidity among an at-risk population of 2 million people, said WHO.

“The sheer magnitude of trauma needs in Gaza is immense. Every week injured patients continue to arrive at hospitals requiring complex long-term treatment. The requested financial support will help not just to address critical service gaps but ensure that we can work with our partners to scale up treatment capacities to provide immediate lifesaving care for emergency cases and to strengthen rehabilitation,” says Gerald Rockenschaub, head of WHO’s office for the occupied Palestinian territory.

Since the start of the demonstrations in March 2018, over 29,000 people have been injured, with more than 6,500 suffering from gunshot wounds requiring long-term specialized surgical treatment and rehabilitation, for which the Gaza Strip faces persistent capacity gaps.

The massive burden of trauma casualties also affects the provision of other essential services, directly impacting capacities to provide neonatal and maternal care services and to manage chronic disease patients. Elective surgeries have to be postponed and suspended, hospital beds are reallocated and reserved for surgical patients, health staff and ambulances have to prioritize the immediate emergency needs.

Wafa News Agency