Israel Must Be Held Accountable For Its Collective Punishment Of Palestinians
07 July 2014
By Palestinian BDS National Committee
Palestinian organisations condemn Israeli operations in West Bank and Gaza as
- Palestinians call for military embargo and boycott action
Palestinian boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) activists have are urging
governments and international civil society to take action to hold Israel to
account for its continued collective punishment of Palestinians in the West Bank
and Gaza following the disappearance and death of three Israeli settlers.
Zaid Shuaibi, a spokesperson for the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the
civil society coalition that leads and supports the BDS movement, said:
"Israel's on-going actions are designed to terrorise Palestinians and constitute
collective punishment. Military violence, collective punishment and the
deliberate targeting of civilians are endemic to Israel's of decades old system
of occupation, colonisation and apartheid."
"Israel is able to act with utter impunity because of the military, economic and
political support it receives from governments around the world. We call on
international governments to impose a two-way arms embargo immediately and to
suspend bilateral agreements until Israel fully complies with international
"At a time when mainstream bodies such as the Bill Gates Foundation, the
Presbyterian Church USA and the US? United Methodist Church are divesting from
companies profiting from Israel's occupation, including G4S and Hewlett Packard,
we call on people of conscience to intensify BDS pressure."
Hundreds of military raids have been launched across the occupied West Bank
since June 12, with more than 1000 private homes and refugee camps and the
offices of civil society organisations ransacked.
At least 10 Palestinians have been killed and many more have been injured. More
than 500 Palestinians have been detained and initial reports suggest that many
of those arrested are held under administrative detention, a form of detention
without charge or trial on secret evidence. The number of children held in
Israeli jails has risen to 250. Israel has also imposed severe restrictions of
On Wednesday, Israeli settlers kidnapped and killed a 16 year old from the
Shuafat area of Palestinian East Jerusalem and Israeli soldiers attacked
Palestinians in Jerusalem.
Palestinian organisations have detailed how Israel's recent actions constitute
collective punishment, a crime prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention as
well as customary international humanitarian law.
Israeli occupation forces have also targeted the campuses of Birzeit University
near Ramallah and the Arab American University in Jenin, resulting in the
detention and arrest of students and staff and greatly infringing the
Palestinian right to education.
Samia Botmeh, a professor at Birzeit University and a steering committee member
with the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel,
"Israel's latest violations against Palestinian universities are part of its
long history of oppression aimed at Palestinian education. Closure of
universities for periods stretching to years, murder and detention of students
and professors, destruction of universities' properties and labs as well as the
banning of lists of books have been Israel's systematic policies targeting
"It must be emphasized that throughout the decades of oppression, no Israeli
university or association of Israeli academics has ever protested the sustained
assaults on Palestinian universities. It is essential to intensify all forms of
BDS, including the academic and cultural boycott, until Israel ends its
violations of Palestinian rights."
Israel has conducted at least 100 airstrikes or shellings of Gaza in recent
days, including an intense bombing of dozens of sites in the early hours of
Tuesday, further worsening the situation for Palestinians in Gaza, which has
been under a brutal military siege for more than 7 years.
Haidar Eid, associate professor at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza and a PACBI
steering committee member, said:
"We, residents of Gaza, have been unable to fathom how it is that official
bodies of the international community tolerate blatant war crimes committed
against the people of Gaza, in spite of thousands of reports by main-stream
human rights organizations!"
"Is it farfetched to expect people of conscience to heed our call to boycott
this intransigent, racist and militarized Israeli regime and the institutions
that keep it thriving, the same way apartheid South Africa was boycotted until
Ayah Abubasheer, a youth and BDS activist in Gaza, added:
"During the past few weeks, Israel has been violently and intensely launching a
series of air strikes against the Gaza Strip. The population of the Gaza Strip
continues to pay the price and bear the blaze of Israel's polices."
"Because collective punishment is a war crime under the Geneva Conventions, we
urge the international community to pressure Israel to end its all-out military
assault aimed against the total population of Gaza, open Rafah crossing
permanently and heed our call for boycotts, divestment and sanctions."