The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Volker Türk, has declared Israel’s recent act of self-defense in the Gaza Strip as “prohibited.” This announcement comes as tensions continue to escalate between Israel and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules the Gaza Strip.
In a statement issued from his office in Geneva, Switzerland on Tuesday, Türk called for peace and understanding in the region before admonishing any potential retaliatory moves by Israel. He stressed that “the imposition of sieges that endanger the lives of civilians by depriving them of goods essential for their survival is prohibited under international humanitarian law.” He further stated that any restrictions on the movement of people and goods must be justified by military necessity and may otherwise amount to collective punishment.
This statement comes in response to the recent attack launched by Hamas on Israel, which has resulted in the death of over 900 people and injured 2,500 more, according to reports. In addition, there are over 100 hostages, including women and young children, being held in Gaza by Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office.
In light of this attack, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant has approved a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip. This includes a military blockade that will prevent the entry of goods and people into the territory. This move is a response to Hamas’s ongoing threats to murder hundreds of hostages while broadcasting videos of the executions.
The tensions between Israel and Gaza have been further exacerbated by the confirmation from President Joe Biden that 11 U.S. citizens were among the victims of the attack. The Israeli Airforce has responded with strikes on at least 1,000 terror targets in Gaza.
According to reports, Iran has aided in the planning and approval of Saturday’s attack. The Iranian involvement has only added to the growing concern of a sustained and widening conflict in the region.
— Joel Pollak (@joelpollak) October 9, 2023
The situation in Gaza remains volatile and the international community is calling for a de-escalation of tensions. The United Nations and other world leaders have urged both Israel and Hamas to exercise restraint and find a peaceful resolution to their differences.
In the midst of this crisis, it is crucial that the safety and well-being of civilians are protected. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has reiterated the importance of upholding international humanitarian law and avoiding any actions that could result in the collective punishment of innocent civilians.
As the situation continues to unfold, the international community will closely monitor developments and work towards finding a peaceful resolution to this latest conflict between Israel and Hamas.