Gaza conflict petitions plea in Lewes

Urgent steps needed says Amnesty: From left, Patricia Cockrell, Rosemary Wadsworth and Judy McClelland
Urgent steps needed says Amnesty: From left, Patricia Cockrell, Rosemary Wadsworth and Judy McClelland

Petitions calling on the Israeli and Palestinian authorities to protect the lives of civilians during conflict were signed at a Lewes Amnesty International Group public meeting.

The petitions to Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu obtained more than 50 signatures in support of Amnesty International’s call for the authorities to take urgent steps to ensure the lives of civilians are protected as conflict between Israel and Gaza escalated – reminding all sides of their obligations under international law.

At the meeting, titled ‘Trigger Happy? Peace through violence in the Occupied Territories’, Amnesty International UK’s country co-ordinator Garry Ettle spoke about the human rights violations apparently perpetrated as “collective punishment” for protest against occupation in the West Bank.

Lewes Amnesty Group Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories campaign co-ordinator Rosemary Wadsworth said: “Amnesty International’s recent report ‘Trigger Happy’ has outlined specific concerns and evidence of excessive force used by Israeli authorities in the West Bank.

“Garry Ettle’s moving talk emphasised how the Israeli authorities are infringing human rights in the West Bank on a daily basis through child abduction and imprisonment, house demolition, water discrimination, killings and injuries, quashing of peaceful protests, ‘skunk’ water cannon fired at people and their homes that leave a persistent abhorrent smell, and misuse of tear-gas – sometimes with lethal consequences.

“Amnesty International has concerns about these human rights violations occurring as a form of collective punishment for protest in the West Bank and the lack of meaningful action to bring military and police personnel to justice where they have perpetrated such acts.

“The relationships between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories are clearly very complex. Amnesty International takes no specific stance on the political situation, but is concerned for the human rights of all individuals caught up in the conflict.”