We, the Iraqi Civil Society Solidarity Initiative (ICSSI), express our unwavering solidarity to the Palestinian people and call for an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip, lifting the siege imposed on 2.2 million Palestinians, and to end the occupation of Palestine.
Since 7th October a dramatic escalation of violence has been unfolding before our eyes – an escalation which has cost the lives of over 8000 Palestinians, including over 3000 children – more than the total number of children killed in conflicts around the world in the last three years. We have witnessed the siege imposed on Palestinian people in the Gaza Strip (a territory that is already considered the largest open-air prison in the world), which has left civilians without access to clean water and food. Doctors in Gaza Strip denounce the collapse of the medical system and infrastructure including the shortage of drugs, staff, and fuel to keep hospitals operating. This has led to the impossibility to provide necessary and life-saving patient care. Key civilian infrastructures have also been targeted, such as al Ahli Arab Hospital, and as of today, official sources report fifty-three humanitarian workers and thirty-three journalists have been killed. As the international community focuses on the Strip, the Israeli occupation has launched a campaign of mass arrests in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem, while also intensifying repressive measures against Palestinian prisoners, many of which are being held in administrative detention. Journalists and civilians in Gaza Strip have been reporting the situation on the ground through social media and newspapers, calling for the international community to take a stand against the genocidal actions conducted by the Israeli occupation forces. Their voices could be heard until 27 October. On Friday 27 October, Gaza went into a complete communications blackout, with air and ground strikes also intensifying in the northern and central areas of the Strip.
We hold the Israeli occupation and its allies fully responsible for the crimes committed against the Palestinian people, for indiscriminate attacks against civilians, humanitarian workers, journalists and civilian infrastructures, and for the total siege conducted on Gaza Strip. These actions blatantly violate humanitarian law and constitute war crimes for which the Israeli occupation must be held accountable. Any serious analysis and report needs to take into account and tackle the root causes of the current situation: Israel’s unlawful occupation of Palestinian lands for 75 years, building what is more and more recognized as an apartheid regime, and the siege of a population of 2.2 million people in Gaza Strip for 17 years. In accordance with international law, we recognise the right of Palestinian people to struggle for independence, territorial integrity, and liberation from colonial occupation and apartheid by all means, including by armed resistance.
As individuals and civil society organizations, we demand an immediate ceasefire and the complete lift of the siege on Gaza, allowing food, medicine and fuel in the Strip – recognizing these as the only means to effectively protect civilians. We simultaneously demand that the Israeli occupation be held accountable for the crimes of apartheid, forcibly transferring population, and the systematic inhumane acts committed against the Palestinians, which constitute crimes against humanity under international law. We demand the end of the occupation and apartheid regime of Israel in Palestine as the essential condition to ensure accountability, justice, and the respect of human rights for Palestinian people.