Timor-Leste Solidarity for the Palestinian People in Gaza
Coalition statement issued in Dili
19 January 2009
The armed conflict from Israel against Palestine which began the day after Christmas 2008 has killed more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians, but under international law civilians must not be targeted in armed conflict. There are 1.5 million Gaza residents, encircled in an area of 378 square kilometers. All the borders with Israel and Egypt are closed, so there is no way for civilians to escape the area of the war.
Reports in the media and from nongovernmental organizations document that the Israeli military uses force without looking at where they shoot, resulting in civilian deaths, destruction of infrastructure, showing that the object of their attacks is civilian society. Schools and UN facilities in Gaza have also come under attack by Israeli missiles.
According to Israeli human rights organizations, the people of Gaza are faced with a very difficult situation:
The fighting is taking place throughout the Gaza Strip, whose border crossings are closed, so that residents have nowhere to flee, neither inside the Gaza Strip nor by leaving it. They are forced to live in fear and terror.
The health system has collapsed. Hospitals are unable to provide adequate treatment to the injured, nor can patients be evacuated to medical centers outside of the Gaza Strip. This state of affairs is causing the death of injured persons who could have been saved.
Areas that were subject to intensive attacks are completely isolated. It is impossible to know the condition of the people who are there, whether they are injured and need treatment and whether they have food, water and medicine. The army is preventing local and international rescue teams from accessing those places and is also refraining from helping them itself, even though it is required to do so by law.
Many of the residents do not have access to electricity or running water, and in many populated areas sewage water is running in the streets. That combination creates severe sanitation problems and increases the risk of an outbreak of epidemics.