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Jordanian, Palestinian civil society activists deplore Western double standards on Israeli aggression on Gaza 

By Rana Husseini - Oct 18,2023 - Last updated at Oct 18,2023

Palestinians search through the rubble of a building after an Israeli strike in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on Tuesday (AFP photo by Mahmud Hams)

AMMAN — Jordanian and Palestinian civil society activists on Tuesday warned the local and international community of a health disaster if Israel does not allow humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip.

The call was made during a press conference that was held by the Coordination Committee for Civil Society Organisations (HIMAM) called “Freedom of Expression Prerequisites for Reform” and titled “Freedom, Justice and Rights to Palestine”.  

The Israeli assaults on Gaza, for the ninth day, resulted in the deaths of 2,750 Palestinians, including 1,000 children, and 11 journalists, according to a statement by Himam.

The Israeli aggression also led to the destruction of the Gaza Strip’s infrastructure, healthcare facilities, and services, depriving some 2 million people of clean water, food, medical supplies, fuel and causing displacement and power outages, the statement added.

“What the Israeli occupation is doing in Gaza is a crime of genocide since they have blocked basic human needs while targeting civilians and causing mass forced displacement,” said Director General of the Justice Centre for Legal Aid Hadeel Abdel Aziz.

“Israel must halt its aggression on Palestine,” Abdel Aziz told media representatives and civil society representatives who attended the press conference in Amman.

“Israel is obliged to secure safe paths so that humanitarian assistance could reach Gazans,” Abdel Aziz, whose organisation is part of Himam, added.

In addition, Abdel Aziz called on the International Criminal Court to intervene by launching investigations into Israel’s breach of human rights conventions.

“We also reject Israeli’s occupation plans to force Palestinians to migrate from their land,” Abdel Aziz added.

Founder and board member of the Centre for Defending the Freedom of Journalists, Nidal Mansour criticised the “Western double standard during this crisis”.

“We always hear the West boasting about ensuring the human rights of people in practice and in conventions, but this is not being applied in the case of Gazans,” Mansour, whose organisation is part of Himam, said.

Mansour told the gathering that Himam plans to “hold serious meetings with the international community in Jordan to discuss their commitments to human rights conventions”.

“We want to ask the international community about their own commitments to human rights which should be applied justly on all without any discrimination,” Mansour stressed.

HIMAM was established in 2015 and consists of 11 civil society organisations with the goal of ensuring unity among organisations to boost the role of non-governmental institutions in society and enable them to play a leading role, as well as uphold the values of democracy and human rights. 

Also addressing the gathering via a phone call during the press conference was Amjad Shawa, director of the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organisations Network (PNGO) in the Gaza Strip, who warned of a human disaster if humanitarian aid is not allowed to enter the Gaza Strip in the next 24 hours.

Director General of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Human Rights Ammar Dwaik also spoke during the press conference via teleconference and criticised the “Western double standards”.

“The Western world is turning a blind eye to what is happening in Gaza,” Dwaik said.

Dwaik pointed out that the Western world was quick to voice condemnations in the Russian-Ukraine war, but “kept silent to Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people”.

“Israel is targeting civilians and destroying homes and the Western world is only talking about providing aid rather than condemning Israel,” Dwaik stated.

Nevertheless, Dwaik maintained, “I would like to reassure everyone that people in Gaza will remain steadfast and patient all the way”. 

The gathering praised His Majesty King Abdullah’s tireless efforts in rallying efforts to stop the Israeli aggression on Gaza.

The gathering also commended the Jordanian government’s efforts in their attempts to secure humanitarian aid to the people in the Gaza Strip.

Also addressing the press conference was Human Rights Watch (HRW) Senior Researcher, Middle East and North Africa Division Hiba Zayadin who said that since October 7, “as misinformation continues to spread like wildfire, HRW researchers have endeavoured to document and call out laws-of-war violations as they happen”.

“We have confirmed Israel's use of white phosphorus in both Gaza and Lebanon, which has put civilians at risk of serious and long-term injuries,” Zayadin said.

Zayadin added: “We have spoken up about Israel's catastrophic decision to cut electricity, food, fuel, and water into Gaza in what can only be described as a form of collective punishment for actions committed by individuals”.

“This is a war crime, as is using starvation as a weapon of war,” Zayadin stressed.

The HRW representative also stated that her organisation “condemned Israel's evacuation order, demanding that a million people evacuate northern Gaza, when there’s no safe place to go, and where the roads are rubble, fuel is scarce, and the main hospital is in the evacuation zone”.

“We have called this order out, not just for not being an effective warning at all, but also for risking mass forced displacement,” Zayadin added.

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