The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) deplores the unanimous decision by the Israeli cabinet to impose sanctions on supplies of electricity, fuel and other basic goods and services to the civilian population of Gaza, and calls upon the international community to prevent this crime against humanity from being carried out. Indeed, the very legal framework invoked by Israel to carry out this illegal and immoral act – declaring Gaza a “hostile entity” within a “conflict short of war” – has absolutely no standing in international law. The collective punishment of an entire civilian population, by contrast, is explicitly prohibited.

We call on the Secretary General of the UN, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, to urgently convene the Security Council in order to tell the Israeli government that this step is completely unacceptable and must be rescinded.

We call on the governments of the world, and in particular the American government and the European Parliament, to censure this decision, especially in light of recent attempts to revive the diplomatic process.

We call on the world’s religious leaders to condemn this blatant violation of human rights and the most fundamental assault on human life and dignity, made especially poignant as it is being implemented during the holy month of Ramadan. As Israelis, most of whom are Jews, we call upon Jewish leaders to speak out unequivocally against this offence against Jewish values on the eve of Yom Kippur

And we call upon the peoples of the world to let their officials and leaders know of their repudiation of this cruel, illegal and immoral act – an act that stands out in its cruelty even in an already oppressive Israeli Occupation. ICAHD condemns attacks on all civilians, be they Israeli or Palestinian. Violations of international law by governments affecting millions of people are, however, especially egregious and must be denounced.

Israel’s decision to punish Gaza’s civilian population, with all the human suffering that entails, constitutes an instance of State Terrorism against innocent people. Only when Israel is held accountable for its actions and international law upheld will a just peace be possible in the Middle East.