On this day, November 29, the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, Femena stands in solidarity with Palestinians, especially women and human rights defenders, and urgently calls for a permanent ceasefire in hostilities. We strongly urge the international community and especially the US government to press Israel for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza, and an end to Israel’s use of violence, arbitrary arrests, killings and illegal settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
Over the past 50 days, we, along with other rights defenders from the region, have watched in horror as over 14,000 Palestinians have been killed, the majority of them civilians. Of this number, over half are children and women. These numbers are sure to grow as the thousands of those stuck under the rubble are pulled out. Additionally, an estimated 1.5 million Palestinians have been displaced with massive destruction of homes, buildings, hospitals, schools, refugee camps, places of worship, and even bakeries making most of the Gaza Strip uninhabitable. The infrastructure is so damaged that even the aid promised as a condition of humanitarian ceasefire cannot reach the Palestinians in Gaza who continue to face a dire humanitarian crisis, and are in desperate need of food, medicine, fuel, and other basic needs to survive.
Adding to our horror has been the refusal of the US and many European countries who have consistently proclaimed their support for human rights, to firmly call for and press for a permanent ceasefire. At the same time, some governments and western funders and INGOs have shamefully chosen to pull their funding from human rights organizations working in or on the region, including Israeli and Palestinian rights organizations, who work to hold the Israeli government along with other authorities accountable for human rights violations.
On this day, which happens to coincide with International Day for Women Human Rights Defenders (WHRDs), we call on the international community to renew their commitment to peace and rights, by ending double standards on human rights violations and by working in partnership with rights defenders across the region, pressing in a principled and serious manner for a permanent ceasefire and taking steps to hold ALL those who have targeted civilians and committed war crimes accountable for their crimes. We further call on the international community to seriously press for the ending of the siege on Gaza, and the occupation of Palestine by Israel, commit aid to rebuild Gaza, and commit to a durable and just solution for Palestinians.