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Mainstream, VOL 61 No 43-44 October 21 & 28, 2023

Pakistan: Women’s Action Forum (WAF) calls for immediate ceasefire to stop the genocide in Gaza

Saturday 21 October 2023



19 October 2023, Islamabad, The Women’s Action Forum (WAF) strongly condemns the brutal, indiscriminate, and incessant assault by the Israeli occupation power on the Gaza Strip. Intensified attacks by Israel that began on 7 October 2023 have reportedly killed nearly 3,000 people including about 700 children and injured more than 10,000 people. The horrifying bombing of the Al-Ahli Hospital is a devastating part of the continuum of violence that adds to compelling evidence that Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip amount to genocide under international law.

Israel’s indiscriminate bombing of the Gaza Strip, including deadly airstrikes on civilians trying to flee through routes Israel had declared safe, are flagrant violations of the Geneva Conventions and may constitute war crimes. The complete blockade of Gaza, cutting power, and depriving Gazans of electricity, food, water, and fuel, is also a deliberate act of inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of people. This did not begin on 7 October. For the past 16 years, air, land, and sea blockade has brought untold misery and devastated Gaza’s economy as part of the continued persecution of millions of Palestinians by Israeli authorities.

Women’s Action Forum is appalled at the spectacular failure of international ins.tu.ons, especially the United Nations, mandated to stop genocide and war crimes. The apathy of most world leaders is disgusting. It is eclipsed by the shameful and shocking defence of Israel’s aggression by some western powers as justified retaliation. This is despite clear and explicit threats publicly made by Israeli leaders, like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledging to turn Gaza into rubble. The role of Western media is also deplorable. Many are disinforming their audiences by peddling fake news and biased analysis in a blatant attempt to shape public opinion that favours injustice and inhumanity.

WAF condemns the loss of civilian lives in Israel due to Hamas’ surprise actions of 7 October. However, Israel’s deadly and brutal response cannot be justified. The Israeli assault on the Gaza Strip cannot be considered in isolation from the structural violence that marks the daily lives of Palestinians under Israeli control.

WAF calls for:

• Immediate ceasefire to protect the lives and livelihoods of the Palestinian people.
• Prompt and just interventions by the international community to stop the genocide, war crimes, and aggression against the Palestinian people.
• Pursue accountability by using the International Court of Justice and other available venues of those responsible for committing genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, while ensuring that the victims and survivors receive due reparations and compensation, as per international law.
• Use urgent diplomacy to pursue a political resolution to the enduring conflict, ensuring that Israel honours its commitment to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967 including East Jerusalem.
• Re-affirm the Palestinian people’s inalienable rights to self-determination, return and to all other rights that these entail.

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