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Pusat KOMAS welcomes the ceasefire announcement by both the Israel and Hamas government after the recent unjust, inhumane and disproportionate military actions by the Israeli “apartheid” regime against the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank which has lasted for more than a week.

The exchange of fire between the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) and Hamas that broke out before the Aidilfitri celebrations was not a new incident, but a continuation of a long-running humanitarian and human rights crisis that has taken place in Gaza since 1948.

It is not a secret that Israel has a shameful human rights record in its administration, policies and actions, where they have consistently failed to adhere to international human rights standards and United Nations resolutions through which violates the rights of the Palestinian people.

We stand in solidarity with the brave Palestinian people resilient in ensuring that their fundamental rights are protected and upheld. At the local level, they have taken a peaceful approach through demonstrations and public gatherings even though they were met with violent responses by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). The Palestinian people have also utilised the international legal mechanisms such as the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Israel’s crimes against humanity and war crimes and the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD Committee) to review and provide recommendations to Israel to ensure their commitment to the International Convention on the Elimiantion of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

The review by the CERD Committee in 2019 have indicated that there were indeed elements of racial discrimination in the actions and practices by Israel. The Committee has also proposed several recommendations to Israel to ensure that it adheres its obligation under the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD). The recommendations include providing equal treatment to all individuals by guaranteeing equal access to citizenship, legal protection, economic and social benefits and the right to property ownership. Furthermore, Israel was also advised to repeal any laws and legislation that does not adhere to anti-discrimination principles.

However, the Committee’s recommendations were ignored by Israel. Israel’s arrogance to not adhere to universal human rights standards were more apparent when they blatantly refused to work with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the war crimes probe following a submission of complaint by Palestine in 2015.

Therefore, it is imperative for international organizations like the United Nations to play a stronger proactive role to end the long-standing Palestinian-Israeli crisis by providing a fair and equitable solution to all parties involved. All measures to speed up and facilitate the process to restore the fundamental rights and dignity of the Palestinian people must be exhausted by the United Nations and not through the release of media statements only.

Furthermore, Israel’s continuous acts of racial discrimination should be ostracized by the global community as these acts of injustice are in contrary to the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action2 adopted during the 2001 World Conference Against Racism. In fact, we in Pusat Komas who were actively involved in the organizing processes of the conference, have expressed our unequivocal support to the Palestinian cause which was identified in 2001 to be one of the three most pressing racism issues in the world. It is essential for this issue to be resolved as soon as possible, as sustained racial discrimination against any people will lead to the growth of extremism which would inadvertently lead to more incidences of injustice and violations of human rights.

We welcome the ceasefire announcement and urge Israel to desist from ever using military action against the public as it would result in the loss of life, destruction of important buildings and the paralysis of the civil service. Additionally, we also urge Hamas in its right to defend the nation, to not resort to violence targeted at the Israeli public. Even though the violence has stopped for now, the world leaders should come together to build long lasting peace for the Palestinians.

We come together in solidarity with our Palestinian sisters and brothers to reject the tyranny experienced by them. They too have human rights and dignity to live in their country safely, peacefully and harmoniously.

Issued by,
21 May 2021

For any enquiries, please contact Dr Ryan Chua, Programme Director of Pusat KOMAS at ryanc@komas.org.