Petition For Justice in Gaza and For a Peaceful Solution to Conflict in the Middle East sign now

We, United World College graduates and friends and co-years of Amer Shurrab are devastated by the attack that Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) personnel perpetrated against Amerвs brothers Kassab (28) and Ibrahim (18) and Amerвs father Mohammed (64)on Friday January 16th 2009 in al-Fukhara, Gaza Strip. This attack resulted in the death of Amerвs brothers and in the hospitalization of his father.

From local media, direct sources, and local human rights organizations, we have gathered the following facts: on January 16th around 1-1:30pm, during a 3 hour ceasefire, the three who were known to the IDF to be civilians and unarmed came under firearm attack while returning by jeep from their agricultural land in al-Fukhara, close to the Israeli fence on the eastern border of the Gaza strip. Kassab was fatally wounded during the attack--while Ibrahim and Mohammed, also wounded, needed urgent medical care. A number of NGOs, media and health organizationsвincluding the International Committee of the Red Crossвwere contacted via mobile phone by Mohammed, in a desperate attempt to be rescued to a medical structure. Nevertheless, Israeli forces only allowed relief agencies to access the area between 11:00 am and 12:00 pm on January 17thвmore than 20 hours later. By then Ibrahim had succumbed to his wound.

We are outraged by the attack on civilians, clearly in breach of an agreed ceasefire, and by the IDFвs unyielding and arbitrary refusal to allow wounded victims access to urgent medical aidвan act in violation of international humanitarian law.

We would like to remind our leaders and people in positions of authority that, under customary international humanitarian law, the wounded are protected persons and must receive to the fullest extent practicable and with the least possible delay the medical care and attention required by their conditions. Moreover, no distinction can be made among the wounded except on medical grounds. The denial of medical treatment to protected persons is a war crime that may amount to the grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention of willfully causing great suffering or serious injury to body or health. Grave breaches, as listed under Article 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, are the most serious infringements of the laws and customs of war. The legal implications of the case of Amer Shurrabвs family thus cannot be minimized.

Many of us met Amer at the United World College of the Adriatic, an institution whose mission is to make education a force to unite people, nations, and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. We have been reminded often that it is hypocritical to speak out about a conflict only when someone we know is involved.
Yet the sheer number of conflicts, cases of repression, and abuses around the world greatly exceeds one person's or groupвs capacity to address. Our friend and co-year Amerвs pain is a sharp reminder of multiple injustices worldwide. Therefore we stand united as people, nations, and cultures declaring: we condemn the extreme pain and suffering perpetrated against members of the Shurrab family, we oppose and denounce this war, and we will not stay silent as innocent people's lives are lost. We will do everything in our powers to bring media and civil society attention to the killings of Ibrahim and Kassab Shurrab.

We have become weary of our leaders' inability ALL over the world to bring stability, peace, and justice to the Middle East as they continue to pay lip service to a peace process which does not exist or even directly support the continued aggression.

We express our support to UWC alumni, particularly those in areas of conflict, who have been standing against this war in non-violent ways and in the spirit of solidarity, peace, and justice which are promoted in the UWC movement and expected of all its members.

We passionately plead our governments to take action to monitor and enforce respect of all basic human rights and international humanitarian law, to undertake all possible actions to free 1.5 million residents of the Gaza strip from an almost 2 year long siege, and to end the occupation bringing peace and justice to all peoples of the Middle East. In particular:

- We urge an investigation on the Israeli Defense Forcesв attack on Mohammed, Ibrahim, and Kassab Shurrab that resulted in the death of Ibrahim and Kassab Shurrab and in the hospitalization of Mohammed Shurrab. We demand that justice be served to Amer, his family, and many other Palestinian families for this, we fear, is not an isolated case.
- We demand that the European Union and the individual member states of the EU, the UN, the US, and the Arab states pressure Israel for safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all injured persons in the Gaza Strip.
- We urge the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to take measures to ensure respect for the Fourth Geneva Convention under Article 1, and to hold perpetrators of grave breaches responsible under Article 146.
- We encourage Amnesty International and other human rights organizations to take an interest in this case and join our lobbying efforts for justice and truth.
- We also urge the United World College of the Adriatic, UWC National Committees, and the UWC International Board to do everything in their power to join our call by publicly expressing their support to and solidarity with UWC graduate Amer Shurrab and by condemning the extreme violence, pain, and suffering that has been perpetrated against his family.



For further information:

Al-Haq, January 17th 2009 Press Release: Impeding Medical Relief in the Gaza Strip: Israel's War Crimes against the Injured

http://www.alhaq.org/etemplate.php?id=419

Physicians for Human Rights в Israel, January 19th 2009 Press Release: Summaries of the cases of wounded and trapped people who applied to PHR-Israel for assistance in evacuation, 16-17.1.09

http://www.phr.org.il/phr/article.asp?articleid=691&catid=55&pcat=-1&lang=ENG

Democracy Now! January 21st 2009 Show: Palestinian US College Grad Loses 2 Brothers in Israeli Shooting; Father Watched Son Bleed to Death After Israeli Troops Bar Ambulances

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/1/21/palestinian_us_college_grad_loses_2

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Angelita ArellanoBy:
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United World Colleges

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