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Call for an immediate ceasefire in Palestine

Publié le 9 novembre 2023 Mis à jour le 1 février 2024

Belgian academics condemn the ongoing war crimes in Palestine and call Belgian and European authorities for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the blockade in the Gaza Strip in accordance to International Humanitarian Law.

We, 237 members of the scientific, academic and administrative staff of the Belgian university network, watch with dismay the current events in Palestine and express our solidarity for the civilian victims of this war. In this letter, we condemn the war crimes committed against civilians, and ask Belgian and European authorities to call for respect for international law, an immediate ceasefire and an end to the blockade affecting the Gazan population.

Since 1967, the entire Palestinian territory has been under Israeli military occupation, characterized by numerous violations of international law. The Gaza Strip has been subject to a military blockade imposed by Israel since 2007, which has caused a disastrous humanitarian situation for the Palestinian population. Following the criminal attack by Hamas and Islamic Jihad armed groups on Israeli civilians on October 7, the Gaza Strip has been subjected to incessant bombardment by the Israeli army. On October 9, the Israeli Defense Minister ordered a "complete siege" of the Gaza Strip, prohibiting the supply of fuel, electricity, water and other basic necessities. The humanitarian aid Gaza received through the Rafah corridor on its border with Egypt is inadequate to sustain the population and calls from the United Nations for a ceasefire go unheeded.

Israel's current military offensive on the Gaza Strip is unprecedented in its scale and severity. At the time of writing, more than 7,000 Palestinians have been killed and 500,000 displaced, housing estates and basic infrastructure are massively destroyed, and the hospital system in Gaza recently collapsed. Systematic bombardment and the threat of a ground offensive may lead to the commission of many more crimes against the Gazan population, with a serious risk of a forced population transfer [1]. The 2.3 million Palestinians in Gaza make up a significant proportion of the Palestinian nation and are being targeted by Israel, who impose on them living conditions that might be a threat to their survival.

In its conclusions on Middle East, adopted on 26 October 2023, the European Council was unable to agree on either a call for an end to hostilities or a condemnation of the violations of international humanitarian law committed by the Israeli army. We, the undersigned, call on the Belgian and European authorities to work for an immediate ceasefire to protect the Palestinian population in order to promote negotiations for the release of hostages and to stop the massacres. We would also like to express our solidarity with the Jewish, Arab and Muslim communities, currently victims of discrimination in light of the situation, as well as with all those who have been affected by the war in one way or another.

[1] The letter was written on October 27, 2023. At the time of publication, Gaza's Ministry of Health reported that more than 10,000 people had been killed and a million displaced.

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