The Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) filed an urgent request with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, demanding he convene the Security Council in response to Israel’s decision Wednesday to declare Gaza a hostile entity.
A similar complaint was filed with the International Red Cross in Geneva, the body charged with implementing the Geneva Convention, which bars the use of collective punishment. The organization plans to send letters to other international aid groups, asking them to "prevent the starvation siege Israel plans to impose on Gaza."
ICHAD director-general Jeff Halper explained the appeal was aimed at stopping the implementation of a decision that was likely to cause a humanitarian crisis and hunger in Gaza.
"Targeting innocent civilians is forbidden according to international law, whether they are citizens of Sderot and the victims of Qassam attacks, or whether they are Gaza residents – they must all remain outside the circle of violence," Halper said.
"The disengagement severed Gaza from the Israeli economy, and left 2.5 million people unable to provide for themselves, with no air or sea ports or the possibility to trade in commodities. The decision will only worsen the severe humanitarian crisis faced by Gaza's residents, aggravate the sense of despair and lead to an escalation in violence between the two sides," Halper added.
According to Halper, the security cabinet's decision was in effect a declaration of war on the civilian population and an extremely immoral move. "If Israel wants to be part of the international community, it must obey the norms of the international community," he stated.
The European Union joined the UN's call for Israel to reconsider its move to declare the Gaza Strip an "enemy entity" and appealed for it not to cut key services to the Hamas-run territory.
"Our first reaction is one of deep preoccupation ... We think the Gaza people should not be deprived of basic necessities," EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said.
"We join the call by the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Israel government to reconsider its decision," he added in a statement issued through his spokeswoman.