The Society of Black Lawyers and the Association of Muslim Lawyers

PRESS RELEASE (Embargo: 4th, August 2014, Monday 00-01 am) The SOCIETY OF BLACK LAWYERS AND THE ASSOCIATION OF MUSLIM LAWYERS being organisations committed to upholding human rights and the international rule of law hereby resolves as follows to address the current violence in Gaza and the West Bank: Whereas the civilian death toll in Gaza now stands at 1800 plus, including over 300 children; Whereas the civilian death toll in Gaza now stands at 1800 plus, including over 300 children; Whereas the indiscriminate targeting of civilians and property constitutes a crime against humanity contrary to @ 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Fourth Geneva Convention; Whereas the deliberate or reckless killing of civilians including women and children constitutes a war crime contrary to @ 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention; Whereas 25,000 Palestinian homes have now been destroyed and 1.5 million Palestinian civilians have no access to power; Whereas the use of bombs, shells and missile weaponry that targets Palestinian and Israeli civilians and property by the Israeli Government and Hamas is a crime against humanity contrary to international law; Whereas the historical setting for the current crises is the 759 Palestinian civilians killed during Operation Cast Lead in January 2009; and the 167 civilians killed during Operation Pillar of Defence in 2012; Whereas the Palestinian and Israeli people have the fundamental life right to life, and freedom from torture or persecution; The Society of Black Lawyers (SBL), and the Association of Muslim Lawyers (AML) (U.K.) hereby declare or resolve: 1. The use of self defence of Israeli citizens from missile attack by Hamas cannot be lawful in the circumstances currently pertaining where it is wholly unreasonable and disproportionate to the threat faced 2. To condemn the further use of violence by the Israeli Government and by Hamas; 3. The State of Israel and Hamas to agree an immediate ceasefire to be administered by a UN peacekeeping force; 4. The State of Israel and the Government of Egypt to end the effective economic blockade of the Gaza strip and to hand the responsibility for border security and free movement over to a United Nations Peacekeeping force. 5. The international community to impose weapons sanctions on the State of Israel and Hamas if a ceasefire is not implemented forthwith. 6. The United Nations to broker peace talks between the Government of Isreal, the Palestinian Authority and Hamas forthwith to include amongst other things, the recognition of the Israel; the removal of illegal settlements on Palestinian land and the apartheid like security wall built by Israel; the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and the international control of the city of Jerusalem open and free to all citizens of Israel and Palestine; 7. For the international community and the United Nations to fund a process of truth and reconciliation between the Palestinian and Israeli citizens within a two State solution; 9. The International Criminal Court to investigate crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide by all sides if not addressed within the truth and reconciliation process; 10. To invite, where appropriate, the leader(s) of the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli Government to address the SBL and AML and for the SBL and AML to undertake a fact finding mission to the West Bank and Gaza at the earliest opportunity. For further information please contact D Peter Herbert O.B.E. : pherb5law@aol.com (Society of Black Lawyers) (+424 230 4504) Ifath Nawaz : ifath@talk21.com (Association of Muslim Lawyers)