Fri. Jun 14th, 2024

‘Total disregard for the laws of war’: Top aid chief calls on Australia to sanction Israel

Tyler Mitchell By Tyler Mitchell Jun7,2024
The president of Doctors Without Borders has urged the Australian government to place sanctions on Israel, arguing Israel was “blatantly ignoring” a United Nations resolution calling for a ceasefire.
Dr Christos Christou, international president of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) (also known as Doctors Without Borders), addressing the National Press Club on Tuesday, spoke about the situation in Gaza, Chad and Sudan.
He described as “unimaginable” a on Sunday, sparking a fire that tore through a tent city for displaced Palestinians, killing 45 people, including children.
“I wish I could find the words to express the smell of infected wounds. The cries of mothers who’ve lost their children. The constant sound of drones. The level of desperation of my colleagues,” he said.

Christou said MSF doctors were doing what they could for 180 people injured in the attack, but were operating from a “shed” and its ability to help was limited, “because the Gazan healthcare system has been dismantled: piece by piece, hospital by hospital by hospital”.

He said international humanitarian law which protects hospitals and healthcare systems was being “eroded” and rendered “meaningless” in Gaza, with over 260 humanitarian workers killed in the war. He said MSF convoys had been fired upon, its shelters attacked by tanks, and its vehicles bulldozed.
“Israel has offered no accountability for any of the attacks on healthcare facilities,” Christou said.

“The Israeli government is pursuing a policy of deliberate deprivation, only allowing a trickle of food and water to enter Gaza. People are unable to access adequate food. They are simply starving.”

This is about impunity, a total disregard for the laws of war, and now it must become about accountability.

Médecins Sans Frontières international president Christos Christou

Christou said while the U, “Israel is blatantly ignoring this resolution”.
The Security Council earlier this year adopted a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire for the month of Ramadan to be respected by all parties, leading to a lasting sustainable ceasefire.
“It continues its attacks on civilians and medical personnel and is expanding attacks in Rafah. This is about impunity, a total disregard for the laws of war, and now it must become about accountability,” he said.
“Australia has an important role to play here. Beyond words, Australia must take immediate concrete actions to hold Israel to account. Australia must apply appropriate sanctions on Israel, as it would to any other global state that refuses to comply with UN security council resolutions.
“The Australian government’s expressed support for a ceasefire rings hollow when they are supplying the weapons that continue to kill and maim in Gaza.”
The Australian government .

Last week, Australia joined a group of Western nations in a letter to the Israeli government urging it to comply with international law in Gaza and address the devastating humanitarian crisis, according to Reuters.

Israel has denied it is blocking aid to Gaza, and said it was acting on its right to defend itself “consistent with its moral values and in compliance with international law, including international humanitarian law”.

“Israel has not and will not conduct military actions in the Rafah area which may inflict on the Palestinian civilian population in Gaza conditions of life that could bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part,” a spokesperson for the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs has said.

“Israel will continue its efforts to enable humanitarian assistance and will act, in full compliance with the law, to reduce as much as possible harm caused to the civilian population in Gaza.”

‘Humanity under attack’

Christou also spoke about the multiple humanitarian crises around the world, saying much more needed to be done in eastern Chad and there was “no excuse” for the international community to ignore the people of Sudan.
He said humanitarian assistance from Chad to Sudan was not being properly facilitated and allowed through, leading to the deaths of civilians from being unable to access healthcare.

He described an incident in Zalingei, Sudan, where a patient died after being shot at while a doctor was operating on them, and armed men were stealing equipment from the hospital and dialysis machines were unplugged.

“These are blatant breaches of international humanitarian law, and yet shockingly they are not unusual incidents.”
He said there were limits to humanitarianism and there were “political responsibilities”.
“As the world faces numerous, complex humanitarian tragedies, humanity itself is under attack,” he said.
“The complete indifference to humanitarian laws in Gaza and Sudan, without any accountability, makes our world a terrifying place. A place where violence is uncontested, and civilians unprotected. 

“The ramifications of this impunity will echo across generations, and across the world.”

Tyler Mitchell

By Tyler Mitchell

Tyler is a renowned journalist with years of experience covering a wide range of topics including politics, entertainment, and technology. His insightful analysis and compelling storytelling have made him a trusted source for breaking news and expert commentary.

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