The shelling and bombing of Gaza by Israel has been the major cause of direct and indirect civilian harm in this conflict. The bombardment has damaged or destroyed Gaza’s only power plant, houses, hospitals, schools, shelters, and other humanitarian sites. While the numbers speak volumes about the scale of the devastation and the enormous price paid by civilians, even these numbers cannot do justice to the intensity of human suffering or reveal how the conflict post trauma will continue to impact on Palestinians, especially women and children, both those living in Gaza and outside the Strip.
One year later, the reconstruction process has barely begun, and international condemnation followed by promises and solidarity has not lead to any improvement or stability. The economic and social consequences will be endured by the civilian population with no choice of escape due to the continued Israeli blockage of Gaza. International geopolitical and economic interests closely linked to arms trade with Israel also severely hinder possibilities for a durable solution. The unprecedented amount of loss of civilian life and the complete destruction of buildings and infrastructure in the densely populated Gaza strip is largely due to the Israeli Defense Forces massive use of explosive weapons.
In connection with the 29th session of the Human Rights Council, WILPF in collaboration with a coalition of Palestinian women’s organisations produced a statement with clear recommendations to the international community.