Statement: We call for an immediate stop to the attacks on Rafah and Gaza, and a Permanent Ceasefire

16th February
Satoko Fujitani, President
Chie Yamamoto, General Secretary
YWCA of Japan

Since October 2023, more than 28,000 people have been killed by Israeli military attacks on Gaza, the majority of which are women and children. Israel has up to today repeatedly demanded the residents of Gaza to move to the south, and committed reckless destruction of civilian areas in North and Central Gaza, including hospitals, refugee camps, schools and UN agency buildings. In addition to that, Israel has launched a major bombing on Southern Rafah, where more than a million residents have evacuated from the attacks mentioned above.

Despite the protests and actions by citizens and organizations around the world, resolutions by local governments and voices of concern and opposition from Governments and UN agencies, this act of genocide has been continued for more than 120 days. The preliminary order by the International Court of Justice on 26th January, ordering Israel to take all steps within its power to ensure genocidal acts are not being committed in its war on Gaza, has not been complied with at all.

In addition, in the West Bank, settler violence has intensified, resulting in the killing of more than 380 people since 7th October.

All violations of international law must be judged before the law, including the attacks by Hamas and other actors on October 2023. Still, as pointed out by the group of experts in October of the same year, the collective punishment being committed by Israel is a clear war crime, and there is no way to justify the mass killing and violence targeting civilians.

We call on Israel to stop all military attacks on Rafah as well as the whole of Gaza Strip. We implore the Japanese Government to act on its position stated in the Foreign Ministry Spokesperson’s comments on 12th February and take proactive roles in negotiations for a ceasefire, such as acting as an intermediary, as well as resuming funding for UNRWA.

In addition, to Governments, institutions, organizations and individuals around the world, we call for the following actions, reiterating the call to action issued by the World YWCA and the YWCA of Palestine on the International Day for Solidarity with the Palestinian People on 29th November 2023. We reiterate that all actors forming the international community must take action to urgently stop the acts of inhumanity being perpetuated today.

  • Take immediate and effective actions to put significant pressure to end the war in Gaza, protecting the lives of civilians and allowing unimpeded delivery of desperately needed humanitarian aid to them.
  • Advocate for the end of Israeli occupation and advocate with the international community towards establishing an independent, sovereign Palestinian state. There can be no peace, security, or justice under occupation.
  • Implore governments to act on all the UN resolutions related to Palestine adopted until today, and enforce the full realisation of economic, political, and cultural rights for Palestinians.

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YWCA(Young Women’s Christian Association)is an international NGO where, upon a Christian foundation, women from around the world exceed the barriers of language and cultures and work together to encourage women’s participation in society and to realize a peaceful world where human rights, health and environment is protected. The movement began in Great Britain in 1855, and nowadays, it works in more than 100 countries throughout the world. The YWCA of Japan works with 24 local YWCAs and 37 junior and senior high-school YWCAs, and holds ESOSOC consultative status since 2019.