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CARICOM Reiterates Call for Peaceful Solution to Gaza Conflict

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Special to the NNPA from the New York Carib News

CMC – The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping Saturday reiterated its call for a ceasefire between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza calling for a peaceful resolution of the conflict that has left hundreds of people dead.

CARICOM said that it wanted an end to the hostilities “and the appalling bloodshed being caused by the bombardments, shelling and ground invasion”.

At least 35 people were killed on Saturday after a university in Gaza was bombed in the latest round of shelling by Israeli forces that hit more than 200 targets. So far more than a 1,000 people have been killed since the fighting began last month.

The Gaza-Israel conflict dates back to 2006 and in this latest flare up Israel has vowed to disarm the military group, Hamas, which is demanding an immediate end to the economic blockade of Gaza by Israel and Egypt.

CARICOM said that the toll of civilian deaths and wounded was mounting incrementally in Gaza with the vast majority being in particular women and children.

“…with hundreds of homes and civilian buildings such as schools destroyed or severely damaged; with few if any safe havens for the thousands of displaced Palestinians, the question must be raised as to whether the principles of proportionality and the norms of international humanitarian law and of international human rights are being respected in the assault on Gaza.

“In like manner, the continuing launching of rockets from Gaza targeting the Israeli civilian population is in breach of these norms, as is the location of firing sites and weapons close to United Nations schools used as shelters as well as close to concentrations of civilians,” CARICOM said.

It said that as the humanitarian situation in Gaza worsens dramatically, the regional bloc was adding its “collective voice to the calls coming from many quarters in the international community for all the parties involved to cease hostilities and end the intolerable escalation of death, destruction and violence”.

Meanwhile, Trinidad and Tobago has said that the decision by the Human Rights Coun­cil to set up an independent commission of enquiry into the situation in the Middle East was necessary.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran, said Port of Spain was joining other countries urging the UN Security Council to act decisively and with alacrity, to stem any further deterioration of the humanitarian situation and to restore calm.

“Trinidad and Tobago condemns the reported grave breaches of international humanitarian law and human rights law occurring in that region. Despite regional and international efforts to broker an immediate and unconditional humani­ta­rian ceasefire, the on­slaught continues with total deaths in Gaza amounting today to 1,250 while on the Israeli side, 53 soldiers and two civilians, including a Thai national, have been killed,” he said.

“Trinidad and Tobago is appealing to the combatants to ensure all those in need of medical care, food and other forms of humanitarian assistance are allowed full, immediate and unconditional access to such support to reach the affected areas and communities.”

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