The Commission of the African Union (AU) is following with great concern the prevailing situation in the Gaza Strip.
The Commission strongly condemns the ongoing air raids on the Gaza Strip by Israel, since 27 December 2008, which has resulted so far in the death of more than 300 Palestinians, while about 1,000 others, including women and children, have been injured.
This massive and disproportionate attack constitutes a clear violation of international humanitarian law and will further aggravate the suffering of the civilian population, which, as a result of the siege imposed on it by Israel, has been faced with shortages of food, medicine and fuel.
The attack also heightens tension in the region and further complicates efforts aimed at finding a solution to the Israeli – Palestinian conflict.
The Commission appeals to the UN Security Council and Members of the Quartet to fully assume their responsibilities towards the civilians in the Gaza Strip by compelling Israel to an immediate cease-fire. The Commission calls upon both parties to the conflict to return to the Truce Agreement and put an end to all acts of violence.
Furthermore, the Commission urges the international community to provide immediate medical and humanitarian aid to the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and to guarantee the protection of the civilian population.
Addis Ababa, 29 December 2008