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The use of heavy explosive weapons in Israel and Palestine must stop


TOPSHOT – A plume of smoke rises in the sky of Gaza City during an Israeli airstrike on October 9, 2023. Israel relentlessly pounded the Gaza Strip overnight and into October 9 as fighting with Hamas continued around the Gaza Strip, as the death toll from the war against the Palestinian militants surged above 1,100. (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS / AFP) (Photo by MAHMUD HAMS/AFP via Getty Images)

The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) calls on parties to stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas due to the high risk of harm to civilians.

Several hundred civilians have already been killed following escalation of armed violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories including as a result of rockets being fired towards population centres in Israel, and airstrikes on the Gaza strip. The death toll continues to rise.

The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is a leading cause of harm to civilians. Civilians are killed and injured, with many experiencing life-changing injuries and yet more suffering psychological harm and distress. Damage and destruction of critical infrastructure including housing, hospitals and schools causes yet further harm. Unexploded ordnance poses on ongoing threat to civilians during and after hostilities have ended and impedes the safe return of refugees and displaced persons.

In November last year, 83 states endorsed a Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas which requires changes in policy and practice, including a commitment to avoid civilian harm by restricting or refraining from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Palestine have signed on to the Declaration. Israel has not endorsed the Declaration.

A view of damaged building after Hamas’ rocket attacks in Ashkelon, Israel on October 09, 2023. (Photo by Mostafa Alkharouf/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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