Four-day truce offers short-lived relief – a permanent ceasefire and end to oppression is what Palestinians need

Nov 22, 2023

The Australia Palestine Advocacy Network (APAN) has called on the international community to use the announcement of a four-day truce in Gaza as an opportunity to secure a permanent ceasefire, an end to Israel’s war crimes and its illegal siege on Gaza.

APAN President Nasser Mashni said while the four-day truce offered some relief to Gazans, with greater humanitarian aid convoys and supplies slated to be given access to the besieged enclave, the truce was merely a pause in atrocities.

“This doesn’t mark an end to Israeli war crimes or its violations of international law. What we urgently need is to see a permanent ceasefire,” Mr Mashni said.

“These four days might give Gazans a chance to access food, water and medicine, a moment to bury their loved ones or perhaps locate those who are still missing, but the Israeli Prime Minister himself has said he will press on with the violence, which should horrify our communities.”

Mr Mashni said Palestinian families and communities would be relieved at the announcement that 150 Palestinian women and children were to be released from Israeli prisons as part of the truce deal.

“However, this is the tip of the iceberg, in terms of the number of Palestinians being held in administrative detention, without charge, in Israeli jails,” he said.

ADDAMEER, the Prisoner Support Human Rights Association, reports that 7000 Palestinian political prisoners, including 2070 administrative detainees, 200 children and 62 women, are currently in Israeli detention.

Mr Mashni said any cessation in violence also needed to extend beyond the borders of Gaza, and to include an end to Israeli violence against Palestinians in the West Bank.

“As the world’s attention has been directed toward Gaza, the Israeli government and settlers have been perpetrating violence and terror upon Palestinians in the West Bank,” he said.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) settler attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank have increased from three incidents a day at the start of the year to six since 7 October.

OCHA has also reported that 201 Palestinians, including 52 children, have been killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, and an additional eight Palestinians, including one child, have been killed by Israeli settlers, since 7 October.

“We must act to stop the violence in Palestine Gaza and in the West Bank for good, to end the siege on Gaza and to see freedom, justice and self-determination for Palestinians,” Mr Mashni said.