The Army's Humanitarian Hotline | Machsomwatch
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The Army's Humanitarian Hotline

Under international law and, in particular, under the terms of the Fourth Geneva Convention dealing with the protection of the civilian population in time of war or under conquest, it is the occupying power that is responsible for the safety, security and general fabric of life of the civilian population within the occupied area. And all this in order to enable the civilian population to carry on as far as possible with its normal life, even when the occupying power is waging a struggle against terrorism. While Israel is a signatory to the Geneva Convention, it does not accept that the Convention's provisions are to be applied in the occupied territories for the simple reason that it does not define the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as `occupied territories'. But in order not to look too bad in the eyes of the world, it has set up a body called the Humanitarian Hotline which is in fact nothing more than a fig-leaf to cover up the absence of any humanitarian approach in its government of the territories. In practice, neither the Palestinians nor the soldiers are aware of the hotline's existence. Yet, for all that, it has to be said that in certain instances the hotline has been of help. But where this has been the case, what has happened is that everyday needs have had to be treated as `special cases' which were then dealt with under the guise of `humanitarian' action, as matters of mercy rather than of law.