Despite calls from the United Nations to stop further escalation, the Israeli military has announced its intention to step up strikes on Gaza. At this moment, ActionAid fears for the lives of Gaza's 2.3 million people, including our own dedicated staff, volunteers and partner organisations.
Michelle Higelin, Executive Director at ActionAid Australia said: “What good is 20 trucks of humanitarian supplies if the attacks are stepped up simultaneously? These trucks represented a moment of reprieve for the Palestinian people. The trucks were not seized or diverted, yet now we hear threats of intensified strikes on Gaza. This will place ever more pressure on the south of the territory. This is collective punishment of thousands of women, men and children who are desperate to live their lives in peace.”
“We urge Israel to step down from this escalation and to put humanity first. One horror cannot justify another, and we continue to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the escalating violence.”
"With Australia's Prime Minister about to meet with President Biden in the US, it is vital that Australia is a strong voice calling for a de-escalation of this conflict and urgent protection of civilian life. Australia must push for a ceasefire and an ongoing humanitarian corridor to the people of Gaza. This growing humanitarian catastrophe is avoidable.”
Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine said: “The level of aid being delivered into Gaza is a shameful insult to the millions of Gazans facing a humanitarian catastrophe. Before this crisis began, around 500 aid trucks would normally cross the border every day providing a vital lifeline to millions of Gazans who were already facing a humanitarian crisis.”
She added: “Aid trucks also did not bring with them the fuel needed to power hospitals, keep ambulances moving, or pump water from the ground. We're hearing stories every day of communities coming together to donate whatever fuel they have remaining to keep incubators going for newborns who are in a critical condition.”
Earlier today a doctor working in the emergency room of a hospital in Gaza sent us this heartbreaking voice note:
“I am speaking as a witness from the emergency room after 16 days facing disaster. I have volunteered in all of the wars on Gaza. But the ferocity of this attack, I have not witnessed. The only people being targeted are unarmed innocent civilians, the majority being women and children. The bodies are lined up outside the hospital being put into an ice cream van until the space is found to bury them.”
Since the 7 October, 1,688 children have been killed by the bombardment on Gaza. This means that on average 120 children are dying every day while the world looks on. If the strikes on Gaza intensify not only will more children die, but doctors will not be able to protect newborn babies in incubators.
The World Health Organisation has documented 111 attacks on health facilities in the occupied Palestinian territories since 7 October. This includes 48 attacks in Gaza where three hospitals sustained such heavy damage that they are no longer functioning and 63 attacks on health care in the West Bank affecting 58 ambulances and including 40 attacks involving obstruction to delivery of health care: 31 involving physical violence towards health teams.
ActionAid calls for the protection of civilians and respect for human rights in this conflict.
ActionAid reminds all parties of their obligations under international law.
- Civilians must not be targeted, and all efforts should be made to minimise accidental deaths and injuries.
- Hospitals, schools, places of worship, public infrastructure, humanitarian facilities, and shelters must be protected from the fighting and should not be either taken over by combatants or deliberately targeted.
- The abduction of civilians is prohibited by international law and all civilians held hostage must be released immediately.
Notes to editor
Spokespeople are available:
Wisam Shweiki - Head of Programmes at ActionAid Palestine, in the West Bank
Riham Jafari, Coordinator of Advocacy and Communication for Palestine
Gemma Cosialls Guillen - Country Manager at ActionAid Spain in Jerusalem
Soraida Hussein-Sabbah, Gender and Advocacy Specialist based in Ramallah.
For more information and interviews with ActionAid spokespeople, please contact: Tim Brunero, 0405 285 547 / email@example.com
ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 41 million people living in more than 71 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty. https://actionaid.org.au