In response to the announcement of the release of hostages and prisoners, and of the four day humanitarian pause to escalated hostilities in Gaza, agreed today between Hamas and the Government of Israel, Oxfam’s Humanitarian Director, Marta Valdez Garcia, said:
“We celebrate that fact that a number of the Israeli and foreign national hostages will be released. This deal allows much-needed time for families on both sides to be reunited, celebrate the safe return of their loved ones, and mourn those they have lost. It would be an optimism to see this as the beginnings of a road toward a permanent ceasefire – but that looks distant.
This pause of the relentless bombing and destruction that is causing such suffering to more than 2 million Palestinians is a welcome respite for the delivery of some humanitarian aid – but no more than that. The next four days will be eaten up by a desperate emergency effort that can offer only very limited relief, not equal to the size of suffering and destruction and ultimately with no sustainability. This is a band-aid that will be ripped off a bleeding wound after five days.
There are no pauses long enough, or corridors wide enough, or other options to deliver aid creative enough, to alleviate the suffering of 2 million people, the destruction of Gaza, and the loss of innocent lives. The fact that this pause is now the central topic of discussion marks today as just another day without progress to the only humanitarian solution that really matters: an end to this horrific bloodshed.
The international community must urgently advocate for this truce to evolve into a lasting ceasefire, ensuring unobstructed humanitarian aid through both Israel and Egypt, including vital fuel supplies. It must lead to a peace process that tackles the core of the conflict: ending Israel’s prolonged military occupation of Palestinian territory and the blockade on Gaza while also securing the release of all hostages.
This process should uphold the civil, political, and human rights of Palestinians, emphasising their right to self-determination and equality. While a truce permits mourning and burial of losses, it does not rebuild homes or restore rights; these remain stifled under the siege. We need a comprehensive and just resolution for both Palestinians and Israelis alike.
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