ActionAid Ireland today expressed its deep concern at threats of intensified strikes on Gaza at a time when aid trucks are finally getting through to the population under siege and desperately in need.
Karol Balfe, CEO of ActionAid Ireland, said: “On Saturday there was a glimmer of hope as aid finally arrived into Gaza. But 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.”
Ms Balfe said the protection of civilians and the respect for human rights is paramount.
“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.”
Heartbreaking testimony from Gaza
Meanwhile ActionAid today released heartbreaking testimony from a doctor working in the emergency room of a hospital in Gaza.
The doctor said: “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 ice cream van until the space is found to bury them.”
Since 7 October, 1,688 children have been killed by the bombardment on Gaza. This means that on average 120 children are dying every day whilst the world looks on. Meanwhile, WHO has documented 111 attacks on health care in the occupied Palestinian territory 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.
Journalists killed in Gaza
Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine, expressed concern at the risk to the lives of journalists covering the Gaza crisis.At least 18 Palestinian journalists have been killed in Gaza since 7 October – more than one per day – in a gross violation of international law.
Shesaid: “Palestinian journalists in Gaza put their lives at risk and continue their media coverage in Gaza despite continuous Israeli airstrikes, a lack of protection and safety, disrupted communications, and electricity cuts.
“We appeal to the international community to immediately intervene to investigate the attacks on journalists and media properties in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. Attacking journalists is a violation of the right to life and freedom of expression.
“Journalists in Gaza are civilians and they must be protected to continue their work without interference, to enable people around the world to know and understand the reality of humanitarian and political conditions in the Gaza Strip.”
Heading image: A women searches for belongings after bombing by the Israeli army. Photo by AIN media