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RTSQ6B93 (1)-min © REUTERS/Mohammed Al-Masri

Press release

Occupied Palestinian Territory

Action Against Hunger calls for protection of civilians and immediate humanitarian access to Gaza

Action Against Hunger condemns the indiscriminate and relentless targeting of civilian infrastructure and demands the immediate protection of civilians and safe access for humanitarian goods and materials.

The escalating war between Palestinian armed groups and Israel is witnessing unchecked violations of international humanitarian law on both sides. A humanitarian crisis on an apocalyptic scale is unfolding in froint of our eyes. The imposed blockade and lack of safe humanitarian corridors has left Gaza without electricity supply. This affects access to water, communications, food, health services and most basic needs. Gaza is falling ito darkness.

Action Against Hunger has halted its activities in Gaza and is now focusing on protecting its teams, and their families, who are part of the 2.2 million people living in the approximately 360 square kilometres that make up Gaza, one of the most densely populated areas in the world. Our efforts to find a safe haven for them continue, although with the constant bombardment, fewer areas in Gaza can be considered safe.

Our staff report that telecommunications, schools, hospitals, shopping centres, universities, residential buildings, banks, logistics centres and commercial warehouses have been targeted. This is in a place where thousands of homes have already been destroyed in recent years.

It is estimated that nearly 200,000 people have been internally displaced in Gaza, according to OCHA, because their homes are in or near the targeted areas. Leaving to seek refuge elsewhere was already a hardship before this escalation and is now even more difficult.  All border crossings out of Gaza are closed or destroyed, including the Rafah crossing with Egypt, which was attacked by Israel yesterday. There is no escape.

The widespread, deliberate and disproportionate targeting of civilians by any party is unacceptable, contrary to international humanitarian law and the foundation of a catastrophic humanitarian crisis and any prospect of a solution to this crisis. All parties must immediately exercise restraint and comply with their international legal obligations.

Collectively punishing populations by destroying essential assets and infrastructure to meet basic needs, as well as denying civilians access to them, is contrary to international humanitarian law. It is therefore essential to facilitate both timely funding and access to life-saving food, water, sanitation and health services.  In 2018, the UN Security Council unanimously passed the historic resolution 2417, which condemns the use of hunger as a weapon of war. In these days of blockade and extreme violence, we must not forget this.

Action Against Hunger also calls for the removal of movement restrictions in the West Bank, which prevent people from accessing basic services such as health, education and markets.  

Protecting humanitarian staff and their programmes from violence of any kind is key to protecting civilians. Action Against Hunger has been working in the Occupied Palestinian Territory since 2022, opening an office in Gaza in 2005, and remains vigilant for when it is safe to continue work that is needed now more than ever. To make this possible, we call on the international community and donors to avoid further inappropriate statements calling for reduced funding for the Palestinians at a time like this. We stand with all the victims of the conflict.


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