One month of war: Civilians pay the price. This cannot go on.
Humanitarian crisis in Gaza demands action. Support our call for an immediate pause in hostilities, aid delivery, and protection of civilian lives.
In response to the horrible terror attack by Hamas on October 7th, Israel’s military actions to destroy the military power of the terrorist organisation Hamas have led to devastating suffering, widespread destruction of vital civilian infrastructure in Gaza, and the death of countless innocent Palestinians with the number of killed children estimated to be in the thousands. The terror of Hamas and the subsequent war have caused unfathomable grief for Israeli and Palestinian families, and no end is in sight. The dire situation of the Palestinian civilians, trapped in Gaza between the terrorist group Hamas, cynically repurposing civilian facilities for their goals of terror, and the relentless strikes of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), that too often do not differentiate between innocent and terrorist, cannot be tolerated and cannot go on. The grievous humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza with catastrophic consequences for the Palestinian civilians, the alarming situation in the West Bank, and the spiralling unrest in the region, call for the international community to act.
We welcome the 4-hour daily pauses in Northern Gaza to allow civilians to flee the area, as announced today. We believe, however, that such pauses need to be extended to sufficiently cover the needs of the Palestinian civilian population. Therefore, we urgently call on all sides to agree to a more comprehensive immediate humanitarian pause in the war to establish humanitarian corridors that allow the delivery of aid and support the safety and well-being of all civilians in Gaza. The entire civilian population of Gaza has the right to full and unquestioned protection under international laws. Essential goods and services must be delivered immediately and continuously and humanitarian agencies must be provided full and unhindered access to the area. Hamas must stop its attacks on Israel and must release all hostages immediately and unconditionally.
However, any temporary pause must be seen only as a first step. They must constitute an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a future ceasefire agreement in the region across all actors, that offers the chance for the sustained cessation of military actions. Importantly, though, we understand that any chance for peace must come with ending Hamas rule in Gaza. However, the goal of removing the Hamas terrorists from a position of power must not mean killing thousands of innocent Palestinians and turning the basis of a life of dignity for the Palestinian population living in Gaza into rubble.
The parties must at all times fully comply with their obligations under international law. We are deeply concerned that the current military strategy of the Israeli government offers no exit strategy from the cycle of trauma and violence that has put Gaza into the iron and inhumane grip of the terrorist group Hamas in the first place. Other strategies of maximal precision, maximum restraint in military means, and political initiatives that serve the goals of defeating the terrorist organisation Hamas and upholding Israel’s right to defend itself, while safeguarding the lives and livelihoods of Palestinian civilians, must be found and implemented.
Finally, once a ceasefire agreement has been reached, efforts for a peace plan leading to the peaceful coexistence of both Israel and a Palestinian state must be reinvigorated, respecting and upholding the human rights and dignity of all people, Israelis and Palestinians alike. We urge Israel, Palestinians, their neighbours, Arab countries and the international community, including the EU and US, to come together and implement these steps.
Ending the cycle of trauma and retraumatisation must entail more than short humanitarian pauses. At this point, however, we believe implementing an immediate humanitarian pause must be the start. It would be the first reason for hope in this brutal war.