InterAction Statement on Escalation of Violence and Humanitarian Need in Gaza and the Region
Considering the recent escalation in violence between the Government of Israel, Palestinian Authorities, and Non-State Armed Groups resulting in attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, humanitarian aid workers, and facilities in the region; InterAction issued the following statement:
Acts that amount to grave breaches of International Humanitarian Law (IHL) have been seen in recent attacks by all conflict parties against civilians and civilian infrastructure, as well as humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Jerusalem, Gaza, and the broader region, including InterAction Members and partners working to provide impartial humanitarian relief to conflict-affected civilians. IHL obligates conflict parties to apply the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precautionary measures to safeguard civilian lives, their homes, and other critical infrastructure such as hospitals and schools. IHL also underscores that humanitarian aid workers and facilities are never a target nor acceptable ‘collateral damage’ and should be fully protected while fulfilling their lifesaving, impartial mandate to save lives and alleviate human suffering in an unfettered manner.
InterAction calls on the Government of Israel, Palestinian Authorities, and Non-State Armed Groups to:
Immediately de-escalate the hostilities that started in Jerusalem and expanded into the remainder of the West Bank and Gaza, as well as inside Israel, by instituting a full ceasefire while ensuring all conflict parties adhere to their binding obligations under IHL. Until a full ceasefire is negotiated, conflict parties should immediately implement a ‘humanitarian pause’ to allow for emergency humanitarian relief distribution, emergency repairs to essential infrastructure, and for families to purchase food and water, seek medical and psychosocial care, and attend to their emergency needs. Further, the Kerem Shalom and Erez crossings for humanitarian access and medical evacuations should fully re-open, and safe humanitarian corridors should be established inside Gaza to deliver emergency humanitarian relief.
InterAction calls on the international community to:
Fully support conflict parties in instituting a humanitarian pause and full ceasefire while a long-term peaceful political resolution to the conflict in the region is negotiated. If conflict parties are unable to fulfill their international obligations regarding civilian and aid worker protection and access, the international community should take swift action to impartially investigate actions taken in Jerusalem, the West Bank, Gaza, and inside Israel by conflict parties and hold those in breach of international humanitarian law accountable for their actions to mitigate against the future suffering of all civilians residing in the region.