In response to today’s escalation of violence in the Gaza Strip, Oxfam Occupied Palestinian Territory Acting Country Director Dina Jibril said:
“Oxfam is deeply concerned about the potential for large scale civilian suffering as a result of the ongoing Israeli military operation in the densely-populated Gaza Strip. Already, the Ministry of Health has reported that Palestinian civilians have been killed, including a young child, and several dozen people have been wounded. This is just the latest round of violence in the 15-year blockade that has cut off and threatened the two million people living in Gaza, who have yet to recover from the last deadly escalation just over a year ago. This latest military operation must stop now before more people are hurt and lives are shattered.
“Today’s violence comes after four days of Israel preventing people and vital goods from leaving or entering Gaza – including patients in need of urgent medical care, humanitarian aid, and fuel necessary to keep clean water, refrigerators, and electricity in hospitals and homes running. Gaza’s sole power plant is reportedly one day away from shutting down.
“Additionally, each day that crossings are closed, 14,000 workers are denied work in the West Bank and Israel, and farmers’ produce will rot, preventing them from earning an income to support their families in an area where 70 percent of people depend on humanitarian aid to survive. This intensified violence and blockade will likely cause major infrastructure damage to water and sanitation facilities, deepen food insecurity, and push basic essentials even farther out of reach for many.
“The International community must not just sit on the sidelines and monitor the situation, but act now to pressure the Israeli authorities to immediately end its operation in Gaza before more people are killed and injured and greater damage is done to Gaza’s already heavily-damaged civilian infrastructure. There must be urgent action to end this latest escalation of violence and allow for the opening of Gaza’s crossings today to save lives, and to lift once and for all the 15-year blockade and 55-year occupation that leaves Palestinians subjected to daily, systemic rights violations and under constant threat.”