Oxfam Australia Media Release
The Israeli military onslaught in southern Gaza is causing destruction, danger, and civilian terror and suffering at such a scale that makes any humanitarian response impossible across the entire enclave, says Oxfam.
The nightmare is unfolding in full view of the international community. “Our political leaders are failing – in abject weakness – to forge a ceasefire, which is the only possible humanitarian action that now really matters,” said Marta Valdes Garcia, Oxfam Humanitarian Director.
Oxfam says that many within the international community – particularly Israel’s state supporters – are complicit in the mass death, forcible displacement, starvation and deprivation being inflicted upon more than 2 million people being penned and moved around Israeli designated target zones in Gaza, both in the besieged north and now throughout the entrapped south.
Oxfam staff in Gaza speak of young children asking their parents to pack their clothes into separate bags for their next displacement under fire, in case their parents are killed. People are now fighting over basic necessities like food, water and fuel. An Oxfam partner told us today:
“This is one of the most difficult days and wars that we have experienced. If you look anywhere around, you will find displaced people, injured people, people sleeping in the streets, and even we face many difficulties in distributing aid because there is no safe place in Gaza. Every area can be dangerous, each and every place can be bombed at any moment.”
Virtually no aid is now going into Gaza. Whatever Israel might allow to trickle in is insufficient and cannot be safely distributed to civilians being forced to run for their lives. “This kind of systemic, militarised chaos has overwhelmed the international humanitarian system. Our governments don’t even have the smokescreen of humanitarianism to hide behind now as Israel carries out its campaign of collective punishment,” said Garcia.
“Israel’s so called safe zones within Gaza are a mirage: unprotected, not agreed or trusted, not provisioned, and not accessible. We hold genuine fears that masses of terrified people will be forced beyond Gaza itself under the guise of ‘safety’,” she said. “This would force the humanitarian system into an impossible choice between helping civilians and being complicit in their forced deportation.”
“The terrible irony is that this militarised destruction of Gaza is literally blowing away any chance of real security for both Palestinians and Israelis alike. Gaza needs a ceasefire now and humanitarian agencies need the guarantee of safe access in order to help its people and save lives.”
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