A month since the onset of violence across Israel and Palestine, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) calls for safe and unhindered access across the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages seized during the conflict. It also calls upon the diplomatic community to accelerate efforts towards a longer-term peace agreement and a massive scaling up of humanitarian assistance, including fuel.
The Magen David Adom (MDA) in Israel and the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, both members of the IFRC network, have been responding since the beginning of the hostilities. Staff and volunteers of both National Societies have been at the forefront of humanitarian efforts. And they have seen the violence firsthand. Many have lost friends and family members. Seven members, three of MDA and four of PRCS, have lost their own lives while helping others; many more have been injured.
The IFRC repeats its calls for all parties to respect International Humanitarian Law and immediately cease indiscriminate attacks. That means the protection of civilians, healthcare workers and facilities, humanitarian first responders, the immediate and unconditional release of hostages, rapid and unimpeded passage for humanitarian aid, including fuel, throughout the entire Gaza Strip and safe and unhindered access for humanitarian workers. Civilians, humanitarian aid workers, hospitals and ambulances are not targets and must be protected. It is not possible to evacuate patients and those who care for them from hospitals; we ask for an end to demands to the contrary.
The last month has been the most devastating period of violence ever across Israel and Palestine, killing around twelve thousand people and gravely injuring many more, mostly women and children. The siege of Gaza has caused immense suffering to more than two million people. Both the violence and the siege need to end.
We call on all parties for safe and unhindered access across the Gaza Strip and the release of hostages. Now.