We, the members of the Governing Board of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), convey our deep concern about the humanitarian situation that has arisen as a result of the dramatic escalation of hostilities in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories. This crisis has resulted in a tragic number of casualties, including the distressing number of deaths and injuries at the Al-Ahli Arab Hospital in Gaza, and has led to immense suffering and devastation for all civilians. We are compelled by our moral duty to speak out on their behalf.
We are deeply shocked and horrified by the growing humanitarian needs and the mounting loss of life. This situation underscores the critical importance of access to all civilians, including those held hostage. We urge all parties involved to prioritize the safety and well-being of civilians and to commit to ensuring rapid, safe, and unimpeded access, including the opening of the Rafah border crossing, for humanitarian organizations to provide essential humanitarian assistance and ensure protection.
We strongly emphasize the humanitarian imperative for the protection of all civilians. We call for the protection of essential institutions, hospitals and schools as well as critical infrastructure and vehicles, such as water and electrical networks and ambulances, which must remain free from harm, to ensure the well-being, safety and transportation of people. These institutions also serve as cornerstones of hope and stability in times of crisis. Civilians, health facilities and civilian infrastructure must be respected and protected at all times under international humanitarian law.
Furthermore, we call for ensuring the safety and protection of humanitarian workers, with special recognition of the volunteers and staff of the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Magen David Adom in Israel. Their commitment to providing essential assistance and medical care to people who are affected by this crisis is invaluable; their resilience is exceptional. They must be protected and granted safe and unhindered access to carry out lifesaving work without fear of harm. Their unwavering dedication embodies the spirit of humanity and compassion inherent in our Red Cross and Red Crescent family.
We are deeply saddened for the tragic loss of three volunteers and staff of Magen David Adom in Israel, as well as four volunteers from the Palestine Red Crescent Society. Their willingness to reach challenging and often dangerous locations to help those in need exemplifies the highest ideals of humanity. Their legacy will serve as a lasting source of inspiration for us all.
As board members of the IFRC, we stand united in our call for urgent action to address the humanitarian crisis that is dramatically unfolding in front of our eyes. We are hopeful that through concerted efforts, a lasting political solution can be found to alleviate the suffering of people in Israel and Occupied Palestinian Territories and promote a path towards peace.
The need for lasting peace and stability has never been greater.