As bombardment of Gaza ends, international action is needed to finally address root causes

A ceasefire agreement brokered by Egypt between Israel and Palestinian armed factions on Saturday 13 May has brought to an end five days of Israel’s devastating bombardment in Gaza. This latest escalation claimed the lives of 33 Palestinians, including six children, and injured 190 more, and resulted in the displacement of 948 people after their homes were badly damaged or destroyed. One Israeli was also killed and 37 injured by rocket fire from armed groups in Gaza toward Israel.

While welcoming the end of this latest bout of intense violence, Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP) warns that this marks only a temporary reprieve unless urgent action is taken by the international community to ensure durable solutions for Gaza, including a full lifting of Israel’s illegal closure and blockade; a significant scaling up of aid and development assistance; and meaningful accountability for violations of international law.

“There is no ‘return to normal’ for us in Gaza. An end of Israel’s latest attack is an opportunity to breathe, to grieve those we have lost, and to support each other in our collective recovery. But Gaza’s health system remains weak and under-resourced, and Israel’s blockade continues to crush the freedoms, dignity and opportunity of two million people,” said Fikr Shalltoot, MAP’s Gaza Director.

“One million children in Gaza will once again bear the mental scars of these traumatic events. It is time for the international community to finally help them attain the brighter future they deserve.”

International action is essential to preventing a return to violence and ensuring Palestinians in Gaza can enjoy their rights to health and dignity. Israel’s closure and blockade has been left to fester unchallenged for 16 years, and so the international community must work together to finally ensure it is brought permanently to an end. With the health system on its knees and families across Gaza struggling to cope as a result of sky-high rates of poverty, unemployment and food insecurity, international aid and development assistance is urgently needed to help people in Gaza not just survive, but thrive.

Furthermore, impunity for the widespread violations of international law which are at the root cause of humanitarian needs in the occupied Palestinian territory  – including the closure of Gaza, which is recognised by the ICRC as illegal collective punishment – must be ended. States, including the UK, should work to ensure that serious violations are investigated and those responsible are held accountable, including through support for the mandates of the independent UN Commission of Inquiry and the investigation of the International Criminal Court.

During the escalation, MAP responded rapidly to ensure that hospitals and health workers had resources they needed to treat the wounded and keep essential services running. We released more than $100,000 of medicines and disposables from our pre-positioned stocks to hospitals, including IV cannulas, bandages, and paracetamol.

The risk of a return to violence in Gaza remains high, and the health system faces significant resource shortages, so MAP is seeking to restock our warehouses with essential medicines and disposables. Meanwhile, the level of Israeli settler and military violence in the West Bank remains very high, and MAP is responding by providing essential medical supplies and training to hospitals and first responders.

Support MAP’s emergency response in Gaza by donating today.


Photo credit: Mohammed Zaanoun.

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