3rd Thursday Alert: Call for a ceasefire and de-escalation of the conflict, the flow of humanitarian aid, respect for safe spaces for Gazan noncombatants, and all parties to respect international humanitarian law
The devastating loss of life in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories since October 7 has overshadowed what had already been one of the deadliest years for both peoples in recent memory. While efforts must be intensified to halt the bloodshed and appeals made to all parties to respect international humanitarian law and firmly promote long-term diplomatic efforts, the humanitarian crisis in Gaza must be addressed immediately.
Israel has imposed a 16-year blockade of Gaza, which it has tightened since the start of the war. US officials should call upon Israel to:
- enact an immediate ceasefire, and address the ongoing impact of the occupation
- allow for humanitarian aid including water, food, shelter and fuel to be brought in,
- allow Gazans to access safe spaces such as schools, hospitals, houses of worship, etc., and
- respect those safe spaces by abiding by international humanitarian law and respect the protected status of hospitals, places of worship, and schools.
Israel’s violent response, which has had large-scale indiscriminate effects, has already claimed thousands of civilian victims, primarily in Gaza, and must end.
Since October 7, approximately 1.6 million Palestinians have been displaced within Gaza from the districts of North Gaza, Gaza City and Deir al-Balah. Given that Gaza is sealed, there is no place for Gazans to move to move out of harm’s way. Over 11,000 civilians have been killed, and an overwhelming amount of Palestinian infrastructure in Gaza has been destroyed by the Israeli military in the Gaza Strip. The US and the United Nations must ensure the protection of Palestinians in Gaza.
- Publicly call for ceasefire, de-escalation and restraint by all parties;
- Call on all parties to abide by the laws of war, including the Geneva conventions, customary international law and international human rights law; and
- Prioritize steps to secure immediate release of hostages and international protection for civilians.
Further offensive military assistance to Israel cannot remedy its immediate intelligence failure and the United States should not provide such aid. While Israel has allowed for a four-hour window of ceasing bombing daily in the north of Gaza, this is not a lasting cessation of violence which Palestinians need. All in the international community must redouble their diplomatic efforts to halt the current crisis and prevent a downward spiral toward an even wider regional war.
In addition, there has also been a substantial increase in settler and military violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, and arrests and imprisonments, including of minors, without charges.