Oxfam statement on the escalation of hostilities in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel

- Published:
- Short URL: https://www.oxfam.org.uk/mc/wotr8j/

Oxfam spokespeople available in Jerusalem and Gaza

Civilians are once again paying the price for the failures of political leaders to negotiate a just and lasting peace for Palestinians and Israelis. Instead, we are witnessing yet another cycle of death and destruction that brings us no closer to addressing the root causes of the crisis and drives further human rights violations, poverty and suffering, particularly for a lost generation of children and young Palestinians.

Laila Barhoum, Oxfam’s Policy Advisor in Gaza said “Palestinians in Gaza have endured three successive wars just in the last ten years. We are tired. Day after day we watch the bombs fall on homes where our friends and family live and buildings where our colleagues work, wondering if we will be next. And day after day we wait in vain for the unequivocal condemnation from the international community that never comes. When a ceasefire is eventually declared, we will once again dig out from the rubble and begin to rebuild, only to wait for another cycle of bombardment to destroy what we have done.

“When people tell me to ‘stay safe’ during these bombardments, I always think, how exactly? I have no Iron Dome to protect me, no bomb shelter to take cover in, and no place to flee my home, because we are pinned in by concrete walls on three sides and the Mediterranean Sea on the fourth. This is the reality we need the world to understand, so we can stop applying a double standard when it comes to condemning the killing of our people and protecting our human rights.”

Oxfam calls for an immediate end to all violence. All parties must comply and adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law and the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality in the use of force. The international community must immediately work to put an end to both the current escalation of hostilities and the underlying human rights violations and systemic policies of oppression and discrimination which gave rise to it, including the occupation.

Even before violence erupted, families in Gaza were preoccupied with daily survival in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic and a 14-year blockade. The ongoing aerial bombardment has killed 83 Palestinians – including 17 children – and injuring 487, including 115 children. Should the violence continue, many innocent civilians in Gaza will lose their lives; and thousands more will have their lives endangered by an economic and public services shutdown. Seven Israelis have died from rocket attacks – including two children – and 104 have been injured. Communities across Israel are living in fear of indiscriminate rockets, while alarming inter-communal violence is growing across several cities in Israel.

This escalation must not overshadow the underlying causes of the violence, but instead compel a renewed focus on addressing them. The violations the world is witnessing are the direct result of weeks of brutality and excessive force by Israeli settlers and police against Palestinian worshippers, medical staff and demonstrators in occupied East Jerusalem as well as efforts to forcibly transfer residents of Sheikh Jarrah from their homes. They are also the result of years of impunity for Israeli human rights violations and a lack of international pressure on Israel to fulfil its international legal obligations as the occupying power to protect all civilians under its control.


For more information and interviews with Laila Barhoum and Shane Stevenson, Oxfam's Country Director in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and Israel, contact Lisa Rutherford on +44 7917 791 836 / Skype: lisarutherford23

Note to editor:

Since the outbreak of violence in Gaza on Monday 10 May (as per today Thursday 13 May, 11:00 CET):

  • 83 killed across Gaza by Israeli airstrikes and shelling, including 17 children, 7 women, and 487 wounded including 115 children
  • 7 killed in Israel by rockets launched from Gaza, including 2 children and 104 wounded
  • 1,160 rockets and mortar shells launched at Israel by Hamas militants from Gaza, around 240 of these landed in the sea or in the Gaza Strip
  • Hundreds of military airstrikes by Israel targeting locations across the Gaza Strip
  • 483 Palestinians across cities in the West Bank were hospitalized following confrontations with the Israeli army overnight late Wednesday
  • 374 people were arrested during confrontations across various cities inside of Israel and East Jerusalem overnight late Wednesday

Mahmoud Khattab/Quds Net News via ZUMA Wire/Shutterstock

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