Islamic Relief calls for immediate end to escalating violence against civilians in Gaza

Islamic Relief is calling for Israel to immediately end the escalating violence against civilians in Gaza and to re-open the crossings where people and goods can enter and leave the enclave.

At least 29 Palestinians, including six children, have already been killed since Friday evening and Israel has said that it plans to step up military operations in the coming week. More than 250 Palestinians have reportedly been injured, including many children, and Islamic Relief is warning that further strikes will inevitably increase civilian casualties. Palestinian armed groups have also intensified rocket fire into Israel after the bombing, injuring seven Israelis. Islamic Relief condemns all violence against civilians.

Muneeb Abu Ghazaleh, head of Islamic Relief in Gaza, says:

“We’ve already seen children killed and homes badly damaged in the past 24 hours. Right now civilians in Gaza are terrified of what the next few days will bring. We know from previous years that when the bombing increases it is overwhelmingly civilians who are killed, injured and forced from their homes. During last year’s bombing campaign more than a quarter of all casualties were children, and thousands of homes, hospitals, schools and health centres were destroyed or damaged.

“As well as the bombing, in recent days Israel has closed the two crossings in and out of Gaza, stopping deliveries of fuel that are needed to keep hospitals, water systems and the electricity supply running. Now power is running out, we are facing power cuts of 20 hours a day and vital public services are at risk of shutting down.

“It is vital that the international community puts pressure on Israel to immediately cease bombing and re-open the crossings.”

Islamic Relief calls for respect for international humanitarian law, including the principles of distinction, precaution and proportionality. Civilians and civilian infrastructure must never be targeted and excessive and disproportionate force must not be used.

The latest escalation comes just over 14 months since the May 2021 ceasefire between Israel and Hamas following 11 days of bombing that killed at least 230 Palestinians, including 65 children, and wounded more than 1,700. Ten Israelis were killed. More than 14,000 Palestinian homes were damaged or completely destroyed. The ceasefire brought a temporary calm but nothing was done to address the root causes of the crisis and address the injustice and inequality at the heart of the ongoing Israeli occupation. Islamic Relief is calling for an end to the Israeli occupation, and the blockade of Gaza that accompanies it, and for a lasting solution that is rooted in international law and justice.

The situation in Gaza is horrendous. The 15-year-old Israeli blockade cuts people in Gaza off from other Palestinians and the wider world. It imposes tight restrictions on the movement of people and goods – preventing families from seeing each other, crippling essential services, and cutting off markets. It has turned Gaza’s once-vibrant economy into an area where 80 per cent of people now have to rely on aid and many children go to bed hungry at night. Gaza now has some of the highest youth unemployment rates in the world.

About Islamic Relief

Islamic Relief is a faith-inspired, development and humanitarian agency working to transform and save the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in over 40 countries. Islamic Relief assists people according to need and does not discriminate in any way.

Set up in Birmingham in 1984 by a group of volunteers, we have assisted over 117 million people all over the world. We’re saving lives and empowering people to lift themselves out of poverty in over 40 countries – from Bangladesh to Bosnia, Pakistan to Palestine, Kenya to Kosovo. Islamic Relief is on the ground in some of the world’s most dangerous and difficult places – including Syria and Yemen – strengthening the most marginalised communities to withstand conflict and natural disasters and to build a brighter future.