As the death toll in Gaza following air strikes by Israeli forces rises, Trócaire fears the loss of human life could become even more catastrophic if the bombardment of Gaza continues and Israeli forces initiate a ground assault on the enclave.
Trócaire’s CEO, Caoimhe de Barra, said, ‘The civilian population in Gaza continues to suffer disproportionally from the Israeli retaliatory strikes following the horrific attacks on Israeli civilians by Hamas last Saturday. The already impoverished population of Gaza are living life in constant fear of the airstrikes and increasing hardship due to the complete blockade of the territory by Israel and the cutting off of food, water, power and other essentials. Aid is desperately needed by vulnerable civilians in Gaza and this aid should continue to be provided by donors.’
‘Hundreds of thousands of Gazans have been forced to flee their homes and seek shelter in UN facilities, schools, places of worship or with friends and family. But nowhere is safe from the bombing. If Israel initiates a full-scale ground assault of Gaza it will inevitably lead to the death of more innocent women, men and children. This collective punishment of the population, around half of which are children, is illegal under international law.’
‘There has rightly been international condemnation of the actions of Hamas last weekend and also of the reaction of the Israeli government. A human tragedy is unfolding and the world cannot stand back and watch events without doing everything possible to avert further suffering.’
Trócaire echoes calls from the United Nations and other international and humanitarian bodies for the following to be implemented immediately:
- An immediate end to hostilities and violations of international law and human rights.
- The creation of humanitarian corridors to allow the safe passage of humanitarian personnel and relief items to Gaza.
- The agreement of a ceasefire.
- The immediate release and return of hostages and those arbitrarily detained.
- The holding to account of those deemed to have committed war crimes under international law.