UAI Statement on the dramatic escalation of the Israel/Palestine conflict

The world woke up in horror at the 7 October 2023 attacks by Hamas on Israel.

Today, the world watches in horror as Israel bombs Gaza.

Gaza is one of the most densely populated places in the world, with a population of 2.1 million, of whom half are children.  One half of the population, those living in the north, have been told to leave their homes and evacuate to the south, already overcrowded, while supplies of water, electricity, food, medicine, and fuel have been cut off.  

International Humanitarian Law (IHL) obliges all parties to conflicts to conform to essential standards designed to protect civilians in times of war. The most basic principle of this law is that it applies to all parties to a conflict, whatever the provocation and harm they may have suffered. Nothing can ever justify withholding the means of survival from civilians. Israel’s land, air and sea blockade of the Gaza Strip risks the lives of the Palestinians who have nowhere to safely evacuate to. If they are not killed in the bombardments, many will die without water, fuel, electricity, food, and medication. 

As United Against Inhumanity, we denounce inhumanity in all forms, against all people, regardless of background, political affiliation, or nationality.

It is incumbent on all states, and particularly the members of the UN Security Council, to ensure that breaches of International Humanitarian Law, by any party to the conflict, are condemned and that all possible efforts are made to bring about a peaceful and durable solution, which recognizes the rights of Israelis, Palestinians, and all other people living in the region, to live in safety, dignity, and with productive livelihoods.    

This appalling tragedy must be brought to an end. The siege must be lifted. Humanitarian action must be enabled and not hindered. Safe passage must be allowed. 

It is imperative for the future of both Israel and Palestine, as well as for the entire region, that world leaders and countries with influence work tirelessly to avoid further escalation and bring hostilities to an end. Despite the terrible harms and legitimate grief, it is essential that people of good will on all sides voice their demand for ways to resolve the conflict that recognize its historical roots and offer decent prospects for all the people in the region.

Our collective humanity demands this.

Please find below relevant statements from networks UAI is a member of, or partner organisations:

Statement by International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) – 9th October 2023

The use of heavy explosive weapons in Israel and Palestine must stop

The International Network on Explosive Weapons (INEW) calls on parties to stop the use of heavy explosive weapons in populated areas due to the high risk of harm to civilians.

Several hundred civilians have already been killed following escalation of armed violence in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories including as a result of rockets being fired towards population centres in Israel, and airstrikes on the Gaza strip. The death toll continues to rise.

The use of explosive weapons in populated areas is a leading cause of harm to civilians. Civilians are killed and injured, with many experiencing life-changing injuries and yet more suffering psychological harm and distress. Damage and destruction of critical infrastructure including housing, hospitals and schools causes yet further harm. Unexploded ordnance poses on ongoing threat to civilians during and after hostilities have ended and impedes the safe return of refugees and displaced persons.

In November last year, 83 states endorsed a Political Declaration on Strengthening the Protection of Civilians Arising from the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas which requires changes in policy and practice, including a commitment to avoid civilian harm by restricting or refraining from the use of explosive weapons in populated areas.

Palestine have signed on to the Declaration. Israel has not endorsed the Declaration.

Statement by Protection Approaches – 13th October 2023

Statement on preventing mass atrocity crimes in Israel & in Gaza

Statement by 200 groups and individuals – 19th October 2023

Open Call for an Immediate Ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and Israel to Prevent a Humanitarian Catastrophe and Further Loss of Innocent Lives

Op-ed by Dhananjayan Sriskandarajah, chief executive of Oxfam GB – 19th October 2023

Never in Oxfam’s history have we seen a humanitarian crisis like the one in Gaza

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