Oxfam International warns of dire humanitarian consequences of full scale military incursion into Gaza

“We call on all parties to the conflict to end violence against civilians and to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law”
Adam Leach
Oxfam International
Published: 3 March 2008

Oxfam International warns of dire humanitarian consequences of the full scale military incursion into Gaza now being considered by the government of Israel. Oxfam is deeply concerned about the high number of civilians killed in the current Israeli military incursion. A large scale military attack on the densely populated Gaza Strip will worsen already unacceptable levels of civilian casualties, said the international agency.

The death toll in Gaza has already risen rapidly since Israel stepped up its military incursion after an Israeli civilian was killed in a Palestinian rocket attack 4 days previously.  On Saturday alone over 55 Palestinians were killed, many of them civilians and including at least 5 children.  According to Israeli sources, two Israeli soldiers were killed and more than 40 rockets were launched into Israel.

Earlier this week, an Oxfam funded mobile clinic, pharmacy and office of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) were destroyed by an Israeli air strike. The destruction of this health facility comes at a time when humanitarian needs are rapidly increasing as the Gaza blockade continues and essential services, including water and sanitation, are close to break down.

Adam Leach, Lead Manager of Oxfam International for Middle East, said: "We have all the elements for a dramatic deterioration in the humanitarian situation in Gaza and innocent civilians will again be the ones to suffer most. We call on all parties to the conflict to end violence against civilians and to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law. We appeal to the international community to take immediate action to stop the escalation of violence and insecurity and press for a truce in order to ensure protection of civilians. Sustaining and increasing human suffering is unlikely to lead to peace.”

Oxfam calls on the international community to support an inclusive peace process and to do its utmost to open the Gaza border crossings allowing freedom of movement and access to desperately needed humanitarian and commercial supplies.

Contact Information

For further information please contact:
Michael Robin Bailey, Oxfam (Jerusalem), +972 (0)572233014