As tensions rise in the Middle East, Oxfam calls for calm

With violence escalating over the past week, now is the time for both Palestinians and Israelis to show immediate restraint, says humanitarian aid agency Oxfam. Oxfam says that all sides must do everything they can in order to protect innocent civilians. With tensions running high across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel, the stakes are too high to wait for the conflict to take a turn for the worse, warned Oxfam.
 
“At a time of great uncertainty in the Middle East, we cannot afford to let senseless casualties mount. The protection of civilians on both sides of the conflict must be prioritized and the international community must call upon the government of Israel and all other parties to the conflict to abide by international law as a first step towards a just peace in the region,” said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.
 
Ten consecutive days of violence between the Israeli army and Palestinian militant groups in the Gaza Strip have caused injuries to 24 Palestinians, claiming the lives of 6 civilians, including 4 children.  A strike on a Gaza suburb two days ago left 4 civilians dead, including 3 children.  Three Israeli civilians have also been injured in the crossfire. A bomb planted at a Jerusalem bus station Thursday claimed the life of a woman tourist and caused injuries to over 30 people. To date, no one has claimed responsibility for the bombing.
 
“For over two years, Palestinians in Gaza have been struggling to rebuild their lives shattered from the military operation Cast Lead. As the ongoing Israeli blockade continues to block reconstruction and recovery, escalating violence will only move people away from peace and towards hopelessness and despair,” said Oxfam International Executive Director Jeremy Hobbs.

Notes to editors

Contact information

For media inquiries please contact:
Willow Heske, Oxfam Media & Communications Officer in Jerusalem
+972 (0) 59 7133646 or +972 (0) 54 6395002 or willow.heske@oxfamnovib.nl