Aid conference a “mere symbolic gesture” without a ceasefire – Oxfam reaction

Published: 9th November 2023

Reacting to President Macron’s hosted international conference on humanitarian aid for Gaza’s civilians, Oxfam France Executive Director, Cécile Duflot, said:

"While President Macron’s diplomatic efforts to aid Palestinian civilians are appreciated, the outcomes of the conference fall short of expectation. The glaring absence of a strong call for an immediate ceasefire undermines the very purpose of this gathering, and reduces it to a mere symbolic gesture. The people of Gaza need to live in order to receive that aid. Continued escalation of violence is making the provision of humanitarian aid so unsafe as to be virtually impossible. 

The situation on the ground is already catastrophic. Millions of civilians are being collectively punished - a child killed every 10 minutes and entire neighbourhoods being reduced to rubble. Three quarter of the population have been forced to flee their homes. Since Israel imposed a tighter siege on Gaza, only a mere fraction of the needed aid has reached the 2.2 million people who desperately need it.

Weaponizing starvation and indiscriminate attacks on civilians, hospitals and shelters are all grave breaches of international humanitarian law. World leaders must move beyond passive observation and to active intervention against these probable war crimes.

While proposals for aid delivery are welcome, the most obvious and efficient solution is for Israel to reopen its crossings so that aid and goods come into Gaza, and to restore vital services like water, electricity and telecommunications. These are all its fundamental duties and obligations, as an Occupying Power, under International Humanitarian Law.

"Oxfam urges world leaders and the global community to push for an immediate ceasefire, the unconditional release of held hostages, and unobstructed aid into Gaza. They also need to take decisive action towards a sustainable political resolution to this crisis. The world's response now will reflect our collective humanity and commitment to justice."

Notes to editors

  • Oxfam has available staff and partners voice testimonies, photos and B-roll.
  • Oxfam has published that “Starvation as a weapon of war” is being used in Gaza, on 25 Oct 23. Currently the total United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) data on food deliveries to Gaza prior to the siege can be found here - this includes both humanitarian food aid and imports.
  • International Humanitarian Law (IHL) strictly prohibits the use of starvation as a method of warfare and as the occupying power in Gaza, Israel is bound by IHL obligations to provide for the needs and protection of the population of Gaza. In 2018, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2417 UNSC 2417 – Protection of civilians in armed conflict 

Contact information

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