Gaza: A unilateral ceasefire is no guarantee of safety for civilians

Oxfam expressed concern that the unilateral declaration of a ceasefire by Israel from 2am local time on Sunday 18 January would be insufficient to halt civilian deaths and injuries from violent conflict in Gaza or to ensure vital humanitarian aid will reach all who need it.

Jeremy Hobbs, Executive Director of Oxfam International said: “We strongly welcome any cessation of violence. However we are concerned that a unilateral ceasefire is not sufficient. There must be no further Israeli or Palestinian attacks against civilians. The international community must continue to insist that UN Security Council Resolution 1860 will be fully complied with by both parties. A negotiated durable and fully respected ceasefire with Hamas completely stopping rocket fire on Israel and leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza is essential.”

Oxfam urged the international community to keep focused on the rights and humanitarian needs of the civilians in Gaza who have suffered immensely from the Israeli military offensive directed at Hamas over the past three weeks.

“The people of Gaza have suffered terribly from lack of food, cooking gas, access to health care and destruction of water infrastructure during the three weeks of intense conflict, hundreds of thousands need emergency humanitarian aid now. A durable ceasefire, unimpeded access and unrestricted movement within Gaza is of utmost importance to get basic humanitarian relief to the hundreds of thousands who have been denied basic protection and let them start rebuilding their lives."

Immediate opening of all the crossings into Gaza and ending the 18-month blockade that has reduced the population of Gaza to almost complete poverty and dependency on aid must be the priorities once we have a negotiated, durable and fully respected ceasefire, international aid agency Oxfam said today.

Oxfam partners have been providing emergency health care to hundreds of people since day one of the fighting and Oxfam has started distributing drinking water to 10,000 people a day in North Gaza today. Once we have a durable and fully respected ceasefire we will need immediate unimpeded access to distribute food to 72,000 people every week and hygiene kits to 21,000 displaced people because their houses have been destroyed and help 1,400 farmers rebuild destroyed greenhouses and farmland.

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