GAZA: Military offensive on Rafah would be a “cruel and heart-breaking blow”

Boy in Gaza

26 April 2024


As Israel escalates its military offensive on Rafah in southern Gaza, 1.5 million men, women and children sheltering there, already facing total deprivation and apocalyptic living conditions, are clinging to survival by a thread.

CARE is joining the global outcry demanding that this operation be immediately halted. An immediate and sustained ceasefire must be implemented, as mandated by UN Security Council Resolution 2728. Civilians in Rafah and throughout Gaza must be protected and the rights of people to seek protection across borders must be upheld, as well as their right to return.

Hiba Tibi, CARE’s Country Director for CARE West Bank and Gaza, said:

“The laws of war are clear and must be followed. That this assault is launched on a people already exhausted, starving and with no clear route to safety is hard enough to contemplate. That it happens despite months of desperate pleas for a ceasefire is a cruel and heart-breaking blow.”

Already living in tightly packed and overcrowded spaces, battling the consequences of extreme hunger, limited water supply and months of repeated displacement, the chance of survival for tens of thousands of Palestinians is now increasingly scarce.

Not only is Israel ignoring the demands of the UN Security Council, and of its closest allies, it is flouting the order by the International Court of Justice to take concrete steps to prevent genocide and ensure that humanitarian and basic needs are met.

World leaders have been firm in their position: a military offensive would wreak catastrophic harm on tens of thousands of civilians in Rafah, women, children, elderly, the sick and wounded, who have nowhere else to go. Israel, as the Occupying Power, must prevent unimaginable horror, and uphold its obligations to protect civilians in Gaza and not to forcibly displace or transfer the civilian population.

Across Gaza today, at least 1 in every 23 people are dead or injured, and more than 80% of the population has been displaced. Two mothers die each hour. World leaders and governments must not accept this escalation and must apply the very highest diplomatic instruments at their disposal to avert this human disaster.

“The cries of Palestinians must be heard. This city, home to about 250,000 people before, has become a makeshift sanctuary for 1.5million desperate souls. If the world does not come together to end this needless carnage now, the silence that will follow will haunt us forever,” said Tibi.

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