The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) welcomes the Australian government’s announcement it will provide an initial contribution of $10 million to support humanitarian relief in Gaza, along with its strong calls to protect civilians.
ACFID now calls on the Australian Government to exert its influence with the international community to seek a ceasefire or end to the escalation in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Australia must continue to advocate for humanitarian access and civilian protection.
ACFID is extremely concerned by the escalating casualties, now in the thousands, and the forced displacement of up to a million people. The shelling of civilian buildings including schools, health centres and homes is totally unacceptable, as is the denial of essential services.
CEO Marc Purcell said:
“Australia should start working with international partners to seek a ceasefire. In the present circumstances, this is the only way that humanitarian access and civilian protection can be upheld. “
“The crisis unfolding in Gaza is a preventable looming humanitarian tragedy. Urgent action is needed to halt the conflict, which is already taking a totally unacceptable human toll.”
“We must remember that half of Gaza’s population are children under the age of 18. Right now, the immense scale of the movement and devastation means that there is virtually no viable way for civilians to reach a place of safety. “
“A ground invasion of Gaza is imminent and innocent and vulnerable people still stand in harm’s way. “
“An immediate ceasefire is required.”
ACFID also advocates strongly for diplomatic efforts to focus on the safe return of all Israeli hostages, and an end to airstrikes and all military operations in Gaza. ACFID has previously condemned the atrocities and hostage-taking by Hamas.
With airstrikes pounding Gaza, many thousands of people have been killed, and more injured. Hospitals are at capacity and are running low on supplies.
In recent days, half of Gaza’s population was instructed to relocate from the region’s north to its south: something that has proven impossible, despite Israel’s announcement of a window of time to evacuate.
The challenge of moving one million people along two narrow roads, the only relocation routes, have been compounded by explosions along the routes, insufficient fuel supplies and limited transport options.
Hospital patients and staff have been unable to relocate due to disrupted energy supply and limited transport options. South Gaza is an already overcrowded area, and whole neighbourhoods in the region have been flattened. Many civilians remain in Northern Gaza, including vulnerable populations such as the sick, injured and elderly.
Australia’s official policy is in support of a two-state solution, which would see Israel and Palestine co-exist peacefully. Last year the Albanese Government overturned a 2018 Morrison Government move to recognise West Jerusalem as the Israeli capital.
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