- Ceasefire NOW!
Gaza is home to 2.2 million Palestinians, half of whom are children. Following more than 16 years of closure by Israel and decades of Israeli movement restrictions preceding it, as well as repeated military assaults, conditions in the Strip were dire well before October 7.
In the heinous massacre that Saturday, Hamas and other militants killed some 1,200 people and injured thousands in southern Israel, also taking more than 240 Israeli and foreign citizens hostage. Homes and communities were destroyed, and tens of thousands have been displaced within Israel.
Since then, Israel has been attacking Gaza on an unprecedented scale. Its bombardments have already killed more than 11,000 Palestinians and injured more than 27,500. A majority of the dead and injured are women and children. Tens of thousands of homes have been destroyed and civilian infrastructure severely damaged, including water and sanitation facilities. More than 1.6 million people have been internally displaced. Israel’s widespread use of incendiary and explosive weapons in such a densely populated area deprived of necessities has predictably resulted in mass casualties and devastation, including the killing of multi-generational families.
Gisha joins hundreds of organizations worldwide in calling for an immediate ceasefire as the only way to prevent further atrocities, return the hostages, and facilitate full humanitarian access now.
- Release the hostages and free all illegally held detainees
Israeli officials report that Hamas is holding 240 Israeli and foreign citizens, men, women, children, and elderly people. The taking of hostages is prohibited in international law and is morally unconscionable. They must be freed immediately and unconditionally. Israel illegally detained thousands of Palestinians residents of Gaza who were in Israel on October 7 and, according to evidence, imprisoned them in substandard conditions. It is not known how many of them are still held by Israel. Israel must immediately disclose the names and whereabouts of all Gaza residents being held and release any persons unlawfully detained.
- Reverse illegal evacuation orders and protect civilians throughout Gaza
Israel issued an ineffective warning in demanding that some 1.1 million people evacuate to the south of Gaza, though there aren’t proper facilities or enough resources to accommodate them and nowhere in Gaza is safe from Israeli bombardments. Vast destruction of neighborhoods, proposals put forward to prevent people returning home to the north and calls voiced by Israeli officials raise concern of forced displacement, which is a war crime.
- Facilitate full humanitarian access via Israel and Egypt
Full and unobstructed access to vital goods, including fuel, water, medical supplies and food must be facilitated immediately via both Israel and Egypt in order to save lives. Given the total lack of electricity in Gaza’s power grid for over a month, there is a critical need for fuel to run generators at Gaza’s hospitals, pump water and operate other critical civilian infrastructure, such as desalination facilities and sewage treatment plants. Deliberate obstruction of life-saving humanitarian aid is a war crime, as is collective punishment.
- Restore supply of electricity and water from Israel to Gaza
Israel has its hand on the switch of all of Gaza’s critical civilian infrastructure, including electricity, water, and communications networks and is abusing its control over these as a tool of pressure, punishment and retaliation. Israel must fully restore the supply of electricity and water immediately and unconditionally.
Israel has a responsibility to maintain phone, cellular, and internet connectivity so that humanitarian actors can provide relief, ambulances can get to the injured, people can contact their loved ones, and journalists and human rights defenders can document what’s being done in the Strip.
>> Click here for Gisha’s full position.
>> Click here to join Gisha along others calling for an immediate ceasefire.