Gaza: Military offensive on Rafah a ‘cruel and heart-breaking blow’

ByCARE Australia May 7, 2024 0 comments

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 life by a thread.

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.
“The laws of war are clear and must be followed. That this assault could be launched on a people already exhausted, starving and with no clear route to safety is hard to contemplate. That it could happen despite months of desperate pleas for a ceasefire is a cruel and heart-breaking blow”, said Hiba Tibi, CARE’s Country Director for CARE West Bank and Gaza.

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 any plans for this escalation. The Australian Government must apply the very highest diplomatic pressure and influence 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 1.5 million 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.

Despite the enormous challenges, CARE continues to respond directly to the crisis in Gaza. Since October, CARE has reached over 250,000 with aid, including providing WASH (water, sanitation and hygeine) support to 172,176 people, medical support to 76,397 people, and shelter and non food items to 13,926 people. Almost 4,500 women and girls have also been provided with dignity kits through the Rafah border.

To find out more, and to donate to CARE Australia’s Gaza Appeal, click here.


About CARE International

CARE International has been operating in Gaza and the West Bank since 1948. Prior to the current conflict, we were supporting about 200,000 Palestinians in Gaza and we continue to support about 300,000 in the West Bank to meet basic food needs, improve farming and agriculture, empower women to earn an income, support women’s leadership, and improve health programs focused on gender-based violence, sexual and reproductive health, and children’s mental health.

About CARE Australia 

CARE Australia supports women around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty and achieve social justice. We work in partnership with local communities to provide equal opportunities for women that they have long been denied: the ability to earn an income, gain access to their fair share of resources, to lead and participate in decisions that affect their lives, and to be able to withstand the increasing impacts of climate disasters and other crises.

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