Humanitarian pause ends: Oxfam reaction to renewal of hostilities in Gaza

December 1, 2023

Reacting to news today that the humanitarian pause agreed between the Government of Israel and Hamas has ended, with renewed hostilities, Oxfam Humanitarian Director Marta Valdes Garcia said:

“While Oxfam welcomes the release of Israeli and foreign national hostages back to their families during the pause, and the reuniting of Palestinian prisoners and detainees in return, more still remain in captivity.

The humanitarian pause brought a short respite from airstrikes, bombs and terror but it was never going to be enough to give trapped Palestinians sufficient amounts of food, water, basic services, safety and hope that they desperately needed. Now it has ended, Oxfam fears for the lives and futures of more than 2 million Gazans who again face death from renewed missiles and bombs, and from starvation and thirst and disease, and also for Israeli civilians, as the cycle of violence continues.

More than 1,000 aid trucks were reported to have entered Gaza during the pause – less than a third of normal weekly humanitarian and commercial trade into Gaza pre-siege. While food, water, blankets, and cooking gas were able to be delivered to some people during the all too brief pause, this was never going to be enough considering that 1.8 million people – or 80% of Gaza’s entire population – has already been displaced

The Band-aid has indeed been ripped away from Gaza’s bleeding wound and, in so doing, further denting hopes that humanity might have gained some foothold in the fragile silence of the past seven days. The spectre of further massed forced displacement of people from Khan Younis would, if effected, sharply deepen the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in Gaza.

Oxfam is also deeply concerned about plans to create “safe zones” in southern Gaza for aid delivery. These are not logistically feasible and contradict Israel’s obligation to allow unfettered humanitarian access, especially given prior indications of attacks on the south as early as this morning, which undermines the safety and effectiveness of such zones. They do not provide protection, nor guarantee safety, when they are declared unilaterally or enforced by the presence of armed forces.

The international community must use all diplomatic efforts to press for a lasting a ceasefire, ensure access to humanitarian aid via Israel and Egypt to all those that need it and secure the release of remaining hostages”.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact:

Vita Sgardello
Manager, Communications
(613) 799-0234

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