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October 23, 2023

Despite calls from the United Nations to stop further escalation, the Israeli military has announced its intention to step up strikes on Gaza. At this moment, we fear for the lives of thousands of people, including our own dedicated staff, volunteers, and local partner organizations.

“Yesterday, we felt a glimmer of hope as aid finally arrived into Gaza. Today, we are once again in despair. This is collective punishment of thousands of women, men, and children who are desperate to live their lives in peace.”

“What good is 20 trucks of humanitarian supplies if the attacks are stepped up simultaneously? These trucks represented a moment of reprieve for the Palestinian people. The trucks were not seized or diverted, yet now we hear threats of intensified strikes on Gaza. That will place ever more pressure on the south of the territory.”

“Even at this late stage, we urge Israel to step down from this escalation and to put humanity first. One horror cannot justify another, and we continue to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to the ever-escalating violence.”

Earlier today, a doctor working in the emergency room of a hospital in Gaza sent us this heartbreaking voice note:

“I am speaking as a witness from the emergency room after 16 days facing disaster. I have volunteered in all of the wars on Gaza. But the ferocity of this attack, I have not witnessed. The only people being targeted are unarmed innocent civilians, the majority being women and children. The bodies are lined up outside the hospital and being put into ice cream vans until the space is found to bury them.” 

Since the 7th of October, 1,688 children have been killed by the bombardment on Gaza. This means that, on average, 120 children are dying every day while the world looks on. If the strikes on Gaza intensify, more children will die, and doctors will not be able to protect even newborn babies in incubators.

WHO has documented 111 attacks on health care in the occupied Palestinian territory since the 7th of October. This includes 48 attacks in Gaza, where three hospitals sustained such heavy damage that they are no longer functioning, and 63 attacks on health care in the West Bank, affecting 58 ambulances and including 40 attacks involving obstruction to delivery of health care: 31 attacks involved physical violence towards health teams.

The protection of civilians and the respect for human rights is paramount.

We remind all parties of their obligations under international law.

  • Civilians must not be targeted; all efforts should be made to minimize accidental deaths and injuries.
  • Hospitals, schools, places of worship, public infrastructure, humanitarian facilities, and shelters must be protected from the fighting and should not be taken over by combatants or deliberately targeted.
  • The abduction of civilians is prohibited by international law, and all civilians held hostage must be released immediately.


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About ActionAid  

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 15 million people living in more than 40 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty. 

Support Palestinians in crisis

As the human rights of people in the occupied Palestinian territories continue to be abused, women and children are especially at risk. Gaza faces a dire lack of medical facilities, schools, and homes, as so many have been hit by Israeli airstrikes. ActionAid works in communities near the border with Israel that have been most directly affected by the violence. ActionAid's women-led response is supporting the most vulnerable and marginalized individuals and communities.