Israel’s indiscriminate bombings of Gaza following Hamas unprecedented violent attacks against Israel are a disproportionate response that has lasted for more than a week and has devastating consequences for the civilian population. In one of the most densely populated areas of the world, roughly two million Palestinians are currently trapped in a dire situation on only roughly 365sq km of land. The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation calls on all parties for an immediate and comprehensive ceasefire and on the international community to use all diplomatic channels to make this happen.
The violence and killings must stop.
There are currently no civilian shelters in Gaza. Even churches and UN-buildings such as schools, which tend to be somewhat spared, have been targeted. The killings of hundreds of civilians at Al-Ahli Arab Hospital is a horrific violation of international law and clearly shows that there are no safe spaces. As always during war and conflict, the most vulnerable groups among the population are hit hardest: women, girls, young children, persons with disabilities, and elderly persons.
In Gaza, half of the population is under the age of 20 and a fifteen-year-old of Gaza has experienced six wars. The United Nations Children’s Fund UNICEF has called upon all actors to protect children from violence and urged hostage-takers inside Gaza to release children taken from Israel.
During crises like this one, women tend to have fewer resources at their disposal and often act as caregivers for children and the elderly. This poses a significant challenge to being able to evacuate and seek shelter. Kvinna till Kvinna has long worked with local Palestinian women’s organisations to strengthen women’s human rights. In crisis situations, they—along with other civil society organisations—are vital in addressing the urgent needs of affected communities. They are quick to adapt their work and provide humanitarian assistance and support to evacuate, protect rights, and rebuild communities. In light of the worsening humanitarian situation in Gaza, supporting civil society is more important than ever to address the needs of the affected population.
Two of Kvinna till Kvinna’s local partner organisations have lost colleagues in the attacks on Gaza these past few days. One of them was a young psychologist providing psychosocial support to women victims of violence.
“We are not fine. The sounds are horrific, and bombing is everywhere, we can only see smoke and rubbles. Israel stopped all means of life, water, electricity, medicine, and food. We don’t know if we will be alive tomorrow,” reports one of our partners, a women human rights defender.
“[L]ots of difficult sounds and scenes haunt me in my nightmares. I can’t forget the scenes of people losing their families and loved ones. We are living our worst days, the bombings and killing of Palestinians must stop,” says another young woman.
Kvinna till Kvinna expresses its heartfelt condolences to partner organisations and everyone affected by the violence. An immediate ceasefire is vital, any further escalation will inevitably hurt civilians. The bombings, and killings of innocent Palestinians must stop, and the Israeli hostages held in Gaza immediately be released.
It’s crucial to remember that deliberately harming civilians or carrying out disproportionate attacks constitutes a war crime. We urge all parties to respect international laws and to protect innocent lives at all cost.
—The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation
As fighting between Israel and Hamas continues, The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation calls for an immediate ceasefire. We urge all conflict actors to abide by international humanitarian law and avoid further civilian bloodshed. Violence can never justify more violence.