A temporary ceasefire in Gaza is not enough

The agreed four-day humanitarian pause by Israel and Hamas that is meant to allow for the release of 50 women and children held hostage in Gaza, in exchange for 150 Palestinian women and children imprisoned in Israel, must immediately be put in place. However, a pause is not enough—the international community must push for a comprehensive ceasefire to avoid continued killings of civilians and prevent genocide and additional war crimes.

The Israeli forces’ indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks are violations of international humanitarian law and collective punishment of Palestinians in Gaza. So far, more than 14,000 Palestinian have been killed under Israeli bombardment and UN experts warn that the time to prevent genocide is running out. Hamas’ violent attack on October 7th during which 1,200 Israelis were killed highlights the urgent need to address decades of systematic violence and military occupation. Over the past month, the administrative detention of Palestinians without trial in the Occupied Palestinian Territories has increased dramatically, homes have been demolished, families have been forcibly displaced, and Israeli settlers’ killings of Palestinian civilians has increased.

The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation has long supported and collaborated with Palestinian women human rights organisations. They witness an enormous human suffering. Women and children are affected tremendously, including by the lack of healthcare access and the disruption of maternal, newborn and child healthcare. Pregnant women have been forced to deliver their babies without anaesthesia, and the highest numbers of deaths are amongst children and women. On top of that, thousands of women have lost their homes and livelihood and colleagues and partners fear that they will have difficulties to take care of their surviving children.

We call on the international on community to push for:

  • A comprehensive ceasefire—an end to unlawful attacks and respect for international humanitarian law.
  • Immediate humanitarian access to civilians in Gaza. The humanitarian response must be gender-sensitive, and include life-saving support to women and children.
  • An immediate and permanent release of all Israeli hostages held by Hamas and arbitrary detained Palestinian persons.
  • Immediate access for the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the Occupied Palestinian Territories to carry out investigations.
  • A comprehensive arms embargo on all parties given that serious violations amounting to crimes under international law are being committed.
  • The illegal blockade of Gaza to be lifted, as it is worsening the humanitarian crisis and amounts to collective punishment.

Looking further ahead, there will be a need for continued long-term, flexible support to women’s organisations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, who are responding to the needs of people and who work to strengthen human rights and human security. The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation is therefore extremely concerned about the decision by several European governments to review and/or suspend funding to Palestinian civil society organisations. This would seriously weaken the humanitarian response—as we know from experience that women activists are on the frontline in crises and conflicts, offering urgent assistance and protection. They provide hope and support, and to continue funding them is vital.

—The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation

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