Mercy Corps Statement on Escalating Violence Between Gaza and Israel
Uma Kandalaeva, Palestine Director for Mercy Corps, says:
“We are deeply concerned about the escalation of violence between Israel and Gaza. Over two million innocent civilians in Gaza are caught in the crossfire with air attacks targeting residential buildings and other crowded sites in the district. We are particularly concerned about the death of 26 Palestinians, including seven children and four women, and 84 injured including 24 children.
“Since the outset of the escalated violence, all the Israeli-controlled Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings closed, meaning humanitarian personnel and essential goods like medicine, food, and fuel could not enter Gaza.
“Mercy Corps urgently calls on all parties to protect civilians and start working towards an immediate ceasefire and enabling humanitarian access to spare the community additional lives lost and damage to infrastructure.
“The situation in Gaza is dire. People have been pushed beyond the breaking point, unable to seek refuge and protection for their families through repeated cycles of violence, exacerbated by the impact of over 16 years of blockade. Already, 70% of the population in Gaza relies on humanitarian aid for survival.
“Children, older people and entire families are witnessing repeated cycles of violence, mourning the loss of people they love and losing houses they have rebuilt over and over again. Amidst this insecurity, international and national aid organizations are not able to deliver much needed assistance to the community. Unfettered humanitarian access is critical to delivering aid so many rely on for survival.
“We call for a cessation of the violent actions happening in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem between Palestinian communities and Israeli forces, and protection for civilians as mandated under the international humanitarian law.”
Mercy Corps has worked in the West Bank and Gaza since 1986, updating water systems to reduce the spread of disease, distributing emergency food and supplies to families displaced by crisis, providing psychosocial support for young people, and expanding employment opportunities.