News release

Israel and the occupied territories: Hostilities between Gaza and Israel must stop and much-needed humanitarian activities must start now.

Geneva (ICRC) – The populations in Gaza and Israel are facing the most intense cycle of hostilities in years. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is urging the parties to end this escalation and to ensure better access to people affected in the Gaza Strip.

Ahead of the United Nations Security Council meeting on Sunday, the ICRC calls on the leaders concerned to exert maximum influence to stop the hostilities between Gaza and Israel.

"The intensity of the conflict is something we have not seen before, with non-stop airstrikes in densely populated Gaza and rockets reaching big cities in Israel. As a result, children are dying on both sides," said Robert Mardini, ICRC's director-general. "For people in Gaza, access to hospitals and other vital infrastructure has become very complicated because of the incessant airstrikes and major damage to roads and buildings."

"Actors on the ground must stop this cycle of violence. The rules are crystal clear: Civilians must be protected at all times. Sadly, that is not the case today."

The steady stream of bombardments is also preventing the ICRC and other humanitarian organizations from being able to help those affected and in need in Gaza.

"There is no time to lose. We call on all parties involved to proactively protect civilians, de-escalate and allow us to help people. It is time for us to step up our response substantially," said Mr Mardini.

The ICRC is closely monitoring the humanitarian impact of the fighting and is communicating with both sides about the need to adhere to their obligations under international humanitarian law.

The ICRC has donated stretchers, hospital beds and medical equipment to treat 150 seriously injured patients in Gaza, and is supporting the Palestine Red Crescent Society. ICRC teams also visited people affected by rocket attacks in central Israel and we are in close contact with Magen David Adom. 

The ICRC has been present in Israel and the occupied territories since 1967. We promote compliance with international humanitarian law and work to mitigate the impact of violence, conflict and occupation on civilians through protection activities and assistance programmes. The ICRC visits detainees in Israeli and Palestinian places of detention and works to maintain family links through the Family Visit Programme. We also support livelihood projects and help improve access to essential services like water and electricity in Gaza. Above all, we stand up for people impacted by conflict and promote their rights and dignity. The ICRC has offices in Tel Aviv, the West Bank and Gaza and supports the work of the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Magen David Adom in Israel.

For more information, please contact:

Suhair Zakkout (Gaza): or +972 599 255 381

Christoph Hanger (Tel Aviv/Jerusalem): or +972 526 019 150

Yahia Masswadeh (Jerusalem): or +972 526 019 148

Sara Alzawqari (Beirut): or +961 3 138 353

Jason Straziuso (Geneva): or +41 79 949 3512