Israel and Occupied Territories: Restraint and de-escalation urgently needed as civilians pay a terrible price


Statement in the name of Fabrizio Carboni, Near and Middle East Regional Director, ICRC.

“The recent rockets in Israel and airstrikes in Gaza represent a dangerous escalation of the tensions and violence witnessed over the past days in Jerusalem, including its Old City. It is clear that this cycle of violence will have heavy consequences on the civilian population in Israel and the occupied territory, as well as in the region.

The International Committee of the Red Cross is issuing an urgent call for restraint and de-escalation. Every minute that this cycle of violence continues is a danger to people’s lives, their homes and the services and infrastructure they rely on like hospitals and schools.

We remind all parties that all principles of conduct of hostilities must be respected, e.g. direct and indiscriminate attacks against civilians are prohibited by international humanitarian law (IHL), any attack must be proportionate, and all necessary precautions must be taken to avoid civilian casualties.

Armed hostilities in densely populated areas are bound to result in an unbearably high human cost if these IHL principles are not respected.

We are in contact and dialogue with all parties, our partners in the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Magen David Adom Society (MDA) and are ramping up our medical response in Gaza.

At such times, it is critical that people can access the healthcare and treatment they need, and we reiterate our call for rapid, safe and unimpeded movement for ambulances and for staff and volunteers of the national societies to carry out their important life-saving activities.

We have donated material to help treat people wounded in the violent confrontations in Jerusalem’s Old City and supported the PRCS as they treat and transport the injured to hospitals.

The reality is that families who should be planning get-togethers and celebrations are instead facing the prospect of a new cycle of pain and fear. For their sake and protection, restraint is needed now.”

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