Aid groups say stop sending arms to Israel, Palestinian groups

AFP , Wednesday 24 Jan 2024

Sixteen international humanitarian and rights organisations on Wednesday called for a halt to weapons transfers to Israel and Palestinian groups in a bid to end the war in Gaza.

A picture taken from Rafah shows smoke billowing over Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip during Israeli bombardment on January 21, 2024, amid ongoing battles between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. AFP

In a joint statement they urged United Nations member states to stop sending weapons, parts and ammunition to "stop the crisis in Gaza and avert further humanitarian catastrophe and loss of civilian life.

"Israel's bombardment and siege are depriving the civilian population of the basics to survive and rendering Gaza uninhabitable," the statement added.

"The civilian population in Gaza faces a humanitarian crisis of unprecedented severity and scale."

Since Oct. 7, Israel has carried out a relentless offensive that has killed at least 25,700 peoplein Gaza, while another 63,740 have been wounded, according to the Palestinian health ministry in the territory.

The war has led to dire shortages of food, water, fuel and medicines in the besieged territory.

The 16 signatories include Amnesty International, Christian Aid, Medecins du Monde International Network, Norwegian People's Aid, Oxfam and Save the Children.

They call for all transfers of arms to be stopped immediately while there was a risk "they are used to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian or human rights law.

"Captive-taking and indiscriminate aggression are violations of international humanitarian law and must end immediately," it added.

According to the organisations, Israeli military activity has destroyed a "substantial portion of Gaza's homes, schools, hospitals, water infrastructure, shelters, and refugee camps".

Not a single medical facility in Gaza was fully operational and those still able to function had been overwhelmed with trauma cases and shortages of both doctors and medical supplies, the statement added.

* This story was edited by Ahram Online.

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