The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is horrified by the mounting civilian toll and the destruction of residences and public infrastructure as violence continues across Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).

The IRC strongly supports the UN Secretary General’s call for International Humanitarian Law (IHL) to be upheld; to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure at all costs; to allow full and unrestricted access to aid for civilians in Gaza; and to mobilize the international community to provide immediate humanitarian support for those that need it.

Over 1,200 civilians in Israel have been killed by rocket attacks in residential areas and acts of violence in civilian communities. There are reports of at least one hundred hostages taken. At least 900 civilians have been killed in the oPt and thousands more injured as airstrikes destroy schools, health facilities, and residential areas in the highly populated Gaza strip. 

Over 260,000 people reportedly have been displaced within Gaza since the current escalation of violence began. Public infrastructure has also been destroyed, meaning thousands of people will soon be left without food, electricity, water and fuel. Even before this crisis, 80% of Gaza was in need of humanitarian aid and 95% of the population did not have access to safe water.

It is critical that all parties uphold IHL which demands protecting civilians and the infrastructure they depend on to survive. Hospitals, electricity and water plants must not be targeted. Authorities must ensure the basic needs of civilians - including access to water, food, medicine - are met. We call for adherence to IHL in order to avoid further civilian harm and mitigate the humanitarian fallout.

The IRC is assessing needs on the ground and our capacity to ensure critical, life-saving humanitarian relief reaches affected civilian populations. The IRC works across the MENA region to support those in need across every aspect of their lives in order to restore safety, health, education, economic wellbeing, and meaningful measures of self-resilience.