IBFAN CALLS FOR AN IMMEDIATE CEASEFIRE TO END THE MASSACRE OF MOTHERS, CHILDREN AND FAMILIES IN OCCUPIED GAZA, PALESTINE
18 November 2023 – IBFAN
“Gaza is becoming a graveyard for children”António Guterres – UN Secretary-General
It is unimaginable what mothers, children and families face under the bombardment and siege of Gaza. The atrocious violence is also witnessed in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The deprivation of all that sustains life, food, water, fuel, medical care; the forced displacement and the indiscriminate bombing of refugee camps, mosques, churches, homes, hospitals, schools, markets, even an ice cream shop, the targeting of doctors, nurses, medical staff, ambulances, humanitarian workers, UNRWA staff and journalists has turned Gaza into a place where no one is safe, a place of immeasurable suffering and death. The October 7 attack by Hamas fighters was atrocious. However, it cannot justify the Israeli authority’s catastrophic response that is claimed as self-defence. Under International law, a state cannot claim the right of ‘self-defence’ against a territory which it occupies and controls – in this case, it is 75 years of illegal occupation and 16 years of military siege. Evidence has also shown such disproportionate response to be an ethnic cleansing and a genocide. IBFAN urges that all civilians, mothers and children be protected under International law.
As the death and injured toll climbs daily and the relentless bombing and invasion continues, it is impossible to imagine what mothers face as they struggle to feed, nurture and protect their children not knowing if they will live or die. The Gaza official death toll is now more than 11,000, two-thirds are women and children. On record over 30,000 civilians have been injured and over 1.5 million, half of the population of Gaza, displaced. Infants are especially fragile and it is impossible for them to survive when their mothers are not close, basic health care is destroyed and medical supplies are not available. Sadly, many are dying.
IBFAN calls for the following urgent actions:
- an unconditional and immediate ceasefire,
- an immediate lifting of the cruel siege and sanctions that deprive mothers, children, families from life sustaining food, water and fuel by opening the borders to allow the delivery of desperately needed aid,
- for international agencies, UNRWA, the International Red Cross to restore medical supports and supplies especially for mothers and children without delay,
- to protect, promote and support skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding for all babies.