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GAZA: ‘Extension of humanitarian pause another step in the right direction’

The agreed extension of the four-day pause in fighting by two days is welcome news but children in Gaza won’t be safe until a lasting ceasefire is agreed. Children held hostage must also be released, says Save the Children.

The fragile pause has enabled the release of 58 hostages from Gaza and 117 Palestinian women and children detained in Israeli prisons, including 87 minors.

During the pause, violence in the West Bank and Gaza continued, with seven Palestinians including four children killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, according to the UN, and Israeli forces opening fire and throwing teargas canisters at people attempting to use the pause to return to their homes in the north of Gaza, killing one person and injuring dozens.

Any limited pause falls short of the lasting ceasefire necessary to provide desperately needed supplies. People in Gaza are still living in a dire situation, lacking access to food, water, medicines and healthcare facilities. The flow of humanitarian aid to the north of Gaza where over a million people have been displaced has been restricted and intermittent even during the temporary pause.

Jason Lee, Country Director for Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territory said:

“This two-day extension of the pause in fighting will come as a huge relief to people in Gaza. But the scale and scope of the crisis is so unprecedented that two days is not enough. People who have survived 50 days of relentless bombardment in Gaza are surrounded by destruction and left with nothing. Children are hungry, thirsty and at risk of disease. There are extremely long lines to get cooking gas, food and water. A few more days without fighting is not long enough for families to get what they need to survive. And when the fighting resumes, they will again face the violence that has led to those needs in the first place. Only a lasting ceasefire can deliver the scale of humanitarian aid required and stop the devastating increase in needs. Children in Gaza have a right to safety, a right to live.

“We’re also concerned that at the same time that 117 Palestinian children and women have been released from Israeli military detention, at least 112 more Palestinians in the occupied West Bank have been newly detained, according to Palestinian authorities.

“It is long past time to stop violations against children’s rights committed since and before 7 October, to release all hostages and to provide long-lasting safety to children in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel. Anything else will fail to provide them with the future they deserve.”

In New Zealand, Save the Children has raised over $100,000 to support the global response for children impacted by the conflict. New Zealanders wishing to donate can go to www.savethechildren.org.nz.

 

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