Following the violent attacks by Palestinian armed groups and Israel’s retaliatory siege and airstrikes in October 2023, Oxfam is supporting the work of our partners in Gaza and has released these statements:
- We condemn all attacks, violence and targeting of Palestinian and Israeli civilians. Attacks that deliberately target civilians are never justifiable. All parties must respect international law and cease their attacks. We have witnessed the deadliest day for civilians in the history of modern Israel and the deadliest year in the West Bank since UN records began. The cycle of violence must end.
- We call for an immediate ceasefire. Civilians are already experiencing unimaginable suffering, which is increasing exponentially by the day. They will bear an unacceptable burden if hostilities in Gaza continue for an extended period. Israel is entitled to defend its people against armed attacks. It also has a duty to ensure the safety of people under occupation in Gaza. The protection of all civilians is paramount.
- Humanitarian aid must be allowed to flow, in safety, to those people most in need. All humanitarian operations are now effectively frozen. It is impossible for agencies like Oxfam to restart them in the face of bombs, shells, rockets, and bullets. Ordinary civilians have already borne the brunt of the violence and now those in Gaza face a double blow as the violence escalates and they are cut off from vital humanitarian aid and all public services.
The Gaza Strip and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, make up the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). In the OPT, 40 percent of Palestinians require humanitarian assistance; 63 percent of them live in Gaza. More than five million people in the OPT are struggling to maintain access to their lands, livelihoods, and families. Their prospects for a safe, healthy, and dignified life are limited by more than 55 years of Israeli occupation, which drives inequality and worsens poverty and injustice.
More than two million people are trapped inside Gaza and deprived of their fundamental rights, with little access to basic services like healthcare, clean drinking water, sanitation, electricity, and education. Unemployment rates are among the highest in the world (youth unemployment rate is 63 percent).
Millions of Palestinians across the OPT and outside are denied the right to movement—separated from their families and economic opportunities.
The context in the Occupied Palestinian Territory is fundamentally a protracted crisis driven by the Israeli occupation, internal Palestinian political divisions, failure to adhere to international humanitarian and human rights law, and recurrent escalations of hostilities. Dependence on aid creates a fragile stability and undermines the opportunity for actual sustainable development.
With local partners, Oxfam is fighting inequality and injustice by responding to both the immediate and long-term needs of people in the OPT. We help people to earn a living and we respond to humanitarian crises in places like Gaza, with the detrimental impact of the illegal blockade and Area C of the West Bank (the 61 percent of the West Bank that is under full Israeli military and civil control).
Oxfam helps to build a strong civil society that will uphold human rights, and ensure people will have a say in the decisions that affect them. Together with Israeli and Palestinian partners, we influence policies, practices, attitudes and behaviors locally, nationally, and internationally.