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Oxfam reaction to evacuation order ahead of Rafah offensive in Gaza


In response to Israel’s evacuation order ahead of an offensive in Rafah, Abby Maxman, Oxfam America President & CEO said:

“Israel's order for around 100,000 Palestinians in Gaza to evacuate ahead of an offensive in Rafah puts every single Palestinian in Gaza in grave danger. Oxfam condemns this forced evacuation order, the potential Rafah offensive, and the Biden administration's unconditional support for Israel that has helped bring us to this point.

“There is nowhere safe to go: for over six months, Israel has routinely killed civilians and aid workers, including in clearly marked 'safe zones’ and ‘evacuation routes.’  The notion that the 100,000 civilians being evacuated by Israel will be safe and protected is simply not credible.

“Israel is not currently permitting any goods, fuel, or humanitarian aid to enter Gaza through the crucial Rafah or Kerem Shalom crossings. This will mean a critical shortage of life-saving aid, with a famine already looming and with needs set to rise exponentially.

“Our colleagues in Rafah who are attempting to deliver life-saving aid are in jeopardy just as Israel takes steps to launch the kind of devastating campaign of urban warfare that the Biden administration warned against not long ago. They report that the fear in Rafah is palpable, as people who have already been forced to flee across Gaza multiple times must now move again.

“The Biden administration has repeatedly issued public and private warnings to respect international humanitarian law, facilitate humanitarian aid, and do more to protect civilians – all of which the government of Israel has overwhelmingly dismissed. Israel's decision to move forward with this operation in Rafah underscores just how little influence President Biden's strategy of unconditional support has yielded.

“The reported decision to withhold ammunition transfers to Israel suggests that the Biden administration’s policy may be slowly evolving, but after nearly 7 months of unconditional military support for Israeli atrocities in Gaza, it is too little, too late. We need the end of lethal arms transfers to Israel and Palestinian armed groups, a full and permanent ceasefire, the safe return of all hostages and unlawfully detained Palestinians, and access for full humanitarian aid. The time to forcefully push back against Israel and support accountability for all parties is long overdue – and this must be the final straw to spur real action to back up otherwise empty words.”


Notes to editors:

  • Oxfam currently has 22 staff remaining inside Gaza (including 7 in Rafah City), who are currently working closely with our local partners to support 133,088 people with lifesaving water, food and proper sanitation. To date they have also rehabilitated four wastewater networks in Rafah and Khan Yunis, reaching 58,000 people. Five desalination units across Rafah, Al-Mawasi, and Khan Younis were installed to provide safe drinking water. Oxfam and partners built some of the first desalination plants in its response, providing fresh water reaching 10,500 people.
  • Along with 14 partner organizations in Gaza, Oxfam started responding in the days after the crisis, delivering cash, food, and essential basic items as well as restoring water and sanitation services where possible. Oxfam and partner staff are working under extremely challenging circumstances, Oxfam has reached a total of 262,424 people with support.
  • There have been reports that the Biden administration withheld a shipment of ammunition:

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