Gaza Emergency Appeal - Donate Now
We, the undersigned organisations, are appalled over the mass forced displacement of Palestinians in Gaza resulting from Israel’s devastating military assault.
Almost 2 million Palestinians have been forcibly displaced within Gaza, with reports indicating Israeli plans for mass displacement outside of Gaza itself. This humanitarian catastrophe must be addressed urgently within the framework of international law and human rights principles.
Forced displacement, as observed in Gaza, violates international humanitarian law, notably Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the forcible transfer of protected persons by an occupying power. Israel’s actions, including the issuance of “evacuation” orders covering vast areas of Gaza, have resulted in the displacement of an estimated 85% of Gaza’s population.
Families have been displaced multiple times, exacerbating the already dire situation. The lack of safe routes and clear destinations for displaced persons raises concerns about their right to return and constitutes forcible transfer.
We remain horrified about the prospect of a full ground invasion in Rafah, which would be utterly catastrophic for the more than 1.5 million people currently staying in Rafah, including more than one million displaced people seeking shelter there. People in Rafah have nowhere to go, as the north and middle areas of Gaza are under daily bombardments.
Reports1 of Israeli plans to permanently relocate Palestinians from Gaza to other territories, such as the Sinai Peninsula or third countries, are alarming.
In response to these grave concerns, we call upon governments around the world to do everything in their power to:
We urge the international community to take decisive action to address the plight of Palestinians in Gaza and uphold their rights under international law.
Dear Members of Parliament,
As humanitarian, human rights and campaigning agencies, many of us with teams operating in Gaza and the West Bank, we are writing to draw your urgent attention to the critical situation in Gaza. As you may be aware, there will be a vote tomorrow (Wednesday 21 February 2024) in the House of Commons regarding this matter. We, along with 71% of the UK public, urge you to support the motion for an immediate and permanent ceasefire to benefit everyone in Israel and Palestine, facilitate the provision of adequate humanitarian assistance, and the release of hostages, and curtail the risk of regional conflict amid multiple strikes in several countries.
In Gaza, the ongoing conflict has resulted in unfathomable death and destruction. At least 28,5761 Palestinians have been killed, while thousands remain missing under the rubble of destroyed buildings.
The humanitarian situation is dire. For 136 days,2 the UN and NGOs have warned of a shortage of medical supplies and clean water, overcrowded shelters, widespread food insecurity, and a collapsing healthcare system and spread of diseases among the displaced civilians, resulting in catastrophic health indicators and urgent humanitarian needs. Nearly every child is at imminent risk of starvation and malnutrition, women resort to using scraps of tent in place of period products and go weeks without showering, and surgeons are operating on patients without sufficient anaesthesia. Unexploded ordnance resulting from the bombardment poses a serious risk both to civilians and humanitarian aid workers.
Humanitarian response agencies need to not only restore but significantly scale up the delivery of vital health, education, mental health, protection, and livelihoods services. This includes vital programming to support the unique and urgent needs of women and men, boys and girls, mainstreaming inclusion of people with disabilities, older people, and others disproportionately affected by the crisis. This is not possible under bombardment. We need a lasting ceasefire, not ‘pauses. Without a lasting ceasefire, humanitarian organisations cannot re-establish principled operations on the necessary scale, and there will be further loss of life.
It is imperative that the UK Government takes immediate action to support an immediate and permanent ceasefire, for which there is growing international consensus. The protection of civilians is paramount and a requirement under international humanitarian law.
An immediate and permanent ceasefire will halt the cycle of violence, facilitate the release of all hostages, allow for the restoration of essential services, allow for international humanitarian assistance to reach those in need, and provide an opportunity for dialogue and negotiation towards a lasting peace that benefits everyone in the region.
We cannot afford to delay any longer. Private diplomacy and cautious statements are not enough – stronger action and accountability needs to be applied or the humanitarian catastrophe will likely surpass even the horrors we have seen over the last four months.
We urge you to support the motion for an immediate ceasefire.
Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. We look forward to your support and swift action.
1. Action Against Hunger
2. Action For Humanity
3. ActionAid UK
4. Age International
5. Amnesty International UK
6. Amos Trust
8. Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu)
10. CARE International UK
11. Christian Aid
12. Climate Action Network UK (CAN-UK)
13. Convivencia Alliance
14. Development Initiatives
16. Embrace the Middle East
17. European Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
18. Gender Action for Peace and Security (GAPS)
19. Greenpeace UK
20. Humanity & Inclusion UK
21. Inminds Human Rights Group
22. International Alert
23. International Health Partners (IHP)
24. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)
25. International Rescue Committee UK
26. Islamic Relief UK
27. Jewish Network for Palestine
28. Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights
29. Mercy Corps
30. Mines Advisory Group (MAG)
31. Minority Rights Group
32. Muslim Aid
33. Muslim Community Helpline
34. Muslim Hands
36. Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC)
37. Omega Research Foundation
38. Oxfam GB
39. Peace Direct
40. Peacemaker Trust
41. Penny Appeal
42. Plan International UK
43. Protection Approaches
44. Quakers in Britain
45. Resistance Kitchen
46. Sabeel-Kairos UK
48. Save the Children UK
49. Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF)
50. Scotland’s International Development Alliance
51. Stamp Out Poverty
54. The UK Committee for UNICEF (UNICEF UK)
55. UK-Palestine Mental Health Network
56. United Nations Association – UK (UNA-UK)
57. War Child
58. War on Want
59. Welfare Association
60. Womankind Worldwide
61. Women for Women International
62. Women’s Platform
Dear Prime Minister,
Subject: The UK must demand that Israel immediately stops its offensive into Rafah and call for a ceasefire now
We write to you as international humanitarian, peacebuilding and human rights organisations. Many of us have worked in the Occupied Palestinian Territory for decades, with our staff and partners among those currently displaced and fearing for their lives in the Gaza Strip. Since October 7, the Government has heard all of us and many, many more – including in real time from Palestinians themselves in Gaza – give warnings or briefings of the following: 1.7 million people forcibly displaced only to be bombed again, more than 11,500 children killed and a catastrophic number of orphans, with a new acronym unique to the Gaza Strip – WCNSF: wounded child, no surviving family – and evidence of widespread starvation and infectious disease.
As you know, following Israel’s ‘evacuation’ orders for areas in northern and central Gaza, many Palestinians fled to the south, to Rafah, a designated ‘safe zone’ by Israel. 1.3 million people are currently trapped in Rafah. It is one of the very few places where extremely limited humanitarian aid is able to enter the Gaza Strip.
We are writing with urgent concern about the overnight attacks on Rafah following Israel’s announcement that it aims to conduct a destructive military campaign on the most densely populated stretch on Earth. The military operation intensified last night, with Rafah subjected to the Israeli military’s increasingly intense bombardment with a further 67 people killed by Israel, mostly civilians, including women and children. This number will continue to rise. The beleaguered and strained humanitarian system will fully collapse as need will only rise and access decrease.
We ask you now to use the UK’s full diplomatic pressure to demand Israel halt its military campaign, which has already resulted in the killing of 28,000 people
Will the UK act now, as red lines are being continuously crossed despite warnings from the UK to Israel on the toll of casualties being “too high”? Or will the UK continue its current path, which each day further is enabling Israel’s actions with impunity? Will the UK risk further moral complicity in the ongoing death from Israeli attacks?
We are extremely dismayed and profoundly alarmed after having met with UK senior officials, including the Foreign Secretary, over the last 128 days, explaining in clear terms the scale of the catastrophe and the consequences of the current UK approach towards Israel. We, as agencies united, attempted to work together with the Government towards leveraging what the UK can do to halt these atrocities. We are losing confidence in Ministers as the UK appears utterly incapable of restraining Israel in its current attempts. We write with immediate demands for the UK:
We call on the UK Government to do all it can to persuade the Government of Israel to finally change course. Over a million people in Rafah are at grave risk. We know from history what happens when states stand by and do nothing. We urge you to act now.