Finnish Red Cross reacts to conflict between Israel and Gaza by contributing EUR 100,000 towards aid

IFRC
The Red Cross aid operation is focussed on helping the wounded, but is also increasingly concerned for the safety of the civilian population in Gaza.
Image: IFRC

The Finnish Red Cross will contribute EUR 100,000 from its Disaster Relief Fund to the aid operation of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.

  • ·  Lähettämällä tekstiviestin SPR numeroon 16499 (15 € / tekstiviesti)

    ·  Tekemällä lahjoituksenverkossa

    ·  Tilille: Nordea FI06 2219 1800 0680 00

    ·  Puhelimella: Soita 0600-122 20 (20,28 € + pvm)

    Lähettämällä tekstiviestin SPR numeroon 16499 (15 € / tekstiviesti)

  • Tekemällä lahjoituksen verkossa
  • Tilille: Nordea FI06 2219 1800 0680 00
  • Puhelimella: Soita 0600-122 20 (20,28 € + pvm)
  • - See more at: http://www.punainenristi.fi/uutiset/20140603/humanitaarisen-katastrofin-...

The ICRC is cooperating with the Palestinian Red Crescent Society and the Israeli Magen David Adom to get help to people who are suffering due to escalating violence in the region, but the circumstances are difficult. The heavy fighting of the past few days has forced the aid operation to focus on those wounded in the shelling. In practice, this means delivering first aid to the wounded and providing transport to hospitals, where hundreds of the injured have been receiving treatment throughout the past two weeks of the conflict.

Since the heavy fighting broke out between Palestinian fighters from the Gaza Strip and the Israeli Defence Force two weeks ago, there have been many serious casualties. More than 800 Palestinians are dead and the wounded number more than 5,000. Most of those killed or wounded in Gaza are civilians.

Of the 30 people killed on the Israeli side, 27 were soldiers killed in battle. According to the Magen David Adom, a further six people have been seriously wounded and dozens of people have received minor shrapnel injuries.

Heavy shelling of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli Defence Force has significantly hampered the efforts of humanitarian organisations to provide relief services. However, the ICRC has managed to negotiate some ceasefire agreements, each a couple of hours long, so that the wounded could be taken to hospital. One such two-hour ceasefire was agreed for the Shuja'iyya area, where more than 200 wounded people were transported out of immediate danger.

The Red Cross has expressed its deep concern about the escalation of the conflict and the related violations of international humanitarian law. The Israeli operation has caused hundreds of civilian casualties and their forces have attacked places that were under the protection of international agreements, including hospitals and, on Thursday 24 July 2014, a school run by the United Nations. The 2,600 rockets fired from Gaza by Hamas fighters towards Israel also violate international humanitarian law because they make no distinction between civilian and military targets.

The Red Cross condemns all violations of humanitarian law whether committed by Israel or by Hamas.

Even though the Red Cross aid operation is currently focussed on helping the wounded and those in hospital, the organisation is increasingly concerned about the status of Gaza’s civilian population. More than 150,000 civilians have had to flee their home to live in a temporary shelter, but they are not safe there either.

The fighting has damaged the infrastructure that delivers water and electricity to the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip; there are shortages of food and medicine; and land transport to Gaza via Israel is interrupted.

If a lasting ceasefire is not established soon, the Red Cross fears that the number of people in need of aid in Gaza will multiply rapidly over the next few weeks.

The Red Cross is a humanitarian organisation which works to physically help people with immediate needs in an emergency. Finding a political solution to the conflict is not a job for the Red Cross; it is something that must be negotiated by states and politicians.