Gaza Escalating Violence
July 11, 2014
Over the past week, Gaza and southern Israel have seen a severe escalation of violence. On the night of July 7th, the Israeli army launched a military operation in the Gaza strip while rockets continued to be fired at southern Israel from Palestinian territory. As of July 15th, the United Nations has reported 192 casualties, most of whom are civilians, including women and 36 children. More than 1,300 people have been injured in Gaza, of whom 386 are children and 249 women. A number of Israelis have suffered injuries as a result of the rocket fire.
So far, over 1,200 homes have been destroyed, and 24,500 people have been displaced from their homes, taking shelter in UNRWA schools, or with families and neighbours. Unfortunately, this number is expected to rise since the Israeli military has instructed Palestinians living near the Gaza border to evacuate their homes.
CARE West Bank/Gaza has temporarily suspended its regular work in Gaza and is coordinating with its partners on the ground to provide emergency assistance to the affected population when the security situation allows. The most urgent needs in Gaza are medical supplies, relief items such as mattresses and blankets, and safe shelters.
“In front of my kids and family, I act like I am not scared, so they don’t feel so stressed and depressed, but of course I am very worried and afraid,” says Mostafa Kahlout, CARE Economic Empowerment Program coordinator in Gaza. “I am scared for the life of my kids and wife, relatives, and our home.”
This escalation of violence puts a severe burden on children who are in many cases still traumatized from past clashes. “My youngest daughter is nearly eight, she’s only small and she just keeps looking at the ceiling and asking ‘why are they trying to kill us?’,” says Kahlout. “I say to her: ‘No one is going to kill us; it will all be over soon,’ trying to calm her down. But I don’t know when it will be over.”
On July 11, CARE joined with 33 other international organizations to call on all parties to immediately stop the violence and agree to a ceasefire. Humanitarian access must be guaranteed by all parties to the conflict in order to prevent further civilian suffering.
CARE International has been operating in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) since 1948. For the past several decades, we have been working in the oPt to assist the most vulnerable residents in meeting their basic food needs. The majority are women and girls who bear the brunt of conflict and poverty.
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