The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has raised an urgent appeal for a cessation of the ongoing hostilities in Gaza and for the swift delivery of humanitarian aid to its beleaguered inhabitants.
A Plea for Civilians and Adequate Response
"It is unacceptable that civilians have no safe place to go in Gaza amid the massive bombardments, and with a military siege in place there is also no adequate humanitarian response currently possible.
This is a catastrophic failing that the world must not tolerate," ICRC President Mirjana Spoljaric lamented in a statement released on Saturday. Expressing her concern, President Spoljaric highlighted the pressing need to prioritize saving lives by swiftly restoring critical infrastructure such as healthcare services, water, and electricity in Gaza.
Moreover, Spoljaric reminded all involved parties of their obligations under international humanitarian law, emphasizing, “the parties are obligated to spare civilians from the effects of military operations at all times, to distinguish between civilians and military targets, and to never use human shields to prevent military objectives from being attacked”.
Addressing Hostage Situation
The ICRC further stressed the urgency of releasing all hostages. The organization also put forth its prior offer to assist and oversee any operations related to the release of hostages, showcasing their commitment to ensuring the safety of those involved.
Israel's Perspective: Echoes of Historical Conflict Amid the intensifying situation, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shed light on Israel's viewpoint, likening the ongoing conflict with Hamas to the Arab-Israeli War between 1947 and 1949, a seminal moment in Israel’s history as the nation declared its independence.
“The war inside Gaza is going to be long. This is our second independence war. We're going to save our country,” stated Netanyahu. He elaborated on Israel’s objectives, underscoring the commencement of the second phase of the conflict, which aims to dismantle Hamas’s armed capabilities and governance structures, as well as ensure the safe return of hostages from Gaza.
During a press briefing on Saturday, the Prime Minister further articulated his resolve, stating, “Our heroic fighters have one goal: To destroy this enemy and to make sure the existence of our country. 'Never again,' is now”.
Concluding his remarks, Netanyahu confirmed having communicated with families of the hostages, promising to leverage every avenue to bring their loved ones back home.