18th October 2023
On October 7th, Hamas launched a significant attack on Israeli territory during a festival just outside the walls surrounding the Gaza Strip. This event resulted in the tragic loss of over 250 Israeli civilians’ lives, with many others kidnapped and held captive in the enclave. In response, Israel initiated a full-scale conflict with Hamas, leading to airstrikes on Gaza and a comprehensive border siege. The conflict has had devastating consequences, with an estimated 3,000 Palestinian casualties attributed to Hamas’ initial attack, alongside the loss of over 1,300 Israeli civilian lives. It has triggered a tragic humanitarian crisis for over 2 million Palestinians in the world’s most densely populated city.
Reflecting on the human cost, it is heartbreaking to note that over 1,000 children have died in Gaza since the start of the conflict, as estimated by the Gaza Health Ministry. As half of Gaza’s 2.3 million population is under 18, the United Nations and the international community must redouble their efforts to encourage an immediate ceasefire and scrutinise both sides on their adherence to the rules of international law. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, stating that “Hamas attacks cannot justify the collective punishment of the Palestinian people.”
The challenges of recent ongoing discussions in progress involving the United States, the European Union, Israel, and Egypt are deeply concerning. The primary goal of these discussions is to facilitate the entry of critical humanitarian aid from Egypt to Gaza by opening the Rafah crossing; regrettably, these negotiations have faced significant obstacles, as Israel has targeted the Rafah crossing with airstrikes on four occasions since the onset of the conflict on October 7th. Hundreds of Egyptian humanitarian trucks are stuck at the Rafah crossing, with the Egyptian government pressuring Israel and the US to hold a ceasefire so that unrestricted humanitarian aid may reach many wounded men, women, and children.
On October 17th, a massive blast rocked Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza, where doctors and nurses were tending to injured Palestinians, including women and children, and other Palestinians still were seeking shelter. This incident became the site of the highest death toll of any single event since the start of the current conflict, claiming the lives of 500 people, as reported by the Palestinian health authorities. Both main military actors in the conflict, Hamas and the Israeli Defense Force, claim that the other side was responsible for the incident.
As this conflict has brought about an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, with almost 2.2 million Palestinians left without access to introductory provisions such as food, water, and electricity, Broken Chalk raises its voice to call for immediate action to stop ongoing extreme human rights violations to bring stability within the region and for all humanity. We call on the Israeli government and the international community to urgently hold a ceasefire and allow humanitarian aid to pass through the Rafah border, providing for many displaced and affected Palestinians. We call on the Israeli government to strictly abide by the rules of international law concerning protecting hospitals, journalists, and civilians. We believe that it is contingent that the international community exercise more scrutiny on Israel’s government to ensure that human rights are upheld. It is urgent that Israel lift the siege on Gaza to allow for water, food, electricity and fuel to reach Palestinian hospitals.
Broken Chalk announces it to the public with due respect.