Hamas attack does not justify Gaza’s destruction: Red Cross

Hamas attack does not justify Gaza’s destruction: Red Cross

GENEVA (AFP): The massive Hamas attack on Israel cannot justify the “limitless destruction” of the Gaza Strip, the Red Cross said on Friday, as it called for pauses in the fighting.

Its statement came as Israel’s army warned residents in north Gaza to flee south ahead of an expected ground offensive.

“Nothing can justify the horrific attacks Israel suffered last weekend,” said a statement from the International Committee of the Red Cross.

“Our hearts go out to people who lost family members or are worried sick about loved ones taken hostage. We reiterate our call for their immediate release and stand ready to conduct humanitarian visits,” the ICRC said.

“But those attacks cannot in turn justify the limitless destruction of Gaza.

“The parties must not neglect their legal obligations regarding the methods and means used to wage war.”

Israel has retaliated to Hamas’s attacks by hitting targets in Gaza with thousands of strikes, which have killed many people.

“The instructions issued by the Israeli authorities for the population of Gaza City to immediately leave their homes, coupled with the complete siege explicitly denying them food, water, and electricity, are not compatible with international humanitarian law,” the ICRC said.

“When military powers order people to leave their homes, all possible measures must be taken to ensure the population has access to basic necessities like food and water and that members of the same family are not separated.”

The ICRC said Gazans had “nowhere safe to go” and it was “impossible” for them to know which areas “will next face attack.”

Many would not be able to leave their homes, and international law protected all civilians, including those who remain, the humanitarian organization stressed.

“Our teams will require pauses in the fighting to work safely and effectively,” the ICRC said.

The needs in Gaza were “staggering,” it added, but with a military siege in place, humanitarian organizations “will not be able to assist such a massive displacement of people in Gaza.”

Many people have chosen to remain in the north of the Gaza Strip, amid the absence of transportation, and moreover nowhere else to go.

“This is a brutal enemy, and what they want is to scare people into displacement,” said a resident, Abu Azzam “But, we will remain steadfast in the face of any displacement.”

Mohammed Khaled, 43, similarly said he would stay. “What does the world want from us? I am a refugee in Gaza and they wish to displace me yet again?

“What will we do in Rafah?” he asked, referring to the city 40 km south of Gaza City.

“Sleep on the streets with our children? We won’t do it. I don’t want this humiliating life.”

There have been repeated calls for the creation of humanitarian corridors into Gaza, mainly through the Rafah crossing to Egypt — the only one not controlled by the Israeli military.

But Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi has said it is necessary for Gaza residents to “remain steadfast on their land,” warning that any mass displacement of Gazans would spell the end of the Palestinian cause.

In the Al-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City, Mohamed Abu Ali stands in front of an office for the UN Palestinian Refugee Agency or UNRWA.

“Today, we don’t know, where do we go?” the 24-year-old said.

“There is nowhere safe. We

went to the United Nations for refuge. Israel is committing massacres today against civilians and our children are under the rubble.

“We don’t know what to do. We have no food and no water. I ask the UN in front of its headquarters: Where do we go?“