GAZA-ISRAEL: Pause must lead to urgent, sustained ceasefire

Published 22. Nov 2023
Statement by Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council, on the humanitarian pause in Gaza:

“We will do all that we can to provide relief to those in need in Gaza during the four-day humanitarian pause. However, a pause of a few days is not enough time to address the immense needs after six weeks of fighting, bloodshed, and destruction. The humanitarian pause agreed between armed groups in Gaza and Israel must pave the way for a lasting ceasefire.

“NRC, alongside local implementing partners, has been providing assistance to internally displaced people and is working to expand these efforts. However, we need unfettered access to humanitarian aid and security guarantees throughout Gaza to support a long-term recovery.

“A sustained ceasefire is needed to prevent further civilian deaths and provide safety for people in need of vital humanitarian assistance.

“We welcome the agreement that a number of hostages will be released. All hostages must be released without delay.

“Neither hostages nor access to humanitarian relief should ever become bargaining chips in political or military negotiations. It sets a dangerous precedent. Civilians must never be subjected to arbitrary detention or indiscriminate bombardment. Humanitarian aid should never be conditioned on political or strategic objectives.

“Winter is looming, and it will be a disaster to reignite this conflict. Small shelters have housed scores of people, with little food and water and mounting health hazards. Children are traumatised, and many face a future without their parents and siblings. They need urgent, long-term help. This can only happen through a sustained ceasefire.”

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