December 13, 2023 – On December 12 2023, LINK 2007 sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Giorgia Meloni, and to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antonio Tajani, expressing deep concern about the humanitarian situation in the Gaza Strip and to call with determination for a prolonged ceasefire to halt the indiscriminate shelling. “We count on your attention to this appeal of ours and on your pressure at bilateral, European and multilateral levels in favour of a ceasefire.”
“We unequivocally condemn the atrocities committed on 7 October by Hamas and Islamic Jihad and the abduction of Israeli and other nationals held as hostages in the Gaza Strip. The attacks shocked the world and we are counting on all hostages to be released unconditionally,’ stresses Roberto Ridolfi, president of LINK 2007.
The Israeli government’s response, although ‘understandable and inevitable, has immediately assumed – with the siege, the bombardments, the destruction, the mass displacements, the disregard for international humanitarian law, the deaths and injuries – such a dimension as to produce a humanitarian catastrophe,’ points out Ridolfi, expressing the apprehension of LINK’s NGOs.
Gaza is 365 square kilometres, a quarter of the size of the City of Rome. Of the 2.3 million people who used to live there in conditions similar to a huge refugee camp, some 1.9 million have been forced to leave their homes.
“Two months into the escalation of violence, more than 15,500 people are dead, including 6,300 children and 4,200 women. At least 40,000 are injured. Thousands of people, about half of them children, are missing and may be under the rubble. Food, water, fuel and medical assistance are arriving in droves,’ Ridolfi points out. “Doctors, health and humanitarian workers can no longer respond adequately to the population’s needs or work safely. People even drink seawater. Waste water runs into the streets. The risk of epidemics is very high and could prove devastating for the population already exhausted by two months of war and conditions of severe deprivation’.
The LINK NGOs also recall that International Humanitarian Law sets insurmountable limits even during war, ‘starting with the fundamental principle of the proportionality of any kind of armed response’ and that the Fourth Geneva Convention defines ‘it is a war crime to target civilians, to deny them food, water and protection, to strike hospitals, schools and civilian facilities, wherever this is perpetrated’.
“The ceasefire is indispensable. 15,000 dead and 45,000 injured is already an absurd and unacceptable exaggeration, which is producing new hatred and rancour”. LINK’s NGOs call on President Meloni and Minister Tajani to accept this appeal, which joins the hundreds of thousands of other petitions around the world. “What is needed now is to organise a coordinated and adequate humanitarian response to the needs of the civilian population, to ensure access to humanitarian aid and medical care, to allow the resumption of negotiations for the release of all hostages, and to give respite and protection to the population, children and women in particular”.
HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE LETTER
HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE PRESS RELEASE
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12.14.2023: La Repubblica Mondo Solidale, Cease fire on Gaza”: the appeal of the association of major Italian NGOs
12.13.2023: UN Italy, Link 2007 to Meloni and Tajani, appeal for humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza
12.13.2023: VITA, Gaza, NGOs: “The Italian government has a duty to demand respect for international humanitarian law”.