Washington, DC (July 12, 2014) — On July 7, World Vision announced concern about the recent escalation of violence in Israel and the Palestinian Occupied Territories which resulted in the deaths of children on both sides of the conflict. Since then, the conflict has only continued to intensify. World Vision calls on the U.S. Government to immediately respond to this violence and to do all that is possible to facilitate an immediate ceasefire.
Since the beginning of Israel’s Operation Protective Edge, Palestinian armed groups have fired approximately 490 rockets into Israel's South, Central, and Costal Plains (the Iron Dome defense system intercepted 129 of these). Long-range rockets have reached Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, and as far north as Hadera. Several dozen Israelis have been injured.
Israel has struck over 1,000 targets in Gaza during this same period. Reports indicate that over 100 people have been killed in Gaza, including many women and children, with more than 675 reported injured. The humanitarian coordinator and director of UNRWA operations in Gaza, the Palestinian Ministry of Health, and the Municipality of Gaza City have all declared an emergency situation.
“We have suspended our operations in Gaza,” says Alex Snary, national director of World Vision’s work in Jerusalem, West Bank, and Gaza. “We are not able to reach the children and families in our program areas because of the danger of moving in Gaza.”
World Vision has worked in the region since 1975 and has a unique understanding of the humanitarian needs of Gaza. Home to one of the highest population densities in the world, the recent airstrikes in Gaza have disproportionately impacted women and children.
“The human cost in this conflict is high on both sides,” says Mae Elise Cannon, senior director of advocacy and outreach for World Vision U.S. “However, the civilians in Gaza are disproportionately vulnerable because of the consequences of a prolonged blockade, high population density, weak infrastructure, poor health services and scarcity of electricity and water that existed before the outbreak of violence.”
World Vision is calling for an immediate ceasefire and access for humanitarian groups to conduct relief efforts. In addition, the U.S. Government must immediately respond and encourage the Palestinian Unity Government and the Government of Israel to cease all forms of violence and redouble efforts in pursuit of a security, peace, and justice for all peoples of the region.
“A ceasefire is not enough,” says Cannon. “We cannot return to the status quo, but rather move toward a true and sustainable resolution to the conflict.”
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World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. World Vision serves all people regardless of religion, race, ethnicity, or gender. For more information, please visit www.WorldVision.org/press or follow us on Twitter @WorldVisionNews.