Gaza faces humanitarian disaster – ex-Soviet states
Gaza is facing a humanitarian catastrophe, according to a warning issued by the foreign ministers of nations that formerly belonged to the USSR. The Palestinian territory needs access to food, fuel, and medical assistance, they said in a joint statement published on Friday.
The message came from top diplomats of eight of the nine active members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), who held a meeting this week in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan. They expressed deep concern over the escalation of violence in the Middle East and the high number of civilian casualties among Israelis and Palestinians.
The ministers have condemned “all instances of extremism, terrorism, taking of hostages, and other forms of violence against peaceful civilians, as well as indiscriminate use of force during military operations.”
They called on the parties to observe international humanitarian law and ensure that civilians were offered safe evacuation routes from the conflict zone.
The statement stressed the need to deescalate the ongoing violence and establish a sustainable truce, followed by a mediated effort to achieve “a comprehensive, just and stable peace in the Middle East.” Proposals by the UN and the Arab Peace Initiative should serve as the basis for the process, the ministers suggested.
Last Saturday, the Palestinian militant movement Hamas launched a surprise incursion from Gaza into southern Israel, killing over 1,300 people and capturing up to 150 hostages.
Israel has declared war on the organization and has besieged Gaza, cutting supplies of water, fuel, and electricity. According to local authorities, over 1,500 people have been killed during Israeli bombardments.
On Thursday, Israel ordered Palestinians living in the northern part of the coastal territory to relocate south for personal safety. Critics of the instruction said that it was impossible to follow in the 24 hours given by the Israeli military. Over 1 million people reside in that part of Gaza.