Israeli attacks on Gaza continue on the 15th day

A child injured by an Israeli attack is taken to Suheda al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on October 21, 2023.

(Photo by Ashraf Amra/Anadolu via Getty Images)

Amnesty Demands Immediate Cease-Fire in Gaza as Israel Readies 'Cataclysmic' Invasion

"Urgent action is needed to protect civilians and prevent further staggering levels of human suffering."

Amnesty International on Thursday became the latest human rights group to call for an immediate cease-fire in Gaza, imploring all nations to demand an end to the deadly violence as Israellaunched raids in the northern part of the Palestinian territory and continued bombing ahead of an expected ground invasion.

In a statement, Amnesty warned an invasion could have "cataclysmic consequences for Gaza's civilians," who are already suffering an appalling humanitarian crisis with no end in sight as Israel restricts the amount and kind of aid allowed to reach the enclave.

"Over the past two and a half weeks we have witnessed horror unfolding on an unimaginable scale in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories," said Amnesty secretary-general Agnès Callamard. "More than 2 million people in the Gaza Strip are struggling to survive amidst a catastrophic humanitarian crisis and the level of civilian casualties has been unprecedented."

"Serious violations of international humanitarian law, including war crimes, by all parties to the conflict continue unabated. In the face of such unprecedented devastation and suffering, humanity must prevail," Callamard added. "Urgent action is needed to protect civilians and prevent further staggering levels of human suffering. We urge all members of the international community to come together to demand an immediate humanitarian ceasefire by all parties in the conflict."

The cease-fire call comes days after Amnesty released a report documenting five specific war crimes that the Israeli military has committed in Gaza since October 7, the day Hamas carried out a deadly attack on Israel.

In one of the cases that Amnesty examined, Israeli forces bombed a three-story residential building in Gaza City, killing 15 members of the same family—including seven children.

"History will ask why the world did not have the courage to act decisively and stop this hell on Earth."

In less than three weeks, Israeli airstrikes have killed more than 7,000 people in Gaza and displaced more than a million. The ruthless bombardment and Israel's blockade have left Gaza's infrastructure in dire straights and its healthcare system on the verge of total collapse.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) warned Thursday that current stocks of fuel "are almost completely exhausted, forcing lifesaving services to come to a halt."

Human rights advocates and United Nations officials have argued that the only way to ensure the free flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and prevent further disaster for civilians is to enact a cease-fire.

But the Biden administration has openly opposed a cease-fire in Gaza, claiming that putting a stop to the violence would benefit Hamas.

During a speech to the U.N. Security Council earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said only that "humanitarian pauses must be considered."

As Reutersnoted, "a pause is generally considered less formal and shorter than a cease-fire." Last week, the U.S. vetoed a Brazil-led Security Council resolution that called for humanitarian pauses in Gaza.

While a small group of House Democrats is pushing the administration to support a cease-fire, other prominent progressives have thus far refused to do so.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday called for "a humanitarian pause by all parties so that critical aid can be delivered to the suffering people of Gaza and for the immediate release of all hostages" but did not specifically endorse a cease-fire, despite pressure from more than 300 of his former campaign staffers.

One of those ex-staffers, Waleed Shahid, responded to the Vermont senator on social media:

In an op-ed for The Guardian on Thursday, UNRWA commissioner-general Philippe Lazzarini argued that "an immediate humanitarian cease-fire must be enacted to allow safe, continuous, and unrestricted access to fuel, medicine, water, and food in the Gaza Strip."

"The generations to come will know that we watched this human tragedy unfold over social media and news channels," he added. "We will not be able to say we did not know. History will ask why the world did not have the courage to act decisively and stop this hell on Earth."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.