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EU must go beyond urging a humanitarian pause and call for a ceasefire to protect Palestinian civilians, says ActionAid

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27 October 2023 - For immediate release 

EU must go beyond urging a humanitarian pause and call for a ceasefire  
to protect Palestinian civilians, says ActionAid 

The European Union has once again failed to meaningfully support an end to the escalations in Gaza and the horrendous human suffering experienced there, says ActionAid. 

In yesterday’s statement on the Middle East, the European Council called for a “humanitarian pause” in Gaza to allow for access to aid. ActionAid says this is not enough, and the council should have called for a ceasefire instead to stop the killings of Palestinian civilians. 

ActionAid has also criticised the council’s reaffirmation that Israel has a right to defend itself within international humanitarian law, saying Israel is not complying with this law. 

Gemma Cosialls Guillen, Country Manager at ActionAid Spain in Jerusalem, says: 

“As of yesterday, over 7,000 people had been killed indiscriminately in Gaza. The EU needs to uphold its own longstanding values to prioritise human dignity and human rights to stop the ongoing bombing and prevent an impending ground invasion in Gaza.” 

“The European Union and its member states need to activate all international legal tools at their disposal, as they have done in other crises, to ensure compliance with international humanitarian law to protect civilian lives.” 

ActionAid also raises concerns about the insufficient amount of aid going into Gaza. Currently, only 20 trucks are to enter Gaza per day. Before the recent escalations, hundreds of trucks used to enter Gaza daily, and the humanitarian needs have now reached a critical and unprecedented level. 

Ana Alcalde, Director for Europe and Americas at ActionAid International, says: 

“This small trickle of aid is not enough to meet the huge need of the 2.2 million people in Gaza, and we’re seeing that even these 20 trucks are not all allowed in. We're also worried that civilians will starve to death. Most bakeries have run out of fuel to bake bread, and flour and oil supplies are quickly dwindling. There have also been horrendous attacks on bakeries as civilians queue to buy food.” 

“People are facing acute food and water shortages with women and newborns bearing the brunt of these. To keep their babies alive, mothers need to produce enough milk to feed them. But, with women accessing less than half of the recommended daily water intake and surviving on very little food, it's hard to keep them alive and healthy.” 

ActionAid worries about civilians being unable to access medical care as hospitals and medical centres cannot run without fuel. Fuel is also crucial to keep ambulances moving and to pump water. The EU’s efforts must therefore be behind ensuring that fuel and other humanitarian essentials get into Gaza, and these are in sufficient supply. 

To stop the de-escalations once and for all, ActionAid calls for a political peace process to be conducted as per the UN resolutions. 

“For the process to be meaningful, a ceasefire must be in place, and we need to see a shift in the EU’s approach. The EU must start using accountability mechanisms, ensuring equal treatment of all parties and compliance with international law and resolutions made by international bodies,” adds Gemma. 


To contact the ActionAid Press Office email or call +44 7586107955 or +263 776665065 

 Spokesperson available: 

  • Ana Alcalde, who is the Director for Europe and Americas at ActionAid International. She speaks English, French and Spanish.  

 About ActionAid   

ActionAid is a global federation working with more than 40 million people living in more than 71 of the world’s poorest countries. We want to see a just, fair, and sustainable world, in which everybody enjoys the right to a life of dignity, and freedom from poverty and oppression. We work to achieve social justice and gender equality and to eradicate poverty.