GENEVA: The Red Cross said Saturday it was “appalled” by the human misery unleashed by the war between Hamas and Israel, saying its volunteers would not abandon those who needed them most.
It called on both sides to abide by international humanitarian law, protect civilians and allow humanitarian organizations to alleviate the growing levels of suffering.
“The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is appalled to see the human misery that has unfolded over the last week in Israel and Gaza,” with civilians paying the highest price, a statement said.
Thousands of Palestinians sought refuge Saturday after Israel warned them to evacuate the northern Gaza Strip ahead of an expected ground offensive against Hamas, one week after the deadliest attack in Israel’s history.
“Nothing can justify the horrific loss of civilian lives in Israel last weekend… but such tragedy cannot in turn justify the limitless destruction of Gaza,” the Red Cross statement said.
“We are deeply alarmed by the call for relocation in Gaza. Our volunteers refuse to leave and abandon those who need them most. They must be protected — so that they can protect others.”
The joint statement was issued by the heads of both branches of the Red Cross Movement: Jagan Chapagain of the IFRC and Robert Mardini of the ICRC.
Hamas militants killed more than 1,300 people in the attack on Israel, sparking a massive retaliatory bombing campaign, targeting the Islamist group, that has killed over 2,200 in Gaza.
Alarm has grown over the fate of Palestinian civilians in blockaded and besieged Gaza if it becomes the scene of intense urban combat.
The Red Cross chiefs said there was “devastating” human suffering on all sides, and in international humanitarian law, “there is no hierarchy in pain and suffering.”
“These rules exist to help preserve humanity in the darkest moments, and they desperately need to be followed today. They are and should remain our compass to ensure that we put humanity first,” the statement said.
“The Movement is committed to continuing to provide protection and life-saving relief to the people suffering the horrors of the ongoing violence.
“The needs are staggering and will only continue to increase if the hostilities persist. We call on all parties to exercise restraint, to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law, and to protect civilians.”


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