Gaza: Why a two week ceasefire is not enough

26 Mar 2024

After more than five months, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) finally passed a resolution today calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza during the month of Ramadan, which ends 9 April.

Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been active in calling for an immediate ceasefire—but this resolution for a two-week pause is not enough. 

Gaza

Gazans survey the damage from Israeli airstrikes. © MSF

The resolution passed with 14 votes in favour. The United States—which has vetoed several ceasefire resolutions—abstained from today’s vote, making the passage of the resolution possible. The resolution also calls for the immediate and unconditional release of hostages and “the urgent need to expand the flow” of aid into Gaza.

“After months of delay and at immense cost to the more than two million civilians living in Gaza, the UN Security Council has finally adopted a resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire during the month of Ramadan,” says Avril Benoît, executive director of MSF USA.

“This is a constructive step that must be followed by action, but a two-week ceasefire is not nearly enough time to respond to the overwhelming humanitarian needs. We repeat our urgent demand for a sustained ceasefire now.

The resolution comes two months after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) issued provisional measures ordering Israel to prevent acts of genocide and ensure that basic services and aid reach people in the Gaza Strip. Despite the provisional measures, the humanitarian situation for trapped Gazans remains catastrophic. Israel’s tightened blockade of Gaza hinders the entry of vital supplies, and the provision of aid within the enclave is near impossible due to the complete disregard for the protection and safety of medical and humanitarian staff. This reality is making the humanitarian response in Gaza a mere illusion.  

“The stark absence of humanitarian space and lack of supplies we’re witnessing in Gaza is truly horrific,” says Lisa Macheiner, MSF project coordinator in Gaza. “If people are not killed by bombs, they are suffering from food and water deprivation and dying from a lack of medical care.” 

"...a two-week ceasefire is not nearly enough time to respond to the overwhelming humanitarian needs."

Avril Benoît
Executive Director of MSF USA

In light of the previous resolutions that have been largely disregarded by the Israeli government, Benoît is calling for council members to ensure this ceasefire is carried out.  

"Council members must ensure that the ceasefire is put into action immediately and doesn’t end up being merely words on paper,” she says. 

"We have already seen two Security Council resolutions focused on the humanitarian emergency in Gaza be largely disregarded by the government of Israel. Council members, individually and as a collective, must ensure that the parties comply with the provisions of the resolution. 

"The protection of civilians and of civilian infrastructure, along with humanitarian access, cannot be conditioned on any other issue. Council members must take this opportunity to stop the collective punishment of Gazan civilians.”

MSF teams continue to provide humanitarian and medical care in Gaza where possible, including surgery, post-operative care, maternity care, mental health support and water distribution. But this assistance is being limited by repeated attacks on healthcare facilities and staff, and the aid we are able to provide is minute in comparison to the overwhelming needs. 

We call once again for an immediate and sustained ceasefire, meaningful safety assurances for humanitarian workers, and an end to the inhumane blockade, to ensure people receive lifesaving assistance.

Join us in calling for an enduring ceasefire

A two-week pause is not enough. We need a total ceasefire in Gaza to prevent further civilian deaths and allow aid workers unrestricted access to provide lifesaving medical care.  
 
MSF is calling on governments to unite in their call for an immediate and sustained ceasefire in Gaza. 
 

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