The Middle East is in a deeply worrying situation. Since the beginning of October, the people in this region have once again been confronted with a shocking escalation of violence. Helvetas is following these tragic events with dismay and horror.
On October 7, Hamas carried out a massacre against the Israeli population. 1,400 people were murdered, tortured and raped. Thousands were injured. Over 200 people, including children, are being held hostage by Hamas. Helvetas condemns these atrocities in the strongest possible terms.
The heavy bombardment of the Gaza Strip by the Israeli army in response to the Hamas attack has claimed over 10,000 lives to date. Hospitals and aid workers are completely overwhelmed by the number of casualties. Most of the victims are civilians. Entire residential areas have been destroyed. The population of the Gaza Strip is facing a humanitarian catastrophe. Helvetas strongly and resolutely condemns the extent of Israel's acts of war.
Helvetas appeals to the parties involved in the conflict to ensure the safety of the civilian population and unhindered access to vital resources such as food, water and medical care. The hostages held by Hamas must be released immediately and unconditionally. We demand that all warring parties respect international humanitarian law.
Helvetas has programs in Lebanon and Jordan but is not present in the Gaza Strip. Some Alliance Sud partners are providing urgent and valuable humanitarian aid to the hard-hit population in the Gaza Strip. Swiss Solidarity is appealing for donations to support the work of Swiss humanitarian organizations.
In these difficult times, it is of the utmost importance that we work together for peace and human rights, and to alleviate the suffering of the people affected in the Middle East and oppose all forms of racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia.