Age International statement on Israel and Gaza
Published on 16 October 2023 01:00 PM
We are deeply distressed by the escalating conflict and growing number of civilian casualties in Israel and Gaza. Targeting civilians of all ages, including children and older people, depriving them of access to food and water, taking them hostage, and issuing evacuation directives that many – especially older people and people with disabilities – cannot possibly follow, can never be justified. International Humanitarian Law must be upheld by all parties, at all times.
On the morning of Saturday, 7th October, Hamas launched a mass attack on Israeli civilians, killing more than 1,300 people and injuring over 3,400 people. Well over a hundred Israeli civilians, including older people, have been taken hostage.
In Gaza, over 2,329 Palestinians have been killed and 9,714 wounded by Israeli airstrikes in response to the Hamas attacks. The airstrikes have caused enormous destruction of homes, schools, hospitals and telecommunication systems, and many thousands of Gazans have been made homeless. In addition, access to energy, food and water in Gaza has become extremely difficult, if not impossible. A humanitarian disaster looms.
Age International works with five local partner organisations in Gaza, all of which focus on supporting older people. We are distraught that one organisation’s office building has been bombed and destroyed.
Approximately 110,000 older people live in Gaza. In 2021, our partner HelpAge International assessed that:
- 97% had at least one health condition
- 80% used or required medicine or medical items
- 86% had at least one disability
This means they are a group at greatest risk at the best of times, let alone now. The older people trapped in Gaza are exposed in terms of their health, wellbeing and their very survival. For some it is already too late.
The immediate priorities must be to end the violence on all sides, and to restore access to food, water, energy, medical attention and shelter to older Gazans, and to all civilians living there.
Ultimately, however, there must be peace and justice for all parties. This can only come about through political negotiation, not conflict.
We call on the UK Government to work urgently with its international allies to bring about a situation in which all hostilities cease, all hostages are released, and the emergency aid which is desperately needed in Gaza is made immediately available.
Age International stands in solidarity with our partners and all those working to deliver humanitarian support.
Calling for a ceasefire
Ask your MP to call on the Prime Minister to press for an immediate ceasefire. Life-saving humanitarian aid must reach those in need - including older people and people with disabilities