Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide:

Strong warning against a military operation in Rafah

Gaza is a manmade disaster. Words cannot describe the suffering of the 2.3 million people of Gaza, who have endured extremely difficult circumstances during the past seven months. Despite the many calls from the international community, Israel maintains that a large-scale military operation is imminent, said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.,

‘Therefore, I repeat my strong warning to the Israeli authorities to refrain from moving forward with such a military operation. It would be catastrophic for the population. Providing life-saving humanitarian support would become much more difficult and more dangerous’, said Eide.

‘More than 600.000 children are currently taking shelter in Rafah. They are injured, malnourished and traumatised. Protecting all civilians, and ensuring immediate humanitarian access, is a matter of urgency’. 

‘The more than 1 million who have sought refuge in Rafah have already fled multiple times from famine, death, and horror. They are now being told to move again, but no place in Gaza is safe. There is a desperate need for an immediate ceasefire, which includes the release of all remaining hostages’.

‘I wish to stress the urgent need to ensure safe, rapid, un-impeded and sustained humanitarian access to people in need in all parts of Gaza. All available crossings into Gaza must remain open so that essential supplies, including aid and fuel, can enter Gaza’, said the Foreign Minister. 

‘The 26 January and 28 March orders of the International Court of Justice, stating that Israel must take immediate and effective steps to facilitate humanitarian access, basic services and humanitarian assistance to the population and that Hamas must release all hostages, must be respected’, said Eide.

‘I call on the parties to redouble their efforts to reach a sustainable ceasefire to avoid an even greater catastrophe’, said the Foreign Minister.