Catalysing a global call for action
On October 7 Hamas unleashed a surprise attack on Israel, killing more than 1,100 people and seizing more than 200 captives.
Israel’s response was swift and relentless. Thousands of people, including children, lost their lives in intense bombing, which struck hospitals, schools and UN compounds, sparking accusations of grave violations of international humanitarian law. With essential supplies of water, electricity and food cut off, the situation escalated into a public health catastrophe.
The situation for civilians in Gaza was variously described by the UN and other officials as ‘unimaginable’, and ‘hellish’. UN emergency relief chief Martin Griffiths described Gaza as the ‘worst ever’ humanitarian crisis he’d experienced. Meanwhile, violence against Palestinians in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, worsened. The UN Secretary-General invoked a rarely used article of the UN Charter to describe the escalating situation as a threat to international peace and security.
Within hours of the Hamas attacks, Crisis Action began to convene and consult partners, launching an emergency response aimed at protecting all civilians. Quickly forging alignment among partners on priorities, we worked to coordinate, mobilise and amplify influential voices on the key messages that were identified by our partners: a ceasefire, the release of hostages, humanitarian access, respect for International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and the need to address the root causes of the conflict.