Moral failure

Martin Griffiths
Monday, Feb 26, 2024

The atrocities befalling the people of Gaza – and the humanitarian tragedy they are enduring – are there for the world to see, documented by brave Palestinian journalists too many of them have been killed while doing so. No one can pretend not to know.

No one can pretend not to know either that humanitarian agencies are doing their best: Nearly 160 of our colleagues have been killed, yet our teams continue to deliver food, medical supplies and safe drinking water. We are doing everything we can, despite the security risks, the collapse of law and order, the access constraints and the personal tragedies. Despite the defunding of the largest UN organisation in Gaza. And despite the deliberate attempts to discredit us.

The humanitarian community which I represent has just released a plan outlining what we need to increase the flow of aid into and across Gaza. None of it is unreasonable: security guarantees; a better humanitarian notification system to reduce risks; telecommunication equipment; removal of unexploded ordnance; use of all possible entry points.

But although I have often said that hope is the currency of the humanitarian, I have little hope that the authorities will give us what we need to operate. I want nothing more than to be proven wrong.

We know without a shadow of a doubt that humanitarian agencies will be blamed – we are already being blamed – for the lack of aid in Gaza, despite the courage, commitment and sacrifice of all our teams there.

But make no mistake: The deprivations that the people of Gaza have been enduring are so severe that no amount of aid is enough.

The obstacles we are facing every step of the way are so enormous that we can only provide the bare minimum.

The October 7 attacks on Israel are horrific – I have condemned them repeatedly and will continue to do so. But they cannot justify what is happening to every single child, woman and man in Gaza.

So my message to the G20 foreign ministers this week is clear: We have been pleading with Israel, as the occupying power in Gaza, to facilitate aid delivery – to little or no avail.

We have been calling for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages – to little or no avail.

Today, we implore you, G20 members, to use your political leadership and influence to help end this war and save the people of Gaza. You have the power to make a difference. Use it.

Your silence and lack of action will only lead to more women and children thrown into the open graves of Gaza.

Humanitarian agencies are doing everything they can. Are you?

Excerpted: ‘The world’s moral failure in Gaza should shame us all’.