Australian humanitarian sector horrified at Rafah attacks, urges accountability

The Australian Council for International Development

Media release | Wednesday, 29 May 2024

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the peak body for international development and humanitarian action, is horrified by the atrocities in Rafah over the weekend, when Israeli strikes killed at least 45 people, including women and children in a declared “safe zone”.

“The Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) attack on this camp is an indefensible atrocity. Period. There is no safe place in Gaza,” said ACFID’s Chief Executive Officer Marc Purcell.

“The IDF designated the area as a humanitarian safe zone where Gazan civilians should have been protected from Israel’s assault on the region. This appalling breach of international humanitarian law comes just days after the International Court of Justice ordered a binding measure for Israel to end its military offensive in Rafah.”

“The Australian Government made it clear that Rafah was a red line, and that they would not support Israel going ahead with a Rafah invasion. Yet, this alleged red line has not been backed up with any meaningful action. The time for targeted sanctions came long ago, but this cruel and evil attack demands them now,” said Naomi Brooks, ACFID’s Humanitarian Advisor.

“Words of condemnation have ceased to have an impact. When does enough truly become enough? Gazans have been failed by the international community and there is now a permanent stain on our collective conscience.”

“ACFID remains deeply concerned at the almost total blockade of humanitarian assistance since Israel seized control of the Rafah border crossing earlier this month. Today, we reiterate our calls for targeted sanctions against Israeli officials who advocate for starvation as a weapon of war,” said Mr Purcell.

ACFID calls on all parties to the conflict to abide by the rulings of the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice.

ACFID continues to call for an immediate ceasefire by all parties, unrestrained humanitarian access, the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, and the protection of civilians.

/Public Release.