ActionAid Australia welcomes UN resolution on Gaza, but warns Israel’s decision to block aid “a death sentence”

ActionAid Australia welcomes UN resolution on Gaza, but warns Israel’s decision to block aid “a death sentence” for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians on the brink of famine.


ActionAid Australia has welcomed the UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, but says the resolution does not go far enough — and cautions that Israel’s decision to block United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) aid and cease working with the agency will push Palestinians further towards famine. 

Overnight, UNRWA announced that Israel had barred it from delivering aid to northern Gaza with an Israeli official also announcing today that it will cease working with UNRWA entirely, further jeopardising an already challenged humanitarian system. The Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) has warned that 70% of people in the north are on the brink of famine as ongoing hostilities, mass forced displacement, and restricted humanitarian access have exacerbated the situation for millions across Gaza.   

Michelle Higelin, Executive Director at ActionAid Australia said: 

“We welcome the long overdue resolution by the UN Security Council to call for a ceasefire in Gaza, but it does not go far enough. Australians have been clear in their support for a ceasefire because we want to see an end to the ongoing horror of this conflict. Nothing short of a permanent and unconditional ceasefire – which Australia should call for – will ensure that vital medical supplies, food and water can be distributed throughout Gaza at the enormous scale needed to prevent further atrocities. 

“Israel’s shocking announcement overnight that it will block UNRWA from providing critical assistance will have a devastating impact on the growing threat of starvation in Gaza. As a funder and supporter of UNRWA, the Australian Government must denounce this and call on Israel to reverse its decision. At a time when almost two million people in Gaza are displaced, Israel’s move to deny Palestinians urgent aid will have life threatening consequences.” 

Riham Jafari, Advocacy and Communications Coordinator at ActionAid Palestine said: “We are utterly horrified and outraged to see Israel pull the plug on the most vital lifeline for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza on the brink of famine right now. With severe hunger claiming children’s lives and severely malnourished women giving birth to stillborn babies, Israel’s decision to cease working with UNRWA is nothing short of a death sentence for those living through immense hunger and suffering. 

“UNRWA is the beating heart of the humanitarian response and the only agency with the ability to deliver aid across Gaza at scale. Yet Western leaders have neither condemned this decision nor compelled Israel to act meaningfully in the face of imminent famine in the north. Lives that are hanging in the balance cannot wait a day longer. The international community must oppose this disastrous decision, fully and immediately restore funding to UNRWA, and push for a lasting ceasefire in Gaza.” 

Ahead of this latest decision, Israeli authorities had already blocked thousands of tonnes of aid crossing the Rafah border, with Egyptian Red Crescent officials claiming that 2,400 trucks carrying lifesaving aid are sitting motionless in the Egyptian city of Al Arish, some 50 kilometres from Gaza, due to excessive red tape. An average of 165 trucks per day have made their way across the border in recent weeks — under a third of what UN officials say Gaza needs to prevent further death from malnutrition and starvation.