Two-day extension to humanitarian pause in Gaza is not enough, charities say

A Red Cross convoy carrying Israeli hostages (Hatem Ali/AP)
A Red Cross convoy carrying Israeli hostages (Hatem Ali/AP) A Red Cross convoy carrying Israeli hostages (Hatem Ali/AP)

A two-day extension to the humanitarian pause in the Gaza Strip is insufficient to meet the needs of people there, charities have said as they called for an immediate ceasefire.

The Qatari government announced on Monday that Israel and Hamas had agreed to “extend the humanitarian pause” for two more days.

Further releases of Israeli hostages and Palestinian prisoners in Israel’s jails are expected as the deal is structured to allow more exchanges for every day the pause holds.

On Monday night, ActionAid welcomed a longer pause but warned it will not be enough to help women and girls sheltering in camps in southern Gaza. 

It claimed the delivery of 187 trucks of aid in recent days “utterly fails” to meet the needs of Palestinians in the territory and amounts to less than half the amount of aid allowed in before the war.

One mother displaced in southern Gaza told the charity: “We came to the school to find a mattress, blanket, or anything to cover ourselves with.

“We did not find any of this. We slept on the floor. We sleep without pillows and without blankets. The one blanket we have we put on the children.

“My sister recently gave birth, about two weeks ago. She could not find a blanket to cover her newborn with.

“Cold and rain are upon us, and there is no fresh water. We can’t find food to feed the children.

“We go to the market and are surprised by the prices. They are unimaginable.”

Riham Jafari, advocacy and communication co-ordinator for ActionAid Palestine, said: “We welcome the announcement of a two-day extension to the truce in Gaza to give extra time to deliver much-needed aid … but again, only a ceasefire can meet the huge needs of millions of people.

“Until then, pauses can only provide a short relief from the relentless bombing and a tiny window to get in a fraction of the aid needed.”

Plan International, which advocates for children’s rights and equality for girls, described the extension to the pause as “another positive step” but called for an end to hostilities.

The charity’s UK director of influencing and youth engagement, Kathleen Spencer Chapman, said: “The announcement of an extended two-day pause to the conflict in Gaza and the release of more hostages is another positive step.

“However, only a full and immediate ceasefire will stop children being killed and enable the scale of life-saving aid and supplies – such as desperately needed clean water, food, fuel and medicines – needed to be distributed across Gaza.

“A pause only offers children and families a temporary reprieve from the violence.

ISRAEL Gaza (PA Graphics)

“We cannot allow children to return to the daily death and destruction they have been subjected to since October 7. 

“That’s why we continue to call on the UK Government and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to back a full ceasefire now and not just a pause.”

Save the Children International wrote: “We welcome the release of some Israeli children held hostage in Gaza and Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention.

“But we still need all hostages to be released unconditionally, for children in Israeli-run prisons to be better protected and a lasting ceasefire now.”

Its international chief executive Inger Ashing said: “A few days’ pause in fighting won’t keep children safe.

“We cannot let a whole generation of children bear the brunt of this conflict. We need a lasting ceasefire now.”