In the wake of the ongoing conflict in Gaza, Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the Norwegian Council, has issued a stark and impassioned statement condemning the dire humanitarian situation, labeling it as one of the worst assaults on any civilian population in our time. The secretary paints a grim picture of the Gaza Strip, where nearly two million people find themselves displaced, with two-thirds of homes damaged or destroyed.
In Egeland’s eyes, the relentless air, land, and sea attacks have forced thousands of families to relocate from one perilous zone to another, crowding more than 750,000 people into a mere 133 shelters. The dire conditions are exacerbated by the onset of winter rains and infectious diseases, with public health services paralyzed. Even the aid workers, dedicated individuals who strive to alleviate the suffering, are not spared from living on the streets, as one staff member is forced to do with her two-month-old baby.
The pressing question raised by those on the ground in Gaza is how these atrocities can be broadcasted across the world, yet there seems to be a lack of substantial action to halt them. Egeland points the finger at countries supporting Israel with arms, warning that these civilian deaths will leave a permanent stain on their reputations. He calls for an immediate ceasefire in both Israel and Gaza, emphasizing that only such a cessation of hostilities will enable effective relief for the two million people in desperate need.
The situation is further exacerbated by severe restrictions on aid access, leading to starvation among Gaza’s population and intensifying an already dire humanitarian crisis. The Norwegian Council has been forced to halt nearly all aid operations due to the bombardment, chaos, and panic. This plea for a ceasefire and accountability is not only a call for justice for the victims but also a plea to prevent further deterioration of the humanitarian situation.
Egeland insists on accountability for those responsible for the killings, torture, and atrocities committed in Israel, stating that the military campaign cannot be justified as ‘self-defense’ under international law. The secretary also demands accountability from political and military leaders and those providing arms and support.
The international community is urged to recognize that the killing of thousands of innocent children and women, the siege on an entire civilian population, and the trapping of bombarded civilians behind closed borders in Gaza are crimes that demand justice. Moreover, Egeland calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages, emphasizing that innocent lives and the ability of aid workers to reach the vulnerable should never be used as bargaining chips.