The Israeli army intensified attacks against Gaza this Saturday (14). The offensive was intensified after the deadline imposed by the Israeli government for the population to leave their homes by 4 pm local time (10 am Brasília time) expired.
Initially, the deadline announced by Tel Aviv would end at 6pm on Friday (0am on Saturday, local time). However, the Israeli government extended this time by a few more hours.
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The bombings intensified despite calls from the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN), António Guterres, for Israel to avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. “Moving more than 1 million people across a densely populated war zone to a place without food, water or shelter, when the entire territory is under siege, is extremely dangerous and, in some cases, simply impossible,” he said.
The UN special rapporteur on the human rights of internal refugees, Paula Gaviria Betancur, also highlighted that displacement is inconceivable. “Forced population transfers constitute a crime against humanity and collective punishment is prohibited under international humanitarian law,” she said in a statement.
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According to the UN agency in Gaza, one million people have already had to leave their homes in the Gaza Strip since Israel’s bombing of the territory began. However, there are still Palestinian families trying to move south.
The southern border with Egypt is the only land exit from Gaza, but it is closed to Palestinian citizens. The lack of shelters and bunkers in the conflict zone increases the seriousness of the situation. This Saturday, the agreements between Israel and Egypt pointed to the release of passage only for foreigners, which should allow the group of Brazilians in Gaza, for example, to return to Brazil. But Palestinians who do not have a second nationality will not be able to cross the border, according to the agreement being negotiated, brokered by the United States.
The evacuation period in the northern region of the Gaza Strip was one of chaos. Soon after the initial warning, entire groups began to be seen on the streets and roads trying to escape. With suitcases, bundles, mattresses and even animals, people move in motor vehicles in poor condition, carts, bicycles and on foot.
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“Forget food, forget electricity, forget fuel. The only concern now is whether you will make it, whether you will survive,” Nebal Farsakh, spokesman for the Red Crescent, the branch of the Red Cross in Muslim countries, told Al Jazeera news network. According to the agency, he was in tears in the message.
Editing: Geisa Marques