Published 12/29/2023 1:59 pm | Edited 12/29/2023 14:19
This Friday (29), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) accused the Israeli Army of shooting at one of its humanitarian aid convoys in the Gaza Strip. Although reports indicate that the attack caused no casualties, UNRWA strongly condemned the action, highlighting that humanitarian workers should never be targeted.
UNRWA director in Gaza, Thomas White, reported that Israeli soldiers opened fire on an aid convoy returning from northern Gaza, following a route designated by the Israeli army itself. Although no team members were injured, one vehicle was damaged in the incident.
The persistent difficulty in getting humanitarian aid to Gaza comes despite the United Nations Security Council passing a resolution last week to increase aid.
Martin Griffiths, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, expressed in a post on X that delivering aid to Gaza is an extremely challenging task. He highlighted obstacles such as rigorous inspections, a growing list of rejected items and the difficulty in moving convoys due to constant bombing. Griffiths emphasized that aid workers are being displaced and killed, making the situation impossible for the people of Gaza and those trying to help them.
These attacks on humanitarian convoys come amid an already devastating scenario, in which, earlier, an Israeli attack on the Nuseirat refugee camp resulted in the deaths of at least 20 people, according to reports by the Wafa news agency, citing medical sources. .
UNRWA issued a crucial warning indicating that the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza was below what was needed. With 40% of the local population “at risk of starvation”, the humanitarian situation became increasingly precarious, while Israel hampered the flow of necessary assistance to the beleaguered population.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of displaced people continue to arrive in Rafah, at the southernmost point of Gaza, seeking shelter in the midst of an overwhelmed city. The UN revealed that around 100,000 people have traveled to the area in recent days, and more than half a million people in Gaza face the imminent threat of famine. The escalation of conflicts has resulted in more than 21,000 people being killed in Gaza since the start of the war, with the civilian population being hit hard by Israeli attacks.
Reports such as that by journalist Hossam Shabat, one of the few who still covers the war in Gaza, under constant threats from Israel, says that I woke up to the sound of the moans of cold and pain of a group of young people who were abandoned by the occupation after their capture. “The Israeli army entered the Al-Satafawi clinic, which houses a thousand displaced people, arrested all the men, forced them to undress in the extreme cold and attacked them with beatings and insults. This lasted 11 hours in the cold, without food or clothing. One of the young men confirms that they were subjected to the most barbaric humiliations, the simplest of which was that a soldier urinated on him, denied him water and prevented him from taking his clothes after liberation.”
Displacement of Israelis
Friday is also marked by reports of victims on the oppressive side. As the violence persists, Israelis are also suffering the consequences, with families evacuating their homes near the border with Lebanon due to increasing attacks by the militant group Hezbollah. The commercial director of Abraham Hostels & Tours highlighted the need for an immediate end to the suffering on both sides, highlighting that pain is not the solution, but part of the problem.
In the face of Israel’s genocidal rage, even Hamas hostages were victims of arbitrariness. An investigation into the death of three hostages, shot dead by the Israeli army while holding a stick with a white cloth, concluded that the incident “could have been avoided”. The Israel Defense Forces admitted flaws in the rescue mission and expressed regret at the results.
No disciplinary action would be taken against the soldiers involved. The investigation highlighted that “there was no intent in what happened”, but the actions taken by the soldiers will be re-evaluated.
The target is humanitarian aid
This week demonstrated how Israel’s target is no longer “just the Palestinians”, but rather those who try to help them, even with diplomatic authorization from the UN, which is considered a war crime. Gaza witnesses a series of harrowing events as hospitals, already overwhelmed, also suffer shelling and gunfire. They face supply shortages and limited capacity to care for those injured in Israeli attacks.
The Gaza Ministry of Health, in a statement on Telegram, announced that 20 patients would be allowed to travel to Egypt for emergency treatment, trying to ease pressure on local hospitals. However, Friday morning was marked by an Israeli attack on a residential building near the Kuwait hospital in Rafah, resulting in the deaths of at least 20 Palestinians, most of them women and children, according to witnesses close to Al Jazeera.
Marwan al-Hams, director of Rafah’s Abu Youssef Al Najjar Hospital, called for urgent help, highlighting the need to evacuate the injured for treatment abroad. In northern Gaza, an Israeli military airstrike hit a group of civilians in Beit Hanoon, resulting in more casualties.
Violence against Palestinians in the West Bank, where Hamas has no control, has generated international backlash against Israel. Ireland’s Deputy Prime Minister Micheal Martin called for tougher measures against settlers in the West Bank. Meanwhile, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights Francesca Albanese revealed that 500 Palestinians were killed by Israel in 2023 in that area, highlighting concerns about the escalation of violence and loss of civilian life.
A Hamas delegation planned to visit Cairo to discuss Egypt’s ceasefire plan, while an Israeli war cabinet meeting was canceled due to objections from far-right ministers.
The number of registered bodies reaches 21,313 with reports of 58,721 injuries in hospitals since October 7th. There are already 8,500 children dead (and 4,700 missing), 6,200 women and 695 elderly people. Furthermore, of the personnel who work in humanitarian aid and should be protected in a war situation, the UN authorities count as murdered 310 health professionals, 35 Civil Defense and Rescue soldiers, 103 journalists, 50 UNRWA facilities destroyed and 1 .3 million Palestinians registered as forced displacements to 151 UNRWA facilities.
85% of Gaza’s population has been displaced several times in the last three months, fleeing with everything they could carry. UN facilities are full, several times beyond their maximum capacity. Doctors Without Borders [Médicos Sem Fronteiras, ou MSF] warn that an epidemic is inevitable and, with most hospitals and clinics out of service, when people fall ill they will have nowhere to go.