Peace and Security

“Gaza: Civilians and Aid Workers Left Hanging, Security Council Hears”

Briefing the Council on the current situation on the ground, Ramesh Rajasingham, coordination director with UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, and Janti Soeripto of the non-governmental organization (NGO) Save the Children, outlined the latest impact of the devastation that has followed the Hamas-led terror attack on Israel last October, which left more than 1,200 people dead and more than 240 taken hostage.

Mr. Rajasingham said more than 32,000 Palestinians have been killed, another 75,000 injured and 1.7 million people – two thirds of the enclave’s population – “forcibly displaced” to Rafah in the south.

Killing aid workers

Intense Israeli bombardment and fighting continues, with Israel still apparently intent on a military operation in Rafah to root out Hamas fighters.

At the same time, Israel’s siege has left Al-Shifa Hospital “almost entirely destroyed”, and the lack of protection for aid workers is tragically evident, he said, pointing to Israel’s deadly attack killing seven World Central Kitchen workers on Monday.

“Sadly, we cannot say that this tragic attack was an isolated incident in this conflict,” he said, extending condolences to those killed. “They join more than 220 of our humanitarian colleagues who have been killed, 179 of them UN personnel.”

This pattern of conduct calls into serious question the parties’ compliance with international humanitarian law, he said, emphasizing that allegations of serious violations must be investigated and the suspects prosecuted.

‘No protection’

“The undeniable lack of protection for aid missions has forced World Central Kitchen and at least one other aid organization – the [non-governmental organization] NGO Anera – to suspend their operations, he said, adding that both organizations provide hundreds of thousands of people in Gaza with food each week. “It is unclear when their work will resume.”

In addition, “it is clear there is no protection of civilians in Gaza,” he added.

“If they have no protection from the dangers of armed conflict there, they must be allowed to seek it elsewhere, he said, emphasizing that it is vital to recall that any persons displaced from Gaza must be guaranteed the right to voluntarily return, as international law demands.

Hunger and Israel’s crackdown on UNRWA

In northern Gaza, one in six children in Gaza are severely malnourished, and more than 30 people have died of starvation, requiring immediate action, he said, adding that the primary obstacle is getting aid distributed. A “serious limiting factor” is that the UN agency for Palestinians, UNRWA, which is “the backbone of the humanitarian response”, has not been allowed to operate in the north of Gaza.

“If we are to stave off famine and address the unconscionably catastrophic humanitarian situation in Gaza, UNRWA – and indeed all impartial humanitarian organisations – must have safe, rapid, unimpeded access to all civilians in need. There is simply no replacement for the services UNRWA provides,” he stressed.

‘This tragedy cannot be allowed to continue’

The situation continues despite the provisional order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) requiring Israel to take all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, the unhindered provision at scale of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance and the Security Council’s resolutions demanding a ceasefire and increased aid shipments.

“This tragedy cannot be allowed to continue,” he said. “All hostages must be immediately released and treated humanely until they are.”

Likewise, the people of Gaza need full compliance with international humanitarian law and with the ICJ’s orders, he said.

“They need compliance with the decisions of this Council, and they most of all need this devastating war to end.”

More to come…

Source

13 Comments

  1. Unfortunately, the lack of protection for aid workers in Gaza is deeply concerning. It is disheartening to hear about the deadly attack that killed seven World Central Kitchen workers. Such incidents highlight the urgent need for better safeguarding measures and respect for international humanitarian law in conflict zones.

  2. As an experienced journalist, it is heartbreaking to hear about the devastating impact of the conflict in Gaza. It is unacceptable that civilians and aid workers are being left defenseless in such a volatile situation. International humanitarian law must be upheld, and those responsible for the attacks on innocent people and aid workers must be held accountable.

  3. Is there any information on the specific measures being taken to ensure the safety of aid workers in such volatile conditions as described in the article?

    1. Emily, the safety of aid workers in Gaza is a critical concern at this moment. The ongoing conflict has put these humanitarian workers at great risk, as evidenced by the recent tragic attack on World Central Kitchen workers. It is imperative that all parties involved prioritize the protection of aid workers and adhere to international humanitarian law to prevent further loss of life.

  4. Can anyone confirm the specific actions being taken to ensure the safety and protection of aid workers in such dangerous conditions?

    1. EmilySmith, in response to your query about the safety of aid workers in Gaza, the situation remains dire with ongoing violence and attacks. Concrete measures must be taken by all parties involved to safeguard the lives of those providing essential humanitarian assistance. It is imperative that international laws protecting aid workers are respected and enforced to prevent further tragedies. Stay safe and thank you for your concern.

  5. It is truly devastating to hear about the civilians and aid workers caught in the crossfire in Gaza. The loss of innocent lives and the destruction of vital infrastructure is heart-wrenching. It is crucial for all parties involved to ensure the safety and protection of aid workers who are risking their lives to help those in need. International humanitarian law must be respected, and those responsible for any violations must be held accountable.

  6. How can the international community ensure the safety and protection of aid workers in such dangerous conflict zones?

    1. Ensuring the safety and protection of aid workers in conflict zones is a critical priority that requires coordinated efforts from the international community, local authorities, and humanitarian organizations. Training programs, clear communication channels, and robust security protocols are indispensable in mitigating risks faced by aid workers. Additionally, holding accountable those responsible for attacks on humanitarian personnel is essential to deter future incidents and uphold international humanitarian law.

  7. It is heartbreaking to hear about the devastating impact on civilians and aid workers in Gaza. The loss of innocent lives and the lack of protection for those providing essential humanitarian assistance is truly alarming. We need to ensure that all parties involved adhere to international humanitarian law and work towards a peaceful resolution to prevent further tragedies like this from occurring.

  8. It is heart-wrenching to hear about the tragic loss of lives and destruction caused by the conflict. The targeting of aid workers is particularly concerning and should be strongly condemned. All parties involved must prioritize the safety and well-being of civilians and humanitarian personnel in the region.

  9. It is heartbreaking to see the continuous loss of life and destruction in Gaza. The killing of aid workers is a dire consequence of the ongoing conflict. International humanitarian law must be upheld, and those responsible for these atrocities must be held accountable. My thoughts are with all the innocent victims caught in the midst of this senseless violence.

  10. It’s heartbreaking to see the ongoing devastation and loss of lives in Gaza. The targeting of aid workers is a deplorable act that cannot be justified under any circumstances. The international community must ensure accountability for these atrocities and work towards a peaceful resolution to end the suffering of innocent civilians.

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