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Israel to increase humanitarian aid flow into Gaza amidst mounting pressure

Israel’s plan to increase humanitarian aid into Gaza, amidst mounting pressure, includes multiple entry points. This decision follows over five months of conflict, with 576,000 Palestinians at risk of famine, particularly in the north.



aid in Gaza
UNRWA's teams manage warehouse and continue to deliver humanitarian aid in Gaza (Photo: UNRWA)

Israel has announced plans to increase the flow of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip through multiple entry points, according to Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari, a military spokesman on Wednesday (13 Mar).

This decision comes amidst mounting international pressure to address the severe hunger crisis in the besieged enclave.

Following over five months of conflict in Gaza, the United Nations has reported that approximately 576,000 Palestinians, constituting one-quarter of the population, are on the brink of famine.

The situation is particularly dire in the northern regions, where access for aid agencies has been challenging for several months.

There are concerns that without a significant increase in food supplies, the crisis will worsen.

Criticism has been directed at Israel for allegedly not doing enough to facilitate the passage of sufficient aid.

The health ministry in Gaza has reported that 27 individuals, including 23 children, have died due to malnutrition and dehydration in local hospitals.

Israel asserts that it has not imposed limits on aid entry but points to delays caused by aid agencies. However, pressure on Israel to do more has intensified, even from its allies.

Hagari underscored the Israeli military’s commitment to saturate Gaza with humanitarian assistance, stating, “We are trying to flood the area with humanitarian aid.”

He elaborated on plans for continuous aid deliveries through diverse entry points, including land, air, and sea routes.

Notably, during his State of the Union Address on Thursday (7 Mar), President Joe Biden disclosed plans for the US military to construct a temporary port in Gaza to streamline the delivery of humanitarian aid via sea routes.

The recent arrival of six aid trucks from the World Food Organization through the 96th gate in the security fence signifies a tangible step forward in this endeavor.

Acknowledging the complexities involved, Hagari stressed the importance of addressing not only the delivery but also the fair and efficient distribution of aid within Gaza.

He highlighted distribution challenges as a critical aspect of the crisis.

The difficulties in delivering aid safely were underscored by a recent incident in which a convoy of aid trucks was surrounded by thousands of people seeking supplies, leading to troops opening fire.

Tragically, this resulted in over 100 Palestinian fatalities and approximately 700 injuries.

As of the latest update, the death toll over the five-month conflict in Gaza has reached at least 31,272 Palestinians killed and 73,024 injured in Israeli attacks since 7 October. Additionally, the death toll in Israel resulting from Hamas’s 7 October attack stands at 1,139, with dozens remaining held captive.

UNRWA faces attacks amidst Gaza’s humanitarian crisis

In dire need of humanitarian aid, UNRWA, serving as the backbone of the humanitarian response in Gaza, faced a devastating blow as one of its food distribution centers was targeted by Israeli Forces.

UNRWA reported that at least one staff member was killed and 22 others were injured in the attack on a food distribution center located in the eastern part of Rafah, in southern Gaza, as stated in a press release.

UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini condemned the attack, emphasizing the critical nature of the distribution center, especially as food supplies dwindle and hunger escalates, potentially leading to famine in some areas.

“Every day, we share the coordinates of all our facilities across the Gaza Strip with parties to the conflict. The Israeli Army received the coordinates including of this facility yesterday,” said Lazzarini.

Since the onset of the war five months ago, UNRWA has documented an unprecedented number of violations against its staff and facilities, surpassing those seen in any other conflict worldwide.

This grim tally includes the deaths of at least 165 UNRWA team members, numerous facilities being damaged or destroyed, and over 400 individuals losing their lives while seeking refuge under the UN flag.

Additionally, reports have surfaced of tunnels being discovered under UNRWA installations, allegedly used for military purposes, and mistreatment of UNRWA staff in Israeli detention centers.

UNRWA’s plea for the protection of the United Nations and its personnel, facilities, and assets echoes the urgent need for adherence to international humanitarian law.

“I am calling once again for an independent inquiry into these violations and the need for accountability,” added Lazzarini.

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