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5 Apr, 2024 21:31

‘Scattered measures’ not enough to save Gaza – UN chief

Israel must do more than temporarily open one border crossing, a ‘paradigm shift’ is needed, Antonio Guterres has said
‘Scattered measures’ not enough to save Gaza – UN chief

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a “meaningful increase” in the amount of aid allowed into Gaza, arguing that the “scattered measures” adopted by Israel are not enough to save the enclave’s population from malnutrition and disease.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed on Friday to allow humanitarian aid deliveries into northern Gaza through the Erez checkpoint, which had been closed since Israel imposed a near-total siege on the strip after Hamas attacked the Jewish state on October 7.

Netanyahu stressed that the opening would be “temporary,” and would allow in enough aid “to prevent a humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.

“It’s not enough to have scattered measures – we need a paradigm shift,” Guterres told reporters in New York on Friday. 

Since the beginning of the Israel-Hamas war, aid has only been delivered to Gaza via the Rafah crossing between Egypt and the south of the enclave. However, Cairo allows Israel to determine when the crossing can be opened, and Israeli troops inspect every truck that passes.

Recalling his visit to Rafah last month, Guterres noted that “long lines of trucks loaded with humanitarian aid continue to face obstacle after obstacle.”

“When the gates to aid are closed, the doors to starvation are opened,” he declared.

A UN-backed report warned last month that more than 70% of Gaza’s 2.3 million residents are facing “catastrophic hunger,” and that famine conditions now exist in the northern part of the strip.

“This is incomprehensible and entirely avoidable,” Guterres stated.

Israel has faced an international backlash after its military killed seven humanitarian workers in a drone strike on a clearly-marked aid convoy on Monday. Amid reports that the convoy was deliberately targeted, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) issued a rare admission of guilt on Friday, announcing that two senior officers involved in ordering the strike had been sacked.

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