Fri. Feb 23rd, 2024

Gaza: l’ UN calls to guarantee the activities of UNRWA | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN.

Agence France-Presse

The head of the United Nations called on Sunday to guarantee the continuation of the activities of the Palestinian refugee agency (URWA), at the center of a controversy linked to the October 7 attack perpetrated by Hamas from the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli army continues its offensive on Khan Younes.

The Israeli army spoke of intense fighting in the large city in the south of the Palestinian territory, saying it had eliminated terrorists and seized large quantities of weapons.

In New York, Antonio Guterres called on donor countries that have suspended their funding to UNRWA to at least guarantee the continuation of its activities, essential in the small, besieged and overpopulated territory.

Two million civilians in Gaza depend on critical aid from UNRWA for their survival on a daily basis, but UNRWA's current funding will not allow it to meet all needs in February.

A quote from Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-General

Several countries, including the United States and Germany, the two largest contributors, suspended further aid to UNRWA after Friday's announcement that twelve of its employees were suspected of being involved in the crime. having participated in the bloody Hamas attack in southern Israel on October 7.

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A truck from the 'United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) carrying fuel arrives on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing with the Gaza Strip, November 2023.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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This unprecedented attack resulted in the deaths of around 1,140 people in Israel, mostly civilians, according to an AFP count based on official Israeli figures.

In response, Israel launched a vast military operation that left 26,422 dead, the vast majority of them women, children and adolescents, according to the report released on Sunday by the Hamas Ministry of Health.

Israel has vowed to annihilate the Islamist movement, classified as terrorist by the United States, x27;European Union and Israel.

Mr. Guterres confirmed that 12 UNRWA employees were involved in the extremely serious accusations, which are the subject of an internal UN investigation.

The agency has separated from nine of them, one is confirmed dead, and the identity of the other two is being clarified, he said.

The alleged despicable actions of these employees must have consequences, but should not penalize the tens of thousands of men and women who work for the agency, he stressed.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">Israeli UN Ambassador Gilad Erdan accused Guterres of choosing to ignore evidence #x27;UNRWA involvement in incitement and terrorism.

Hamas, which took power in Gaza in 2007, has denounced threats against the agency.

An UNRWA shelter was the target of deadly gunfire on Wednesday in Khan Younes. Considered by Israel as a stronghold of Hamas, this city is now at the heart of the war.

The fighting takes place in particular around the Nasser and al-Amal.

About 350 patients and 5,000 displaced people were at Nasser Hospital on Saturday, short of fuel, food and supplies, according to Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, surgical operations are suspended at al-Amal hospital due to lack of oxygen.

South of Khan Yunis, more than 1.3 million displaced Gazans are massed in Rafah in desperate conditions, against the closed border with Egypt, according to the UN.

The streets where wastewater flows are filled with hundreds of thousands of tents, paltry shelters against the torrential rains of recent days, according to a journalist from the ;AFP.

The city was not spared from bombs either. There is no safe place in the Gaza Strip. Everything that is said is false, testifies Mohammed Al-Chaer, a resident, in his devastated neighborhood.

On the 114th day of war, Qatar, Egypt and the United States must restart discussions to reach a new truce, which would include the release of Israeli hostages against Palestinian prisoners.

Some 250 people were kidnapped in Israel during the October 7 attack and taken to Gaza, including around 100 released at the end of November during a truce. According to Israeli authorities, 132 hostages are still being held in the Gaza Strip, including 28 presumed dead.

The director of the CIA, the American intelligence service, will meet in Paris in the coming days with his Israeli and Egyptian counterparts, as well as the Qatari prime minister, to try to reach an agreement, according to a security source.

According to the New York Times, citing American officials, negotiators are due to discuss a draft plan this Sunday in the French capital #x27;agreement that would involve a two-month truce and the release of more than 100 hostages.

Several thousand people demonstrated on Saturday evening in Israel, particularly in Tel Aviv, to demand the return of the hostages and the resignation of the government with a view to new elections.

But in a televised address, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeated his determination: if we do not eliminate the Hamas terrorists [ …], the next massacre is only a matter of time.

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