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Risk of famine in Gaza, a vote at the UN on aid to the Palestinians expected on Friday | Middle East, the eternal conflict

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The UN fears a famine in Gaza where humanitarian aid is struggling to reach Palestinian civilians.

Agence France-Presse

After more than two months of war, the UN has warned of a risk of famine in the Palestinian territory of Gaza subjected to new deadly Israeli strikes on Friday, pending a vote in the Security Council to increase aid.

According to the health ministry of the Islamist movement Hamas, more than 410 Palestinians have been killed in the past 48 hours in the Gaza Strip, including 16 on Friday in a bombing that hit their home in Jabaliya and five, including four members of the Hamas movement. the same family including a little girl in an attack on their car in Rafah.

The war between Israel and Hamas, triggered by an unprecedented bloody attack by the Palestinian group on Israeli soil on October 7, has seen no respite despite international pressure, with the protagonists remaining adamant in their conditions for a humanitarian truce.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">However, UN organizations continue to warn of the catastrophic situation of the civilian population in the overpopulated 362 km2 territory, where Israeli bombardments by air, land and sea have destroyed entire neighborhoods and displaced 1.9 million people, or 85% of the population according to the UN.

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Thick smoke billows from northern Gaza, seen from the Israeli side of the border, on December 21, 2023.

Middle East, the eternal conflict

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It was from Gaza, subject to an Israeli blockade for more than 16 years, that Hamas launched its attack on the south of neighboring Israel, which left around 1,140 dead, mostly civilians, according to a AFP count based on Israeli toll. Palestinian commandos also kidnapped around 250 people, 129 of whom are still being held in Gaza, according to Israel.

In response, Israel vowed to destroy Hamas, considered a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union. Its army relentlessly shells Gaza where at least 20,057 people, mostly women and children, have been killed and more than 50,000 injured according to a latest report from the Hamas government.

Gaza residents will face high risks of food insecurity and even famine over the next six weeks, a report from the Gaza Hunger Monitoring System warned on Thursday. #x27;UN.

About half the population is expected to be in the emergency phase – which includes very high acute malnutrition and excess mortality – by February 7 and at least one in four families, or more than half a million people, will face phase 5, or catastrophic conditions, according to the report.

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Palestinian children queue to receive food prepared by a charity kitchen last week.

Two days after the attack by Hamas which took power in Gaza in 2007, Israel subjected the territory to a total siege and controls all aid to it enters via the Rafah crossing (south) on the border with Egypt, and another called Kerem Shalom between Gaza and Israel.

Hundreds of trucks have been authorized to enter the territory, but the aid is considered insufficient by NGOs and the UN and its distribution remains very uncertain due to Israeli shelling and street battles between Israeli soldiers. and Palestinian fighters.

In addition, only nine of Gaza's 36 hospitals are still partially functioning, according to the World Health Organization (WHO ).

In addition to aerial bombardments, the Israeli army launched a ground offensive on October 27 in the north of the Gaza Strip which allowed it to advance south and take several sectors.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">On Friday, she deplored the death of two soldiers, bringing the number of her soldiers killed in Gaza to 139.

In neighborhoods of Gaza City, including Shujaiya, fighting between soldiers and fighters takes place from street to street, often from building to building. Israel regularly announces the destruction of tunnels, Hamas infrastructure and the seizure of weapons, and the Palestinian movement announces the destruction of Israeli tanks and military vehicles.

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The Israeli armed forces released these images of their forces in combat in early December.

The army gave a new evacuation order on Friday to residents of the Bureij refugee camp (center) and surrounding neighborhoods. For your safety, you should immediately go to Deir el-Balah, further south.

As evacuation orders and military operations multiply and civilians are subjected to relentless attacks, the only logical conclusion is that the Israeli military operation in Gaza aims to expel the majority of the population en masse. civilian population, judged in a press release the UN special rapporteur for the displaced, Paula Gaviria Betancur, an independent expert who does not speak on behalf of the UN.

< p class="StyledBodyHtmlParagraph-sc-48221190-4 hnvfyV">The Israeli air force again targeted Rafah, where hundreds of thousands of displaced people took refuge after orders from the army to go to the south to avoid bombing.

We were at home with the kids, and suddenly, around 3:30 a.m., we heard something like an earthquake. The house collapsed on us and we started running […] The occupation is lying, this area is supposed to be the safest, but they hit it. There is no safe place, says Shehda al-Kurd, a resident of Rafah.

Before the blockade and the siege of the gang from Gaza, Israel occupied the Palestinian territory from 1967 to 2005, the year of its unilateral withdrawal.

In this explosive context, the efforts of Egyptian and Qatari mediators are continuing to try to reach a new truce, after that of a week at the end of November which allowed the release of 105 hostages and 240 Palestinians detained by Israel and the #x27;delivery of more aid.

But the belligerents remain intransigent.

Hamas demands a stop to the fighting before any negotiations on the hostages. Israel is open to the idea of ​​a truce, but rules out any ceasefire before the elimination of Hamas.

In New York, a new text now watered down to the taste of the Americans who did not want a call for a cessation of hostilities should be approved in principle on Friday at the UN Security Council.

Since Monday, its members have been trying to agree on a text to avoid a veto by the United States, Israel's allies.

Without forgetting the fears of the conflict spilling over and rekindled tensions beyond the region.

On Israel's border with Lebanon, sometimes deadly exchanges of fire between the Israeli army and Lebanese Hezbollah, an ally of Hamas, are daily.

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