Gaza Strip: UN to Stay but Demands Better Conditions from Israel

The UN acknowledged the dedication of its workers on the ground amid a conflict that has racked up record numbers of humanitarian casualties, direct attacks on facilities and even a smear campaign against Unrwa, its agency for Palestinian refugees.

On Wednesday, amid continuing obstacles and threats to its humanitarian operation, the United Nations (UN) confirmed its determination to maintain essential support to civilians trapped in the Gaza conflict.

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The UN will not turn its back on the enclave’s population, Secretary-General António Guterres’ spokesman Stephane Dujarric said in a recent statement, dismissing alleged leaks announcing a pause in humanitarian work, but insisting on the need for an effective coordination and de-confliction system for operations throughout Gaza.

Among other actions, Dujarric stressed the need for more permits for essential security equipment commensurate with the risks of working in a war zone as well as the Israeli military’s commitment to facilitate humanitarian assistance and protect humanitarian personnel and facilities.

Denouncing “increasingly intolerable risks”, the UN confirmed several contacts with Cogat, the Israeli agency in charge of coordinating the passage of convoys inside the Strip, to reiterate the challenges faced by its workers and the lack of effectiveness of deliveries. Humanitarians and their operations have been repeatedly targeted in Gaza, Dujarric said, recalling the high death toll among agency members since the outbreak of the current round of hostilities.

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Read the complete report https://t.co/UMb0B1njH4 pic.twitter.com/c8AITuIadR

— UN Palestinian Rights Committee (@UNISPAL) June 26, 2024

“Every day we assess the situation and look at how we can operate safely, both for our own staff, but really, most importantly, for those who receive the aid,” he added.

The UN acknowledged the dedication of its workers on the ground amid a conflict that has racked up record numbers of humanitarian casualties, direct attacks on facilities and even a smear campaign against Unrwa, its agency for Palestinian refugees.

At least 180 Unrwa buildings were damaged or destroyed since 7 October and almost 200 workers were killed as part of the Israeli offensive.

In addition, 500 Gazans were casualties in these attacks while seeking protection under the UN flag at its facilities in Gaza.

Despite these risks, our humanitarian colleagues on the ground are very dedicated in their work to help Gaza’s civilians get help, the agency spokesman stressed, insisting on the need for a ceasefire and the release of the hostages.

The spokesman also rejected Israel’s repeated accusations of a lack of coordination or effectiveness in aid missions that are often held up or delayed at Tel Aviv’s own Defence Forces checkpoints.

“I think blaming those who are trying to help, who are in Gaza without weapons, without real security, seems to me to be a bit of an exaggeration,” the spokesman said in response to Israel’s UN representation.