According to the UN, war crimes – such as collective punishment in the Gaza Strip – are occurring in the fighting between Israel and the Hamas Islamists. Here, aid deliveries are like a trickle.
The UN human rights office accuses Israel of war crimes. Withholding electricity and fuel from the more than two million people in the Gaza Strip is a collective punishment. “Collective punishment is a war crime,” said spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani in Geneva.
She added that kidnapping civilians was also a war crime. The radical Palestinian organization Hamas abducted more than 200 people to the Gaza Strip in a terrorist attack on Israel on October 7th.
Humanitarian catastrophe in the Gaza Strip
The collective punishment in the Gaza Strip occurs because the entire population is deprived of water, food, fuel and electricity. The lack of fuel is forcing hospitals and bakeries to close. People lived in refuges in devastating conditions, without clean drinking water and inadequate sanitation.
“A humanitarian catastrophe is looming for the 2.2 million people trapped in the Gaza Strip and being punished collectively,” Shamdasani said. “Israel’s collective punishment of the entire population of Gaza must stop immediately.”
UN: Aid supplies for Gaza are not enough
According to the United Nations, eight more trucks carrying humanitarian aid are expected to arrive in the Gaza Strip today. There is drinking water, food and materials for hospitals on board, said Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.
This is far from enough to alleviate the suffering of the approximately 2.3 million people in the Gaza Strip. According to Hastings, before the latest escalation on October 7, 450 trucks carrying aid were entering the Gaza Strip every day. The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA) had previously spoken of 500 trucks per day.
UN sometimes has access to fuel depots in Gaza
Despite numerous requests, Israel’s military has not yet allowed the delivery of urgently needed fuel, it said. The Israeli side fears that Hamas could misuse the fuel for terrorist purposes and accuses it of withholding its own fuel reserves from the people of the Gaza Strip.
However, the United Nations still has fuel in a warehouse in the Gaza Strip near the Rafah border crossing towards Egypt. Before the Hamas terror attack on Israel on October 7 and Israel’s closure of the Gaza Strip, about a million liters were stored there, said Lynn Hastings, the UN humanitarian coordinator in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. She spoke from Jerusalem via video link to reporters in Geneva.
The UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA) has managed to get around 200,000 liters from the depot in the past few days. However, UNRWA previously needed 130,000 liters per day, for example to support the desalination of drinking water, for hospitals, schools and bakeries.
Terrorists attacked Israel on October 7th on behalf of Hamas and carried out massacres in the border area. Israel then said it began counterstrikes on Hamas targets. Israel wants to free the hostages kidnapped in the Gaza Strip and destroy the ruling Hamas.
Israel fears that aid could fall into the hands of Hamas and that Hamas could use a ceasefire to regroup and arm itself.
I have been working in the news industry for over 6 years, first as a reporter and now as an editor. I have covered politics extensively, and my work has appeared in major newspapers and online news outlets around the world. In addition to my writing, I also contribute regularly to 24 Hours World.