According to UN Agency “Aid Shipment Blocked in Israeli Port”
Report: Shipment Blocked in Israeli Port says UN Agency
12th February 2024
The main United Nations agency providing aid to Palestinians in Gaza, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), is facing a critical situation. A shipment containing one month’s worth of food for 1.1 million people is currently blocked in the Israeli port of Ashdod, raising concerns about a growing humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The hold-up comes amidst rising tensions between Israel and UNRWA. Israel has accused 12 UNRWA staff members of involvement in a Hamas-led attack in October 2023, leading several donor countries to temporarily suspend funding. UNRWA vehemently denies these accusations and has launched an internal investigation.
“We have an environment here which is for the time being quite hostile to the agency,” said UNRWA head Philippe Lazzarini. He further stated that they were informed by a contractor handling services in the port that they could no longer work with UNRWA due to Israeli authorities’ instructions. This resulted in the blockage of the crucial shipment from Turkey, containing essential supplies like flour, chickpeas, sugar, and cooking oil.
Gaza already faces a dire humanitarian situation, with hundreds of thousands struggling with acute deprivation and hunger. The Israeli blockade restricts the movement of goods and people, severely impacting the economy and basic necessities. This latest development with the blocked aid shipment threatens to exacerbate the crisis further.
UNRWA was established in 1949 following the 1948 war that led to the creation of Israel. Its mandate is to provide assistance and protection to Palestinian refugees who were forced from their homes or fled during the conflict. Over the years, the agency has provided essential services like education, healthcare, and social support to millions of Palestinians across the region.
The current situation raises critical questions about the politicization of humanitarian aid and the impact on vulnerable populations. The Israeli accusations against UNRWA staff remain unproven, and blocking essential supplies based on such allegations raises concerns about collective punishment and the violation of international humanitarian law.
The international community needs to step up and urge Israel to immediately allow the passage of the blocked aid shipment. Additionally, addressing the root causes of the conflict and finding a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian issue is crucial to avoid future humanitarian crises in Gaza and the region.
The UN food aid blockade in the Israeli port highlights the precarious situation in Gaza and the complex challenges faced by UNRWA. Addressing the immediate humanitarian needs while finding a diplomatic solution to the underlying conflict remains paramount to ensure the well-being and dignity of millions of Palestinians.
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