UN BLOG: Israel's aid restrictions to Gaza could be a war crime

The war between Israel and Hamas - 165st day

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Israeli military vehicles in Gaza, Photo: Reuters
Israeli military vehicles in Gaza, Photo: Reuters
Disclaimer: The translations are mostly done through AI translator and might not be 100% accurate.
Ažurirano: 19.03.2024. 21:31h
20: 20h

In the sharpest statement yet, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said today that it is up to Israel to make it a priority to provide humanitarian aid to those in desperate need in the Gaza Strip and that the issue should be raised everywhere, and again called on the Palestinian movement Hamas, against which Israel is at war, to lay down its arms.

The BBC reported that Blinken said that two million people in Gaza were in conditions of "high levels of acute food insecurity" and that it was the first time that an entire population was in such a situation.

Today, in response to a BBC question about the conditions in that Palestinian territory under siege and attacks by Israel, Blinken called on Israel to "put priority on delivering aid to people who are in dire need."

Blinkent made the comments during a visit to the Philippines as US officials announced that he would travel to the Middle East in his sixth visit to the region since the war began in October in an effort to broker a ceasefire deal.

UN agencies have announced that starvation threatens the northern part of the Gaza Strip by May unless there is a pause in the fighting and a major increase in aid deliveries.

Israeli negotiators are due to resume talks in Qatar on Tuesday in a new attempt to reach an agreement with Hamas to end fighting, deliver humanitarian aid and release Israeli hostages.


17: 58h

US and Israeli officials are likely to meet early next week in Washington to discuss Israel's military operation in Rafah, White House spokeswoman Karin Jean-Pierre said, citing deep concern over reports of imminent starvation in Gaza.

Jean-Pierre said Biden has asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to send a senior team of military, intelligence and humanitarian officials to Washington for meetings in the coming days for comprehensive talks.

Details are still being worked out, but the meeting is likely to take place early next week, she said, adding that the White House has urged Israel to do more to allow humanitarian aid to flow to Gaza, which a United Nations report on Monday warned would likely to face starvation in May.

16: 05h

Israel's restrictions on the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip could be a war crime, the UN Office for Human Rights announced today.

"The extent of Israel's ongoing restrictions on the entry of aid into Gaza, together with the manner in which it continues hostilities, could border on the use of starvation as a method of war, which is a war crime," said Jeremy Lawrence, the spokesman for the UN Office for Human Rights today, they reported. agencies.

Israel denies that it obstructs the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip.

On Monday, Israeli government spokesman Aylon Levy claimed on social media that "there is no limit to the amount of aid that can enter Gaza, nor to the lies that people will tell to deny it."

The Integrated Food Security Classification (IPC), a UN-backed organization including the World Food Program and the World Health Organization, said in a report on Monday that 1,1 million people, half of Gaza's population, are facing hunger and that people are suffering from "catastrophic level of hunger".

The report was released after Filipe Lazarini, head of the UN's Palestine Refugee Agency (URWA), said he was not allowed to enter Gaza, where he is supposed to be working to improve the delivery of humanitarian aid.


15: 40h

The head of the Israeli Mossad intelligence service, David Barnea, left Doha after talks aimed at establishing a cease-fire in the war between Israel and Hamas, the spokesman of the Qatari Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Majed al-Ansari, said today.

The spokesperson added that Qatar is nevertheless "cautiously optimistic" and that technical talks between Israel and Hamas continue, and that Qatar is conveying messages to the two sides.

Al-Ansari also said that at this moment he cannot say that the agreement is close, and that it is too early to announce any success, but that Qatar still hopes for it.

He also warned that any Israeli ground operation in Rafah would be a disaster, as the consequences would be great destruction and crimes, as well as that it would set back any negotiations, the Associated Press reported.

Efforts by mediators were stepped up today to reach a ceasefire after more than five months of war that has devastated the Gaza Strip and killed tens of thousands of people and Israel's announcement of an offensive on Rafah, the southernmost town in Gaza.

Meanwhile, UN agencies are warning of the danger of starvation in the besieged territory, which has become an "open-air cemetery," as EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borelj said, France Press reported.

This morning, the Israeli army continued the operation launched a day earlier on the Al-Shifa hospital, the largest in Gaza, claiming that "high-ranking Hamas terrorists" had taken refuge there.

The Israeli army announced today that 50 extremists were killed and 180 people were arrested in the hospital, and that weapons were found, Israeli media reported.

Since the start of the war, hospitals in Gaza have often been targeted by the army, which accuses Hamas of using civilians as human shields.

After several months of unsuccessful efforts by mediators of the US, Qatar and Egypt to reach a truce, the head of the Mossad arrived in Doha on Monday.

American news website Axios reported that the discussions were positive.

Palestinian sources cited by Israeli media said that Israel has not yet responded to Hamas' proposals.


15: 01h

The future Palestinian Prime Minister, Muhammad Mustafa, announced today that he will implement institutional reforms, establish a technocratic government and an independent fund to oversee and finance the reconstruction of the Gaza Strip.

12: 46h

Negotiations on reaching an agreement on the exchange of prisoners between Israel and Hamas officially began with the arrival of the Israeli delegation in Qatar, Anadolia reports.

Israeli media announced that the Israeli delegation in Doha is headed by Mossad chief David Barne.

Barne will return to Israel today, while a high-level Israeli task force consisting of officials from the Mossad, military intelligence and the internal security agency will remain in Qatar for several days.

An unnamed Israeli official said negotiations have begun and will be long, difficult and complex, as well as requiring a lot of patience.

He said that the negotiations could last about two weeks.

The media announced that in the building where the negotiations are taking place, there is a corridor separating the Israeli representatives' room from the Hamas representatives' room and that they are not expected to meet.

On March 14, Hamas announced that it had forwarded a proposal for a cease-fire and prisoner exchange agreement with Israel to mediators in Qatar and Egypt.

Then the media office of the Israeli prime minister announced that the demands of Hamas in that offer were irrational.


11: 12h

At least 31.819 Palestinians have been killed and 73.934 wounded since October 7 last year in the Israeli military offensive in the Gaza Strip, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-ruled territory.

About 90 Palestinians were killed and 142 were wounded in the past 24 hours, the ministry added in a statement, according to agencies.

Along with the latest casualty balance of the ministry in Gaza, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs announced that at least 419 Palestinians have been killed since October 7 in the other Palestinian territory occupied in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and that 4.690 have been wounded, including 724 children.

Israeli security forces and Jewish settlers are held responsible for the killings and injuries.

Israel started the offensive on Gaza after the attack by Palestinian extremists from Gaza on southern Israeli territory, in which about 1.140 people were killed, according to France Presse, and more than 250 hostages were kidnapped and taken to Gaza.

130 abductees are still in captivity, but it is known that not all of them are alive.

Journalists are not able to independently confirm the balance of victims in this war, which has been going on for more than five months.


09: 57h

Palestinian health officials announced today that at least 20 people were killed last night in Israeli airstrikes in the Rafah and the central part of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Wafa news agency reported that "many civilians, including children and women, were killed in various areas last night in a devastating series of Israeli airstrikes."

Rafa was attacked, where 14 civilians and a house near the Nuseirat refugee camp were killed.

In addition, as Wafa reports, "Israeli artillery continued to shell areas east of the Jabaliya refugee camp in the north."

This information has not been independently verified. Journalists have not been able to find out the number of victims that has been published since October 7 last year, when the war between Israel and Hamas, which rules in Gaza, began.

That day, around 1.200 people were killed and more than 250 kidnapped in southern Israel in surprise attacks by Palestinian extremists from Gaza, led by Hamas.

It is believed that around 100 hostages and the remains of 30 abductees are still in Gaza.

More than 31.000 Palestinians were killed in Gaza in Israeli revenge attacks.


08: 21h

United States (US) Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the visit to the Middle East has several goals, including achieving a truce between Israel and Hamas - a Palestinian group designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union - and the release of hostages.

The aim of the visit, says Blinken, will be "discussion on the appropriate architecture for sustainable regional peace", Reuters reports.

Blinken will remain in the Middle East this week, the State Department said earlier Tuesday.

The top American diplomat will be in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, where he will meet with the high leaders of both countries.

More humanitarian aid to Gaza, as well as talks about what will happen in the Palestinian enclave after the war ends, will be on the agenda of talks between Blinken and Saudi and Egyptian officials.

(Radio Free Europe)

07: 54h

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said last night that an Israeli strike killed Marwan Isa, the deputy leader of the military wing of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, who helped plan the attack on Israel on October 7 last year.

Israel and Hamas have not yet confirmed this, and Sullivan did not say how US intelligence concluded he was killed, and if confirmed, Isa would be the highest-ranking member of Hamas killed in Gaza since the war began.

Israel has killed several Hamas leaders over the years, but they were quickly replaced and there was no apparent impact on the organization's operations.

Sullivan told reporters in Washington that "Isa was killed in an Israeli operation last Sunday."

He was a deputy to Muhammad Deif, the leader of Hamas's military wing, who was said to have survived several assassination attempts before.

The main leader of Hamas in Gaza, who is believed to have masterminded the October 7 attack that sparked the war, is Yahya Sinwar.

Both Sinwar and Deif are believed to be alive and hiding in Gaza, and Israel has vowed to kill them.

Israeli leaders claim that more than 13.000 Hamas fighters have been killed since the start of the war, but have not provided evidence for this.

Gaza's health ministry said on Monday that at least 31.726 Palestinians have been killed in an Israeli offensive since attacks by Palestinian extremists led by Hamas in southern Israel.

That ministry does not differentiate between killed civilians and combatants, but claims that the majority, two-thirds, of those killed are women and children.


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