UN claims Israel is targeting food convoys

The UN said on April 9 that the Israeli authorities are deliberately impeding and denying more food supplies from getting into Gaza compared to other forms of humanitarian aid, The Guardian reported. 

Given the lack of aid entering the territory, particularly in the north, Israel has been accused by the UN, charities and human rights groups of using starvation as a weapon of war, a clear breach of international law. 

On October 9, 2023, the country’s Defence Minister Yoav Gallant controversially said, “We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza, there will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything will be closed.”  and seemingly referred to the enclave’s 2.2 million inhabitants as “human animals”. 

25% of Gazans are already experiencing conditions akin to famine. Worse still, 70% of people in the north of the territory are enduring catastrophic hunger. 

The United Nations Humanitarian Affairs Office (OCHA) spokesperson Jens Laerke recently said that UN-coordinated food convoys are three times more likely to be denied access to northern Gaza than other convoys from other aid agencies. 

Laerke also refuted Israel’s repeated claims that a high amount of aid is being let in however distribution seems to be the issue. Israel has also baselessly said that Hamas had been hijacking the food and other aid supplies as well as claiming that a dozen UNRWA, the main agency assisting Palestinians, staffers were involved in the October 7 Hamas rampage. 

The unfounded allegations led to the UN agency’s chief Philippe Lazzarini sacking the accused as well as the suspension of much needed funds from over ten countries. 

READ: UN says Israel is holding back food for 1.1 million Gazans

The Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli agency that manages the flow of aid into Gaza, said on April 8 that 741 humanitarian aid trucks had been inspected and allowed into Gaza over the past couple of days, but aid from only 267 trucks had been distributed by UN aid agencies, of which 146 carried food.   

In response to COGAT’s claims Laerke explained, “Counting day to day and comparing makes little sense because it does not take into account the delays that happen at the crossing and the further movement to warehouses. 

“The obligation is on the warring parties, and in particular on Israel as the occupying power of Gaza, to facilitate and ensure humanitarian access does not stop at the border.” 

COGAT has also attempted to downplay the starvation crisis, recently posting pictures on their X (formerly Twitter) account of what they say is fully stocked markets. Critics have said that it remains uncertain if those pictures were even taken in Gaza and have noted that there is no evidence as to when the pictures in question were taken. 

The US State Department said on April 7 that 304 aid trucks had entered Gaza but noted that Biden was pressuring Tel Aviv to let in at least 350 trucks on a daily basis. 

UNRWA spokesperson Jonathan Fowler said in February that 500 trucks of humanitarian aid alone are needed each day to meet the basic needs of the Gazan people.   

Until very recently and before significant American pressure, Israel would usually let in between 100 and 200 aid trucks a day. 

The Guardian 

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