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Gaza faces dire humanitarian crisis amid ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict – UN

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Gaza faces dire humanitarian crisis amid ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict – UN

In a stark warning issued on Friday, the United Nations raised concerns about the dire humanitarian consequences of Israel’s ongoing blockade on the Gaza Strip. Philippe Lazzarini, the commissioner-general for the UN Agency for Palestinian Refugees, emphasized that the people of Gaza are not only enduring the direct impact of bombings and strikes but are also on the brink of more fatalities due to the severe repercussions of the siege.

“Basic services are crumbling, medical supplies are running critically low, and essential provisions like food and water are in short supply. The streets of Gaza are beginning to overflow with sewage. As we speak, people in Gaza are losing their lives.”

Israeli forces closed the Al-Aqsa Mosque during Friday prayers, resulting in significantly reduced attendance. At the Lion’s Gate, a customary entrance to Al-Aqsa, there were reports of Israeli police physically abusing individuals attempting to enter for prayer.

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According to Gaza’s health authority, at least 7,326 Palestinians, including 3,038 children, have lost their lives in Israeli strikes on Gaza since October 7. In the past day alone, Israeli air raids claimed the lives of at least 481 people.

The UN’s refugee agency also reported that 14 of its staff members had been killed in Gaza over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of staff casualties in the conflict to 53. The dwindling stocks of medicine and fuel pose a significant threat to the continuity of health services in the region.

Meanwhile, the United Nations General Assembly voted on a resolution calling for a humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza. The resolution, sponsored by Jordan, garnered support from 140 member states, with 14 voting against it and 45 abstaining. It calls for the protection of civilians and the provision of aid into the besieged enclave.

However, it’s essential to note that the resolution is non-binding and may not necessarily influence both parties in the ongoing conflict – Israel and Gaza. The United States and Israel voted against the resolution, while the UK and France surprisingly abstained, deviating from their alignment with the US throughout the conflict.

READ ALSO: The plight of Palestine and the quest for justice

An earlier amendment to the resolution sponsored by Canada, which sought to condemn Hamas for the October 7 attack on Israeli civilians and for holding hostages, was rejected as it failed to secure the two-thirds majority vote required from member states. The amendment also aimed to label Hamas a terrorist organization.

The timing of the vote coincided with Israel’s announcement that it would expand its ground incursion into the Gaza Strip. Additionally, reports emerged of Israel targeting communication infrastructure in Gaza, leading to a collapse in communication within the strip.

Both major Palestinian mobile networks, Jawwal and Paltel, reported the disruption of phone lines and internet services, attributing it to heavy Israeli bombardment.

Furthermore, Palestinian Ambassador to Nigeria, Abdallah Abu Shawash, expressed strong condemnation of Israel’s actions in Gaza, pointing out that the conflict has resulted in the deaths of Christians and the destruction of the oldest orthodox church in the Gaza Strip. He also highlighted that the Baptist Al Ahli Hospital had been bombed and destroyed by the Israelis, underscoring that this conflict is not limited to battling Hamas but is also significantly impacting Palestinian civilians. Ambassador Abdallah made these remarks during his visit to Kaduna, where he was invited by a local Islamic scholar, Dr. Ahmad Gumi.

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