Sunday, January 28, 2024

UN Agency Warns Gaza Aid Operation on Verge of Collapse Due to Funding Cuts | TOME


The UN aid agency in Gaza is facing a collapse in its operations after nine countries decided to cut funding over allegations that several agency employees participated in a deadly Hamas attack against Israel. Philippe Lazzarini, head of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, expressed shock at the decisions and warned that “famine looms” in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war. The agency, which provides vital assistance to Gaza’s population, is now at risk of collapsing, leaving millions of Palestinians without access to food and shelter.

The Israel-Hamas war has had devastating consequences for Gaza’s population. More than 26,000 Palestinians have been killed, vast areas of Gaza have been destroyed, and nearly 85% of the territory’s population has been displaced. The war was sparked by an attack on Israel by Hamas, which resulted in the deaths of about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and the taking of approximately 250 hostages.

In response to the International Court of Justice’s ruling to limit death and destruction in Israel’s Gaza offensive, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted that Israel would decide and act according to what is required for its security. The court’s ruling has put Israel’s military under increased scrutiny, with the court requesting a compliance report from Israel within a month. While the ruling did not order a ceasefire, it criticized Israel’s conduct during the war.

The conflict has taken a heavy toll on civilians in Gaza. The Health Ministry in Gaza reported that at least 174 Palestinians were killed in a single day, with about two-thirds of the casualties being women and children. Israel holds Hamas responsible for civilian casualties, claiming that militants embed themselves within the local population. Israel’s military has conducted targeted raids on terror targets and airstrikes in response to ongoing attacks from Hamas.

The situation for displaced Palestinians in Gaza is dire. More than one million people have sought refuge in areas like Rafah, which have repeatedly come under airstrikes. Displaced Palestinians are living in makeshift shelters, enduring harsh weather conditions and a lack of basic necessities. The UN court’s ruling ordered Israel to urgently provide aid to Gaza, where supplies remain well below pre-war levels. Access to healthcare facilities has also been severely limited, with hospitals running out of crucial supplies.

The United States, Israel’s closest ally, has called for restraint and increased humanitarian aid to be allowed into Gaza. Efforts are underway to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas, with over 100 already released during a ceasefire in November. The US CIA director is set to meet with intelligence officials from Israel and Egypt, as well as the prime minister of Qatar, to discuss potential mediation efforts.

While the situation remains tense, there is growing frustration among Israelis. Some have gathered in Tel Aviv and outside Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem to call for new elections, expressing dissatisfaction with the government’s handling of the hostage situation. Hamas has stated that it will only release the hostages in exchange for an end to the war and the release of Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.

The ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas continues to have devastating consequences for the people of Gaza. The UN aid agency’s operations are at risk of collapsing due to funding cuts, leaving millions without access to essential resources. The international community must work towards a peaceful resolution to end the suffering and provide much-needed assistance to those affected by the conflict.

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