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Israel still imposing 'unlawful' restrictions on Gaza aid, UN rights office says

April 17, 2024 at 8:38 am

Afaaf al-Fayyumi, a paralyzed Palestinian woman who lost his 2 sons in Israeli attacks, sits in front of a makeshift tent, where she stays with her family of 7 including daughters and grandchildren, in Deir al-Balah, Gaza on March 26, 2024 [Doaa Albaz – Anadolu Agency]

Israel is still imposing “unlawful” restrictions on humanitarian relief for Gaza, the UN human rights office said yesterday, despite assertions from Israel and others that barriers have eased, Reuters reports.

Israel’s bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip has turned much of the Gaza strip into a wasteland, with hundreds of thousands of people now displaced and crowded into disease-ridden shelters.

The occupation state imposed a complete siege on the enclave in early October banning the entry of aid, food and water. It later loosened restrictions but continues to limit and ban the entry of many vital items including medical equipment, batteries and certain food stuff. The EU has warned that its actions have led to a “man-made famine” in Gaza in which children have already lost their lives.

“Israel continues to impose unlawful restrictions on the entry and distribution of humanitarian assistance, and to carry out widespread destruction of civilian infrastructure,” said Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson for the UN human rights office, at a press briefing in Geneva, reiterating calls for unfettered access.

Israeli occupation forces also targeted an aid convoy on 1 April, killing international relief workers.

“Those delivering or trying to access humanitarian assistance must never be attacked,” added Shamdasani.

More than 33,000 people have been killed in Gaza since 7 October, the vast majority children and women, while over 76,000 have been injured.

The UN children’s agency (UNICEF) called for an increase in medical evacuations from Gaza, saying Israel had approved less than half of applications.

“With at least 70 children injured every day, we need the number of medical evacuations to increase so children can access the care they urgently need,” said UNICEF’s Tess Ingram at the same press briefing, describing cases of children she met who had endured gunshot wounds and amputations.

“Their shattered bodies and fractured lives are a testament to the brutality being forced upon them.”

Foreign doctors who have worked in Gaza since Israel launched its bombing campaign have said children have been forced to have their limbs amputated as medical crews lack the medication to operate and save their body parts.

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