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UN chief calls humanitarian aid situation in Gaza 'total lawlessness'

June 21, 2024 at 8:51 pm

Thirsty Palestinians line up to get clean water distributed through mobile tanks in Nuseirat, Gaza on 18 June 2024 [Mohammed Asad/MEMO]

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, on Friday stressed the complex and chaotic situation in Gaza, describing it as “total lawlessness”, Anadolu Agency reports.

“The situation in Gaza became a situation of total lawlessness. Most of the trucks with humanitarian aid inside Gaza are now looted because this is a war that is different from any other one,” Guterres said at a news conference when he was asked about the UN efforts to overcome “the lawlessness” hampering humanitarian aid efforts in Gaza.

He told reporters that, unlike traditional warfare where occupying forces ensure security and management of the territories they control, the conflict in Gaza is characterised by continuous attacks and bombings.

Saying that there is “total chaos in Gaza,” where there is “no authority in most of the Territory”, Guterres stressed that “Israel does not even allow the so-called blue police to escort our (UN) convoys, because it’s a local police linked to local administration.”

He stated that this “lawlessness” has made it “extremely difficult” to distribute aid within Gaza.

READ: Israel bombardment kills dozens across Gaza, amid fierce fighting

“The problem is not only to bring things to Gaza,” he said, emphasising the need for a mechanism that ensures a minimum level of law and order to facilitate aid distribution.

Guterres further stressed the necessity for a ceasefire, saying: “That’s why a ceasefire is so necessary to … properly organise and implement a plan.”

Asked about Israel’s military assault on northern Gaza and the displaced community near Rafah, Guterres said a military operation has “dramatic impact on civilians” and that it is “not solving any problem”.

Since the beginning of the war, Israel has closed the Gaza Strip crossings and blocked the entry of goods, permitting only small amounts of humanitarian aid through the Rafah border crossing with Egypt since November.

On 7 May, Israel took control of the crossing and completely destroyed it. Since Israel assumed control of the Palestinian side of the Crossing, Cairo has refused to coordinate with Tel Aviv.

Flouting a UN Security Council resolution demanding an immediate ceasefire, Israel has faced international condemnation amid its continued brutal offensive on Gaza since a 7 October, 2023 attack by Hamas.

The Palestinian death toll from relentless Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip since last October has exceeded 37,400, according to the Ministry of Health in the besieged enclave.

More than 85,600 people have also been injured in the onslaught, the Ministry added.

Over eight months into the Israeli war, vast tracts of Gaza lay in ruins amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine.

Israel stands accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which in its latest ruling has ordered Tel Aviv to immediately halt its operation in the southern city of Rafah, where over a million Palestinians had sought refuge from the war before it was invaded on 6 May.

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