Devastation in Gaza as Israel wages war on Hamas

11:48 PM ET, March 6, 2024

About 40% of UN-coordinated aid missions in Gaza were denied or obstructed by Israel last month, agency says

Nearly 40% of aid missions coordinated by the United Nations were denied or obstructed by Israel last month, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Wednesday.

In February, 86 of 222 missions – 39% of them – in areas needing coordination were denied or obstructed by Israel, OCHA said.

There was a 48% increase in the total number of coordinated humanitarian missions facilitated by Israeli authorities in Gaza in February compared to January, OCHA said – but their effectiveness “was undermined by a halt in operations in the north and a general deterioration in the safety of civilians, including humanitarian workers.”

Decrease in safety: The decline in effectiveness was mainly due to the “reduced presence of local police, following a wave of attacks by Israeli forces that led to police casualties,” OCHA said, adding that the breakdown of public order is causing major limitations in moving aid. The Israeli military’s stance on Palestinian police as combatants “further complicates efforts to restore law and order,” OCHA said. The lack of order has led to an increase in violence against humanitarian workers, it added.

Border crossings: Frequent and prolonged closures and blockages at the Kerem Shalom and Nitzana border crossings have also hampered the cross-border movement of humanitarian cargo, OCHA said. This includes 16 different times where the crossing via Kerem Shalom and 10 in Nitzana was inaccessible due to protests and security concerns, the report said. Some Israelis have blocked trucks at border crossings, saying aid should not enter Gaza while hostages are being held there.

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