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Guterres: Israel creates massive obstacles to aid distribution in Gaza

Saturday 23-December-2023

NEW YORK, (PIC)

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Friday that the Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip created massive obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid inside the war-torn Palestinian territory.

“The real problem is that the way Israel is conducting this offensive is creating massive obstacles to the distribution of humanitarian aid inside Gaza,” he told reporters.

“A humanitarian ceasefire is the only way to begin to meet the desperate needs of people in Gaza and end their ongoing nightmare,” he said. “I hope that today’s Security Council Resolution may help this finally to happen but much more is needed immediately.”

“Many people are measuring the effectiveness of the humanitarian operation in Gaza based on the number of trucks allowed to unload aid across the Egyptian-Gaza border. This is a mistake,” Guterres said.

An effective aid operation in Gaza requires security, staff who can work in safety, logistical capacity, and the resumption of commercial activity. These four elements do not exist, the UN chief underlined.

“Security for aid delivery is absent. The intense Israeli bombardment and active combat in densely populated urban areas throughout Gaza threaten the lives of civilians and humanitarian aid workers alike. The United Nations waited 71 days for Israel finally to allow aid to enter Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing. The crossing was then hit while aid trucks were in the area,” he said.

“The humanitarian operation requires staff who can live and work in safety. Some 136 UN staff members in Gaza have been killed in 75 days — something unprecedented in the history of the United Nations. Nowhere is safe in Gaza,” he added.

He outlined that more than 20,000 Palestinians were killed and 1.9 million people, 85 per cent of the population, were forced to flee their homes.

“The Gaza health system is on its knees, clean water is at a trickle and the World Food Program (WFP) has warned of the threat of widespread famine,” he said.

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