Geneva, 28 October 2023 (TDI): UN Human Rights Chief, Volker Turk is urging an end to the violence and destruction in the Gaza Strip, where Israeli forces continue daily airstrikes following the brutal October 7 assault by Hamas militants on Israel.
On Friday, Türk stated that for nearly three weeks, Israel has subjected thousands of Palestinian civilians in Gaza to continuous bombardment.
He noted that thousands have suffered casualties, both in terms of fatalities and injuries, and extensive damage has been inflicted on residential structures, mosques, healthcare facilities, and bakeries
Turks spokesperson,Ravina Shamdasani, addressed the worsening situation in the Middle East, emphasizing the perilous state in Gaza.
She condemned Israel’s use of highly explosive weapons in densely populated regions, leading to significant damage and loss of civilian lives, deeming it a war crime.
Shamdasani criticized Israel’s strategy of collective punishment, which deprives residents of essential necessities like water, shelter, food, fuel, and electricity, also classifying it as a war crime.
Additionally, she called for an end to indiscriminate attacks by Palestinian armed groups and the firing of rockets into Israel, urging the release of all hostages.
She mentioned that airstrikes on homes have resulted in the tragic deaths of entire families, including those of their own staff members. She described how frightened individuals have been forced to endure sleepless nights in the open air.
The World Food Program has cautioned that the dire situation confronting hundreds of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza could deteriorate further.
A week ago, Israel eased its blockade of Gaza, permitting approximately 74 trucks carrying essential supplies such as food, water, and medication to enter through the Rafah crossing with Egypt.
However, UN aid agencies have described this as a mere fraction of what is needed. Prior to this crisis, they noted that Gaza received 450 trucks of humanitarian supplies daily.
Addressing from Jerusalem, Samer Abdeljaber, the WFP representative for Palestinians, stated that Israel was blocking crucial fuel supplies from entering Gaza. He cautioned that the severe scarcity of fuel posed a significant risk, potentially halting food and other humanitarian operations.
He cautioned that bakeries, which had been supplying bread, would cease operations within days if fuel was not allowed in.
“At the start, WFP collaborated with bakeries to supply fresh bread to 200,000 people in shelters,” Abdeljaber explained. “However, due to the current fuel shortage, only two bakeries can function. Tomorrow there may be none.”