'UN must do better. The aid is there; the people need it'

Israel accuses UN of not doing enough to facilitate entry of aid into Gaza

100 trucks of humanitarian aid reached Gaza on Sunday via the Rafah crossing, 20% of the number that entered the Strip daily before October 7

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid are seen near the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on December 10, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)
Trucks carrying humanitarian aid are seen near the Rafah border crossing with Egypt in the southern Gaza Strip on December 10, 2023 (Mohammed ABED / AFP)

The Defense Ministry body responsible for Palestinian civilian affairs accused the United Nations of not doing enough to process humanitarian aid into Gaza and charged that the world body is responsible for supplies not reaching the Strip at a fast enough pace.

“We have expanded our capabilities to conduct inspections for the aid delivered into Gaza. Kerem Shalom is to be opened, so the number of inspections will double. But the aid keeps waiting at the entrance of Rafah,” the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories, or COGAT, wrote Tuesday on X.

“The UN must do better — the aid is there, and the people need it,” the statement added.

Prior to Hamas’s shock assault on Israel on October 7 and Israel’s subsequent war with the Gaza terror group, around 500 trucks of humanitarian aid would enter Gaza on a daily basis, primarily through Israel’s Kerem Shalom crossing.

However, following the terror onslaught, in which Hamas-led terrorists killed more than 1,200 people and seized some 240 hostages, Israel has permitted aid to enter Gaza only via Egypt’s Rafah Crossing after each individual truck is inspected.

In a bid to facilitate an increase in the number of aid trucks that can enter Gaza each day, last week Israel announced it would open the Kerem Shalom Crossing with Gaza for the inspection of humanitarian aid trucks before they enter Gaza through Egypt’s Rafah crossing.

On December 8, the United Nations humanitarian chief said that efforts to supply food, water and other necessities were in tatters and that the UN and its partners are hampered by the need to find roads that haven’t been mined or destroyed.

For the last few days, aid distribution — mainly just supplies of flour and water — has been possible only in and around Rafah, on the border with Egypt, because of fighting and road closures by Israeli forces, the UN’s humanitarian aid office said Wednesday.

On Sunday, a hundred trucks with humanitarian aid entered Gaza, Wael Abu Omar, a spokesman for the Palestinian Crossings Authority said, noting that this falls far short of what is needed.

Trucks carrying humanitarian aid that entered the Gaza Strip via the Rafah crossing with Egypt before the end of a 7-day cease fire, wait at the border before being unloaded on December 1, 2023. (SAID KHATIB / AFP)

Inside shelters and protected areas, civilians in Gaza have faced severe shortages of food, water and other basic goods. A video circulated on social media last Wednesday was said to show desperate Palestinians in Gaza ransacking a UN relief agency’s stockpile of supplies in the Strip, raising questions about the group’s distribution of aid.

The video appeared consistent with other footage and claims posted on popular Palestinian social media accounts that have expressed anger at the UN Relief and Works Agency, known as UNRWA, accusing it of holding on to much-needed aid.

Since the outbreak of war on October 7, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza has claimed that more than 17,700 people have been killed by Israel. However, this number cannot be independently verified and is believed to include some 7,000 members of Hamas and other terror groups as well as civilians killed by misfired rockets.

According to the UN, roughly 80% of Gaza’s 2.3 million people have been displaced by war, some of them more than once, as Israel’s offensive against Hamas continues to widen and extend southward.

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