UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations has run out of funding to pay for fuel needed for hospitals, water plants and other critical facilities in the Gaza Strip, the UN political chief said Wednesday.
Rosemary Di Carlo also told the Security Council that recent violent escalations between Israel and Palestinian terror groups “threatened to plunge Gaza into war.”
The Security Council held its monthly meeting on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the United Nations was working with Egypt to address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza and halt the violence.
Di Carlo said she was “deeply concerned that funding for UN emergency fuel, which sustains some 250 critical facilities in Gaza has now run out” and appealed for $4.5 million to ensure essential services for the rest of the year.
The UN undersecretary-general for political affairs also raised concern over a “dangerously short supply of essential medicines” after 40 percent of the stocks of drugs were completely depleted.
Di Carlo called “on all parties” to ensure that humanitarian aid reaches Gaza and urged Hamas to provide information on Israeli nationals held in the strip.
Gaza has seen a surge of violence since the start of the violent “March of Return” protests along the border in March.
The clashes, which Gaza’s Hamas rulers have orchestrated, have included the throwing of rocks and explosives at troops, as well as attempts to breach the border fence and attack Israeli soldiers.
Palestinians in Gaza have also launched incendiary airborne devices toward Israel, burning thousands of acres of forest and farmland resulting in millions of shekels of estimated damages.
At least 171 Gazans have been killed by Israeli fire since the start of the clashes, according to the Hamas-run health ministry. An Israeli soldier was shot to death by a Palestinian sniper. Hamas has acknowledged that dozens of the Palestinian casualties were members of terror groups.
Additionally, Israel and Hamas have engaged in a number of brief exchanges of fire in recent months that have seen terror groups in Gaza launch hundreds of rockets and mortars toward Israeli territory, including one earlier this month that was the largest flareup in violence since the 2014 war.
UN envoy Nickolay Mladenov and Egyptian officials have been seeking to broker a long-term truce between Israel and Hamas, the terror group that rules Gaza. The two sides have fought three wars since 2008.
Israeli media have speculated that a deal could entail easing Israel’s crippling blockade of Gaza in exchange for calm on the border and the return of two Israeli citizens and pair of soldiers’ bodies killed in the 2014 war held by Hamas.
Israel maintains the blockade is necessary to prevent weapons from reaching Gaza that could be used in attacks. Egypt, the only other country besides Israel that borders the Palestinian enclave, also maintains a blockade on the Strip.
Hamas, an Islamist terror group that seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007, seeks to destroy Israel.