Home Articles Aid trickles into besieged Gaza as UN chief urges Israel to avoid...

Aid trickles into besieged Gaza as UN chief urges Israel to avoid ‘collective punishment’



New Delhi  Aid deliveries began moving into the besieged Palestinian territory through the border crossing between Egypt and Gaza on Saturday, for the first time since Israel sealed it off following Hamas’ bloody rampage two weeks ago. This, even as world leaders, including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, appealed to Israel to act in accordance with international law and protect civilian lives.

Only 20 trucks of aid were allowed in, an amount that aid workers said was insufficient to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Gaza. More than 200 trucks carrying roughly 3,000 tonnes of aid have been positioned near the crossing for days.

Guterres condemned Hamas’ attack on Israel, but added that “it can never justify collective punishment of the Palestinian people”. Hamas freed two American woman hostages it had kidnapped during its assault on Israel a fortnight ago while Israeli airstrikes continued to hit southern Gaza, which has seen a population inflow after people from north Gaza fled over there following orders from the Israeli military. US President Joe Biden said Hamas may have attacked Israel in part to sabotage normalisation of relations between Israel and Saudi Arabia. “They knew that I was about to sit down with the Saudis,” the US President said at a fundraiser. He also assured his European allies that the US could sustain a two-front effort in Ukraine and Israel.Israeli media reports said the Israel Defense Forces had been preparing for the ground offensive in Gaza Strip and troops were conducting training, with Tel Aviv approving plans for expansion of the fighting. The Israeli military has made intensive deployment at the Gaza border for the assault, which officials say would “begin soon”.

At least 4,385 persons have been killed in the Gaza Strip in the 15 days of the war, including 1,756 children, and another 13,561 people wounded, claimed the Palestinian Health Ministry. Palestinian human rights bodies said the number of Arabs arrested has doubled since the October 7 violence unleashed by Hamas. Of them, 4,000 labourers from Gaza working in Israel have been picked up. Besides, over 1,000 have been arrested in raids in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

In the US, dozens of artistes and performers, including Anoushka Shankar, Hasan Minhaj, Ravena Aurora, Michael Moore, Jon Stewart and Joaquin Phoenix, wrote to US President Joe Biden, urging him to press for a ceasefire in Israel and Gaza. Separately, a petition signed by 86 Nobel peace laureates urged Hamas to release all children, saying holding them in captivity was a grievous offence against humanity.At the regional summit in Egypt where Guterres and Cleverley opposed “collective punishment”, Iraq’s PM Shia al-Sudani warned that the flow of oil to global markets would be disrupted if the war spread to other countries in the region. French President Emmanuel Macron said the release of two Americans in Gaza was “a very good result” and expressed hope it could help pave the way for others, including French-Israelis, to be freed.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here