Criticism of Israeli actions: UN concerned about civilian population in Gaza Strip

Criticism of Israeli actions
UN concerned about civilian population in Gaza Strip

The Israeli military has called for 1.1 million Palestinians to leave their homes and seek safety. According to the UN, this displacement is unsustainable. The US Secretary of State also warns of a humanitarian catastrophe, and the Red Cross emphasizes that the destruction of Gaza is not justified.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has called on Israel to show consideration for the civilian population when counterattacking the Gaza Strip after the major attack by the radical Islamic group Hamas. “We have urged the Israelis to take every possible precaution to avoid harm to civilians,” Blinken said during a visit to Qatar. The USA clearly sided with Israel after the Hamas attack launched last Saturday. Meanwhile, fears are growing about a rapidly growing number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip from Israeli air strikes.

According to his spokesman, UN Secretary-General António Guterres is currently in “constant contact” with Israel to prevent a “humanitarian catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip. He has also called for immediate access to the Gaza Strip for humanitarian aid. “Even wars have rules,” said Guterres. “People must not be asked to move to another location against their will,” said spokesman Stéphane Dujarric. In addition, Guterres is in constant contact with other officials, for example from the USA and Egypt, in order to enable the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip, which has been interrupted for days. The UN supplies there are practically exhausted – and there are currently 50,000 pregnant women there who urgently need support.

UN opposes mass evacuation call

Civilians must be protected under all circumstances, emphasized Dujarric. UN facilities where thousands of people in the Gaza Strip have already sought protection should never be attacked. The UN also called for the immediate release of all hostages kidnapped to Gaza by the Islamist Hamas.

The UN had previously expressly opposed the Israeli military’s call for a mass evacuation of the northern Gaza Strip. Such a move, which affects around 1.1 million people in the densely populated Palestinian territory, could not be without devastating consequences, it said. However, the UN did not comment on Egypt’s refusal to open its border to Gaza refugees.

Red Cross calls for a pause in fighting

According to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Hamas’ major attack on Israel does not justify the destruction of Gaza. “Nothing can justify the horrific attacks on Israel last weekend,” but “these attacks cannot, in turn, justify the unlimited destruction of Gaza,” the ICRC said. The organization called for “pauses in the fighting.” The Israeli authorities’ call to leave the northern Gaza Strip “coupled with the complete siege that deprives them of food, water and electricity” is “incompatible with international humanitarian law.”

Israel had previously asked around 1.1 million Palestinians in the north of the Gaza Strip to leave their homes and seek safety in the south of the area. The background is the major attack by the radical Islamic Palestinian organization Hamas on Israel on Saturday last week. Hamas kidnapped around 150 people as hostages and killed more than 1,300 people. The Israeli army subsequently attacked the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. According to the authorities there, around 1,800 people have been killed so far.

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