UN urges Israel to open Kerem Shalom border to distribute aid UN urges Israel to open Kerem Shalom border to distribute aid

UN urges Israel to open Kerem Shalom border to distribute aid

UN urges Israel to open Kerem Shalom border to distribute aid

Washington - The United Nations (UN) continues to urge the opening of the Kerem Shalom border in Israel, not only to channel humanitarian aid to Gaza but also to continue sending commercial goods.

"So far, we have only used the Rafah border. The capacity of the Rafah border to handle the amount of aid we need is limited. That's why we continue to push for the opening of Kerem Shalom," said UN deputy spokesperson Farhan Haq on Wednesday (22/11). Referring to the Coordinator's

Statement UN humanitarian for Palestine Lynn Hastings, Haq said that the UN and its partners are ready to take advantage of the humanitarian pause agreed to by Israel and the Palestinian Hamas group, to step up humanitarian operations. However, he warned that civilians in Gaza cannot rely solely on aid. 

"The entry of commercial goods needs to be resumed, especially through the Kerem Shalom border crossing which has that capacity," said Haq. The Kerem Shalom border gate was used to transport more than 60 percent of truck loads heading to Gaza before the conflict broke out, said UN Deputy Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths, last week.

Based on data from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA), he said that 63,800 liters of fuel entered Gaza from Egypt on Tuesday (21/11) and was distributed by the agency United Nations for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) to support food distribution and operate generators in hospitals, water and sanitation facilities, shelters and other essential services.

A total of 71 trucks carrying humanitarian aid supplies from Egypt entered Gaza on Tuesday evening.

Between October 21 and November 21, at least 1,399 trucks containing aid, excluding fuel, entered Gaza via the Egyptian border.

This number is in stark contrast to the average of nearly 10,000 trucks carrying commercial goods, not including fuel, that entered Gaza every month before October - or before the conflict between Israel and Hamas broke out.

Nearly 1.7 million people are refugees in Gaza, and nearly 770,000 people are internally displaced.

"They are taking shelter in 99 UNRWA facilities in extremely overcrowded conditions," said Haq.

Gaza has recorded a 35 percent increase in skin diseases and a 40 percent increase in diarrhea cases in recent weeks amid Israeli bombing and blockade, with limited humanitarian aid and materials burn those entering the besieged enclave, said Haq.

Hamas condemns Israel's arrest of the director and cadres of "Al-Shifa" and demands their immediate release

The Hamas movement expressed its strong condemnation of Israel's arrest of the director of Al-Shifa Hospital and a number of his medical staff in the northern Gaza Strip, calling on international bodies to put pressure on the Israeli army to secure their immediate release.

The Islamic Resistance Movement Hamas on Thursday condemned the Israeli forces’ arrest of the director of Al-Shifa Medical Hospital and his colleagues in the northern Gaza Strip, and called on international organizations to work to release them immediately.

Hamas said in a statement on Thursday: “We strongly condemn the Nazi occupation’s arrest of the director of Al-Shifa Hospital, Dr. Muhammad Abu Salamiya, and a number of medical personnel who remained in the hospital to facilitate the evacuation of the remaining patients and wounded there.”

The movement considered the arrest "a crime and a flagrant violation of international conventions that guarantee non-exposure to medical personnel at all times, including times of war."

The movement called on "international bodies, including the International Committee of the Red Cross and the World Health Organization, to put pressure on the occupation army to secure the release of him and all the medical personnel who were arrested, just for the sake of remaining in fulfillment of their duty and humanitarian mission and out of respect for the honor of the medical profession."

She indicated that the hospital director was in contact with these international organizations "to evacuate the remaining patients and wounded in Al-Shifa Hospital."

The official Israeli Broadcasting Corporation announced earlier Thursday that “the director of the central and important hospital (Al-Shifa) in the Gaza Strip is under investigation by Unit 504 of Military Intelligence and the General Security Service (Shin Bet).”

The Israeli authority did not clarify the charges against the hospital director, whose name it did not mention.

According to the doctor who works at Al-Shifa Hospital, Khaled Abu Samra, the director who was arrested was Muhammad Abu Salmiya, and he was arrested along with a number of medical personnel.

According to the spokesman, “about 65 patients were evacuated on Wednesday from Al-Shifa Hospital in ambulances to hospitals in the southern Gaza Strip, and on their way to Salah al-Din Street, Israeli forces arrested Abu Salamiya and a number of medical personnel.”

On November 14, the Israeli army stormed the Al-Shifa Medical Complex, west of Gaza City, after besieging it for several days, during which clashes took place with Palestinian resistance fighters in its vicinity.

After several days, the army demanded that those in the hospital evacuate on foot, but a number of the wounded and sick were unable to leave due to their condition, and some doctors and hospital workers were forced to stay with them.
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