The United Nations Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Middle East (UNRWA) on Tuesday condemned Israel’s “absolutely disproportionate response” to its bombings on Gaza, stressing that “it is bombed without pause or pause,” which prevents humanitarian organizations from taking hold Providing help to those affected.
“The most intense moments of the bombing in 2014 are now since the offensive began,” said UNRWA Spain Executive Director Raquel Martí in an interview with Europa Press, in which she stressed that this was the situation. “prevents humanitarian organizations from gaining access to the people who need it.”
He called for a ceasefire or at least “a humanitarian pause” or “humanitarian corridor” to “reach the victims” before recalling that 213 people have died in the enclave so far, including 61 children than 1,400 people injured.
“Every day the rescue groups die under the rubble of residential buildings and family units. We really see that humanitarian law is not being respected and that no adequate measures are being taken to avoid civilian casualties,” he said.
It is also said that “in addition to psychological care, the displaced also need food, water, protective material and medication”. “Our staff is under the bombs and cannot move,” he criticized before emphasizing, “it is a very serious situation that was not seen in 2014.”
Martí has therefore referred to the “Protective Edge” operation, in which, according to the United Nations, more than 2,300 people were killed in Gaza, most of them civilians. “In 2014 there were humanitarian breaks during which we could take care of the victims and enter and distribute humanitarian material,” he said.
On the other hand, he regretted that UNRWA “does not have a permit to receive humanitarian aid” in Gaza. “We have staff who want to step in who need to step on the strip, including the Commissioner General (from UNRWA, Philippe Lazzarini),” he said.
Israel announced on Tuesday that it would open the Kerem Shalom Junction to allow goods to enter, although it closed it after a soldier was injured by a projectile fired from the Gaza Strip.
Marti stressed that there are currently “more than 47,000 refugees in 46 UNRWA schools, even though they are not accessible”. “We have to distribute fuel, there is no fuel and there is a hospital that is no longer working,” he said.
Martí has pointed out that “schools as well as kindergartens, vocational training centers, companies, industry, hospitals and clinics are affected”. “All of this indicates that the Gaza Strip is really being bombed indiscriminately,” he argued.
In doing so, he indicated that there were 47 schools damaged, as well as six hospitals and nine primary care clinics, before adding that the bombings had “increased the need for medical care”. It was also pointed out that one of the damaged buildings was UNRWA’s own headquarters, which was “badly affected by the attacks”.
For this reason, he regretted that “the entire civil infrastructure of the Gaza Strip has been affected” and spoke of “a collective punishment of the people of Gaza”. “The civilian population in Gaza is not to blame for a government like Hamas,” he argued.
With that in mind, he said that “even areas with access to hospitals are being attacked”. “There are a lot of bombed streets so ambulances cannot pass,” he said before realizing that the power distribution network was also damaged, reducing operating hours to an average of “between six and six, eight hours a day”.
It denounced that this had “great” effects on hospital services, “but also on sanitary and hygienic services”. “There are roughly 250,000 people who do not have access to drinking water and another 800,000 who have it infrequently,” he said.
On the other hand, he stressed that among the buildings damaged by the Israeli army bombings there was “the largest COVID-19 test clinic”. “At the moment these tests are practically non-existent in the Gaza Strip,” he confirmed.
He warned of “a disproportionate increase in the number of cases” and emphasized that the situation in Gaza “was a humanitarian catastrophe even before the military escalation”, with “very high” infection rates and more than 50 percent of the workforce in hospital beds and intensive care units .
“It is a disaster because we must remember that we are in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and that Gaza is currently more infected than India,” he said. “The tests have been canceled and the coronavirus problem is no longer a priority,” he warned.
“What we will find in a ceasefire is that the contagion rate will be very high and the population saved from the bombs will end up dying of the coronavirus,” he said.
Martí recalled that “the number of people vaccinated in Gaza was extremely low”, adding that “no social distancing and prevention measures are currently in place”. “Although we are trying to distribute protection kits for COVID-19 in reception centers, it is currently impossible to stop the virus from spreading,” he said.
He also predicted that “when this is over we will see not only the physical destruction of Gaza, but also the psychological destruction of Gaza”. “The number of people with post-traumatic stress and mental health problems that we will find will be very high,” he reported.
In another sense, he pointed out that “the situation in Gaza unfortunately overshadows the events in the West Bank, where the clashes continue”. “In total there are 20 dead and more than 4,700 injured. Israel is carrying out a very high number of arrests,” he said.
For example, he has said that UNRWA is “very concerned” because “the violence we are witnessing in the West Bank has not been seen since the last Intifada” and has argued that the eviction orders were “the last straw” in Sheikh Kharra and Muslims who do not have access to the Al-Aqsa mosque during Ramadan, the situation is due to the lack of a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“What we are seeing is the lack of a solution to this conflict, which has lasted too many years, for the existence of an displaced and dispossessed population like the Palestinian refugees for more than 73 years,” he said.
Martí has pointed out “that Israel has continued to violently occupy the Palestinian territory since 1967, that Israel has illegally annexed East Jerusalem” as well as the postponement of the Palestinian parliamentary elections due to Israel’s refusal to allow the vote in East Jerusalem.
“All of these factors sparked this situation, but what is behind it is the lack of resolution to a longstanding conflict and the lack of protection of the Palestinian people and the constant violation of their human rights,” has been dealt with.