16/06/2024

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Israel Gets Into Spat With WHO Over Removing Medical Supplies From Gaza

Israel Gets Into Spat With WHO Over Removing Medical Supplies From Gaza

The World Health Organization has accused Israel of putting the health organization in its crosshairs, a claim that quickly led to a public showdown between the UN health agency and Israeli authorities.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus posted on X that Monday the agency had “received notification from the Israel Defense Forces that we should remove our supplies from our medical warehouse in southern Gaza within 24 hours, as ground operations will put it beyond use.”

The Israeli agency in charge of coordinating aid responded publicly by suggesting Ghebreyesus was not telling the “truth” and that the WHO was never told to evacuate supplies. “From a #UN official we would expect, at least, to be more accurate,” COGAT wrote.

As Israel’s military operations against Hamas spread, the areas designated as “safe” by Israeli authorities have shrunk to ridiculous proportions.

“I’ve seen for myself these are entirely, entirely absent… These are tiny patches of barren land or they’re street corners. They’re sidewalks. They’re half-built buildings. There is no water,” James Elder, a spokesperson for the United Nations children’s agency UNICEF, told Reuters.

“Only a ceasefire is going to save the children of Gaza right now,” he said.

There is “no place safe to go” for civilians in Gaza as Israeli bombing has spread to the south and the situation gets “worse by the hour,” United Nations officials warned Tuesday.

“There’s intensified bombing going on all around, including here in the southern areas, Khan Younis and even in Rafah,” Richard Peeperkorn, the WHO’s representative in Gaza, told reporters, adding that “way too little” humanitarian aid was reaching civilians.

The situation has rapidly deteriorated after a week-long truce ended Friday, followed immediately by the Israeli military pushing into the south and cutting off one of the main north-south routes. The road out of Khan Younis now “constitutes a battlefield,” the Israeli military said.

With access to water, food, and electricity cut off since Oct. 9, and virtually all of Gaza now a war zone, the United Nations is warning things will only get worse.

Tens of thousands have been forced into “increasingly compressed spaces, desperate to find food, water, shelter and safety,” said Lynn Hastings, UN humanitarian coordinator for the Palestinian territories, predicting that “an even more hellish scenario is about to unfold.”

“Nowhere is safe in Gaza and there is nowhere left to go,” Hastings said.

“Every time we think things cannot get any more apocalyptic in Gaza, they do,” Martin Griffiths, the top UN emergency relief official, said in a Monday statement, demanding an end to “such blatant disregard for basic humanity.”

The Israeli military, meanwhile, has reportedly said that killing two Palestinians for every Hamas militant is a “tremendously positive” ratio given the difficulties of urban warfare.

“I can say that if that is true±and I think that our numbers will be corroborated—if you compare that ratio to any other conflict in urban terrain between a military and a terrorist organization using civilians as their human shields, and embedded in the civilian population, you will find that that ratio is tremendous, tremendously positive, and perhaps unique in the world,” IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus told CNN, commenting on a military assessment first reported by Agence France-Presse.