Skip to content

UNICEF Reports How Israel Ignores UN Ceasefire, Continues Slaughter

March 27, 2024 (EIRNS)—Statements from UN-affiliated humanitarian organizations over the past 36 hours testify to Israel’s continued murderous warfare against Palestinian civilians, despite the March 25 UN Security Council Resolution 2728 mandating an immediate ceasefire. In a March 26 press conference he gave in Rafah James Elders, spokesman for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), gave a comprehensive report on the devastation he was witnessing now, after a three-month absence.

He reported that overnight fighting between Monday night, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26 had produced “double-digit number of children killed,” occurring “only hours after the (Security Council) resolution was passed.” Let’s look at the situation in Rafah, Elders said, where there is now “endless talk of a large-scale military operation.” This is “a city of children. 600,000 girls and boys there,” he said, yet it is “unrecognizable because of the congestion, and tents on street corners and sandy plots. People sleep in the streets, in public buildings, in any other available empty space.… In Rafah, there is approximately one toilet for every 850 people. For showers, it’s four times that number—one shower for every 3,600 people. This is a hellish disregard for basic human needs and dignity.”

“A military offensive in Rafah?” Elders asked. “Offensive is the right word. Rafah— home to some of Gaza’s last remaining hospitals, shelters, markets and water systems.”

Elders also visited Khan Younis, to the north of Rafah, which he said was unrecognizable. “It barely exists anymore. In my 20 years with the United Nations, I have never seen such devastation. Just chaos and ruin, with rubble and debris scattered in every single direction. Utter annihilation.” The Nasser Hospital, “such a critical place for children with the wounds of war,” is no longer operational. In fact, only one-third of Gaza’s hospitals are “partially functional.” Five hospitals are under siege by Israeli forces.

Visiting the northern Gaza city of Jabalia, Elders reported that between March 1-22, one-quarter of 40 humanitarian aid missions to Northern Gaza were denied entry to the Strip. He witnessed hundreds of UN/INGO trucks, carrying life-saving humanitarian aid, backlogged on the Israeli side of the border, waiting to enter Gaza. If the old crossing point at Erez, 10 minutes away, were opened up, “we could turn this humanitarian crisis in the north around in a matter of days,” Elders said.

The UNICEF spokesman concluded: “The deprivation, the forced desperation, means despair pervades the population. And people’s nerves are shattered amid unrelenting attacks. The unspeakable is regularly said in Gaza. From teenage girls hoping they are killed; to being told a child is the last survivor from their entire family. Such horror is no longer unique here…. Amid it all, so many brave, generous and tireless Palestinians continue to support one another, and sister UN agencies and UNICEF continue.

“As we heard yesterday: the [UNSC] ceasefire must be substantive, not symbolic. The hostages must go home. The people of Gaza must be allowed to live…. In the three months between my visits, every horrific number rose dramatically. Gaza has shattered humanity’s records for its darkest chapters. Humanity must now urgently write a different chapter.”