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UNRWA Chief Calls on Israel to Allow More Food Into Gaza

Press Briefing with Commissioner-General of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Philippe Lazzarini (right). Credit: UNIS Vienna/CC 2.0

March 30, 2024 (EIRNS)—Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), on March 29 called on Israel to allow the organization’s food and nutrition convoys to reach northern Gaza and to open additional land crossings to facilitate the delivery of aid amid international warnings of famine in the coastal enclave, reported Xinhua. Xinhua notes that Lazzarini made the remarks in a post on social media platform X, a day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ordered Israel to take all necessary measures to ensure basic aid reaches the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip.

Lazzarini called on countries to increase pressure for the implementation of the court’s order and to reconsider their decisions regarding funding the agency, emphasizing the urgency of bold actions to prevent famine in Gaza. He warned that the living conditions of over two million people in Gaza were deteriorating, and Gaza was becoming an impossible place for dignified living.

Lazzarini had posted on his X account on March 24 “Gaza: as of today, @UNRWA, the main lifeline for #Palestine Refugees, is denied from providing lifesaving assistance to northern Gaza. Despite the tragedy unfolding under our watch, the Israeli Authorities informed the UN that they will no longer approve any @UNRWA food convoys to the north. This is outrageous & makes it intentional to obstruct lifesaving assistance during a man made famine. These restrictions must be lifted. UNRWA is the largest organization with the highest reach to displaced communities in Gaza. By preventing UNRWA to fulfill its mandate in Gaza, the clock will tick faster towards famine & many more will die of hunger, dehydration + lack of shelter. This cannot happen, it would only stain our collective humanity.” His post was also quoted by the United Nations news agency, which also quoted denunciations of the Israeli boycott by WHO director Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Martin Griffiths.

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