The United Nations and other aid workers warned on Saturday that a new UN Security Council resolution calling for more aid for struggling civilians in Gaza would fail to stop the spiraling humanitarian crisis because It did not demand a complete cessation of fighting.
The resolution calls on the UN Secretary-General to appoint a special coordinator for aid to Gaza and establish a mechanism to accelerate the delivery of aid in consultation with all parties concerned.
But without a ceasefire to accompany the increased aid, aid officials said they could not cope with the lack of food and fuel entering the territory, collapse of Gaza’s commercial sector, frequent communications interruptions or the inability of aid workers to reach many areas. due to intensive Israeli airstrikes and ground operations.
“For the moment, we cannot deploy humanitarian aid. It’s impossible,” said Guillemette Thomas, medical coordinator for Doctors Without Borders in Jerusalem. “People must be able to get food and water without fear of being bombed, killed or shot at any time. We need to be able to move within the band to access people,” she added.
“The only thing that would help is a ceasefire,” she added.
It was unclear whether the resolution would push Israel, which is not part of the Security Council and therefore could not vote, to change its approach to the war. Although these resolutions are considered legally binding, they are difficult to enforce and countries often ignore them.
The resolution referenced a measure passed last month calling for “humanitarian pauses” and called for the “immediate and unconditional release of all hostages,” a demand that Hamas, which still holds about 120 Israelis, is unlikely to meet. not counting, hoping instead to exchange them. for Palestinian prisoners held by Israel.
Israeli leaders have pledged to continue fighting until Hamas is destroyed and insist on screening all goods destined for Gaza to prevent the entry of weapons and other supplies that could benefit Hamas. Hamas’ military effort.
After 11 weeks of war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, international concern has increased over the fate of the territory’s more than 2 million inhabitants, increasingly cut off from the outside world, displaced, cold and hungry.
This week, the Integrated food safety phase classificationan international partnership of humanitarian organizations, has classified the entire population of Gaza as being in crisis or worse in terms of access to food.
Human Rights Watch this week accused the Israeli government “to use starvation of civilians as a method of war”, which it called a “war crime”.
Juliette Touma, communications director for UNRWA, the largest UN agency in Gaza, said it may be too early to know the full impact of the resolution.
“This is welcome, but only time will tell what real difference this resolution will make, and it must increase humanitarian aid to Gaza. »
Ms. Touma said the aid coming into Gaza during the war was woefully inadequate, less than 10 percent of what Gaza received before the war. And the fighting has made it impossible to distribute even limited aid in many areas of Gaza.
“The ongoing military operation and bombings are undoubtedly a challenge because you cannot provide humanitarian aid under a sky full of airstrikes, and there is very little aid arriving,” Ms. Touma.
Isabelle Kershner reports contributed.