Updated: Nov 16
The situation in the Gaza Strip has grown increasingly heartbreaking as the humanitarian and environmental crisis deepens. More than 1,000 people are trapped in this nightmare, and the urgency of the situation is evident.
Hamas Ministry of Interior spokesman Eyad al-Bozom issued an alarming statement last Monday. More than 1,000 Palestinians are trapped under the rubble of buildings destroyed by Israeli airstrikes. This revelation comes a day after the Palestinian civil defense team reported that over 1,000 people were missing, even though many survivors had been rescued in the first 24 hours of the building attacks. The death toll in Gaza has reached 2,750, with 9,700 injured, according to the Gaza Health Ministry. These alarming figures reflect the magnitude of suffering this region has endured.
Israeli airstrikes continue in the city of Khan Younis and other southern regions, despite calls from Israeli authorities for the population to move south. On Friday morning, the Israeli army issued an evacuation order for over a million residents in the northern part of the Gaza Strip, including the densely populated Gaza City, affecting nearly half of Gaza's 2.3 million inhabitants.
Al Jazeera journalist Youmna ElSayed reported from Khan Younis that hospitals, which have been operating on generators due to the electricity cut in Gaza, are running out of fuel and could cease operation in less than 24 hours. This further exacerbates the humanitarian crisis in the region.
The Need for a Lasting Solution
The humanitarian crisis unfolding in Gaza is a stark reminder of the urgency of finding solutions to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict. With over 1,000 Palestinians trapped under the rubble of buildings devastated by Israeli airstrikes and a rising death toll, the situation in Gaza is heart-wrenching and desperate.
This long-standing conflict has generated a controversial term: "ethnic cleansing." While interpretations may vary, it's undeniable that the Palestinian civilian population has experienced forced displacements and extreme hardships over the years. The quest for a lasting solution that respects the rights and dignity of all involved remains a crucial priority.
The Role of the United Nations and Its Challenge in Gaza
The United Nations (UN) plays a crucial role in mediating international conflicts and providing humanitarian assistance worldwide. However, in the context of the Gaza Strip, its mission has been particularly challenging. The UN operates on the principle of neutrality and seeks to preserve international peace and security. Still, as highlighted by Lino Bordin, an experienced diplomat who served the UN in critical settings for over 30 years, its ability to act is limited by the fact that the UN consists of 192 nation-states.
The challenge in Gaza lies in the ongoing conflict between Israel and groups like Hamas. The UN strives to maintain its neutrality amid a highly polarized conflict. Some critics argue that this neutrality can lead to limitations in the organization's effectiveness in conflict resolution and humanitarian assistance.
Nonetheless, the UN continues to play a vital role in the Gaza Strip by providing humanitarian assistance to the affected population, coordinating international aid efforts, and pressing the conflicting parties to respect international law and human rights.
The situation in the Gaza Strip has become more desperate due to the lack of access to essential humanitarian aid. An attempt in the United Nations Security Council by Brazil to establish "humanitarian pauses" to allow for the delivery of vital assistance was vetoed by the United States, raising international concerns.
However, US President Joe Biden announced "urgent" coordination for the delivery of humanitarian aid through the Rafah corridor, which connects Gaza to the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula and is not under Israeli control. Biden ensured that Israel would allow aid to enter through this corridor, representing a significant step in alleviating the suffering of the civilian population amid the conflict.
Biden and his Egyptian counterpart, Abdelfatah Al-Sisi, committed to ensuring the effective distribution of aid to Gaza's population. The agreement includes precautionary measures to prevent aid from falling into the hands of Hamas, and road repairs are planned to facilitate the passage of aid trucks. This international cooperation seeks to respond "urgently and robustly" to the UN's call in Palestinian territory, emphasizing the importance of humanitarian aid amid the crisis.
The international community, along with the conflicting parties, must redouble efforts to end the violence and work toward a peaceful and just solution. The tragedy unfolding in Gaza is a call for compassion and action to ensure that no community should endure such suffering. Peace, justice, and humanity must be the pillars on which the path to understanding and reconciliation is built in this region ravaged by conflict and loss.