Israel-Palestine conflict: Gaza population in 'grave peril,' says WHO

Residents of the Gaza Strip are at severe risk of disease amid an acute lack of functioning hospitals, the WHO has said

The conflict in Gaza has resulted in the mass displacement of its residents. (photo: DW)
The conflict in Gaza has resulted in the mass displacement of its residents. (photo: DW)


Humanitarian situation in Rafah 'extremely dire' — ICRC

Conditions for civilians in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip "are extremely dire," according to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The city lies near the border with Egypt and houses tens of thousands of displaced people who have sought shelter between Israeli forces and Hamas.

"The humanitarian organizations that are here are struggling to be able to respond because we do not have enough relief supplies to be able to meet these needs," the ICRC's rapid deployment coordinator, Stephen Ryan, told DW.

He said the area was not big enough to deal with the number of displaced people, saying they were being "squeezed into a very small area."

"There isn't enough water, there isn't enough shelter material, there isn't enough sanitation, and certainly people also don't have enough access to food," he said, adding that people could begin to have "greater medical needs" beyond direct injuries from air strikes and fighting.

Israel struck several Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, the military said

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has posted on its Hebrew account on the platform X, formerly Twitter, that warplanes, tanks and artillery fire had targeted Hezbollah positions across its northern border.

It said the attacks were focused on southern Lebanon's Ayta ash-Shab and Ramyeh villages, as well as other areas.

The IDF stated that in response to projectiles fired from Lebanon, it had bombed the areas where these projectiles originated.

In addition, the Israeli forces also targeted a place they believed was used as a hideout by a group planning to fire anti-tank missiles toward Israel.

Hezbollah, a Shiite group with massive backing from Iran, is designated — in part or in full — as a terrorist organization by the EU, US, and Israel, among others.

It has expressed its support for Hamas against Israel.

There have been almost daily exchanges of fire between the IDF and Hezbollah along the Israel-Lebanon border since Hamas from Gaza attacked Israel on October 7.

Egypt awaits response to Gaza peace proposal

Egypt has confirmed it has submitted a framework proposal to end the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

The plan includes three stages ending with a cease-fire, with Diaa Rashwan, head of Egypt's State Information Service, confirming in a statement that further details would be provided once responses are received.

The proposal is an attempt "to bring viewpoints between all concerned parties closer, in an effort to stop Palestinian bloodshed and the aggression against the Gaza Strip and restore peace and stability to the region," he said. "Upon receipt of responses from the parties concerned, the proposal will be elaborated in detail, and will be announced in full."

Last week, a Hamas delegation led by Ismail Haniyeh, the Qatar-based political leader of Hamas, visited Cairo for talks with Egyptian officials, the group said.

Qatar and Egypt helped broker a temporary truce in November — agreed by Israel and Hamas — that also facilitated hostage-for-prisoner swaps.

Egypt, the first Arab country to sign a peace treaty with Israel in 1979, has mediated in previous conflicts between Palestinians and Israel.

WHO urges immediate cease-fire to aid civilians in Gaza

The head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has called on the international community to take "urgent steps to alleviate the grave peril facing the population of Gaza and jeopardizing the ability of humanitarian workers to help people with terrible injuries, acute hunger and at severe risk of disease."

In a statement, the WHO said its "ability to supply medicines, medical supplies and fuel to hospitals is being increasingly constrained by the hunger and desperation of people en route to, and within, hospitals we reach."

According to the latest WHO assessments, Gaza has 13 partially functioning hospitals, two minimally functioning ones and 21 that are not functioning at all.

"What we urgently need, right now, is a cease-fire to spare civilians from further violence and begin the long road toward reconstruction and peace, " Tedros said.

The current conflict in Gaza erupted when the ruling extremist group Hamas, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by several countries, attacked southern Israel on October 7, killing more than 1,200 people, mostly civilians. It also took around 240 hostages.

In response, Israel launched extensive aerial attacks and a siege followed by a ground invasion. The campaign has killed at least 21,110 people, mostly women and children, according to the Hamas-run Health Ministry in Gaza.

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Published: 29 Dec 2023, 8:31 AM