UNRWA chief urges Israel to allow food delivery to Gaza amid famine warnings

Donor countries suspended funding to UNRWA after Israel accused the agency's employees of taking part in Hamas attack

Israel launched a large-scale offensive against Hamas during which about 1,200 people were killed (photo: IANS)
Israel launched a large-scale offensive against Hamas during which about 1,200 people were killed (photo: IANS)
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IANS

Philippe Lazzarini, commissioner-general of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has urged Israel to allow the organisation's food and nutrition convoys to reach northern Gaza and open additional land crossings to facilitate the delivery of aid amid international warnings of famine in the coastal enclave.

Lazzarini made the remarks on Friday, 29 March, 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, Xinhua news agency reported.

He called on countries to increase pressure for the implementation of the court's order and to reconsider their decisions regarding funding the agency, emphasising the urgency of bold actions to prevent famine in Gaza.

He warned that the living conditions of more than two million people in Gaza were deteriorating, and Gaza was becoming an impossible place for dignified living.

The ruling issued on Thursday by the ICJ follows a previous one on 26 January, in which the ICJ ordered Israel to take all possible measures to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The previous ruling was given after South Africa filed a case at the ICJ against Israel on 29 December 2023, for its alleged violations of obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention regarding Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has launched a large-scale offensive against Hamas and imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through southern Israel on 7 October 2023, during which about 1,200 people were killed and more than 250 were taken hostage.

A number of donor countries suspended funding to UNRWA after Israel accused the agency's employees in Gaza of taking part in the Hamas attack on Israel.

While some countries have reinstated UNRWA funding due to unverified claims by Israel, the agency has lost the bulk of its financial support.

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