Israel-Palestine conflict: UN warns aid in Gaza on verge of collapse

The UNRWA head has described the current conditions in Gaza as the worst he's ever seen. Meanwhile, Israel says it has struck some 250 targets over 24 hours, including tunnels

The UN estimates that about 90% of Gaza's 2.3 million people have been displaced, roughly half of them children. (photo: DW)
The UN estimates that about 90% of Gaza's 2.3 million people have been displaced, roughly half of them children. (photo: DW)


  • The UN Gaza refugee head describes conditions there as 'hell on earth'

  • Israel says it struck 250 militant targets in the Gaza Strip over the past 24 hours

  • UN chief Guterres says the crisis has exposed the Security Council as 'paralyzed'

  • Qatar says it is still negotiating with Hamas on hostage releases

  • Thousands of people have attended protests against antisemitism in Germany and Belgium

WHO board passes resolution urging more Gaza aid

The executive board of the World Health Organization (WHO) has passed a resolution urging immediate, humanitarian access to Gaza.

The Gaza Strip is currently under blockade from both Israel and Egypt, with only limited aid and humanitarian supplies being allowed in.

The resolution, brought forward by Afghanistan, Qatar, Yemen and Morocco, seeks the entry of medical personnel and supplies into the territory.

It also requires the WHO to keep track of violence against medical workers and patients. Moreover, the resolution aims to get financing for the reconstruction of hospitals.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the UN agency's 34-member board had achieved "the first consensus resolution on the conflict ... since it began two months ago."

The US did not block the text but said it lacked balance.

Canada labeled the text a "compromise resolution," but added that it did not do enough to mention the role of Hamas in the war. Australia, meanwhile, criticized the omission of the October 7 terror attacks on Israel, calling them "the catalyst for the current devastating situation."

Netanyahu urges Hamas members to 'surrender now'

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called on members of the militant Islamist group Hamas in Gaza to surrender.

Netanyahu said dozens of "Hamas members have surrendered to our forces in the past few days."

"The war is still ongoing but it is the beginning of the end of Hamas," Netanyahu said in a video statement. "I say to the Hamas terrorists: It's over. Don't die for (Yahya) Sinwar. Surrender now."

Yahya Sinwar is the leader of Hamas in Gaza. Hamas is deemed a terror organization by the US, Germany, and EU, among others.

Sinwar is currently believed to be hiding in the tunnels under Gaza. Capturing Sinwar dead or alive is one of the top objectives for the Israeli forces during the military operation in Gaza.

Russia's Lavrov calls for international monitoring in Gaza

Hamas' terror attack against Israel is not justification enough for the punishment of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Sunday, 10 December.

Speaking during an interview aired at the Doha Forum conference in Qatar, Lavrov said while Russia had condemned the attack on Israel on 7 October, which killed 1,200 people, it did not happen in a "vacuum."

"We do not believe it is acceptable to use this event for the collective punishment of the millions of Palestinian people with indiscriminate shelling," he added.

Lavrov said that for there to be "humanitarian pauses" in Gaza "some kind of monitoring on the ground" was needed.

Meanwhile, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticised Moscow's stance on the conflict in talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday.

Netanyahu also "expressed sharp criticism of the dangerous cooperation between Russia and Iran," according to a summary of the discussion provided by his office.

The Israeli leader told his Kremlin counterpart that "any country that had been struck with a criminal terrorist assault such as Israel experienced would have reacted with no less force than Israel is using."

Israel responded to the October 7 terror attack by vowing to destroy Hamas and launched a military offensive in Gaza. According to the Hamas-run Health Ministry, at least 17,700 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in the violence.

Hamas is designated a terror organization by the US, the EU, Germany and several other countries.

WHO chief says Gaza health care situation 'catastrophic'

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Sunday that improving the health care situation in Gaza is "almost impossible" amid Israel's ongoing offensive.

"It's stating the obvious to say that the impact of the conflict on health is catastrophic," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, adding that health workers were doing an impossible job in unimaginable conditions.

"In summary, health needs have increased dramatically, and the capacity of the health system has been reduced to one-third of what it was," said Tedros.

Netanyahu says Western calls for cease-fire inconsistent

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has rejected calls to end the Gaza conflict, claiming they are inconsistent with supporting the aim of eliminating the militant Islamist group Hamas.

Netanyahu made the comments when briefing his Cabinet.

He said he told the leaders of Germany, France, and other countries: "You cannot, on the one hand, support the elimination of Hamas and, on the other, pressure us to end the war, which would prevent the elimination of Hamas."

Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by Germany, the US, and several other countries.

UN Gaza refugee agency warns it is on the verge of collapse

Philippe Lazzarini, the chief of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), said Sunday, 10 December that his agency was on the verge of collapsing in the Palestinian enclave, adding that an immediate cease-fire was needed to end "hell on earth" there.

Lazzarini said the "dehumanization" of Palestinians had allowed the international community to tolerate the continued Israeli attacks in Gaza.

The agency chief said the situation in Gaza now was "by any description" the worst that he had ever seen.

He urged all UN member states to "take immediate actions to implement an immediate humanitarian cease-fire."

Lazzarini said on Friday, 9 December that "calling for an end to the decimation of the lives of Palestinians in Gaza is not a denial of the abhorrent attacks" on Israel carried about by the Hamas militant group on October 7.

IDF says it hit 250 militant targets in Gaza

The Israeli military said it has hit some 250 militant targets across the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, including weapon stores and tunnels belonging to Hamas.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said fighter jets and ground troops destroyed a Hamas communications facility next to a mosque in the south of the Palestinian enclave.

The IDF also said it has destroyed tunnel networks in the southern city of Khan Younis using precision bombs.

A cell trying to attack advancing Israeli troops in the area was identified with the help of a drone and fired upon, The IDF added.

Gaza's Hamas-controlled health ministry says some 17,700 Palestinians have been killed in more than two months of fighting in Gaza. The figures cannot be independently verified.

Israel's offensive was triggered by the worst massacre in the country's history on October 7 when Hamas militants killed some 1,200 people and took another 240 hostage. Hamas is considered to be a terrorist organization by several countries.

UN chief says Security Council is 'paralyzed'

The head of the United Nations said the Security Council has been paralyzed by its failure to agree on the necessity for a cease-fire in Gaza.

The body's "authority and credibility were severely undermined" by its delayed response to the conflict, which began on October 7.

The comments from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres came two days after a US veto that blocked a resolution calling for a cease-fire.

He said the council was "paralyzed by geostrategic divisions."

"I reiterated my appeal for a humanitarian cease-fire to be declared," Guterres told the forum. "Regrettably, the Security Council failed to do it."

"I can promise I will not give up," he added.

Israel bombarded targets in Gaza after two months of fighting in the narrow Palestinian enclave.

At least 17,490 people, mostly women and children, have died in two months of fighting in the Gaza Strip, according to the latest figures from the Hamas-run territory's health ministry.

The militants crossed into Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and kidnapping about 240 others. Close to half of the hostages were released in a six-day humanitarian truce, which saw many Palestinian prisoners in Israel also set free and returned to Gaza.

Houthis widen threat against Red Sea shipping

The Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have threatened to attack any vessels heading to Israeli ports unless food and medicine are allowed into the besieged Gaza Strip.

Their warning comes after a series of maritime attacks by the Houthis since the start of the Israel-Hamas war on October 7.

The Houthis said they would prevent the passage of ships heading to Israel if humanitarian aid was not allowed into Hamas-ruled Gaza.

While the Houthis have recently attacked ships traveling in the Red Sea that they claim have direct links to Israel, their latest threat expands the scope of their targets.

Qatar says hostage hopes still high

Efforts to reach a deal to agree on a Gaza cease-fire and release more hostages held by Hamas are continuing, Qatar's prime minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, said Sunday.

This comes despite Israeli bombardment bombardment of the territory, which is "narrowing the window" for a successful outcome, he said.

"Our efforts as the state of Qatar, along with our partners, are continuing. We are not going to give up," Al Thani told the Doha Forum, adding that "the continuation of the bombardment is just narrowing this window for us."

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Published: 11 Dec 2023, 8:32 AM