Thursday night’s order by the Israel Defense Forces to Palestinians in Gaza to evacuate their homes within 24 hours was dangerous and deeply troubling. Any demand for a mass evacuation on extremely short notice could have devastating humanitarian consequences.
The evacuation order applies to approximately 1.1 million people. It applies to a territory that is already besieged, under aerial bombardment and without fuel, electricity, water and food. It applies to a territory that has suffered critical damage to roads and infrastructure in the past week, making the act of evacuating nearly impossible in the first place. It applies to United Nations staff members and more than 200,000 people sheltering in U.N. facilities, including schools, health centers and clinics. It applies to hundreds of thousands of children: Nearly half of Gaza is under the age of 18.
As secretary general of the United Nations, I appeal to Israeli authorities to reconsider.
We have approached a moment of calamitous escalation, and find ourselves at a critical crossroads. It is imperative that all parties — and those with influence over them — do everything possible to avoid fresh violence or spillover of the conflict to the West Bank and the wider region. [Continue reading…]
A reported 70 Palestinian civilians were killed while evacuating overnight, while a refugee camp was bombed, and various medical centres have been hit by air strikes, according to sources on the ground.
He said that the feeling among citizens is that “nowhere is safe” and that they will be permanently displaced in a “second Nakba”.
Mr Shalabi who is Director of MAP and oversees foreign aid efforts in the region, says that hospitals are “full of dead bodies”, have run out of supplies and the most they can do for the increasing numbers of wounded people is to stop the loss of blood as queues for emergency care and operations pile up.
“People are carrying dead bodies in their cars because ambulances are being targeted, it’s a dire situation,” he says.
This comes after the Director of Al Shifa, the largest hospital in Gaza rejected Israel’s order to evacuate. He says there are no painkillers, no ATMs, and no bread – the World Health Organisation warned that the evacuation order amounted to a “death sentence” for vulnerable hospital patients including babies dependent on machines and medication. [Continue reading…]