‘We Cannot Deliver Aid Under Fire’ – Israel Bombs UNRWA Relief Truck

An UNRWA aid convoy bombed by Israeli forces on its way to northern Gaza. (Photo: via UNRWA)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff  

Amidst the grave humanitarian crisis in the besieged Gaza Strip, an UN Relief Agency truck carrying humanitarian aid has been bombed by Israeli occupation forces.

“This morning a food convoy waiting to move into Northern Gaza was hit by Israeli naval gunfire – thankfully no one was injured,” Thomas White, the Director of UNRWA Affairs in Gaza said on X on Monday. Two photographs of the truck clearly showing the damage accompanied his post. 

The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) warned “We cannot deliver humanitarian aid under fire.”

“Safe and sustainable humanitarian access is urgently needed everywhere including to the north of Gaza,” the agency said on X. 

Responding to the attack, Philippe Lazzarini, the UNRWA Commissioner-General, stressed that “although we send notifications about all aid convoys and we coordinate all our movements, aid convoys continue to come under fire.”

“Civilians & aid to civilians must be protected at all times,” Lazzarini said on X.

Not Enough Trucks

This latest attack comes as the number of aid trucks entering Gaza per day is significantly lower compared to before October 7, even at a time when devastated Gaza is in greater need for life-saving medicine, food, even water, among other critical supplies.

Just over 9,800 trucks carrying humanitarian aid have entered the besieged Gaza Strip between October 21 and February 1, according to the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS). The

In a statement on X on Sunday, the PRCS said “9,831 aid trucks” reached Gaza “averaging 94.5 trucks per day.”

Before Israel’s current onslaught on the Gaza Strip, approximately 600 trucks were reportedly entering Gaza daily.

Death by Starvation

Last month, Gaza’s media office said an estimated 800,000 residents are facing death by starvation and thirst amid Israel’s ongoing siege and continuous bombardment of Gaza.

In a statement, the Media Office said that Gaza City and the north of the enclave “need 1,300 food trucks daily to overcome the hunger crisis, with 600 trucks for the north and 700 for Gaza city.”

It said Israel “is speeding up the pace of a real famine” which has resulted “in the deaths of 14 people seeking food.” It did not provide details of the deaths.

The media office also highlighted the Israeli army’s continued prevention of “aid, supplies, food, and provisions from entering the governorates, as well as shooting at trucks attempting to reach them, targeting drinking water pipelines and wells, and hindering all aspects of life.”

Suspension of UNRWA Funds

Meanwhile, UNRWA has suffered a financial blow after several Western countries, including the US, Canada, and France suspended funding worth $440 million to the UN relief agency after Israel alleged some of its employees were involved in the October 7 operation carried out by the Palestinian Resistance.   

UNRWA terminated the contracts of the staff members concerned, asking for an independent investigation.

“It’s difficult to imagine that Gazans will survive this crisis without UNRWA,” White previously said.

UNRWA is the largest humanitarian organization in Gaza. Of its 13,000 staff, more than 3,000 continue working, they are the backbone of the humanitarian aid operations, he stressed.

The agency warned that it would “most likely” be forced to shut down its operations by the end of February in the besieged enclave as well as across the region if funding remains suspended.

Some 21 global aid organizations slammed the decision as “reckless” by certain countries to suspend funding UNRWA. 

Defunding UNRWA: The Last Phase of Israeli Genocide

In a joint statement, the agencies including Oxfam and Save the Children, said the funding suspension, “will impact life-saving assistance for over two million civilians, over half of whom are children, who rely on UNRWA aid in Gaza”.

“We are shocked by the reckless decision to cut a lifeline for an entire population by some of the very countries that had called for aid in Gaza to be stepped up and for humanitarians to be protected while doing their job,” the organizations said.

Israel is being accused of committing genocide in Gaza. According to Gaza’s Ministry of Health, 27,585 Palestinians have been killed, and 66,978 wounded in Israel’s ongoing genocide in Gaza starting on October 7.

Moreover, at least 8,000 people are unaccounted for, presumed dead under the rubble of their homes throughout the Strip.

Palestinian and international estimates say that the majority of those killed and wounded are women and children.

The Israeli aggression has also resulted in the forceful displacement of nearly two million people from all of the Gaza Strip, with the vast majority of the displaced forced into the densely crowded southern city of Rafah near the border with Egypt – in what has become Palestine’s largest mass exodus since the 1948 Nakba.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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