UNSC delegation visits Arish, Rafah to follow up on aid provided to Gaza

Ahram Online , Monday 11 Dec 2023

A delegation from the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) is set to visit on Monday to the cities of Arish and Rafah to oversee the progress of the humanitarian aid and medical operations provided to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

UNSC delegation to visit the cities of El-Arish and Rafah to oversee the progress of the humanitarian aid and medical operations provided to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Photo courtesy of the foreign affairs ministry.


The visit was coordinated between the missions of Egypt and the UAE to the UN as part of the latter’s current membership in the UN Security Council.

The delegation will inspect the aid and humanitarian efforts carried out by the Egyptian Red Crescent, as well as the medical support provided to Palestinian casualties, according to a statement by the spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ahmed Abu-Zeid. 

The delegation will also examine the obstacles imposed by the Israeli side on the entry of aid trucks and the evacuation of casualties from the Rafah crossing, which has led to the congestion of aid trucks hindering their entry into the strip.

The visit “comes at a crucial time when the UN Security Council, unfortunately, remains incapable of making a decision to cease fire in the Gaza Strip, putting an end to the continuous targeting of civilians,” read the statement.

The UNSC has been discussing an Arab-Islamic draft resolution, formulated by Egypt, which calls for launching an effective mechanism allowing the smooth entry of aid into Gaza and providing solutions to the obstacles imposed by Israel.

"There is no justification to turning a blind eye to the pain and suffering inflicted on the Palestinian people in Gaza," an Egyptian foreign ministry official told the envoys during a briefing following their arrival.

Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE's envoy to the Security Council, said member states were taking part in the trip in their "national and personal capacities," according to the AFP.

Nusseibeh said the visit aims to help them "understand not only the suffering and destruction experienced by the people of Gaza but also their hope and their strength."

Philippe Lazzarini, the head of the UN's Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA briefed the envoys on the harrowing humanitarian situation in Gaza before he headed to the embattled territory for his third visit since the start of the war in October.

There is "deep frustration disappointment, and some outrage also that... we can't even reach a consensus for a ceasefire," Lazzarini said after the meeting.

"There is no real safe place in the Gaza Strip, even the UN premises currently hosting more than 1 person have been hit," he said.

On Sunday, the Egyptian Red Crescent (ERC) announced delivering over 100 trucks carrying humanitarian aid, including food, water, and medical supplies, to its Palestinian counterpart for distribution to the under-siege residents of Gaza.

Since the start of the Israeli war and blockade on Gaza on 7 October, Egypt has delivered 11,200 tons of humanitarian aid to Gaza through the Rafah border crossing, including water, food, medicines, medical equipment, mattresses, and tents, according to Minister of Social Solidarity Nevine El-Qabbaj.

Egypt has also received 239 aid planes from various countries at Arish Airport in North Sinai and delivered them to Gaza through the Rafah crossing.

More than 50 percent of the 2.4 million residents in Gaza are facing hunger and starvation conditions as Israel continues an all-out blockade on the strip since the war began, allowing in only a trickle of the aid needed by the population, according to UN estimates. 

Furthermore, more than 75 percent of the population has been internally displaced as Israeli airstrikes and bombardments destroyed 61 percent of the residential buildings across the strip.

Egypt has repeatedly called on Israel to open the Rafah border crossing with Gaza for uninterrupted entry of humanitarian aid to the strip.

According to the latest update by the Palestinian Health Ministry spokesman, the number of those killed in the Israeli war on Gaza since 7 October has climbed to over 18,000 and the number of wounded to over 49,500 - mostly women and children.

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