Doctors Without Borders says nothing changed in Gaza after the UNSC ceasefire resolution - as it happened

Ahram Online , Thursday 28 Mar 2024

Ahram Online provide coverage of the Israeli war on Gaza on its 174th day.

Gaza
A girl walks holding a jerrycan ahead of other displaced people evacuating with belongings, along a street in Gaza City on March 27, 2024. AFP

 

22:30 The MSF medical charity lamented Thursday that nothing had changed on the ground in Gaza since the United Nations Security Council resolution this week demanding an "immediate ceasefire."

After more than five months of Israeli war on Gaza, the UN Security Council for the first time Monday demanded an immediate ceasefire in Gaza after Israel's ally the United States, which vetoed previous drafts, abstained.

That resolution demanded an "immediate ceasefire" for the ongoing Muslim holy month of Ramadan, leading to a "lasting" truce.

But since then, "we haven't seen any change after this resolution on the ground," Christos Christou, MSF's international president, told AFP in an interview.

"We haven't seen any impact in... people's lives there every day; we haven't seen an impact in our world, (and the) ways of delivering the humanitarian aid," he said.

"The situation remains the same."

And Christou stressed that MSF's demands also remained unchanged.

What was needed, he said, was an immediate and lasting ceasefire, a halt to all attacks on medical installations and personnel, and "unhindered humanitarian aid in Gaza."

For now, he acknowledged that "our efforts are just a little drop in the ocean of needs".

MSF still has local and international staff working in the few hospitals that are still functioning in Gaza.

The organisation is among other things working to care for women after they undergo a caesarian section.

He pointed out that in many cases, women who gave birth via a caesarian section were "literally kicked out of the hospital after a couple of hours because there were no beds".

"MSF has increased the capacity of beds to offer at least some quality of care to these women," he said.

Israel's campaign has killed at least 32,552 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

Christou said MSF was "extremely worried" about Israeli plans to push its ground offensive into Rafah, Gaza's southernmost city which is packed with some 1.5 million people, many of them displaced from other parts of the territory.

"This would be really catastrophic."

21:30 France will provide 30 million euros ($32 million) for the embattled UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA if it commits to neutrality, the foreign ministry said Thursday, without giving a timeline for payments.

"We will make our contributions ensuring that the conditions have been met for UNRWA to complete its missions in a spirit devoid of any call to hatred or violence," ministry spokesman Christophe Lemoine said.

He gave no timeline for the payments, which usually are made quarter by quarter.

"We have always said UNRWA played a crucial role in Gaza and the region and that it must imperatively be able to continue its work," Lemoine said.

Last year France provided the agency with 60 million euros in funding.

UNRWA, which coordinates nearly all aid to Gaza, has been in crisis since Israel accused about a dozen of its 13,000 Gaza employees of being involved in the attack by Palestinian militant group Hamas against it on 7 October.

This led many donors, including the United States, to suspend their funding in January.

At the time, France said it had no funding planned for UNRWA for the first quarter of 2024.

Rights groups condemned the decision, pointing to a "worsening humanitarian catastrophe" and "looming famine" in the besieged Palestinian territory of Gaza, where Israeli forces after October 7 launched a devastating military campaign.

Under increasing global condemnation of these decisions, many of the countries who went along with Israeli allegations against the UNRWA reinstated funding for the UNRWA since.

The United Nations has since fired the accused employees and launched an internal probe and an independent investigation into UNWRA.

A preliminary investigation found "critical areas" that need to be addressed despite a "significant number of mechanisms and procedures to ensure compliance with the humanitarian principle of neutrality," a UN spokesperson said last week.

The final report is due to be presented to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on 20 April.

Israel's campaign has killed at least 32,552 people, mostly women and children, according to the health ministry in Gaza.

UNRWA has provided essential aid for Palestinian refugees since 1949.

Gaza counts 1.7 million refugees out of a population of 2.4 million, according to the United Nations.

20:30 The top United Nations court on Thursday ordered Israel to take measures including opening more land crossings to allow food, water, fuel, and other supplies into Gaza to tackle crippling shortages in Gaza.

The International Court of Justice issued two new so-called provisional measures in a case brought by South Africa accusing Israel of acts of genocide in its military campaign launched after 7 Oct.

Thursday’s order came after South Africa sought more provisional measures, including a ceasefire, citing starvation in Gaza. Israel urged the court not to issue new orders.

In its legally binding order, the court told Israel to take “all necessary and effective measures to ensure, without delay, in full co-operation with the United Nations, the unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance,” including food, water, fuel, and medical supplies.

It also ordered Israel to immediately ensure “that its military does not commit acts which constitute a violation of any of the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance.”

The court told Israel to report back after a month on implementing the orders.

Israel’s Foreign Ministry had no immediate comment on the order.

19:00 Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry underlined in a meeting on Thursday with Tariq Ahmad, the UK's Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, United Nations and Commonwealth Affairs, the urgent need to enforce a complete ceasefire in Gaza in compliance with the most recent UN Security Council Resolution in that respect.

FM Shoukry also highlighted to Minister Ahmad the need to enforce and build on the UN Security Council resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza even after the holy fasting month of Ramadan ends, according to the Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid.

16:19 France will provide over 30 million euros ($32.41 million) to the United Nations Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA this year to support its operations amid the devastating Israeli war on Gaza, said the foreign ministry in Paris.

"We will make our contributions while ensuring that the conditions are met for UNRWA to fulfil its missions in a spirit devoid of incitement to hatred and violence," Foreign Ministry spokesman Christophe Lemoine told journalists, according to Reuters.

He did not say when the next payment to the agency would be made. According to the usual quarterly schedule, the next tranche is due in April.

16:11 Opposition to Israel's war in Gaza is growing in the US, with a Gallup poll finding that a majority of Americans are against Israel's assaults in the Palestinian Strip. 

Fifty-five percent of respondents said they disapprove of "Israel's military action in Gaza," up from 45 percent in November. 

Only 36 percent of Americans support Israel's actions, according to the Gallup findings, down from 50 percent in November. 

Four percent have no opinion, it added. 

15:49 The Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a law decree granting confidence to the nineteenth government and a decree approving its formation.

According to the Palestinian News Agency WAFA, Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Mustafa submitted the government's work program and the list of ministers proposed for formation to Abou Mazen to gain confidence.

According to the agency, the government will take the constitutional oath before the president on Sunday.

The government program emphasizes that the political reference of the government is the Palestine Liberation Organization, its political program, and international commitments.

The program includes prioritizing the humanitarian situation, including developing a comprehensive plan for humanitarian aid and immediate relief for the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and recovery and reconstruction in both the Strip and the West Bank.

The program also includes plans for institutional reform, restructuring and unifying institutions, combating corruption, raising the level of services, and digital transformation.

15:00 Unicef spokesperson, James Elder, said "Adolescents in Gaza wish to be killed to end their nightmare."

"Such horror is no longer unique in Gaza."

Addressing the UN from Rafah, Elder described the situation in Gaza by saying that sleeping at night feels like “lying in a coffin.”

Elder further emphasized that the the imminent famine in the north of Gaza is “man-made” and caused by restrictions imposed by Israel, and that UNRWA would be able to turn the humanitarian crisis around “in a matter of days” if it were allowed to use one of the old crossings in the north.

 

 

On Wednesday, he said that the hope sparked by the UN Security Council resolution for a ceasefire in Gaza is "being drowned out by bombs" while standing next to a seven-year-old Palestinian boy who was injured by an Israeli attack.

 

 

14:00 Pro-Palestine protesters occupied the entrance to the UK's Department for Business and Trade over its perceived links to the supply of arms to Israel, UK PA media reported.

The protesters staged a distraction involving a cyclist crashing into a pedestrian, before forcing their way past a security guard and sitting on the floor at the entrance to the government building, chanting the slogan “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”

Once removed by police from inside the building, the protesters unfurled a banner which read “Stop arming Israel” while wearing black T-shirts emblazoned with the same message.

13:51 Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed the war cabinet members that he will send a delegation to Washington next week, after denying the White House's announcement of the upcoming visit on Wednesday evening, Israeli Ynet reported.

 Netanyahu said he decided to send the delegation to discuss with the Americans the Israeli operation in Rafah.

Political officials who spoke to Ynet said "Netanyahu realized that he was wrong."

13:00 The Israeli occupation army conducted a large-scale arrest campaign in the occupied West Bank last night and this morning, resulting in the detention of 25 Palestinians, including a child and former prisoners, as reported by WAFA news agency citing various sources.

The Palestinian Prisoner's Society (PPS) reported that at least ten Palestinians, including a 15-year-old child, were rounded up by occupation forces from different areas across Hebron city. 

Additional detentions occurred in Ramallah, Tulkarem, Jenin, Salfit, and Jerusalem, added the Palestinian news agency.

Palestinian detainees are frequently subjected to brutal abuse during their detention, including severe beatings and threats against the detainees and their families, added PPS.

The total number of Palestinians, including children, women, and elderly men, detained since 7 October has surpassed 7,845 individuals.

Moreover, the Israeli army persists in the crime of enforced disappearance against detainees in the Gaza Strip, refusing to provide human rights institutions with any details regarding their fate or places of detention.

12:51 "The clock is ticking fast towards famine in Gaza," UNRWA said.

The UN agency said: "Our food convoys are prevented from reaching the north, where famine is imminent."

"Time is running out. Restrictions must be lifted now."

 

 

12:48 Dozens of civilians were killed and others injured over the last hours in Israeli missile strikes and artillery shelling that targeted different parts of the Gaza Strip, WAFA news agency reported.

Medical sources reported that four civilians were killed and others were wounded as a result of the Israeli occupation's shelling of different areas in the centre and south of the strip.

Additionally, three civilians were killed, and 20 others were injured in an Israeli airstrike on a house in the Shujaiya neighbourhood east of Gaza City.

Israeli fighter jets bombed residential buildings in the Al-Rimal neighbourhood in central Gaza City and a building on Hamad Street in the Al-Shati refugee camp west of Gaza City, causing many casualties.

Meanwhile, Israeli tanks fired a barrage of gunfire in the vicinity of Al-Shifa Medical Complex, west of Gaza City.

In Khan Younis, south of the strip, a civilian was killed after being directly targeted by occupation forces in Hamad town, while the occupation aircraft carried out intense airstrikes targeting the city.

In Beit Lahia, north of the Gaza Strip, dozens of civilians sustained various wounds in an Israeli airstrike that targeted the vicinity of Al-Qassam Mosque.

Israeli occupation warplanes also targeted the city of Al-Isra, northwest of Nuseirat in the central Gaza Strip.

12:39 Only 10 out of 36 hospitals remain operational in the Gaza Strip, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), after the Al-Amal Hospital in Khan Younis ceased functioning on Tuesday.

“The health system is barely surviving,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on X.

Israeli forces this week surrounded Al-Amal and Nasser hospitals while pressing on with their siege of Gaza City’s Al-Shifa Hospital, the largest medical complex in the strip. 

“Once more, WHO demands an immediate end to attacks on hospitals in Gaza, and calls for protection of health staff, patients, and civilians,” Tedros said.

 

12:30 Israeli soldiers have been posting photos and videos of themselves toying with lingerie found in Palestinian homes in Gaza.

Reuters reported a video where an Israeli soldier sits in a room in Gaza, grinning with a gun in one hand and dangling white satin underwear over the open mouth of a comrade lying on a sofa.

In another scene, a soldier sits atop a tank holding a female mannequin dressed in a black bra and helmet, jokingly referring to it as his "beautiful wife" found in Gaza, suggesting a "serious relationship."

The two videos shot by Israeli soldiers are among dozens of posts in which troops in Gaza are shown displaying lingerie, mannequins, and in some cases both.

The lingerie images have been viewed tens of thousands of times nearly half a million in one case after being reposted by Younis Tirawi, who describes himself as a Palestinian reporter.

Approached by Reuters about images he reposted to his more than 100,000 followers on X, Tirawi provided links to the original posts by Israeli soldiers.

Reuters independently verified eight posted on Instagram or YouTube.

"The posting of such images is demeaning to Palestinian women, and all women," said Ravina Shamdasani, UN Human Rights Office spokesperson.

Reuters sent details of the eight verified posts on YouTube or Instagram to the Israel Defense Forces, requesting comment.

In response, a spokesperson sent a statement saying the army investigates incidents that deviate from the orders. 

The authenticated posts include a photo of a soldier holding a bare female mannequin from behind with his hands on its breasts and one of a soldier handling a half-naked doll.

One photo shows a soldier posing with his gun, making a thumbs-up gesture, in front of a double bed strewn with packets of women's underwear.

11:59 Ireland will intervene in an International Court of Justice (ICJ) case filed by South Africa against Israel's genocide in Gaza, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Defence Micheál Martin said Wednesday.

“Analysis and consultation has now concluded. Ireland will be intervening,” Martin said. 

In late December 2023, South Africa filed a suit against Israel at the ICJ, the top court of the United Nations, accusing it of committing genocide in Gaza.

The court issued provisional measures on 26 January requiring Israel to report back within a month; that report was submitted on 26 February, although it was not published.

The intervention will take some months to materialize. Ireland’s statement indicates it will file a declaration to the ICJ once South Africa submits its “memorial” — the written statement of its arguments.

Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheal Martin announced that he had directed officials to commence work on a Declaration of Intervention under Article 63 of the statute of the ICJ.

"The situation could not be starker; half the population of Gaza face imminent famine and 100 percent of the population face acute food insecurity," Martin said on Wednesday.

11:45 Israeli strikes killed at least 62 Palestinians over the past 24 hours in Gaza, the Palestinian health ministry announced, adding that at least 32,552 people have been killed in the territory since the war broke out.

The toll includes 74,980 wounded people.

11:22 The US imposed sanctions on the online media site Gaza Now and its founder Mustafa Ayash for allegedly supporting Hamas.

US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control claimed the online entity began a fundraising effort in support of the Palestinian organization.

Gaza Now's Arabic channel has more than 300,000 followers on social media channel X and a large following on the encrypted chat platform Telegram.

Firms Al-Qureshi Executives and Aakhirah Ltd. and their director Aozma Sultana were included in the sanctions; they are alleged to have partnered on multiple fundraising efforts alongside Gaza Now.

The sanctions were imposed in collaboration with the UK’s Office of Foreign Sanctions Implementation.

11:02 The death toll from Israeli airstrikes across southern Lebanon has climbed to 16, including several fighters and members of paramedic groups, according to Lebanese state media.

Earlier Wednesday, Hezbollah claimed responsibility for firing a barrage of rockets into the northern Israeli city of Kiryat Shmona and a military base, which killed one person.

It said the rockets were in response to the earlier deadly attack that hit a paramedic centre in south Lebanon, killing seven people.

Nearly 240 Hezbollah fighters and about 40 civilians have been killed by Israel in Lebanon since October 2023.

The fighting has killed nine civilians and 11 soldiers in Israel.

11:00 Hamas has released a rare recording featuring Mohammed Deif, the shadowy head of its military win, calling on Muslims around the world to liberate Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“Start marching today, now, not tomorrow, toward Palestine,” Deif says in a message aimed at Muslims globally, calling them to join “participate in the liberation of Al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Deif delivered the message in a voice recording posted Wednesday on the resistance group’s channel on Telegram. No image of him appears in the recording.

The leader of Hamas’ Qassam Brigades has not been seen in public in decades, and the last time Hamas published a voice recording of him was the day of 7 October.

10:36 A US State Department human rights staffer resigned Wednesday in protest of US support for Israel’s war on Gaza, the latest example of growing rifts in Washington over the Biden administration's stance on the conflict.

“For the past year, I worked for the office devoted to promoting human rights in the Middle East. I believe strongly in the mission and the important work of that office,” Annelle Sheline said in a CNN opinion piece.

She worked for a year as a foreign affairs officer at the Office of Near Eastern Affairs in the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor.

“However, as a representative of a government that is directly enabling what the International Court of Justice has said could plausibly be a genocide in Gaza, such work has become almost impossible,” Sheline continued.

“Unable to serve an administration that enables such atrocities, I have decided to resign from my position at the Department of State.” 

Sheline is the latest official to resign from the State Department in opposition to Biden's stance on the war on Gaza. 

Josh Paul, a director in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, stepped down in October last year, while Department of Education official Tariq Habash, a Palestinian American, resigned in January.

10:27 Israeli medics and the army said three people were wounded in a gun attack Thursday that targeted a school bus near the city of Jericho in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. 

After reports that a militant fired toward "a number of vehicles," soldiers were sent to the scene near the town of Al-Auja, the occupation army said, adding that soldiers were pursuing the suspect. 

More than 440 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli troops or settlers in the West Bank since the war on Gaza broke out.

11:24 The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) reported that the Israeli occupation forces released seven detainees from their teams who were kidnapped during the raid on Al-Amal Hospital on 9 February.

The team endured 47 days in occupation prisons. Among those released is Mohammed Abu Musabeh, Ambulance and Emergency Services director in Gaza.

However, the occupation still detains eight members of the PRCS, and their fate remains unknown at this time.

 

10:00 Two-thirds of Gaza’s 36 hospitals are not functioning after Al-Amal Hospital in the south of the territory ceased operation amid an intense Israeli army attack, UN humanitarian officials report.

According to the UN World Health Organization, Gaza now has just 12 operating hospitals – two that are “minimally functional” and 10 that are partially functional, four in the north and six in the south, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

More than two dozen staff, six patients, a companion, and the bodies of two people killed inside Al-Amal were moved Monday by the UN humanitarian office, the Palestine Red Crescent Society, and the International Committee for the Red Cross before the hospital was closed Tuesday, Dujarric said.

Andrea De Domenico, the head of UN humanitarian operations in the Palestinian territories, visited the partially functioning Kamal Adwan Hospital in the north last week and reported that it is receiving “about 15 malnourished children a day and is struggling to maintain services,” Dujarric said.

“The hospital’s only generator has been heavily damaged, and health workers and patients desperately need food, water, and sanitation assistance,” the UN spokesman said.

According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP), Dujarric said, roughly 70 percent of northern Gaza’s population “is facing catastrophic hunger” but efforts to deliver life-saving aid have been impeded by fighting and “access constraints” in getting food to those in need.

This month, WFP was only able to send 11 convoys to the north with food for some 74,000 people, far below the colossal needs of the population, Dujarric said.

An international team of doctors visiting a hospital in central Gaza was prepared for the worst. But the gruesome impact Israel’s war is having on Palestinian children still left them stunned.

One toddler died from a brain injury caused by an Israeli strike that fractured his skull. His cousin, an infant, is still fighting for her life with part of her face blown off by the same strike.

An unrelated 10-year-old boy screamed out in pain for his parents, not knowing that they were killed in the strike. Beside him was his sister, but he didn’t recognize her because burns covered almost her entire body.

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