UN charges Israel still blocking convoys carrying food aid within Gaza - as it happened

Ahram Online , Tuesday 9 Apr 2024

Ahram Online provided coverage of the Israeli war on Gaza on its 186th day.

Gaza City
A Palestinian child plays on the ruins of a building destroyed by earlier Israeli bombardment in Gaza City on April 8, 2024. AFP


18:45 247 aid trucks crossed into the Gaza Strip via the Rafah and Karm Abu Salem crossings on Tuesday, informed sources in the governorate of North Sinai stated.

The sources also noted that 830 individuals crossed into Egypt from Gaza, including 320 Egyptians, 300 Palestinians with residency permits, and 140 foreigners.

This also included 36 Palestinians injured in the Israeli war and 34 companions, according to a source at Rafah crossing who spoke to the Egyptian state news agency (MENA).

The Palestinian injured were transferred from hospitals in Gaza, including Al-Aqsa, Kamal Edwan, European, Nasser, Youssef Najjar, and the Turkish.

They are set to be admitted for treatment at Egyptian hospitals in North Sinai, Ismailia, Suez, Port Said, Cairo, Giza, Sharqiya, and Qalyoubia.

Meanwhile, Al-Qahera News channel reported that Rafah crossing will continue to operate normally during Eid Al-Fitr, which will kick off on Wednesday.

17:30 Israel is blocking far more convoys carrying food aid within Gaza, where famine is looming, than convoys carrying other kinds of aid, the UN said Tuesday.

A spokesman for the United Nations' humanitarian agency pointed to statistics from March showing that it was much more difficult to get clearance for delivering food than other aid in the war-ravaged Palestinian territory.

"Food convoys that should be going particularly to the north, where 70 percent of people face famine conditions, are ... three times more likely to be denied than any other humanitarian convoys with other kinds of material," Jens Laerke told reporters in Geneva.

Israel is facing mounting international pressure to allow more aid into Gaza, which is facing a humanitarian catastrophe six months into the war that erupted on 7 October.

Israel meanwhile charges that the main problem is with UN aid distribution within Gaza.

COGAT, the Israeli defense ministry body that manages the flow of aid, said Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter, that "741 humanitarian aid trucks were inspected and transferred to the Gaza Strip over the last 2 days."

"Only 267 aid trucks were distributed by UN aid agencies inside Gaza (out of which 146 carried food)," it said.

"The aid is available, distribution is what matters."

Laerke said such comparisons were "meaningless" for several reasons.

He pointed out that the trucks screened by COGAT were "typically only half-full. That is a requirement that they have put in place for screening purposes."

The trucks are then reloaded, filling them up fully, before moving on to the warehouses.

"Already there, the numbers will never match up," Laerke said.

He also insisted that "counting day to day and comparing makes little sense because it does not take into account the delays that happen at the crossing and the further movement to warehouses."

He pointed to delays linked to the crossing point opening hours and the fact that Israel has barred Egyptian drivers and trucks from being in the same area at the same time as Palestinian drivers and trucks.

"That means there's not a smooth handover," Laerke said.

16:00 Australia on Tuesday became the latest country to advocate formal recognition of a Palestinian state, further shattering a long-standing diplomatic taboo in the West.

Foreign Minister Penny Wong said that recognizing a state of Palestine could restart the moribund Middle East peace process and undermine extremist forces in the Middle East.

"Recognising a Palestinian state one that can only exist side by side with a secure Israel doesn't just offer the Palestinian people an opportunity to realize their aspirations," she told an audience in Canberra.

"It also strengthens the forces for peace and undermines extremism. It undermines Hamas, Iran, and Iran's other destructive proxies in the region."

For decades, the formal recognition of a Palestinian state has been seen as the endgame of a peace process between Palestinians and Israel.

"The failures of this approach by all parties over decades as well as the (Benjamin) Netanyahu Government's refusal to even engage on the question of a Palestinian state have caused widespread frustration," Wong said.

"So the international community is now considering the question of Palestinian statehood as a way of building momentum towards a two-state solution," she added.

Her comments come after the United Kingdom, Ireland, Malta, Slovenia, and Spain have floated the idea of recognizing a Palestinian state.

In 2014, Sweden, which has a large Palestinian community, became the first EU member in western Europe to recognize a Palestinian state.

The state of Palestine had earlier been recognized by six other European countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Romania.

15:00 Different sources reported on the American compromise proposal for a Gaza ceasefire after talks in Cairo, as Israel's defense minister said it is time for a deal, with the Israeli war on Gaza entering its seventh month.

Israel is facing growing international pressure, including from its top ally the US, to cease fire and refrain from its threatened offensive against Rafah.

Hamas was reviewing a proposal that would see a six-week truce and Israeli women and child captives freed in exchange for up to 900 Palestinian prisoners, a source from the group, close to the negotiations, said late on Monday.

The exchange will “include 100 who were sentenced to life imprisonment,” the Qatari Al Jazeera channel said, citing an anonymous source.

The first phase would also involve the return of displaced Palestinian civilians to northern Gaza and delivering 400-500 trucks of food aid daily to the territory amid the dire shortages of food and water due to the Israeli siege, the source said.

“Israel will allow the opening of the Gaza Strip's two main roads: Al-Rashid and Saleh Al-Din for the free movement of Gazans,” according to Al Jazeera.

The Qatari channel said the Israeli Army “will place its forces 500 metres away from them.”

14:00 The health ministry in Gaza said Tuesday that at least 33,360 people mostly women and children have been killed in the territory during more than six months of the Israel war on the strip.

The toll includes at least 153 deaths over the past 24 hours, a ministry statement said, adding that 75,993 people have been wounded in the Gaza Strip since the war started on 7 October.

On Sunday, Israeli troops pulled out of Khan Younis after a brutal three-month military campaign.

Palestinians returned to their homes in the areas where the Israeli army pulled out, only to find that most of their homes and streets were gone.

 

 

13:00 Turkey said it would impose trade restrictions on Israel starting Tuesday over the war in Gaza, covering a range of products including cement and steel and iron construction materials.

The new measures come a day after Turkey said Israel had blocked its attempt to airdrop aid to Gaza.

"This decision will remain in place until Israel declares a ceasefire immediately and allows adequate and uninterrupted flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza," the trade ministry announced on social media.

It attached a list of 54 products subject to export restrictions.

Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Monday vowed reprisals against Israel for blocking Turkey's airforce from airdropping aid to Gaza, saying they would be implemented "step by step" and "without delay."

He added that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan approved the export measures.

"We will continue our support until the bloodshed in Gaza stops and our Palestinian brothers reach a free Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital," Erdogan said in a message on Tuesday for Eid Al-Fitr the Muslim feast marking the end of Ramadan.

Israel's foreign ministry accused Turkey of "unilaterally violating the trade agreements with Israel," adding in a statement that it would "adopt the necessary steps against it."

Turkey has become one of the harshest critics of Israel's war on Gaza, with Erdogan branding Israel a "terrorist state."

His salvoes against Israel include accusing Tel Aviv of committing genocide against Palestinians in Gaza.

The Israeli military campaign against Gaza has killed and injured more than 100,000 people in the strip  most of whom are women and children.

Erdogan has defended Hamas considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States, and the European Union as a national liberation group.

12:45 Clowns hosted an entertainment event for displaced children in Gaza ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, which starts on Wednesday.

 

 

PHOTO GALLERY: It's time for kahk! Palestinian women in war-torn Gaza bake traditional Eid Al-Fitr cookies!

 

12:30 Germany on Tuesday strongly rejected a case brought by Nicaragua at the United Nations' top court accusing Berlin of facilitating breaches of the Geneva Convention and international humanitarian law by providing arms and other support to Israel in its deadly assault on Gaza.

"The minute we look closely, Nicaragua’s accusations fall apart,” Christian Tams, a member of Germany's legal team, told the 16-judge panel at the International Court of Justice.

On Monday, Nicaragua urged judges to order a halt to German military aid to Israel, arguing that Berlin’s support enables acts of genocide and breaches of international humanitarian law in Gaza.

The head of Germany's legal team Tania von Uslar-Gleichen said Nicaragua's claims "have no basis in fact or law. They depend on an assessment of conduct by Israel, not a party to these proceedings.”

Preliminary hearings held Monday and Tuesday are focused solely on Nicaragua’s request for so-called provisional measures, including a court order for Berlin to halt military and other aid to Israel and reinstate funding to the UN aid agency in Gaza.

Tams said that Germany had licensed only four exports of weapons of war to Israel since October, “three of which concern test or practice equipment.”

Showing judges a photo of German aid being airdropped over Gaza, Tams added that Berlin continues to provide humanitarian support to Palestinians “every single day under extremely difficult conditions, constructively engaging with international partners.”

Nicaragua's case is the latest legal attempt to rein in Israel's offensive by a country with historic ties to the Palestinian people after South Africa accused Israel of genocide at the same court late last year. It also comes against a backdrop of growing calls for Israel’s allies to stop supplying the country with weapons — and as some supporters, including Germany, have grown more critical of the war.

At Monday's hearings, Nicaragua’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Carlos José Argüello Gómez accused Germany of “failing to honor its obligation to prevent genocide or to ensure respect of international humanitarian law.”

However, another lawyer for Germany, Samuel Wordsworth, argued that the court could not rule Germany was violating the obligation to prevent genocide because its judges had not ruled that Israel was breaching the Genocide Convention.

In a preliminary phase of the case brought late last year by South Africa, the UN court has said that it is “plausible” that Israel's actions in Gaza could amount to breaches of the convention.

“How can it be said that there was a failure to ensure respect of a third state if the failure on the part of that third state to respect is not established in the first place?” Wordsworth said.

The court will likely take weeks to deliver its preliminary decision, and Nicaragua’s case will probably drag on for years.

 


German Chancellor Olaf Scholz meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem on 18 March. AP

 

12:00 A joint op-ed by Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and French President Emmanuel Macron called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and the implementation of relevant Security Council resolutions.

The op-ed is published simultaneously in several Egyptian, Arab, French, and American newspapers.

"The war in Gaza and the catastrophic humanitarian suffering it is causing must end now. Violence, terror, and war cannot bring peace to the Middle East. The Two-State solution will."

It is the only credible path to guaranteeing peace and security for all and ensuring that neither the Palestinians nor the Israelis ever have to relive the horrors that have befallen them since the 7 October attacks.

Ten days ago, the United Nations Security Council finally assumed its responsibility by demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza. This is a critical step that must be fully implemented without further delay.

In light of the intolerable human toll, we, the leaders of Egypt, France, and Jordan, call for the immediate and unconditional implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2728. We underline the urgent need to bring about a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.

Read the full text here.

 


Palestinians queue in front of a bakery ahead of Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, in Rafah on April 8, 2024. AFP

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