Israel finalizes its plans against Gaza while the humanitarian crisis worsens due to aid that does not end up arriving

The critical situation of the Gaza population is becoming more complicated day after day. The promised and more than expected humanitarian aid has not yet reached a Palestinian enclave besieged by constant attacks and the blockade by Israel, which since the beginning of its new military campaign against the Strip It does not allow the entry of any type of supply.

As the hours pass, the scarce resources are exhausted. There are power outages daily, there is a lack of water. The desperation of the Gazans is such that some of those displaced to the south of the Palestinian enclave, where they are also suffering from “intense” attacks by Israel, are returning to the constantly bombed north of the Strip due to “the extremely complicated living conditions”The United Nations denounced this Friday.

Up to a hundred trucks loaded with aid for Gaza are still waiting on the border between Egypt and the Strip

Up to a hundred trucks loaded with aid are still waiting on the border between Egypt and the Strip, at the Rafah crossing, while the repair work on the access roads, destroyed by Israeli bombings, continues, according to EFE. . The conditions imposed by Israel and the United States in last Wednesday’s agreement for the delivery of food, water, medicine and fuel is paralyzing the movement of vehiclesas stated by the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who traveled to the area this Friday to try to unblock the situation.

“It is impossible to be here and not have a broken heart, there are two million people going through hardship, without food, without medicine… They need everything to survive. On this side, we have trucks and everything necessary for them. Those trucks, they are not just trucks, but they are what differentiates life from death, we need to spend the maximum amount possible,” declared the head of the UN.

Guterres has insisted that this is an “urgent” and “essential” humanitarian operation to rescue a population “in a state of war.” Negotiations with UN mediation continue and the United Nations is confident that the arrival of humanitarian aid to Gaza finally become a reality this Saturday. The president of the United States, Joe Biden, has also pointed out this weekend as a possible date: “I have the commitment of the Israelis and the Egyptian president that the crossing will open. I believe that between the next 24 and 48 hours the trucks will enter.” , said the US president, who spoke of 20 vehicles.

Trucks with humanitarian aid for Gaza wait at the border with Egypt. Khaled Elfiqi / EFE

In recent days, several United Nations agencies, such as the World Food Program and the World Health Organization, as well as the International Red Cross and the Red Crescent relief societies of several countries in the region, have amassed more vital aid from the Egyptian side of the Rafah crossing, pending its opening. Doctors, nurses and health volunteers are also waiting in the area. to be able to access and care for and transport the injured.

Egypt maintains that it had not decided to open the passage in view of the insecurity, in particular due to the Israeli bombings in the area, where tens of thousands of Gazans displaced from the north of the enclave are located after Israel’s ultimatums. It is unclear what the scope of the humanitarian access agreement is. Whether it would be temporary or not, whether it would include volunteer and medical personnel, or whether evacuations from Gaza would be allowed at the same time, particularly of a medical nature and of foreigners waiting to leave.

Israel prepares “a new security reality”

As the humanitarian crisis in the Strip worsens, Israel continues to reinforce its military presence on the border while finalizing its plans against the enclave. The government of Benjamin Netanyahu prepares what he has described as “a new security reality.” Security, of course, always for its citizens since the Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, has made it clear that the intention of the Israeli authorities is to exempt themselves from any responsibility for the Gazan population.

Israel’s attacks on Gaza have caused more than 4,100 deaths and 13,000 injuries

Israel’s plans go through three stages. The first, the current one, that of the incessant and indiscriminate bombings to which “maneuvers” will be added, according to Gallant, who has not detailed whether they will be part of a land invasion of the Strip. This will be followed by “low-intensity operations” to eliminate “pockets of resistance” from Hamas. And finally, a third period in which Israel claims not to have any “responsibility for life” in Gaza and strengthen security for Israelis.

So far, Israel’s attacks have caused more than 4,100 deaths, including 18 fatalities of a bombing against the Orthodox church of Saint Porphyry in Gaza, where hundreds of people were taking refuge. According to the authorities of the Strip, controlled by Hamas, there are also more than 13,000 injured and some 1,400 missing under the rubble. The Gaza Ministry of Health assures that seven hospitals and 21 health centers have had to suspend their activities due to lack of fuel and Israeli attacks.

Israeli armored vehicles gathered at an undisclosed location near the Gaza border, October 20, 2023.
Israeli armored vehicles gathered at an undisclosed location near the Gaza border, October 20, 2023. Hannibal Hanschke / EFE

This same Friday, the spokesman for the Al Qasam Brigades, the armed wing of Hamas, Abu Obeida, announced the release of two American hostages for “humanitarian reasons”, after mediation by Qatar. According to what he said on Telegram, it is a woman and her daughter.

Increased violence against Palestinians in the West Bank

UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has warned that an escalation of the conflict or even the continuation of current “military activities” It would be “catastrophic” for the population of Gaza. ““The time has come to say that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict has not been resolved and needs a political solution,” said Filippo Grandi, UNHCR High Commissioner, who has warned of the risk that the conflict expands to Lebanon given the latest exchanges of fire between Israel and the Lebanese Shiite militia party Hezbollah, which have spiked this Friday.

Violence against Palestinians is not only focused on Gaza. The UN Human Rights Office has warned that the security situation deteriorates alarmingly in the occupied West Bank, where deaths increase every day after “an increase in the illegal use of lethal force” by the Army or Israeli settlers.

“We are dismayed by the inaction of the international community in the face of belligerent warmongering,” denounce United Nations experts

Since the beginning of the attacks in Gaza, on October 7, “Israeli forces have killed 73 Palestinians, including 19 children” in the West Bank, according to the United Nations daily report on the situation in both territories. The UN has also denounced an increase in arbitrary detentions of Palestinians and Arab Israelis in Israel, including activists and workers, “with accounts of mistreatment and lack of procedural guarantees.”

And all this, in the face of the “inaction of the international community.” “We are sounding the alarm: there is an ongoing campaign by Israel resulting in crimes against humanity in Gaza (…) There are no justifications or exceptions for such crimes. “We are dismayed by the inaction of the international community in the face of belligerent warmongering,” said this Friday a group of United Nations experts that has also warned of the “risk” of a “genocide against the Palestinian people.

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