Saturday, May 25, 2024

UN reports at least 800 Israeli settler attacks since start of Gaza war

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced Thursday that it recorded at least 800 Israeli settler attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank that resulted in casualties or property damage since Oct. 7.

“This included the killing of more than 30 Palestinians by Israeli forces or settlers, the injury of nearly 500 others, and damage to dozens of homes, and nearly 12,000 trees and 450 vehicles,” UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters, noting OCHA’s warning that the situation in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem is escalating.

OCHA reported that aid organizations continue to face access constraints in reaching people in need of assistance in the Gaza Strip, including denials of planned missions or prolonged delays at Israeli military checkpoints on roads used to move between northern and southern Gaza.

The UN agency added more than a quarter of humanitarian missions to northern Gaza in April were impeded by Israeli authorities — and 10% were denied.

“We and our humanitarian partners continue our efforts to scale up aid operations whenever and wherever possible,” OCHA said in a statement.

Asked about a possible cease-fire in Gaza as talks are ongoing in Cairo, Dujarric said a truce would make it “a lot easier” for the UN to distribute aid that is already in Gaza.

Israel has waged an unrelenting offensive on the Palestinian enclave since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack last year killed some 1,200 people.

More than 34,500 Palestinians have since been killed, mostly women and children, and thousands injured amid mass destruction and severe shortages of necessities.

More than six months into the Israeli war, vast swathes of Gaza lay in ruins, pushing 85% of the enclave’s population into internal displacement amid a crippling blockade of food, clean water and medicine, according to the UN.

Israel also is accused of genocide at the International Court of Justice, which has ordered Tel Aviv to ensure its forces do not commit acts of genocide and take measures to guarantee that humanitarian assistance is provided to civilians in Gaza.

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