Philippe Lazzarini, the chief of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), has issued a call to media organizations urging them to verify information before publishing, especially regarding aid delivery in Gaza.
This appeal comes in response to recent statements by Israeli officials implicating UNRWA for aid delivery gaps in the region. Lazzarini highlighted that several Israeli officials' statements have either insinuated or directly accused UNRWA of being responsible for these gaps.
These claims were further amplified by various media outlets, leading to a stream of what Lazzarini terms "baseless misinformation." In one such instance, Israeli government spokesperson Eylon Levy accused UNRWA of failing to address Hamas' alleged hijacking of aid, describing the UN's efforts as "woefully unsuccessful."
Challenges in Aid Delivery
Despite the reopening of the Kerem Shalom border crossing for aid delivery, Lazzarini pointed out that Israeli authorities have imposed severe restrictions on humanitarian access.
These include constant bombardments, disruptions of communication services, and lengthy delays at both the Rafah and Kerem Shalom crossings. Access to the northern part of the Gaza Strip has also been restricted, further complicating aid efforts.
Lazzarini urged the Israeli authorities and other parties involved in the conflict to create a safe environment for the unimpeded delivery of humanitarian aid. He emphasized that this is not a time for exchanging accusations or promoting misinformation but for concerted efforts to aid those in need.
Resumption of Aid and Ongoing Challenges
According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the dispatch of aid into Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing has resumed after a temporary suspension due to security incidents.
On Friday, a total of 81 trucks carrying food and medicine entered Gaza through both the Kerem Shalom crossing from Israel and the Rafah crossing from Egypt. However, OCHA warned that the volume of aid currently reaching the embattled Palestinian enclave is insufficient.
Before the recent disruptions, the UN reported an average daily delivery of 455 trucks carrying commercial goods into Gaza, indicating a stark contrast to the current situation.