UN Says No Improvement in Aid Access in Northern Gaza

April 16th, 2024 - by Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

Famine Is Already Occurring
in Areas of Northern Gaza
Dave DeCamp / Antiwar.com

(April 14, 2024) — A UN official overseeing relief efforts in Gaza said aid access has not improved in the northern part of the Strip and pushed back on Israel’s claims that the UN was to blame for the difficulty in distributing the aid.

Jamie McGoldrick, a UN humanitarian coordinator, said the responsibility for the occupying power when it comes to providing humanitarian assistance for starving Palestinians “only ends when…aid reaches the civilians in Gaza.”

“It’s very easy for Israel to say we’ve sent you 1,000 trucks, so please deliver them inside Gaza,” McGoldrick said.

He said distribution inside Gaza was difficult due to the security vacuum and delays due to Israeli checkpoints. Aid workers have also been frequently targeted by Israeli forces, as 177 employees of the UN’s Palestinian relief agency, UNRWA, have been killed since October 7.

The killing of seven workers for the World Central Kitchen grabbed the world’s attention since six of them were from Western countries. In the latest incident, UNICEF workers reported that a vehicle they were traveling in was hit by Israeli gunfire, but nobody was hurt.

McGoldrick made the comments on Friday, the same day Israel announced it started letting aid into northern Gaza through a new border crossing. Israel initially said it would open the Erez border crossing to allow trucks into the northern part of the Strip, but it opened a crossing at a different location, which it didn’t specify. The Israeli military also declined to say how many trucks have been allowed in through the new crossing, so it’s unclear if it will make an impact.

“We’ve been asking for this for months,” McGoldrick said. “We’ve been calling out the fact that there’s a real humanitarian crisis in the north, where famine is imminent…it’s only now that we start to see the announcements.”

Samantha Power, the head of the US Agency for International Development, said last week that she believes famine is already occurring in parts of northern Gaza. Despite the acknowledgment from a high-level US official, the US continues to support Israel’s genocidal campaign and refuses to call for a unilateral ceasefire.

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