United Nations humanitarian and development agencies today called on Israel to immediately resume the distribution of sufficient fuel to the Gaza Strip to allow Palestinians there to go about their normal daily lives.
“The current situation is a threat to the health and well-being of the population of the Gaza Strip, 56 per cent of whom are children,” a joint statement signed by eight UN bodies said. “The work of the United Nations organizations in Gaza has been severely hampered affecting schools, health facilities, and food distribution.”
Israel ceased all fuel supplies to Gaza, which was already suffering from shortages, after an attack on 9 April by Palestinian militants, condemned by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as an act of terrorism, on a fuel terminal in Nahal Oz, southern Israel, the sole overland conduit into the Strip.
The organizations called for a cessation of all acts of violence, including attacks such as the one on Nahal Oz, in which two Israelis were reported to have been killed. It said Israel’s announcement that it would resume deliveries to Gaza’s power plant was a positive, but insufficient to address severe fuel shortages for transport and generators.
“The current absence of fuel at petrol stations has meant that normal transportation has ceased,” the agencies said. “Many students have been unable to get to school, and many health professionals have been unable to get to hospitals and clinics. There have been difficulties transporting essential items such as food throughout Gaza.”
The signatories were: the UN Special Coordinator’s Office (UNSCO), UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), UN Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Development Programme (UNDP) and UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).