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April 20, 2024

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hh    Palestinian Territories   

Palestine, officially the State of Palestine, is a de jure sovereign state in Western Asia. It is officially governed by the Palestine Liberation Organization and claims the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Wikipedia

Capitals: Jerusalem, Ramallah

Dialing code: +970

President: Mahmoud Abbas

Population: 4.803 million (2020) World Bank

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Israel

In a late-night announcement on Thursday, UN Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric revealed that Israeli military liaison officers had ordered the relocation of over 1.1 million people from northern Gaza to southern Gaza within 24 hours. This directive also applied to all UN staff and individuals seeking shelter in UN facilities, including schools and health centers. The UN expressed grave concern about the devastating humanitarian consequences such a mass movement would entail and appealed for the order to be rescinded.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has been actively engaging with Israeli authorities, ambassadors, and officials in the Middle East to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. The UN emphasized the importance of providing humanitarian access to civilians trapped in Gaza to avoid further casualties.

The World Health Organization (WHO) echoed the call for the relocation order to be rescinded, describing it as a "death sentence" for many. Evacuating vulnerable hospital patients from northern Gaza was deemed impossible, according to WHO spokesperson Tarik Jasarevic. The UN reiterated its demand for the immediate release of hostages held in Gaza following a recent attack by Hamas on Israel and stressed the need for the protection of civilians and urgent aid access to the enclave.

UN humanitarian agencies joined forces to implore the involved parties to save civilian lives. UN relief chief Martin Griffiths emphasized the difficulty of relocating a large number of people across a densely populated warzone in just 24 hours, while Philippe Lazzarini, the head of UNRWA, warned that the order would lead to unprecedented misery and further suffering for the people of Gaza.

The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) expressed regret over the dire humanitarian situation, highlighting the vulnerability of hundreds of thousands of children in the densely populated Gaza Strip who had nowhere safe to go. The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) underlined the impossibility of such a relocation and urged humanitarian access to Gaza, where supplies were rapidly depleting.

The health system in Gaza was described as being at a "breaking point," with major hospitals exceeding their capacity. Six of the seven main hospitals in Gaza are only partially operational, further straining the healthcare system. Moving critically ill patients, including adults, children, and newborns dependent on life support, was said to be a "death sentence."

UN agencies also reported multiple attacks on healthcare facilities in the Gaza Strip, resulting in the deaths of health workers. The UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) called for the immediate release of hostages and their humane treatment, urging an end to indiscriminate attacks and full compliance with international humanitarian and human rights law.

The rise in hate speech was addressed, with a proliferation of anti-Semitic and Islamophobic hate speech noted across the world. The international community was called upon to unite in solidarity and advocate for the protection of all civilians. The UN Security Council convened a closed-door meeting to discuss the situation in Gaza. UN Chief António Guterres described the situation as having reached a dangerous new low and emphasized the extreme danger of moving a large population across a densely populated warzone with no access to essential resources.

OCHA coordinates the global emergency response to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises.

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