#Gaza “has reached a dangerous new low.”

Unbearable to watch, the disaster unfolding in Gaza, is a cruelty beyond the comprehension of all those who seek a peaceful solution.

© UNICEF/Mohammad Ajjour Children walk in the wreckage of homes destroyed by airstrikes in Al Shati refugee camp in the Gaza.

Humanitarians expressed deep concern on Friday for all civilians in the Gaza Strip following Israel’s order for the entire population there to leave the north, amid ongoing airstrikes and a deepening crisis. The UN chief told reporters outside the Security Council the world had to unite around the principle of protecting civilians and “finding a lasting solution to this unending cycle of death and destruction.”

In a candid interview with Channel 4 News, First Minister of Scotland, Humza Yousaf, expressed how helpless he felt with his wife’s parents still in Gaza. He said that since writing to James Cleverly, UK Foreign Secretary, he has had no response from the Minister about the safety of Scottish and all UK citizens still in Gaza.

The Scottish Government will be providing £500,000 towards the United Nations Relief and Works Agency’s (UNRWA) flash appeal in response to the ongoing escalation in the Gaza Strip. On Thursday, the UN launched a flash appeal for $294 million for 77 humanitarian partners to address the most urgent needs of 1.26 million people in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

The UNRWA’s appeal is urgently seeking funds to respond to the immediate food, health, shelter and protection needs of up to 250,000 people seeking safety in UNRWA shelters in Gaza and another 250,000 Palestine refugees within the community.

UNRWA Director of External Relations and Communications Tamara Alrifai said:

“This generous contribution is an incredibly humane gesture towards tens of thousands of people who are in utter distress in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA is very grateful for the show of support by Scotland and will use every penny to help alleviate the suffering of civilian women, children and men in Gaza.”

Some 1.1 million people would be expected to leave northern Gaza. The UN considers it “impossible” for such a movement to take place without devastating humanitarian consequences and appeals for the Israeli Government’s order to be rescinded.

The UN also reiterated its calls for the immediate release of hostages held in Gaza following Hamas’s deadly Saturday attack on Israel, and for the protection of civilians and urgent aid access to the sealed-off enclave.

Briefing reporters in Geneva, UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) spokesperson James Elder regretted that the humanitarian situation has now reached “lethal lows”.

He highlighted that the Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated places on the planet and people, including hundreds of thousands of children, who are finding themselves “with nowhere safe to go”.

OCHA spokesperson Jens Laerke also underscored the impossibility of a relocation, asking, “in the middle of a war zone where people are already at the end of the rope, how is that going to happen?”

Six of the seven main hospitals in Gaza are only partially functioning. As of Thursday 34 attacks on health care in the Gaza Strip had been confirmed since the beginning of the current offensive resulting in the deaths of 11 health care workers on duty. The Gaza Emergency Operation Centre, supported by WHO, has sustained heavy damages.

UN chief António Guterres said the situation in Gaza “has reached a dangerous new low.”

Fiona Grahame

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  1. Wrote this to the Unionist media yesterday – doubt it will be published:

    Major Israeli press outlets are saying that Netanyahu is to blame for the current war. In 2019 he told his Knesset members “anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state has to start bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas. This is part of our strategy.”[1]

    On October 8th Haaretz wrote: “All his wartime decisions against Hamas will be polluted by personal, legal and petty political considerations.”[2] Netanyahu is using his extreme right-wing coalition partners to keep himself in power and out of jail and is why he wants to destroy the independence of the Israeli judiciary.

    Life on the Gaza Strip, 25 miles long and 5 miles wide, is grim for its 2.3 million inhabitants, 70% are descendants of refugees from the 1948 war and half are children. Human Rights Watch has called Gaza the world’s largest open-air prison, with its people unable to leave.[3] There is no safe place for them to shelter from Israeli bombs.

    Western hypocrisy is galling. Ursula von der Leyen called Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure which left people without electricity, food and water acts of terror.[4] By that logic the Israeli government is committing acts of terror by bombing Gaza and cutting off electricity, food and water.

    The US will use the conflict to divert Ukraine funding to Israel, washing its hands of a proxy war it’s losing. It confirmed that money for Ukraine was “at the end of the rope.”[5]

    The only way out of this nightmare is a two-state solution based on the 1967 borders. However, it’s hard to see how the West can restore sufficient sanity to consider it or, if it does, to be trusted to act in good faith.

    Leah Gunn Barrett

    [1] https://web.archive.org/web/20220715223137/https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/2021-05-20/ty-article-opinion/.premium/there-is-only-one-war-the-extremists-vs-the-moderates/0000017f-f466-d5bd-a17f-f67e4f940000

    [2] https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/editorial/2023-10-08/ty-article-opinion/netanyahu-bears-responsibility/0000018b-0b9d-d8fc-adff-6bfd1c880000
    [3] https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/06/14/gaza-israels-open-air-prison-15
    [4] https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-leyen-ukraine-infrastructure-war-crimes/32091194.html#:~:text=EU%27s%20Von%20Der%20Leyen%20Says%20Russian%20Attacks%20On%20Ukraine%27s%20Infrastructure%20Are%20War%20Crimes,-European%20Commission%20President&text=Russia%27s%20missile%20and%20drone%20attacks,Leyen%20said%20on%20October%2019.
    [5] https://www.c-span.org/video/?c5088132/user-clip-kirby-on-ukraine-funding-coming-end-rope

  2. Hamas place no value on human lives, be they men women or children. The Palestinians have no future with these maniacs in charge. They have blood on their hands.

    • Hamas was purposely allowed to take over Gaza when Israel gave up the territory.
      Hamas were and are opposed to the PLO who signed the Oslo Accords.
      Why – because the US and Israel wanted to split the existing major Palestinian political movement, the PLO, and destroy the possibility of a two state solution and implementation of the Oslo peace process .
      They wanted to weaken any future Palestinian political development.
      Well they (US and Israel) have succeeded and created a division in a poor population, that was indigenous in that region and that has been oppressed, and dispossessed by apartheid criminals for 75 years. I do not hate religious Jews, and most Palestinians are not Hamas members, and neither support the Palestinian Authority (Fatah) anymore
      So as well as physically destroying there infrastructure they are trying to finish off any chance of Palestine having a cogent democracy.

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