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UNRWA chief urges Israel to allow food delivery to Gaza amid warnings of famine

IANS | March 30, 2024 10:42 AM

GAZA: Philippe Lazzarini, Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), has urged Israel to allow the organisation's food and nutrition convoys reach northern Gaza and to open additional land crossings to facilitate the delivery of aid amid international warnings of famine in the coastal enclave.

Lazzarini made the remarks on Friday in a post on social media platform X, a day after the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ordered Israel take all necessary measures to ensure basic aid reaches the Palestinian population in the Gaza Strip, Xinhua news agency reported.

He called on countries to increase pressure for the implementation of the court's order and to reconsider their decisions regarding funding the agency, emphasising the urgency of bold actions to prevent famine in Gaza.

He warned that the living conditions of more than two million people in Gaza were deteriorating, and Gaza was becoming an impossible place for dignified living.

The ruling issued on Thursday by the ICJ follows a previous one on January 26, in which the ICJ ordered Israel to take all possible measures to prevent acts of genocide against Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

The previous ruling was given after South Africa filed a case at the ICJ against Israel on December 29, 2023, for its alleged violations of obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention regarding Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Israel has launched a large-scale offensive against Hamas and imposed a siege on the Gaza Strip to retaliate against a Hamas rampage through southern Israel on October 7, 2023, during which about 1, 200 people were killed and more than 250 were taken hostage.

A number of donor countries suspended funding to UNRWA after Israel accused the agency's employees in Gaza of taking part in the Hamas attack on Israel.

While some countries have reinstated UNRWA funding due to unverified claims by Israel, the agency has lost the bulk of its financial support.

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