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The Israel-Palestine Crisis: A Deepening Humanitarian Concern

The Israel-Palestine crisis has reached a critical point, with a growing need for urgent funding to support lifesaving aid in Gaza. The situation is exacerbated by rising civilian casualties and human rights violations in the occupied West Bank.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson, Christian Lindmeier, the conflict has taken a devastating toll on innocent civilians. In Israel, where the death toll has reached 1,400, and in Gaza, where over 9,000 have lost their lives, a staggering 70% of the victims are women and children. The innocent civilians are bearing the brunt of this ongoing crisis.

The United Nations human rights office (OHCHR) has expressed deep concerns about Israeli airstrikes on Jabalia and Al Bureij refugee camps, resulting in the destruction of residential buildings and a high number of casualties. Furthermore, there are reports of the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in densely populated areas in Gaza. OHCHR warns that the principles of distinction and proportionality are not being respected by both sides, potentially amounting to war crimes.

OHCHR spokesperson Liz Throssell called on Palestinian armed groups to cease launching indiscriminate rockets into Israel and to release all hostages, including children, as it violates international humanitarian law. Israeli authorities have reported that 242 people, including Israelis and foreign nationals, are held captive in Gaza.

The crisis has pushed the region to the brink of despair, and the United Nations and its partners are set to release an updated flash appeal for the Occupied Palestinian Territory to cover the remainder of the year. The initial appeal for $294 million, launched on October 12, is insufficient. The updated appeal is estimated at $1.2 billion to provide essential support for 2.7 million people in Gaza and the occupied West Bank.

While the original flash appeal is 25% funded, key donors include the United States, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), and Japan. Jens Laerke from the UN humanitarian affairs coordination office stressed the need for humanitarian pauses to deliver aid. Similar mechanisms have been used in various conflict zones, including northwest Syria, Yemen, and Afghanistan.

However, the ability to ease the suffering of the Palestinian population also relies on the availability of fuel. Gaza has faced a fuel crisis since the start of the conflict, leading to the near-complete halt of water wells and desalination plants in the southern part of Gaza. Additionally, access to water in northern Gaza remains unclear. Reopening border crossings between Israel and Gaza, especially the Kerem Shalom crossing, is crucial for aid delivery.

Aid has only been allowed through the Rafah crossing from Egypt, with 374 trucks entering since deliveries resumed on October 21. This aid remains insufficient to cover basic needs.

In the occupied West Bank, there has been a rising death toll, with 132 Palestinians, including 41 children, killed from October 7 to November 2. Israeli forces and settlers have been involved in these incidents. Settler violence has escalated dramatically, with an average of seven attacks per day, often involving firearms. The collaboration of settlers with Israeli forces and the lack of accountability for such violence are of great concern.

Israeli forces have arrested almost 2,000 Palestinians since October 7, and there are reports of ill-treatment of detainees, possibly amounting to torture. Two Palestinians arrested during this period have died in custody, raising concerns about due process and judicial guarantees as required by international law.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) has suffered a significant loss during the crisis. Out of 13,000 staff members in Gaza, 72 have lost their lives, including Mai Ibaid, a software engineer who was dedicated to her work. This loss of life among those who devote themselves to helping others is a tragic consequence of the ongoing conflict.

For more updates stay tuned to FELA News!

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