| 4 March 2024, Monday |

UN pushes for more aid into Gaza; Israel widens offensive

Hours after Israel signaled it was widening its ground offensive in the Palestinian enclave, the UN Security Council approved a toned-down bid to boost humanitarian aid to Gaza and sought steps to create conditions to end fighting on Friday

The United States, which is Israel’s main ally and had threatened to veto the Security Council motion during days of wrangling, chose instead to abstain after language was changed on ending hostilities and monitoring aid, a move that let the vote go through.

Washington has regularly backed Israel’s right to defend itself, but has grown increasingly concerned at the suffering of Gaza’s 2.3 million people amid a soaring death toll and a humanitarian crisis in the enclave.
In its latest update on casualties, Gaza’s health ministry said 20,057 Palestinians had been killed and 53,320 wounded in Israeli strikes since October 7.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government has vowed to eradicate Hamas, the Palestinian group that runs Gaza, after the group’s fighters launched a cross-border raid into southern Israel on October 7, killing 1,200 people and taking 240 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.
The adopted Security Council resolution “calls for urgent steps to immediately allow safe, unhindered, and expanded humanitarian access and to create the conditions for a sustainable cessation of hostilities.” The initial draft had called for “an urgent and sustainable cessation of hostilities” to allow aid access.

The resolution also no longer diluted Israel’s control over all aid deliveries to Gaza. Israel monitors the limited aid deliveries via the Rafah crossing from Egypt and the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom crossing.

Before the UN vote, Israel said 5,405 aid trucks – carrying food, water and medical supplies – have entered Gaza since the start of the war. Aid groups say only a fraction of what is needed is coming in. A report by a UN-backed body said on Thursday the risk of famine is growing every day.

Airstrikes, bombardments
In Gaza on Friday, as hopes faded for an imminent breakthrough in talks this week in Egypt aimed at getting warring Israel and Hamas to agree to a new truce, airstrikes, artillery bombardments and fighting were reported across the coastal strip.

Israel’s military ordered residents of Al-Bureij, in central Gaza, to move south immediately, indicating a new focus of the ground assault that has already devastated the north of the enclave and made a series of incursions in the south.

  • alarabiya