A first delivery of fuel arrived in the Gaza Strip on Friday after the green light was given. by Israel, in order to put an end to the suspension of telecommunications which blocks the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged Palestinian territory.
Israel had shortly before authorized, at the request of the United States, the entry of two trucks of fuel each day into the Gaza Strip, where shortages of fuel, necessary to power generators, have put many hospitals out of service and shut down telecommunications as well as deliveries of humanitarian aid.
The population of the small territory, trapped in the war triggered by the Hamas attack against Israel on October 7, is confronted “at immediate risk of famine,” warned the United Nations World Food Program (WFP).
A delivery of 17,000 liters of fuel arrived Friday via Egypt, the Palestinian authority announced in charge of the Rafah border post, to power the telecommunications company's generators.
The announced deliveries, however, represent only a small part of the quantities of fuel, or 50 trucks, which entered the Gaza Strip daily before the start of the war, according to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees (Unrwa).
In the al-Chifa hospital, the largest in the territory which was stormed by the Israeli army on Wednesday, the situation is “catastrophic” for the patients, the displaced and the caregivers who are crowded there without electricity “or water, nor food,” its director, Doctor Mohammed Abou Salmiya, told AFP.
Aerial view of the al-Chifa hospital compound in Gaza, November 7, 2023 © AFP – Bashar TALEB
According to the UN, 2,300 people are currently inside the hospital.
The spokesperson for the Hamas Ministry of Health, Ashraf al-Qidreh, told AFP on Friday that “24 patients” had died “in the last 48 hours” at al-Chifa hospital, “because that vital medical equipment stopped working due to the power outage, due to a lack of fuel to power the generators.
The spokesperson also said that a premature baby died on Friday after her incubator stopped having electricity several days ago.
– “A ceasefire” –
The head of UN humanitarian operations, Martin Griffiths, demanded a “ceasefire” in Gaza on Friday before the United Nations to help the population. “We are not asking for the moon. We are asking for basic measures necessary to meet the essential needs of the civilian population,” he said.
Photo released by the Israeli army, November 15, 2023, showing Israeli soldiers during an operation in the al-Chifa hospital in Gaza © Israeli army – –
The Israeli army, whose tanks still surround the hospital while fighting rages elsewhere in Gaza City, told AFP that it was continuing to search the huge complex which it said was a hideout of the Hamas installed in particular in a network of tunnels, which the Islamist movement denies.
Israel has sworn to “annihilate” Hamas, which took power in 2007 in the Gaza Strip, since attack that he launched on Israeli soil, of unprecedented violence and scale since the creation of Israel in 1948.
In Israel, the attack left 1,200 dead, in vast majority of civilians, according to authorities.
According to the army, 51 Israeli soldiers died during the fighting in the Palestinian territory.
Israeli army vehicles along the border with the Gaza Strip Gaza, November 17, 2023 © AFP – JACK GUEZ
In the Gaza Strip, incessant Israeli bombardments carried out in retaliation for the attack left 12,000 dead, mainly civilians, including 5,000 children, according to the Hamas Ministry of Health.
The ministry said Friday that dozens of bodies littered the streets of the northern Gaza Strip, and that it was impossible to count them because of the intensity of the strikes.
In parallel with its bombings, Israel has been carrying out ground operations since October 27, concentrated mainly in the north of the territory, in the city of Gaza transformed into a field of ruins and around hospitals, accusing Hamas of using them as bases. and to use the sick as “human shields”.
– The cold –
For weeks, the UN has been calling for the massive delivery of fuel to the Gaza Strip, in particular to allow hospitals to operate and trucks carrying humanitarian aid to circulate.
Palestinians in front of a building destroyed by an Israeli bombardment in Rafah, in the south of the Gaza Strip, November 17, 2023 © AFP – SAID KHATIB
The territory has been placed since on October 9 in a state of “complete siege” by Israel, which cut off deliveries of food, water, electricity and medicine.
According to Hamas, 24 of Gaza's 35 hospitals were stopped working.
Israel has so far refused to let the fuel pass, saying it could benefit the military activities of Hamas, classified as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel.
< /p> The entry of trucks into the Gaza Strip © AFP – Omar KAMAL, Gal ROMA
In response to a request from the United States, Israel's key ally, the Israeli war cabinet announced that it had authorized the daily entry of two tanker trucks “for the needs of the UN”. The agreement plans to deliver up to 140,000 liters every 48 hours.
UNRWA announced Friday that it could no longer coordinate the distribution of humanitarian aid due to the communications cutoff caused by lack of fuel.
According to the UN, 1.65 of the Gaza Strip's 2.4 million residents have been displaced by the war. Most fled to the south, carrying the minimum and surviving in the cold that sets in.
According to Unrwa, 70% of the population does not have access to drinking water in the southern part of the territory, where sewage began to flow into the streets.
Egyptian paramedics treat an injured Palestinian child at the Rafah border crossing, November 17, 2023 © AFP – –
On Friday, injured children waited in ambulances in Rafah to be able to be evacuated via Egypt to the United Arab Emirates, according to AFP images.
“At first we were told she was going to die. She has fractures to her skull, pelvis and thigh,” said Adam al-Madhoun, the father of Kenza, a four-year-old girl who had her hand amputated. right after an Israeli strike against the Jabaliya refugee camp.
– Release “without delay” –
On Friday, the army announced that it had found the remains of Noa Marciano, a 19-year-old soldier held hostage by Hamas, while searching a building adjacent to al-Chifa hospital. The Islamist movement said on Monday that she had been killed in Israeli bombings.
Relatives of Israeli hostages held by Hamas since the October 7 attack, call for their release during a march towards Jerusalem, November 17, 2023 © AFP – AHMAD GHARABLI
Thursday evening, the body of another hostage, Yehudit Weiss, was discovered near the hospital. This 65-year-old woman was “assassinated by terrorists in the Gaza Strip”, according to the army, after being kidnapped on October 7 in the Kibbutz of Beeri, in southern Israel.
The army estimates that around 240 hostages, civilians and soldiers, were taken to Gaza on the day of the Hamas attack.
Talks for their release are underway held via mediation from Qatar.
US President Joe Biden and the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, discussed by telephone on Friday the “urgent” need for Hamas to release the hostages “without delay”, the White House announced.
Israel has so far refused any ceasefire in the Gaza Strip without prior release of the hostages.
The refugee camp of Jenin © AFP – Valentin RAKOVSKY
Tensions are also high in the occupied West Bank. The Israeli army announced Friday that it had killed “five terrorists” in Jenin, a stronghold of the Palestinian armed movements.
Hamas had claimed responsibility the day before for an attack on a security checkpoint near Jerusalem, in which an Israeli soldier was killed.
In Hebron, two Palestinians were killed by ” bullets from the Israeli army”, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
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