Gaza is facing an even deeper humanitarian crisis after one aid agency suspended all operations and another accused Israel of breaching international law.
The United Nations Relief and Works agency, which runs schools and provides vital aid in the territory, has stopped all operations in Gaza because of the risk posed by Israeli forces. Christopher Guness from the UNWRA said: ‘‘I can confirm that UNWRA has suspended its operations in Gaza because of staff security. We’ve had a shooting of a driver in a convoy clearly marked as a UN vehicle. They’ve been a number of attacks in which UN facilities have been hit with direct hits and others.’‘ While the agency hasn’t confirmed how long its cut in aid will last, the UN’s suspension came amid accusations by the International Committee of the Red Cross that Israel had failed to meet its obligations under humanitarian law. In what it describes as a shocking incident, the ICRC says it found four starving children in a house sitting next to their dead mothers and other corpses. The ICRC has accused the Israeli army of preventing safe access to the area, which had been hit by shelling. ‘‘Which was most shocking from our side is the army knew the civilians were there, and they didn’t assist them in any way, and they didn’t assist us even to evacuate these people,’‘ said Katrina Ritz of ICRC mission. In a statement, the Israeli military said it does not intentionally deny access to civilians. The halt of the UN mission to Gaza will be of deep concern, with thousands of Palestinians relying on food and medical aid.